Fifteen years ago, Fueled by Ramen began life in the dorm room of John Janick, a student at the University of Florida. These days, thanks to a catalog that includes releases by [artist id=”1235716″]Fall Out Boy[/artist], [artist id=”1968732″]Paramore[/artist], [artist id=”2008947″]Panic! at the Disco[/artist], [artist id=”261″]Jimmy Eat World[/artist] and [artist id=”1220065″]Yellowcard[/artist] (to name just a few), an unusually strong commitment to their roster of artists and a harnessing of social media that borders on masterful, FBR headquarters is now located many stories above Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, in a space shared with the very major Atlantic Records.
Needless to say, things have improved slightly since those dorm-room days. And on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, the label will celebrate both their journey and their birthday with a two-night stand at New York’s Terminal 5, a double bill that will include the likes of Paramore, Cobra Starship and Gym Class Heroes. Wednesday night’s show will stream live on MTV.com, beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET, but to kick off the celebration, we asked some of Fueled by Ramen’s biggest acts to think back to the day they inked their deals with the label — starting with Wednesday night’s headliners, Paramore.
“We were playing a lot of local shows, it was around 2004. The guy we were working with in Franklin [Tennessee], he was kind of our manager at the time, and he was like, ’This guy, he has this label,’ ” frontwoman Hayley Williams laughed. “A couple people from [FBR] came down and watched us play older songs and newer ones — I think we played ’Hallelujah’ for them, ’Here We Go Again,’ I don’t know, like a total of five songs — and thank God they liked it. We were really excited. From then on, I was like, ’OK, what are we going to do?’ and we recorded most of those songs, and they showed up on our album, which was on Fueled by Ramen!”
The signing story of another of the label’s breakout stars, Panic! at the Disco, is a little less traditional. Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz discovered the band online and rushed to their hometown of Las Vegas to add them to FBR’s roster. Of course, given the label’s strong Web-based presence, it would become the blueprint for the way they’d do business moving forward.
“We started doing demos ourselves, just on our laptop, and posting to our personal websites, like MySpace or PureVolume, and just tried to send out links to anybody that was in a band that we were fans of in hopes they would listen. And somehow, we got lucky enough, and Pete contacted us, so that was our first introduction to Fueled by Ramen,” Panic! drummer Spencer Smith explained. “Pete drove out and bought us Del Taco and listened to the songs and said that he wanted to sign us as we were driving him back to his hotel. So it all just happened within two weeks, I think, from him listening to the songs.”
Help MTV celebrate Fueled by Ramen’s 15th anniversary this Wednesday, September 7, as we present a live party featuring some of your favorite FBR acts, including Paramore. Check out MTV.com at 6:30 p.m. ET Wednesday to catch all the action!