A storm burst the bubble

Cartel’s temporary home was constructed from 55,000 pounds of steel and fireproof fiberglass. Despite this, and after only 10 days in the bubble, an intense storm broke a window while their moms were visiting, causing the band to take full advantage of the situation and get some fresh air.

Cobra Starship and New Found Glory paid them a visit

In a moment so 2007 it hurts, Cobra Starship dropped by the bubble—frontman Gabe Saporta’s famous purple hoodie and all—before their Jones Beach show on the 2007 Honda Civic Tour, headlined by Fall Out Boy with support from Cobra, +44, the Academy Is… and Paul Wall. A few months before, Cobra Starship joined Boys Like Girls as openers on Cartel’s headlining tour. New Found Glory also stopped by to see the band and chatted about their own fall 2006 headliner, where Cartel opened for them alongside the Early November and Hit The Lights.

They ended the stint with a performance

After 20 days, the band exited the bubble June 12, 2007, and played tracks new and old, kicking things off by debuting single “Lose It.” The performance was done in front of a live audience (who were supplied with enough free Dr. Pepper to cause a major sugar rush) and broadcast on MTV. The album was set to drop July 24, but it was pushed to Aug. 21. A few weeks after that, they hit the road to promote it with support from the Honorary Title and Weatherbox.

Promotion of the album caused a rift with Epic Records

The band met with Epic Records to make a game plan, which included a video for “Lose It” and making a play for radio a month before the album’s release. The label pushed the radio plan to avoid conflict with Green Day, but then the album dropped, and they still weren’t making a plan for radio. Frustrated that they had spent all this time garnering exposure in the bubble, the band hired their own radio promoter, which got back to Epic via the stations’ program directors. Simultaneously, their A&R representative was fired from Epic; and while Chroma sold 250,000 units on the Militia Group, Cartel came in at less than 100,000, leading to a release from their contract and move to Wind-Up Records.

The bubble caused some backlash

Before entering the bubble, Pugh told USA Today that it was the “best thing to ever happen” to Cartel because it allowed people to see the recording process and proved real bands still existed. Aware that haters would cry “sellout,” Pugh said they “made a decision to exhibit [their] talent [and] if it's a good record and people still hate on it, they're crazy.” Soon after that piece, industry figure Bob Lefsetz took to his column to commentate on the “misguided stunt.” Pugh responded in his own letter, agreeing that it was a huge marketing ploy while also standing up for their decision to be involved. The band stuck by that before and after the actual experience, despite admitting the album didn’t get promoted as it should have, and many fans took to message boards to relay their dislike of the record. Despite all of this, Pugh believed it was the album they wanted to write and had no regrets, and they took what they learned from the experience into production for their third record, 2009’s Cycles.

They would do it all over again

The band sat down with BuzzFeed two years ago to answer fan questions, one of which was whether or not they would still participate in Band In A Bubble if given the opportunity again. The members all agreed that they would, although Pugh joked the best part was when the cameras were turned off at night.

The album holds some of their favorite songs

In the same interview with BuzzFeed, Pugh revealed he’s most proud of penning “If I Were To Write The Song/Get Through This,” describing it as “the biggest departure [they’d] ever done musically.” The track (which features a Times Square street musician) also had lyrics approved by Tony Asher, one of Pugh’s favorite songwriters, who had previously co-written Pet Sounds with the Beach Boys. Sanders added that their remix of “Wasted” is also a proud moment due to working with Wyclef Jean.