How Elektra Records Signed The Band Camino, Rock's Next Big Thing

Jimmy Fontaine
The Band CAMINO

On May 7, Elektra Records signed pop-rock group The Band Camino. Co-frontmen Jeffery Jordan and Spencer Stewart and bassist Graham Rowell formed the band in Memphis in 2015 -- later recruiting drummer Garrison Burgess -- and built a loyal fan base with their independently released EPs, 2016’s My Thoughts On You and 2017’s Heaven.

Elektra’s senior director of A&R Johnny Minardi was one of those early fans, thanks to his friends who had introduced him to the band’s song “What I Want.” Minardi, who was at Equal Vision Records at the time and joined Elektra in 2017, says he was drawn to the song because it didn't sound like everything else from rock bands today. "They have such great melody, and hooks that live with you. You can listen to the band and walk away for two weeks and be like, 'Why is this still in my head?'"

As the band continued releasing music independently, Minardi kept in touch with their manager, Jameson Roper. And once they released the roaring electric guitar-heavy jam "Daphne Blue" in August 2018, Minardi wanted to act fast: "That's when I truly head over heels fell in love." So earlier this year, when The Band Camino was looking to sign a record deal, Minardi got to work and sent several coworkers to the band's New York show at Music Hall of Williamsburg in February. After Elektra’s A&R reps Caterina Nasr and Danny Rakow saw them perform, Minardi remembers, "They called me freaking out."

"They’re a younger rock band -- which is hard to say these days -- that actually puts people in venues, but has a modernized pop appeal to it as well, compared to a lot of the bands [just] having success at pop radio," Minardi says of the foursome, who are all in their early 20s. "They bring the full gamut of what a true pop-rock band is these days."

After announcing their Elektra signing on May 14, The Band Camino re-released "Daphne Blue" and unveiled the heartbreak anthem "See Through." They also announced their biggest headlining tour to date, hitting 1,000 to 2,000-person rooms around North America. The group has continued making music with frequent collaborator (and Nashville superproducer) Jordan Schmidt and Minardi assures there will be new music before they hit the road -- also hinting that the new material will bring even more impactful energy to The Band Camino’s sets. “We all set out to be the biggest band in the genre ever," he says. "That’s where we’re trying to go."