Rainbow Kitten Surprise signs record deal


The Appalachian Online

Lovey Cooper

Appalachian State University’s own Rainbow Kitten Surprise signed a recording and licensing deal with the university’s Split Rail Records on Friday, with hopes to release a new single this month and a full album in April.

The five-piece alternative pop group best known for their brief claim to fame as one of 24 finalists on VH1’s “Make A Band Famous” competition last year has now been provided with the capabilities to record the album. Split Rail provided the upfront money to cover recording costs, advertising on all available channels and 1,000 physical CDs.

“RKS has been on our radar since they first came to Boone, specifically because of the large turnout at their shows, their catchy songs and their overall unique and fun personality,” said Rachel Mullins, senior music industry studies major and president of Split Rail Records. “We haven’t worked with this style of music or this size of a group in a while, and we feel that RKS has a lot of talent and potential that we’d like to help them develop and showcase.”

The band has sold their records consistently since their first release a year ago, and Spotify streaming of their other work has gone up in play counts more recently.

Ethan Goodpaster plays lead guitar for the band, and said that Mullins first approached the group in hopes of using them for a music industry class assignment. After some failed show bookings and a revamp of their social media presence, the band was a little skeptical to sign on at first, but changed their tune once they realized the potential of what Split Rail had to offer.

“Our last album we recorded in a bedroom, and before that it was a dorm room, so to have a really high-quality studio is really great,” Goodpaster said. “Through Split Rail we are able to make money, make the album, get publicity – it’s beneficial for everybody.”

He said the band had never signed any documents before, and had to do their own research to understand the legality of the deal.

“Split Rail exists to give our students experience dealing with real-world issues – including the excitement of signing a new band,” Kim Wangler, director of music industry studies said. “I love [RKS’s] music and I would love to see us help them take their careers to the next level.”

In the past the label has signed singer/songwriters as well as various rock, metal and country acts.

“We don’t – can’t – really compare bands. We look at each one individually and try to line them up with a great engineer and producing team to get the best artistic product we can and then look to connect them with the right audience,” Wangler said.

Samuel Melo, junior dance major and lead vocalist and keyboardist for the band said the group has played very few shows since their VH1 appearance in hopes of avoiding “playing out” their new material before it’s entirely finished and under copyright.

“We’ve been working on this album for so long, that to just be getting started on it again now is a little nerve-racking,” Melo said. “We want to be able to put something good out.”

Following the recording process and release of the album and depending on its success, the band plans to tour the East Coast this summer, hitting venues in major cities the band has been in contact with through their popularity on Reddit and among podcast listeners.

For more information about the band, you can find Rainbow Kitten Surprise on Facebook and Soundcloud.


Story: Lovey Cooper, Senior A&E Reporter