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Success won't change Dane Schmidt (ONLINE EXCLUSIVE)

Dane Schmidt may be young, but his prolific nature belies this fact. Along with violinist buddy Kieren Smith, the Duluth native first started to make a name for himself with the acoustic rock outfit And Then I Turned Seven. The name turned out to...

Dane Schmidt may be young, but his prolific nature belies this fact. Along with violinist buddy Kieren Smith, the Duluth native first started to make a name for himself with the acoustic rock outfit And Then I Turned Seven. The name turned out to be hard to market, so the group, a five-piece that also featured Cities Never Sleep's Pat Tarnowski, soon morphed into Jamestown Story. Though the band's releases have been decidedly buzzed-about -- for starters, Alternative Press named the group its unsigned band of the month for January -- it would be Schmidt and Smith's other band, Sing It Loud, that would get the first real crack at fame: The group recently signed to punk powerhouse Epitaph Records, and its self-titled EP, which was recorded with Motion City Soundtrack member Josh Cain, is already out. (Success has its drawbacks, however: It was announced four days ago -- after the accompanying Q-and-A was conducted -- that, due to Sing It Loud's rising popularity, Smith has decided to drop out of Jamestown Story.) Schmidt recently answered a few questions from the Budgeteer in a brief e-mail interview:

Budgeteer: I gather you grew up in Duluth, but when did you move operations down to the Cities? What was the reasoning?

Schmidt: We moved down last fall. My girlfriend and I found a great house down there and, since the rest of Sing It Loud was down in the Cities, Kieren came down also.

On that, how does a young group go from playing in Duluth to being named "Unsigned Band of the Month" in A.P.? Is it MySpace exposure or are you just playing the right shows down there with the right bands?

Internet exposure and touring. We worked hard for the last few years trying to get our name out, and I think we've done a pretty good job of it considering we're an unsigned band.

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The songs on Jamestown Story's "One Last Breath" EP sound so refined -- did someone help you guys put that one together, or are you and your brother Jordan (who has worked with Maryland pop punk outfit All Time Low) just getting that good at production?

I went into the studio with a pretty good idea of what I was looking to do, and Jordan just helped create that. Also, when we had the full band before we had put together some of the songs, all of the guys helped with that.

How did you first get into music in the first place? Were there certain bands that influenced you, or did you just have an inkling to start a band yourself?

I just put out a CD and started playing shows. It's been a lot of ups and downs, but I wouldn't replace it for anything. Honestly, blink-182 inspired me to really want to make music a career.

For those of us unfamiliar with the Jamestown Story bio, what happened to the And Then I Turned Seven moniker? Do you guys still play those old songs live?

We changed the name January of 2007 due to it being long and, really, having no meaning. We still play old songs live though!

How did Sing It Loud evolve?

Sing It Loud started when Jamestown Story lost the full band and Kieren wanted to start up a pop rock band. He basically got everyone together and we started playing shows last summer and have been doing it since.

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Is it strange to take a "backseat" in that group -- from frontman to drummer?

Oh yes, very; but I love playing drums again.

What was it like working with Josh Cain of Motion City Soundtrack?

It was rad. He's a legit dude, but he likes watching foot fetish videos a bit too much. It was weird at first to be working with someone from MCS, being it's one of my favorite bands, but now I just call him "dad."

NEWS TO USE
Dane Schmidt will celebrate the release of the latest Jamestown Story EP, "The Prologue," with a show at Beaner's Central June 14. Cities Never Sleep opens. Cost is $7. (More info at www.myspace.com/jamestownstory .) Schmidt's other group, Sing It Loud, recently put out a self-titled EP on Epitaph Records. More info on that release can be found at www.epitaph.com .

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