Do you believe in miracles, baby?
Well, it's time to start because the Final Four of Musical March Madness has found its George Mason. They're Las Vegas retro rockers Palaye Royale and they just bracket-busted one of the competition's perennial juggernauts: 2012 champs Tokio Hotel.
"It's definitely remarkable for how small our fan base is," guitarist Sebastian Danzig told MTV News on Friday (April 4) just moments after the unsigned band found out that they were advancing to the semi-final round. And while TH had their fierce Aliens wearing out the Refresh button to vote them into the next round, Danzig said this time the spoils of victory go to Royale's equally tenacious fan group, The Soldiers of the Royale Council.
"They're incredibly loyal," he said, adding that the band heard tales of Council members staying from work and school to keep the voting going. The victory is even more amazing given that Royale beat several other heavies on their journey, including Vampire Weekend in round one and Coldplay in the second round.
"Coldplay didn't tweet anything about it [and if they had] we would have definitely lost," he said. Once they got past #4 seed Bastille in the sweet 16, Danzig said he and his bandmates had their work cut out for them in taking on the German band whose Aliens have remained remarkably dedicated even during a four-year recorded drought.
How did PR pull it off? Through a combination of tweets from industry pals like Hole singer Courtney Love, rockers Metro Station and the band's dedicated daily Twitter work. "People want to see an unsigned band go far," he said. "We've very hands-on because we don't have a label to do things for us, so we do everything and the fans see that sense of purity behind it.
That means building their fan base every day by direct messaging hundreds of potential Council members and following more than 86,000 Twitter users while racking up more than 141,000 followers. And that's all in between pre-production sessions for their debut album.
In fact, when MTV News caught up with the band on Friday they were about to head into the studio with a string section to work on some new arrangements, which would have to take the place of a Final Four celebration for now. "We're a rock 'n roll band, so this is just an extra thing for us to get us towards our main objective of getting a record deal," Danzig said. "This is perfect timing [though]. We used every resource we could to get fans to vote, saying we'd do live Q&A chats, post videos ... and we thought we might make it to the Sweet 16. But we had a dedicated group of fans who were doing mass voting 24 hours a day clicking buttons. It just shows you that a small army can do something if they have the drive."
Fittingly, the band found out about their Final Four bid via fans on Twitter (plus, of course, through fresh threats from angry Aliens). They are now gearing up for a showdown with New York pop punkers We Are The In Crowd, who managed to knock off the Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters and Daft Punk in their improbable run.
"They [probably] built their fan base the same way we did: with no marketing money and just following people on Twitter," Danzig said of the competition standing in his band's path to possibly facing Fall Out Boy or Linkin Park in the final.
Voting continues in the Final Four round through Monday, April 7 at 12pm EST. The #MMM Champion will be crowned on Wednesday, April 9.