Local rock band Halocene — Addie Nicole, Bradley Amick, Joseph Polizzi, and Sebastian McKelvey — cover songs all the time. So when they heard about the chance to be on the new YouTube show Best.Cover.Ever. hosted by Ludacris, they figured they’d give it a shot.
Each 30-minute episode focuses on a different guest artist. Demi Lovato, Katy Perry, Flo Rida, and Keith Urban are among some of the inaugural season’s stars. The show puts calls for submissions online, and bands can pick the artists they want to cover. Once they record the cover tune, they upload it to YouTube, following the show's guidelines.
When the submission period closes, the guest artist picks two bands from the submissions received. In this case, Halocene members said that from what they understood, there were thousands.
Next, the two bands appear on the show, where they perform the song for the artist, who selects the grand prize winner. At stake is the opportunity to collaborate with the artist. Halocene appears on sixth episode, which airs on Monday, December 4.
The band thought it would be fun to cover “My House” by Flo Rida. “We rockify pop songs all the time,” singer Nicole says. “So we had fun turning it into a rock song and then everything happened from there.”
Amick adds, “Yeah, the next thing you know we’re being flown out to Los Angeles to compete on the episode. We couldn’t believe it."
Were they nervous? Hell, yeah. In the 10 years they’ve been a band, Halocene have toured extensively, playing festivals and opening for the likes of Blink-182 and Jimmy Eat World. This was a little different.
Nicole says, “We thought we were going to perform for the show’s producers but when we got there we found out we’d be performing for Flo Rida and Ludacris – just those two."
Amick says, “an audience would have made us feel at home, since we’ve played so many shows together, but just being there performing for these two people, the nerves crept up like never before.”
It was the same for Pilozzi, who says, “It's suddenly 100 times more intimate and you're locking eyes with the artist and you're being judged.”
Nerves and all, the band says they had an amazing time and left feeling confident about their performance. They also had a lot of nice words to say about their competition.
They were up against Nashville's The Marty Ray Project, and note that he’s an outstanding performer. Laughing, Amick adds that “his voice is so excellent, it didn’t help with our nerves at all.”
Being on a YouTube show is especially exciting for Halocene because they’ve slowed down on touring the last couple of years to focus on enhancing their online presence. That includes the band's YouTube channel, which has almost 60,000 subscribers and video views in the millions.
They love being on the road and say they’ll do it again when the time is right. But for now, Amick says, posting a new cover on YouTube each week is kind of the same thing. “It helps bring people to our page where they can find our original music. As the online audience grows, that will give us more opportunities to have more lucrative tours in the future.”
It’s also a way for them to save money, something else that’s been a focus for this practical group. Since the beginning, they’ve done their own recordings and made their own videos. Now, they even share a home. That’s where their studio's located. That means in addition to recording their own stuff, they can produce music for others, and tackle other tasks like writing commercial jingles.