Washington to Catalonia: A Sound of Thunder goes international
I was a recording artist, a hired gun, and a wrecking crew member based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. I didn’t understand music business well. So I re-enrolled to college and graduated from Full Sail University with a Bachelor of Science in Music Business and a Master of Science in Entertainment Business. One month after graduating, my career turned sharply to an unbelievable challenge. A Sound of Thunder, a local band I managed, received and invitation to performed in front of 45,000 people at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
“Setting up a Tour of Catalonia in less than two weeks was an unbelievable challenge. A Sound of Thunder trusted me with this task and I couldn’t let them down”
I wanted to work independently after graduating so I began looking for a local rock or metal band to manage. I spoke to Josh Schwartz and Nina Osegueda, lead guitar and lead singer for A Sound of Thunder, and proposed them a management deal. I had recently founded the DC Music Incubator, a long-thought project aimed to educate and nurture independent musicians. I wanted to include A Sound of Thunder in the incubator’s roster. They self-produced several albums, setting a great example for independent artists in the D.C. region.
Josh and Nina agreed to a short-term management deal that included the release of their upcoming album titled It Was Metal. Shortly after signing the deal, one of their music videos went viral. Els Segadors (The Reapers) Lyrics Video, a heavy metal version of a Catalan folk song, reached one million views in YouTube in six days.
The Catalonia Parliament conducted a referendum where its citizens voted in favor of independence from Spain. A Sound of Thunder released Els Segadors to support the cause and protest police repression against Catalans.
Nina Osegueda’s mother is from Catalonia. She fled the country and arrived to the USA during the Francisco Franco’s regime. The Spanish dictator harshly suppressed the autonomy of Catalonia, killing thousands of Catalans during his thirty-five year regime.
A day after the lyrics video was published, Nina Osegueda began getting phone calls from the Spanish and Catalan Media. They wanted to learn more about the mysterious band from America and what inspired them to create their splendid heavy metal version of Els Segadors.
The heavy metal version of didn’t lack attention from Catalonia‘s president in exile, Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó. President Puigdemont thanked A Sound of Thunder on Facebook’s post. He also thanked the band for accepting the invitation to perform at the Concert Dels Presos Politics at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona.
President Puigdemont led the initiative for this concert and many popular Catalan artists performed for free. Revenue from ticket sales funded legal fees to fight the incarceration of members of the Catalan Parliament after the authorities arrested them, charging them with sedition and rebellion against Spain. Some members managed to flee to the safe haven of Belgium, the capital state of the European Union. One of these members was President Puigdemont.
I received this performance proposal a few days before the band jumped on the plane to Barcelona. Logistically, it could have been a nightmare. But suddenly, my artepreneurship and academic skills kicked in. Critical thinking carried out a modus operandi, letting me respond effectively to the scenario.
I was alone on this and A Sound of Thunder had no experience dealing with international touring. They trusted me and I couldn’t let them down. My wife gave me all her support she could but I was professionally alone.
I dusted off my Rolodex and reached out to wonderful people I knew working in the entertainment business and living in Spain. I never dealt with most of them in a similar situations and giving them ten days to help me book a tour was insane.
A Sound of Thunder never played outside the USA. I never planned and booked an international tour with less than a month as heads-up, but I welcomed the challenge and followed my gut feelings.
After long and exhausting working hours, A Sound of Thunder was on its way to a successful Catalonian Tour. The tour included five Catalan cities in five days. It also included two performances in one day. The first at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys in Barcelona and the second at Faktoria d’Arts in Terrassa.
A Sound of Thunder is no longer a local band. They are now an international performer, scheduling a new European tour that promises a beefier crowd. The band is enjoying the life of independent artistry that only a few artists have.
My journey with A Sound of Thunder sharpened my management skills greatly. I’m often humble when talking about this experience. But I’m very aware that I successfully accomplished a very hard and complicated task on my own (for the most part). I managed to give them the opportunity to experience one of the most revered experiences a performer can have. And that is performing for a full house with thousands of people singing along to their song.
- A Sound of Thunder. In A Sound of Thunder. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/asoundofthunder
- Bernhard, M. (2019, January 21). 12 Catalan leaders face trial on charges of sedition and rebellion against Spain. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-spain-catalonia-separatists-20190121-story.html
- Campani, M. (2017, December 2). A Sound of Thunder performing “Els Segadors (The Reapers) at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys. [Video File]. DC Music Incubator. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/dcmusicincubator/videos/160355941382828/
- Campani, M. (2017, December 3). TV3 Catalunya. Interviewing A Sound of Thunder. [Video File]. DC Music Incubator. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/dcmusicincubator/videos/161090691309353/
- Domonoske, C. & Neuman, S. (2017, October 27). Catalonia declares independence; Spain approves central takeover of region. The Two-Way. NPR. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/10/27/560357561/spains-prime-minister-asks-for-direct-rule-authority-over-catalonia
- El Pais. (2017, November 10). Así suena la versión heavy metal de ‘Els segadors’ | España. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_8t6P8mZ8g&feature=youtu.be
- Els Segadors – Himne Nacional de Catalunya al concert 10000 músics per la llibertat (n.d). In M’agrada Catalunya. Retrieved from http://www.magradacatalunya.cat/2017/12/04/segadors-himne-nacional-catalunya-concert-10000-musics-llibertat/
- Payne, S. & Palacios, J. (2018). Franco: A Personal and Political Biography. 4th edition. Wisconsin; University of Wisconsin Press.