lisa pikaard gets into a rock ‘n’ roll mindset…
Finding unsigned bands and spreading the word about them is a responsibility that all music fans should take seriously. After all, the fans are who make the music industry go round. Mindset Evolution is a band that has carved out a name for itself thanks, in large part, to those very fans.
Mindset Evolution is comprised of dedicated musicians that have the attitude of “Do, or do not. There is no try.” The band members have given everything they have into their music and their passion is resolutely apparent. More importantly, this attitude has not gone unnoticed. The men of Mindset have worked tirelessly to garner support for their music and were voted by the fans into the number four spot in the country in last year’s Best Buy Music Gear Battle of the Bands. It was later selected as the winning band, earning Mindset Evolution a slot on the 2012 Uproar Festival tour. The band members do not forget that fact they were given the opportunity to take on the country thanks to the fans. They love to meet the listeners, be with the crowds, and get to know who’s out there supporting live music.
I can’t decide what I like more about Mindset Evolution: their music, or their personalities. The guys are easygoing, social, light-hearted, seriously talented musicians with an unwavering dedication to their craft. The heart and devotion that Mindset Evolution puts into, not only its music, but music in general is inspiring.
Pop-break’s Lisa Pikaard spent time getting serious about music, and having a bit of fun with lead singer Rob Ulrich, and guitarists Skyler Baer and Bradley Prentice after their set at the Uproar Festival in Holmdel, New Jersey this past Friday.
Pop-Break: So you guys won the Battle of the Bands last year right?
Rob Ulrich: Right.
PB: What was the deal with that? How’d that work?
RU: It was a mostly internet based battle. There was 5300 bands that entered last year and all of the bands brought their fans to the table and everybody voted. Our fans voted us into the number four spot in the entire nation, the number one in our region, but that didn’t matter! Because the way that it works, you only have to be in the top 100 of the region to be considered. So, out of those 100 bands they chose us to represent the Chicago region last year and then that narrowed it down to 26 bands. Then out of those 26 bands, the judges took over and selected one band and that one band ended up being Mindset Evolution thankfully.
PB: Very very cool. So then you are doing the whole tour right?
PB: What’s it like being on tour now, not competing for a spot, but actually getting to enjoy it, knowing that you guys are, ya know, safe?
RU: It’s uh, I mean it’s what we thought it would be, you know? It’s fun; it’s awesome; it’s exciting; it’s a lot of hard work; its everything we ever wanted.
PB: Good!You [Skyler] are the quiet one over here!
Skyler Baer: Well yeah i’m just kind of standing back letting him handle it.
PB: Does he do all the talking?
SB: For the most part.
RU: He does the most looking good. I do the chit chat.
PB: Alright, I got it.
SB: I stand around and look ridiculously good.
RU: Really really ridiculously.
PB: Awesome! So this is kind of your first go around with all these guys. Have any of them given you any good bits of advice or really bad bits of advice since they’ve been around for a while?
RU: Well the bands, so far, um, not here. Right as we were coming out though, David Draiman [Disturbed lead singer] reached out. He said “Stay focused, work hard, and be dedicated.” So that was something that I thought was amazing. To hear that from David and come out here, and we’re like okay, lets take this, lets apply this. We’ve never had really a shortage of that in our band. We love to hustle so it is what it is.
Bradley Prentice: Ivan [Moody] from Five Finger [Death Punch] told us to do whatever it took to get on tour with Shinedown.
RU: Yeah, we played a sold out show with Five Finger Death Punch back in Peoria, Illinois, our hometown, and we were standing on the side stage. He’s like, “Man, I watched your guys whole show,” and I was like, “Oh cool, thanks,” ya know, and he’s like, “Yeah, you guys really need to figure out how to get on tour with Shinedown.” And it’s funny because now, thank you Ivan! Now here we are on tour with Shinedown amongst many other incredible bands.
PB: How have the crowds been for you guys?
RU: Really cool. Like it’s kind of what you’d expect in the midwest, the mighty mighty midwest. Everybody is very friendly and inviting and they know who we are so they jam out with us. Now as we’re getting out into the east coast, you can see it’s progressive. You start, they don’t know who you are, but you watch their ear turn to you and you bring what you have to offer them and hopefully, by the end, you see all those hands and fists in the air, which we’ve been thankful enough to see so far.
SB: One of the craziest things is the first signing that we had. We’re like, “Uh, okay we’ll do a signing at the Ernie Ball tent. Cool.”
RU: Thank you Ernie Ball!
SB: So we get over there and we didn’t expect anyone to be there and then we were there for half an hour straight signing autographs.
RU: Logan at the Ernie Ball tent had to kick us out. Like we had to stop and ended up going back to our merch booth to sign more and take pictures because it was just insane. It was awesome. It was a really great response. Kansas City!
PB:Uh oh! Does that mean you support the Chiefs fans now then?
RU: Da Bears!
PB: Why do you have to say the Bears the day the Giants are playing the Bears!
RU: Excuse me! I’m from Peoria, illinois!
PB: Where do you think you are?!
RU: I am Peoria, illinois!
PB: Well this is the Giants home land, sorry!
RU: I mean I’m not mad at the Giants.
SB: We don’t care about the Meadowlands!
RU: Way to go Giants! [laughter]
RU: Check out my lanyard though. They [the readers] can’t see it but…
PB: The Raiders, huh?
RU: Yeah, I love rooting for the underdogs, Bears, Raiders.
PB: Well, the Raiders haven’t been good since they lost the Gruden bowl in 2002 against the Bucs.
RU: Don’t tell me anything! Don’t talk about Rich Gannon or I swear to God! You and I! This INTERVIEW IS OVER! [laughter]
PB: I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I take it back!! So have you guys been doing a lot of interviews and stuff too?
RU: Yeah, getting a lot of press, a lot of people like yourself, thank you, high five by the way, coming out to find out about the baby band and what it is that we’re doing and it’s been really cool.
PB: By the way, I like that that was actually a high five, not just…
RU: No, no. I’m going to make you work for it. I’m 6’5. I want to see you.
PB: I’m not that short man!
RU: No, you’re not for a lady!
SB: We have technically the tallest guy in rock music.
RU: Yeah, technically. He’s 6’8, 6’9, something like that.
BP: Six foot 9 at the last measurement.
SB: If anyone can top that, let us know.
RU: Six foot nine. Tallest guy in ROCK music, rock rock rock.
PB: Key word there, awesome. So, what’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve been asked in an interview?
RU: What’s my favorite sock brand. I mean why would somebody ask you that right?
PB:I don’t know.
RU: Nobody ever asked me that. I lied.
BP: By the way, it’s Hanes.
PB: Glad there’s an answer.
RU: No, actually no really crazy questions yet. So far everything’s been pretty cool.
BP: What kinda crazy question do you have?
PB: I always take other bands crazy questions and pass them on. The last few were Chuck Norris or Batman, who would win.
BP: Chuck Norris, obviously.
SB: Our drummer would say Batman would take down anybody in the world.
BP: But I like living in reality.
RU: But the rest of us are logical and we live here solidly in reality so Chuck Norris.
PB: Hatfield or McCoy?
RU: Oh! Hatfield or McCoy, okay, yeah! Ya know what? I can’t remember which one was which. Which one was Kevin Costner’s family? Were they the McCoys? I think that, oh that could get me in trouble! I don’t know if I should say it. Well whatever, his side. I was totally with it. I mean they both could’ve just talked and chatted and been like “Yo, dude I’m sorry.” “Man, I’m sorry too bro,” and it would’ve been alright, but no.
PB: Favorite weird food combination was one.
RU: Um, I don’t really have a random food combination. I thought I did in pineapple and cottage cheese, but that’s not true. A lot of people like pineapple and cottage cheese!
BP: I like pizza rolls and milk.
SB: Chips and dip and oreos and milk.
PB: Yes that’s so weird! [laughter]
BP: Actually oreos and blue gatorade I’m a big fan of.
RU: There you go. There’s your weird answer.
PB: That’s a good answer…since you are drinking, what’s your favorite beer?
RU: Yes! That’s America in a can!
PB: Okay, now really random, you both are rockin dog tags, what’s the deal?
BP: Fans. We have these fans back home that are absolutely ridiculously literally the best fans ever.
BP: And they started their own little fan club called the “Nerd Herd.” They all made dog tags and then they made us dog tags and…
RU: See it says “Mindset Evolution,” “Mindset for life,” that’s “the Nerd Herd,” and then this, my nickname from them is “Roly Poly,” which is usually reserved for hefty people which is odd but okay, Roly Poly it is. Nerd for life! True story. Star Wars nerd by the way, that’s my brand of nerd. And “We are Stars.”
PB: [Skylar] Where are your dog tags? You’re going to piss off your fans right about now!
SB: Mine’s hanging on the wall at my house because I was just thinking the same thing to myself, but yup that’s exactly where it’s hanging.
PB: Do either of you guys have nicknames from the fan club?
BP: Apparently I’m “Big Kid.”
RU: They should have named him “big dummy.”
BP: You don’t pick em, they pick you.
RU: [Points at Skyler] Skillbilly, Skyler Baer. Skater hillbilly. Because he looks like a skater hillbilly.
BP: I like to call him red bush.
RU: Yeah, that does make sense. Because he has red hair.
SB: I thought it was because I’m skilled and i’m a hillbilly. I’m a hillbilly and I’m skilled. I didn’t think of a skater.
RU: No skills. No skills. Skater, hillbilly “Skillbilly.”
PB: That’s the face of your band then! The skater hillbilly, since you said he’s the one who looks good. Do you think that accurately represents your sound?
BP: Oh we’re as country as they come! [laughter]
RU: You wait till Calvin Klein gets their eyes on this. When they get their eyes on this piece of red meat! HA. Forget about it.
PB: Wait! We need to go back to music! So you guys have an ep with the title EP?
RU: Yeah, just EP.
SB: Well it’s not even titled. It’s just a five song, pretty much a sampler. We’re going to be recording the rest of a new album when we get done with Uproar Festival and these five songs will be on that, but, right now, it’s exclusive to Uproar Festival.
BP: It’s like a hey, here we are, how ya doing? What’s up? I like long walks on the beach, Kevin Bacon movies, ya know, things like that.
RU: It’s not available online. It will not be available on iTunes. It’s only available face to face here at Uproar stops.
PB: Okay, so how do you get people to listen to you guys right now? If people wanted to go find you guys, how can they?
BP: You could google us.
RU: You should totally google Mindset! Totally.
SB: You could also go to youtube and subscribe to our channel, Mindset Evolution.
RU: We’ve got some really dope, Jacoby from Papa Roach starred in one of our videos. He made a guest star appearance.
SB: The Papa Roach crew is awesome.
PB: And now they’re gone.
BP: Literally I am so sad.
RU: We miss those guys. Them and their entire tour crew, like all the people that go on tour with them to support them, their managers and everybody like that, everybody in that entire camp from top to bottom is a nice guy.
BP: They done messed up and made friends and now I’m all sad and lonely!
RU: [singing] “Ain’t no sunshine when you’re gone.”
PB: So what song, if any of your songs, if I was to tell everyone to listen to one song, what song should it be?
SB: “We are Stars.” Go to youtube, search Mindset Evolution, “We are Stars.” It’s the single we just released.
PB: You guys have a pretty cool video for that, where’d that come from?
BP: We just went to a show one day with a buddy of ours who also happens to be a videographer and we were like “Lets shoot a video!” and he was like, “That’s awesome. Hell yeah,” and it just kind of happened.
PB: That’s really cool.
BP: Well the fans, like we said, “Hey, want to be in a video?” and they were like “Yeah!” so they did it. We didn’t do shit!
PB: That makes it like the easiest video over! And it looks pretty bad ass.
SB: But on top of that, there are plenty other songs you can check out on youtube.
PB: That was slick! Alright. After all that chaos, is there anything else you want to tell everybody?
RU: No. Yes, there is a yes actually! Just go and find out what your favorite unsigned artist is. Go find music. Search it out, look for it. Discover it. You guys are the voice of music, whether you realize it or not. You are the thing that makes music happen and a lot of people have gotten complacent in the idea that somebody is going to present them something fantastic, that’s just going to fall out of the sky and be amazing. Mindset Evolution was discovered by fans. We are a peoples band. The people found us. The people put us here and we will continue to do everything we can to rep for the people. But if you don’t like what we’re doing or you don’t like what radio is doing, then take it into your own hands. Go find music. Discover it and make the industry work. It’s all in your guys hands. We love you guys. Mindset Evolution. Stand up.