Breaking in to the brutal world of popular music is only a fantasy for most musicians, but the indomitable ambition of two childhood friends from Spearfish has put their band on the national stage.
Roman James and Kyle Pfeiffer's band, Blacklite District, had their song "Take Me to the Grave" hit number one on the Octane channel on SiriusXM satellite radio this week.
"It’s a dream come true from being 11 years-old and playing in a coffee shop to having your dream come true," said Pfeiffer.
The Octane channel plays new hard rock music and is one of the more popular SiriusXM stations. SiriusXM is a satellite radio service with over 23 million subscribers, according to its website.
Since their debut on the channel three weeks ago, Itunes sales of the single have taken off, touring opportunities are pouring in, over a thousand new fans have found the band's Facebook page, and Youtube numbers are up 500 percent from their last music release, Pfeiffer said.
The ban is also getting some play on local rock station 101.1 KDDX FM but will debut nationally later in January or early February.
In recent years, other music groups have started their ascent to widespread fame by getting regular airplay on satellite radio channels, and Blacklite District hopes to be the next to go down that road.
James and Pfeiffer met in fifth grade at East Elementary School and graduated in 2009 from Spearfish High. They began playing together at ages 10 and 11 and started their music career like so many others, by playing gigs around town, paying their dues and learning from the professionals. They played their first show at Common Grounds in Spearfish in 2002.
Pfeiffer is a self-taught guitarist and music business buff. "It took countless hours of research and maybe that's why I didn’t do so well in school," Pfeiffer said with a laugh.
He chased down music executives relentlessly until he got their attention. "The hardest part is getting through the door."
The band currently comprises Pfeiffer on guitar, James on vocals, and drummer Graham Spillman, who is not from Spearfish. The band moved to Los Angeles from the Black Hills in 2011 where they recorded their first album. They since have changed management and record companies and moved to Orlando, Fla.
“Take Me To The Grave” marks a step forward in the musical growth for the band. It sticks to hard rock rooted in heavy guitar and lyrics while adding undertones of electronic beats with a pop music style hook.
Jeff Hanson, the band's manager and founder of Silent Majority Group, a boutique record label within the Warner Music Group system, said Blacklite District is the hardest working band he's ever met. He said Pfeiffer and James called him for months and packed up and moved to Orlando to further their career. Hanson has worked with top-selling bands Creed and Paramore.
"Everything in music has been done before but I believe that these guys have more of a dance /pop songwriting mentality that is encased in heavy rock instrumentation," Hanson said.
He said the attention the band is getting has led to plans to release a few songs from their upcoming album as a teaser on Itunes in the coming weeks.