For artists making their way into the music industry, ‘Cane Records, a student-run label at the University of Miami since 1993, serves as a platform to share and promote their music. Senior Brian Gross, a music engineering major, signed his band Mint Trip with ‘Cane Records as a starting point for the band’s musical aspirations.
This summer, he and band members Max Molander and Amy Gionfriddo will take road trips across the country to their new home of Los Angeles, where they will be signing to another label and releasing their first EP over the summer. After that, they will continue toward their aspiration of releasing a second EP and going on another tour.
“It’s all been pretty surreal,” Molander said. “We’re not at the point where we’re supporting ourselves 100 percent yet on the band, although that is the goal …We’re really excited about this first EP that’s coming out. It’s been a year and a half in the making and it’s really shaping up.”
The band’s name, Mint Trip, encompasses just that, using “mint” to represent the idea of a sensory overload and the band’s goals for the future.
“It evokes color, a flavor, a scent, and we’re trying to make a sound,” Gross said. “Mint Trip is the overall goal … We’re trying to tour internationally and do nothing but this. So the Mint Trip is the tour where we’ve made it. That’s what it is to us. A constant reminder of what we’re going for, and why we’re doing this is because we love music … It is not a hobby, it is life.”
The three musicians met at UM, where Gross and Molander have focused on jazz while Gionfriddo is studying for her master’s in classical voice performance.
“UM has helped in ways you wouldn’t expect it to … Frost is a pretty cool place because everyone comes from such different musical backgrounds and plays different styles,” Gross said. “It’s cool because we were able to come together and play. That was a huge help from UM. You’re in this huge pool of all these great musicians and you can pick your friends, and from your friends you can pick the musicians you want to play with and that’s how it’s been a help.”
Mint Trip’s single “Take” is included on the latest ‘Cane Records album, “For the Record,” which features 12 songs from University of Miami artists. This album originally received about 70 song submissions, but in the end, only 12 songs were chosen, each of which was produced by an independent artist.
“They’re all originally produced works,” said ‘Cane Records President Emma Marzen, who is in the Music Business and Entertainment Industries Program. “It’s been an incredible, incredible album. The assemblage that we have is perfect and the artists are really fantastic. Each and every one of them just has a great voice and something to say.”
The musicians on this year’s album also all happened to be UM students or recent alums. This was an important deciding factor for the ‘Cane Records team, since the team wanted the artists to be available to perform on campus, whether at the farmer’s market or during a UMTV show, Marzen explained.
“In the past couple years we’ve done all-United States albums or South Florida albums, but this year we decided we really wanted to have an all-University of Miami album just to showcase the extreme talent we have right here on our campus,” she said.
The team didn’t have any predetermined ideas for what they were looking for. As a result, the album consists of a variety of music styles, ranging from electronic to Latin pop.
“We look for any and all genres, any type of musician, from all walks of life at UM,” Marzen said. “We worked to see who would fit the best together even though they’re very contrasting pieces. They just sound effortless [when] they flow together and it’s a really nice compilation.”
Another recent project started by the label is the “Thank You, Come Again” sessions, a variety of live music videos made in trendy studios in Wynwood. The videos feature 10 of the artists who were available playing live.
“Our biggest goal is always to help the artists, promoting them, making sure this label is for their benefit [and] to grow as they’re in school and to be found in the industry,” Marzen said. “We only pick independent artists because we know that they are the ones that are able to grow the most.”
In addition, the label has hosted other events, such as electronic press kit making and technical writing workshops, offered for the purpose of helping singer-songwriters share their music.
“I think we’re moving into the future and trying to attack the new ways of disseminating music and just promoting these artists and helping them develop and be seen by those in the industry and those who will become fans,” Marzen said. “They’re really talented, amazing artists, people and UM students. It’s really great to be able to support our family.”
The “For the Record” album will soon be available on SoundCloud and is also available at special events, including an upcoming showcase on March 31 at the Lakeside Patio.