Sampler Day is like Christmas at SceneSC. It’s a big day, the culmination of months of organizing and hard work from the bands involved who recorded a song exclusively for this compilation or finished one up in time for it to be included. I see this sampler release as the start of a season for SceneSC. A season in which we’ll travel to Alabama for SouthSounds Festival to spread the word of the South Carolina music scene joined by artists like She Returns From War, The High Divers, The Marcus King Band, The Artisinals, and Young Mister. We’ll come back, host a show with Ivadell, MyBrother MySister, and Heyrocco, and then gear up for a loaded Freeway Music Festival. With Freeway this year, we got to help book about 10 bands on that lineup and then had Jordan Lawrence at the Free Times book an amazing stage as well. Headlined by such an amazing songwriter as Joe Pug, that event filled with so much local talent will be a really special one. After that we’ll turn our eyes to the #SummerShindig in Charleston and all the great bands playing that festival this year, which we’re stoked to be a sponsor of. Working with them this year made me think, next year will be our 10th anniversary…maybe we should organize a festival of our own.
This year’s sampler features several bands we’ve never had on a sampler before including Jenna Desmond, Secret Guest, Say Brother, Orange Doors, 2 Slices, Atlas Road Crew, Dempsey, and Numbtongue. I remember hearing the opening track from Jenna Desmond for the first time and just knowing it had to lead off the compilation. It’s hard to believe this is the 8th sampler, and in total we’ve released 169 songs over the years. Each year I go back and listen to each sampler and compare them to the new one and each year I’ve noticed a couple of things. Each sampler stands the test of time really well and you really get to hear how the bands grow and how songs develop, like when Dear Blanca, Susto, or Brave Baby put an early unfinished version of a song on. It’s too early to tell how many of those we have on this year’s compilation.
As for the cover art, Last year I took a vacation to Los Angeles to visit some friends and while I was there I went to my friend Jeremy Shockley‘s exhibition at Slow Culture, a downtown gallery. The cover art is one of his paintings called “You Can’t Rush a Rainbow.” I came back with a refreshed view of the South Carolina music scene after talking and hanging out with friends there who are from South Carolina. Jeremy is from Travelers Rest and went to Winthrop before moving to LA a decade ago. He was excited about the idea of us using it, and as a big fan of his artwork, and someone who influenced me it felt like a perfect fit.