Local Current Blog

Music making, body painting, app building: Meet the Band Famous

courtesy the Band Famous

They make music. They make art. They make apps. The spontaneous formation of their band was livestreamed, and their entire debut EP was improvised. They’re the Band Famous, and they’d like your support.

The musicians who perform under the names Norell, Zander, and Terry met in Minnesota in summer 2013. A mutual friend suggested that the three meet, and as they hung out at Terry’s place, Norell told me, she noticed that there were a lot of keyboards and synths around. With Terry’s permission, she started to play, and a collaborative improv session quickly developed. “By the way,” Norell remembers then being told, “this whole thing is being livestreamed.”

“Climax,” a track on the Band Famous’s debut EP Last Words, was taken from that initial improv session. The band finished their initial release over a subsequent series of improv sessions—with Norell singing, Terry largely handling production duties, and all three members playing multiple instruments—and released the dreamy, synth-laden EP as a “smart album” in the form of an app. The app, which also features a game and videos, can now be downloaded for free on your iPhone or iPad (search “Band Famous” in the app store)—but not yet for Android. More on that later.

The Band Famous celebrated the “smart album” release on Friday, June 13 at the Gay 90’s. Soon thereafter, Xander’s day job at Micro Center transferred him to New York, and Norell moved with him—while Terry (also known as JamBots.com) remained in Minnesota. Since, Xander has been let go from that day job, and he and Norell are devoting themselves full-time to art, music, and freelance Web development.

“We make music, art, and apps,” said Norell, who noted that she and Xander also work as models. Xander (a.k.a. Jacob Alexander) is an experienced body-painter whose work you may well have seen—or worn—if you’ve been out and about in the Minneapolis club scene over the past couple of years. Terry may or may not move to New York to join the duo, depending on the success of a Kickstarter that’s counting down to Nov. 30 with a goal of $30,000.

As you might expect, the Kickstarter premiums are diverse. For $30, backers get gemstone bracelets made by Norell. At $40, Norell does intuitive/tarot readings via Skype. For $1,500, a backer can strip down and get a custom paint job from Xander. Pledge $10,000, and the band will build you an app.

If the Kickstarter reaches its goal, the band will use the proceeds to (a) port their app to Android, (b) finish their next album, and (c) film a music video (dedicated to Robin Williams and others who have suffered from mental illness, Norell told me) in Minnesota next summer.

Among their supporters: Slug of Atmosphere, who first suggested that the band build their own app. “When you make it,” he said, “you should buy me a sandwich.” Now that they’ve actually built the app, said Norell, they plan to go further than that and provide “a feast.”

The trio chose their name because “we want to redefine the word ‘famous.’ Usually when you think of ‘famous,’ you think of celebrity scandals. We want to take the word back. We’re all stars.”

  • Trex Vex

    Do you realize that you’re asking us to support a band of known hucksters (Zander screwed a ton of people over financially and otherwise re: his downtown gallery a few years back), including a singer who’s only played a handful of gigs, the lot of whom are ripping off Lady GaGa’s ‘Famous’ and ARTRAVE concepts? Here’s a few suggestions for this group: 1. Make better tracks. 2. Do your time playing bars and clubs, building your reputation and getting booked in Arts venues. 3. If you manage to do the aforementioned successfully, come back in roughly 3-5 years asking for that $30,000. 4. Find a better band name.

    • Rose N Jackson

      Who do you think you are dissing the band Famous? Don’t talk shit on anyone because you might just wind up with a lawsuit for slander! It’s 1 thing if you have a beef with someone, but don’t open your mouth spewing shit!

      • Evident Observer

        A lawsuit for slander is the only way this band will ever fund their kickstarter campaign.

        • Jessica

          Why the negativity? we all just want to be happy and create and fuel our passions lets let them and everyone do this :)

          • Evident Observer

            Yeah, let’s let them think they have a chance when they have none. Great plan.

    • emgem

      The Band Famous works their asses off playing, creating & promoting. They are constantly promoting new material online and are regularly at night clubs and art venues displaying their original works of art. Whether it be: body-painting, preforming music, or promoting their app, (which they built!) they are incredibly multi-talented and incredibly hard working! (If you read the article above and check out their websites you can learn about their recent shows & what venues to find them at.:) They are the artists of the future! In a society that glorifies arrogant ignorance, it seems easy for some to be close minded about art, but The Band Famous fearlessly & graciously allows themselves to bend boundaries and create unique art that stimulates many of the senses, as well as, the mind. These intelligent, creative and talented artists are definitely worth supporting!

  • Rose N Jackson

    I wish the Band Famous the ultimate success in their endeavors! It’s gonna happen! Please help support their goals and dreams!

  • Nick

    If you dont like this http://jambots.com/ambien/ambien-VII.html then you simply do not enjoy musicial talent itself and should donate your eardrums to someone who will appreciate them. compare this to lady gaga and nickleback all you want, like the pinnacle definition of morons you are. and ill go on comparing it to bjork and smoking peacefully to it. not a fan of either of those poppy bubblegum bands but i do enjoy Famous

    • Evident Observer

      15 minutes of abstract crap with no semblance of music theory, pattern or even a consistent theme. Junior high kids in a garage could do a better job.

      • Nick

        Yeah but you, a grown ass man with no talents whatsoever cant xD go sob now kiddo. the words music and theory shouldnt even be in the same sentence. recognize music as what it really is, vibrations. would another pinnacle moron like to step up to bat?

        • Trex Vex

          Yawn. Clearly I’m not the only one who has this opinion.

        • Evident Observer

          Nick, your sad excuse at a comeback will haunt me forever. You have zero information about who I am so nice try making up stuff trying to find some footing to work off of. If you like supporting losers then that’s your prerogative not mine. Have fun with that.

          • Angelica

            Stop being such a fucking pussy. If you’re not going to admit who you are then shut the fuck up, no one wants to hear you.

        • Guest

          Wait! You’re saying music and theory should NOT be in the same sentence?! Hahaha hahaha hahaha. Wow.


        • Evident Observer

          Wait! You’re saying music and theory should NOT be in the same sentence?! Hahaha hahaha hahaha. Wow.

          Educate yourself before speaking next time:

      • Nick

        nice job one upping your own comment like a 12 year old brat that surfs reddit and thinks hes edgy. it really explains your lack of understanding for music . sorry that it doesnt compute in your troglodyte cranium. i truly pity you and those similar to you. my heart goes out to you

        • Evident Observer

          LOL. My opinion stands. Do you know why they haven’t cracked $1000 in the kickstarter yet? Because they suck. The premise is stupid anyway. Why should anyone pay to have a shitty app built to listen to their shitty music? He’ll, Mary is practically tone deaf for fucks sake.

  • Trex Vex

    1. Post a list of shows this band has played as a band to a public audience in a real, live venue that exists and can be cross checked.

    2. Talk to members of the Arts community who were involved in Jacob Alexander’s downtown gallery in Minneapolis a few years ago; those who are wise will research track records as suggested in my previous post. “Slander” has nothing to do with actual facts.

    3. The bitchy, entitled video with the singer in a bikini demanding we support them (instead of thousands of other projects) or we’ll “be sorry” isn’t attracting anything positive.

    -To the band: Do the work. There are no short cuts.

    • Brent

      How many musicians do you know that are developing applications for smartphones? I found your jabs at this group comical, particularly “Do the work.” Have you looked into what it takes to build native apps for smartphones? Pretty sure that constitutes as “doing the work”. Lol! This band has clearly put in a LOT of work. Way to go, guys!!!!! You deserve it!

      • Trex Vex

        “Brent”. There are TONS of bands doing this and doing it better. Have you checked the App store lately? What they are doing is not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination. Now: where’s the list of gigs I asked for?

  • Evident Observer

    Frankly the band isn’t very good. I like the enthusiasm but they will never get funded. I find it hilarious that the band’s lead singer pals around with another lead singer from the band Thigh. When two mediocre singers bond it just isn’t a good thing. Somehow they convinced you to write this article despite their lack of quality output so at least there’s that.

  • Elizabeth Jane Gabert

    Exciting, inspiring and dreamy <3 make it to the moon and back loves!

  • Berk Balkaç

    i had a good fortunate to listen to this amazing band’s a few songs and they are truly stand out ones nowadays the music is about showing no talent sexy looking men and women as singers but these band is so much better than those people these band have great talent and their song is a result of that. I wish them good luck in their rightheous venture

  • Patrick

    The hard work and courage to embrace their entrepreneurial spirit is refreshing in a world that seems so afraid of chasing dreams. I wish the band the best of luck in their endeavor and can’t wait to see how everything unfolds for such a driven and talented group!

  • Ciara

    Great band! Keep up the good work! All the love to you guys from Ashland!!

  • Caleb

    The Band Famous has my full support because I believe in people, and I believe that people can do great things if they really want to. Let the band continue to work on their material, cut them some slack, and have faith in them.

  • Sasha Eisenschenk

    Great music..beautiful art..and fabulous people! I hope everyone loves them as much as I do <3 please provide support and positive feedback to my friends. They are amazing at what they do :)

  • Jessica


  • Jessica

    ok sorry for my last comment that said jessi thought i was entering my name in, i was not sure how to use this and now i cant change it. Oh well! I am so happy for norell and xander!! they are living their dreams! They are taking change in their dreams, desires, passions and aspirations! They have worked so hard for a long time its great to see everything coming together and happening. I cant wait to collaborate with them soon!

  • Shawni Sparrow

    I want to see your dreams come true!!
    Love and support to your endeavors. Stay humble and true to your passion for art music and dreams ! No limits!

  • Phaedra Williams

    I love these guys! Their music gives me goosebumps, and Norell has the voice of a saint. What’s with all the hate? These people are amazing. Screw the all you people putting them down. You bullies!

    • Trex Vex

      Being honest isn’t the same as “bullying”. Again, read the other posts I left below carefully. Again I ask: where is the list of shows/venues they’ve played? Has anyone bothered asking around about Jacob Alexander’s art gallery fiasco in Minneapolis? And I repeat: the singer needs to learn how to sing better. If that sounds cruel, it’s not meant to. Take it as hate or as help- you decide.

      • Evident Observer

        I totally agree! These guys need an intervention, not a kickstarter campaign. And the lies about their hard work to slap together this piece of crap album are obvious. I hear the Minneapolis photographer community shuns them for being impossible to work with.

  • Jocelyn S

    You got this!

  • Tracy Ericksen

    I had the pleasure of meeting Jacob when I purchased my first Mac at Microcenter in Minneapolis. I later met Norrell and I continue to be in awe of their musical and technicaltalents are and how much energy they have. I’m so happy for you both and will contribute what I can to your Kickstarer campaign.Take care, Tracy

  • Dawn Ehret

    The first time I heard Norell sing was several years ago and I was in awe, still am….and this band is gonna go places for sure, with their music, art, and computer talents….well, they’re gonna make believers out of anybody that is doubting they will!

  • K.L. Lloyd

    Listening to “The Band Famous” raises your vibrations. It is a great tool for entertainment, but also listening, just taking in the vibes, music, words, and feeling allows for expansion of your energy. Once into the melody and vibrations you can use these songs for a new experience in music. Choose a song that appeals to you then listen to it over a few days. Notice your feelings at the start and then on the third day. Def difference. Funky, funny, juicy – Famous. These people are movers and shakers. Hurry up and grab a shirttail because they are on the rise!!!

  • Lisa

    I have known Jacob and Norrell for a long time in Minneapolis, Mn.
    These 2 are outstanding young people!
    Norrell shard her music with me that made my hair stand up as she has voice of angel !! Jacob is creative, artist with a great eye!His work is like none other and I would purchase his work in a heart beat!
    The dedication, heart and soul these 2 young people place in everything they do is outstanding!
    Everyone has a story to Shar of their journey and if u are the receipiant of such an honor you are blessed!
    Anyone speaking bad of others have issues of their own to deal with and can’t look within. Instead they want to direct it at or toward others!
    Blessings to my young ones! Through this time you will only find strength!
    Love you both
    Lisa – Mpls

  • closus

    you guys: go with your inner compass. it would lead u to the land you seek. you are doing fine. and hey, you are really sweet, bikini girl..

  • Will Cross

    this band is awesome and i support them!

  • Billy Six Six Anselmo


  • Pi84

    Great Music! you really have something unique… a very different vibe and alternative to the music landscape.

  • Evident Observer

    For all the a-holes kissing the band’s butt in here you’d think that their kickstarter campaign would have more than $604 to it. If you truly love hearing a singer who can’t stay in tune to save her life then put your money where your mouth is or shut up.

  • Mogliyo

    Congratulations to Band Famous! They are truly living their dreams out by following them no matter what nay-sayers will say. I look forward to more from them in the future :)