Dylan Hilliker, founder and organizer of youth music festival ROCKchester, has a new project — a full-service record label, management and booking service called Three Birds Music.
Hilliker created ROCKchester when he was in high school. As he completed his degree at Belmont University in Nashville, he helped transform the festival into a successful multiday and multivenue showcase. The festival, initially focused on providing young local bands an opportunity to perform, eventually grew to include several days of performances from Rochester bands and other young bands from throughout the Upper Midwest.
It lasted for five years.
Related:One last hurrah for ROCKchester
“After ROCKchester ended this summer, I knew I had to keep up the momentum the festival has created,” Hilliker said. “In a sense, Three Birds Music is ROCKchester growing up into my own venture and something that can ultimately reach out broader than just Rochester.”
Hilliker presented his new project on Jan. 1, to start fresh and create a sense of rebirth in a year he hopes will give us some normalcy. The name of the project was inspired by Rochester’s resilient Canada goose population.
Three Birds Music released a video for Wyatt Moran’s single “I’ve Got All I Need.” It’s just one of the tracks from an EP called “Start Again” that Moran and Three Birds Music will release in mid-February.
Songwriter Moran’s musical roots started in Rochester, where he released an EP of music each year he attended Century High School before he headed off to Boston to study at the Berklee College of Music.
Moran and Hilliker’s own projects were the first two acts to sign to the Three Birds Music record label, but Hilliker is confident the label will grow. Three Birds Music is also managing notable Minnesotan bands Why Not and Gully Boys, both of which appeared at ROCKchester in years past.
“It really only takes one band from the scene to break out,” Hilliker said, “and there is so much talent just in this state with no music business infrastructure.”
He hopes Three Birds Music releases will “be crafted into narrative, telling the story of the artists based on where they’re at.”
Hilliker had three months of touring lined up that was suddenly canceled when the pandemic hit. He’s hoping Three Birds Music will be able to begin helping artists get back into touring later this year.
While he’s appreciated the creativity that’s come from the pandemic, such as artists releasing music that pushes the boundaries of their previous catalogs, he said the lack of revenue from live shows makes it difficult for those in the music industry to survive.
While Three Birds Music plans to stretch outward, Hilliker said he based his project in Rochester because that's where he spent the most time formulating the concept. It's also something portable that he could take with him wherever he lands.
Regardless, Hilliker said it’s still necessary to contribute to the local musical ecosystem.
“I think it's important for people to see that music can happen and is happening in Rochester,” he said. “I hope that [Three Birds Music] will encourage, just as ROCKchester did, more young kids to become involved in the arts scene.”
“I personally have aspirations bigger than Rochester, but I never want to forget where I'm from and always give back to the city that ultimately helped me decide on a career in music,” Hilliker added.
To learn more about Three Birds Music and the artists it represents, visit http://threebirdsmusic.com.
If you are part of a musical project that is interested in joining the Three Birds Music record label, booking, and management service, submit demos at http://threebirdsmusic.com or email email@example.com.