ESCANABA - A band made up of two Escanaba residents has been signed to a record deal with a European label and hopes their work will be released in the first quarter of 2012.
The band of Ryan Meunier, 20, and Cory Lobner, 19, both of Escanaba, were signed to the label back in September and are currently in the process of recording songs. In fact, Meunier is a member of two bands, with each being signed to a European electronic/industrial record label, Glory and Honour.
"I'm in two different bands and they both got signed by the label, so I'm a busy man," explained Meunier. "The band with Cory and me is called Universally Unnecessary. My other band is called Free Therapy, which is with some guy I actually met over the Internet from Tennessee."
Meunier said the best way to define the music he and Lobner makes is to call it "harsh industrial rap," where he provides the vocals, while Lobner produces the music.
"The best way I can explain it is Free Therapy is basically death metal and black metal, but instead of guitars and real instruments, it's like electronic music," he explained. "And for Universally Unnecessary, we have the electronic beats and I scream kind of like a black metal singer/screamer, but I also rap. It's like I seriously invented my own genre."
Meunier said the success of his groups being signed can be traced back to when he joined a former online music group, which allowed him to connect with fellow musicians. Through the group he was introduced to a British man by the name of Lee - their key to success.
Jason Raiche | Daily Press
Ryan Meunier, 20, left, and Cory Lobner, 19, both of Escanaba, were signed to a European label back in September and are currently in the process of recording songs
"A guy named Lee really, really liked our music and we actually owe him a lot, because his goal was to get us signed, so he talked to a bunch of labels" said Meunier. "He actually took a bus to London, which is about six hours away from where he lives, to talk to the record label, to talk about us getting signed. So I love Lee."
The label then contacted Meunier about being signed, which he then mentioned to Lobner, and both agreed it would be a great opportunity. Meunier said at first the label wanted him to combine his two bands together, but he tried to explain to them that each group makes different music. Since the label was adamant he choose one band over the other to record, he selected Universally Unnecessary. However, just a couple weeks later they wanted to sign Free Therapy as well, and the rest is history. Both bands will now record their music here in the states and send it over to the label, which has offices in both London and Russia.
Both bands have begun to record songs for their respective albums, according to Meunier, which takes a little bit of time.
"It usually takes about a couple weeks, two or three weeks for one song, because there's a lot that goes into it," said Lobner. "It takes me a lot just to make the song itself, probably about a week or a week-and-one-half."
Once Lobner finishes producing the music, it is then turned over to Meunier who writes the lyrics and records his vocals - right from his bedroom.
"He (Lobner) makes the music at his house and I literally record in my bedroom," said Meunier.
According to Lobner, the contract they signed with the label allows each group one year to complete the album, but he anticipates Universally Unnecessary will complete theirs within that time frame.
"I was hoping like by February," said Meunier. "We'll shoot for February. The Free Therapy album will be done in January hopefully."
Both groups need at least 40 minutes worth of music to record, said Lobner, which equates to approximately 10 or 11 songs.
Meunier said when the recordings are complete, they will be available worldwide online, with some hard copies available as well.
But once the albums are completed, Meunier said he swears he is going to go to college, hoping to attend a trade school in Madison for sound engineering.
Lobner said he intends to head to Northern Michigan University this coming semester to pursue audio production.
Both Lobner and Meunier said their ultimate goal is to go on tour.
"We have a one-year contract, and if we do good, our goal is to go for a management contract," explained Meunier. This is when tour dates would be thrown into the mix, said Lobner, since their current contract is solely to record music.
Both Meunier and Lobner have cited a passion for music over the past many years.
Lobner said his interest goes all the way back to around third grade, when he started taking piano lessons and was in the middle school's symphonic band.
"I originally wanted to become a music teacher, but then I started getting into this more and more, so then I decided to change over to audio production, and it's very fitting for what we do," Lobner said.
Meunier said his interest in music spurred from him and his friends making music when they were younger.
"Me and my friends used to make music when we were little, off a software program called Fruity Loops, and I wasn't really good at it, and I used other people's music so I could put my vocals on it, and it became a hobby," he explained.
Though their hobby has now turned into something bigger, Meunier said things don't feel much different.
"Honestly I've been doing this for fun for so long," he said. "Now that we're signed, it really doesn't feel that much different. Now I'll just have more people to talk to about music. I don't feel different at all. It's just fun."
For more information on either one of Meunier's bands, visit their Facebook pages at www.facebook.com/pages/Universally-Unnecessary/176608935716523 or www.facebook.com/pages/Free-Therapy/154457094634809.