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San Diego's most publicized band at the moment admits it doesn't have much of a hometown buzz.

"We're still building our name," says guitarist John Moreaux of the Material, an emo band often compared to Paramore because of female lead singer Colleen D'Agostino.

For the past month, clips of the Material have been airing regularly on MTV2 to promote a contest; on December 15, the band will appear on the cable channel as one of three finalists in the Dew Circuit Breakout competition.

Moreaux says a panel of judges selected the top 12 finalists from 4000 entries in September. An MTV2 website popularity poll narrowed the list to 6, then last week the Material was named as one of the top 3 (along with the Myriad from Seattle and the Terribles from Santa Barbara).

"Last year the winner won a $15,000 gift certificate from Guitar Center and an article in Alternative Press magazine." The MTV2 website says the winning band will star in their own video.

Moreaux points out that the annual Dew contest helped jump-start the careers of Yellowcard, Thursday, and Taking Back Sunday. Last year's winner -- Halifax, from Thousand Oaks -- has not made a big break nationally.

"Maybe they didn't know how to capitalize on it. But they did get to be a guest on Real World [and] an opening slot on the Bamboozle tour."

Moreaux says that a band can garner 100 Internet votes per day from one computer, but he doesn't think "ballot stuffing" happens much.

"In order to vote that much you'd have to sit at your computer for 15 or 20 minutes, and that's too time-consuming. I don't think any kid wants to sit in front of their computer for 20 minutes. We're all too ADD for that."

Producers did not disclose how many votes each finalist received. Moreaux says his band worked hard for their votes.

"We made flyers and passed them out in front of malls and other public places. We posted a lot of bulletins on MySpace."

Fans can vote at MTV2.com for their favorite finalist through December 15.

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