Ryan Chartrand

Every band dreams of making it big. Sometimes, all it takes is one break to turn dreams into reality.

Play It By almost snagged their big break.

The Cal Poly rockers were one of the top 50 artists in mtvU’s Best Music On Campus Artist of the Year contest which features unsigned college acts from around the country.

Voting began online on March 27 with over 800 bands vying for a deal with Epic Records worth up to $1.5 million, and a debut with a live performance on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”

The contest winners also receive two music videos, the opportunity to record a full LP, a $50,000 cash advance at signing and tour courtesy of Epic.

Play It By missed the top 15, however, and will have to wait until next year for another crack at the contest.

“We would’ve been snatched up and thrown into the mainstream,” Kyle Dozeman said. Dozeman, lead singer and guitar, is a senior business major who conceptualized the band four years ago with drummer Ed Marshall, a senior art and design major, while living together in the dorms.

Now with four members, the band describes their music as a combination of pop and punk rock. Their sound is reminiscent of Blink 182 and early Fall Out Boy.

Play It By has rocked the University Union, Downtown Brew, and the Freshman Week of Welcome when they played with Longview.

“It’s tough to get shows in San Luis,” Dozeman said. “There’s just not much support for local music.”

The hope for Play It By is to go on tour this summer to gain more exposure. Signing a record contract would be a pretty sweet deal too.

“We could all get jobs out of college, but we really want to keep playing when we’re done with school,” Marshall said.

Play It By prides itself on creating a fresh sound that incorporates the good attributes of a variety of bands to create their own sound.

“In a genre where a lot sounds the same, we definitely have something unique about us,” said senior business major and lead guitarist Darrin Sarkisian. “Every song has its own personality and character.”

The band practiced for eight months in a garage before ever playing a live show.

“We didn’t want to come out sounding like shit and loose fans right off the bat,” Dozeman said.

The “show” was a pirate-themed house party. Play It By rocked so hard, they ended up costing the house $2,000 in fines for noise violations.

Their name represents their casual approach to life.

“We didn’t have a name for a while, then went through some we didn’t like. Play It By works because it’s a casual phrase with multiple levels of interpretation,” Marshall said.

Play It By has 10 songs in circulation with five coming from their first EP available online at www.purevolume.com. “First We Get the Khakis, Then We Get the Girls” is an up-tempo, catchy track that best represents their powerpop style.

The song writing and creative process is a collaborative effort for Play It By.

“Most guitar work just happens naturally. It’s almost lucky,” Sarkisian said.

“A lot of what we produce just happens while we’re fooling around in the garage,” said bass player Danny Pozzan, a senior wine and viticulture major.

Play It By may have missed out on the Artist of the Year contest, but another big opportunity awaits.

The band was invited to play a show in Long Beach on May 4 with 20 other bands in a battle of the bands type of concert. A panel of judges will decide who moves on to play a massive show aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach with AFI headlining the concert.

“I really feel like this band has a ton of potential,” Dozeman said. “Now all we need is that one break.”

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