The fictional manager — Ray, played by UNC graduate Alex Maiolo — said once you’re in the fictional business, it’s hard to get back out.
“You can say that your band is broken up, but you’ve never left a boy band. I mean, it’s the closest thing to being in the mafia that I can think of,” said Maiolo, in character as Ray.
McKinney has been in the business of protesting HB2 since its beginnings, with the fake boy band campaign for Equality NC being their latest effort.
For the record, the (fake) band went by One More Wish in the (fictional) 90s, but are rebranding as 1MW to counteract HB2 with more modern fans.
While the satirical band is fake, the activism behind the group is real.
“McKinney has had a long-standing effort since the bill was put in place to fight the bill. We did the big letter with the CEOs from Silicon Valley and created toilet paper with the bill on it, and we’ve had a couple other efforts,” said Janet Northen, the director of agency communications for McKinney. “This is the most recent, and I think probably the most spectacular.”
UNC graduate Habib Yazdi of XY Content, a media production company, was approached by McKinney to direct the mockumentary and helped ground the concept in North Carolina’s music scene.
“When they approached us, we were able to have a really open conversation about how to go forward with this concept, and having been to school in North Carolina and graduating from UNC and being a big part of the music scene when I was there ... I knew a lot of musicians and I was really into the idea of having it grounded in North Carolina and having the band’s roots in North Carolina,” Yazdi said.
Despite their elaborate backstory, 1MW said they are more focused on where they’re going. With “old” tracks like “JNKA Jeans,” revamped for 2016 and available to purchase as ringtones in real life, Maiolo-as-Ray said he sees a bright future ahead.
And his goals are simple.
“I mean, just to make a metric shitload of money,” he said.
“Isn’t that the goal in life, period?”