BY ALEX THOMAS | Album Cover by Noon Thirty Design / Loren Zemlicka Photography
Two Edgewood College students have taken on a social media internship with local band The Mascot Theory.
Amanda Conder, a junior communication studies major, and Summer Wuestenberg, a senior business and music major with a concentration in performance and industry, ran the social media accounts and did promotional work for the band over the past few months.
Starting in January of 2017, they have been interning with the band. Conder has been running the Twitter account for Mascot Theory, and Wuestenberg has been doing the Instagram. They work to increase the followers and the frequency of postings to advertise both the band and the upcoming vinyl album project.
During her fall semester, Conder was contacted by Bonnie Sierlecki, an Edgewood College communication studies assistant professor, about the position. “I received an e-mail from [Sierlecki], who knew I had a passion for music, informing me that a local Madison band was looking for a communications intern,” said Conder. “I remember being super excited, thinking that it sounded perfect for me, and reaching out to Erik (Kjelland) that same day.”
Conder said she didn’t like the idea of a classic internship where an intern has the stereotypical job of filing papers, making copies, and performing other boring tasks. She said her experience was vastly different.
“I have gotten to be in full reins of the Twitter account for both The Mascot Theory and the Wisconsin Vinyl Collective,” said Conder. “I have gotten to do so many hands-on things and have been given a lot of responsibility that has taught me more than I ever imagined. And I have gotten to do all of this with Summer by my side, doing and experiencing the same things. We have developed a great friendship through this internship that will continue to grow as we remain the interns into the summer and fall semester.”
Wuestenberg found out about the position from Hannah Lloyd, a study abroad advisor and friend of Kjelland. Lloyd knew about Wuestenberg’s goals for working in the music industry.
“I’ve never worked with a band before, so I was a little nervous to start this internship, but probably more excited than anything,” said Wuestenberg.
Wuestenberg learned a lot about what goes into releasing an album.
“I didn’t know the first thing about selling a vinyl record to a record store, and how in order to do that you need to have a distributor, which in our case was all the way down in Alabama,” said Wuestenberg. “Erik has so many connections within the music industry too, so it just really opened my eyes to a whole different level of the type of work I want to be doing eventually.”
Both said they worked a merchandise table at a sold-out show at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison where The Mascot Theory opened for a popular local band, the Bodeans, on March 4.
The Mascot Theory released their music video, “Tear It Down, Make It Better,” which dropped April 14. The video featured many Edgewood college students recruited by Conder and Wuestenberg.
This song, along with music from nine other artists out of Wisconsin, will be released on The Wisconsin Vinyl Collective Volume One. It is a charity-based album, which will benefit the Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund.
The fund is a statewide non-profit that helps provide the financial assistance to keep both heat and cooling in homes for thousands of those in need.
The album is being produced by the Stone After Stone record label, which Kjelland co-founded in 2001 with Art Ranney as a way to release music for their band, Fallen Roadies. Now, fast forward 16 years later, and The Mascot Theory, along with Kerosene Kites, another band Kjelland plays with, have won numerous awards from the Madison Area Music Association. In addition, The Mascot Theory won Artist of the Year in 2016.
“I think the awards were a representation of the bands’ growing popularity,” said Kjelland. “We’ve been around for about five years now, so it took a couple of years to really make some waves.”
The Wisconsin Vinyl Collective Volume One will be released on April 22, National Record Store Day. There will be two release shows with several bands from the vinyl performing live. One is in Appleton on April 21, and the other is at the High Noon Saloon in Madison on April 23.