Scene SC is a South Carolina music publication run by music enthusiasts promoting the South Carolina music scene and beyond. Mostly indie rock.
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SceneSC has an ear for local music
Last month SceneSC.com, the website covering the state’s music, has released its third music sampler featuring 21 South Carolina bands. The release show for the sampler, offered as a free download, is tonight at Conundrum Music Hall. (The cover art, pictured on this page was designed by local musician Nate Puza.)
David Stringer started the site, which uses the tagline “South Carolina’s Music Playground,” in 2008. I talked to Stringer, whose love for the USC Gamecock football team — the USC graduate has missed two home football games since 2002 — is rivaled only by his passion for music, about the statewide music scene, bands and promoting concerts, among other topics.
I chuckled at SceneSC’s Facebook post about the St. Pat’s in Five Points Battle of the Bands show that read, “Being dead serious, the lineup for the Battle of the Bands to win a slot to play St. Pat’s is better than the actual lineup.” That is a true statement for some.
If you’re one of the ( WARQ-FM Rock) 93.5 fans, those are your bands. The lineup is awesome for you.
The site has given favorable press to the Charleston band Run Dan Run. I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s release, “Normal.”
They’re really good. It’s funny because they were our first post ever in 2008 and then they kind of disappeared.
Who are the best bands in the state?
Shovels and Rope (Charleston duo Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent), and I think Toro (Columbia native Chaz Bundick’s Toro Y Moi). And there’re just so many talented artists. I think All Get Out is going to do big things. They have a national tour. The Restoration is releasing a triple EP.
The shows you’ve been booking and supporting at 5 Points Pub, New Brookland Tavern and Conundrum Music Hall have performed noticeably well. Kopecky Family Band recently sold out at the pub.
The last time they played here they played to 30 people. And they had 200 people at this show. It’s weird, we go to the band or the venue comes to (us) and we handle local support. Like the Washed Out show (a sold-out July concert at NBT), we booked that all the way through.
How did you get into supporting local shows?
I feel we know what matches up better and what will have the most draw. I want to book less and focus more on the website. We’re just trying to build up so we have more influence to tell people to go to shows.
Do we need more events that have diverse lineups, like Columbia Mardi Gras?
I don’t think music was the reason anybody was there. It gets so hot here in the summer. It gets hard to do stuff. The city of Greenville has Downtown Alive that a lot of Columbia and Charleston bands play. (Columbia) doesn’t provide that kind of support with the arts yet.
Since you’ve been covering the music scene, have you noticed any good or bad changes?
Putting out these samplers that gets these bands talking about booking shows together. It’s like this network we’ve created. So that’s been my favorite part to watch. The City of Greenville has been reading our site because they’ve been booking the bands.
Have you grown at the rate that you expected and wanted?
We created and grew, then kind of hit a plateau. We now have a girl in Charleston and a guy in Clemson. They’ve brought in new markets that we never really were able to reach.
Has covering music taken away from you playing in bands?
A little bit. I don’t play guitar as much anymore and I used to play all the time.
I haven’t seen any House Softcore (what Stringer called his house when he hosted shows in his living room) shows lately.
Our neighbors didn’t like it. It was never loud, but we would always have cars parked everywhere. He complained about noise, but we only had acoustic bands. I loved having those concerts.
What’s the best new band out?
Heyrocco (the Battle of the Bands winner). I think they’re 18 years old from Charleston. You hear them and you’re like, “It’s all right.” And then you see them live and they have something.
|Issue #24.05 :: 02/02/2011 – 02/08/2011|
SceneSC Issues New Local Music Sampler
|BY PATRICK WALL|
|I should hate David Stringer, really. I mean, after all, isn’t he the competition? And aren’t I, as a good little capitalist, supposed to want to crush him under my thumb? Is it not best in life to crush your enemies, to see them driven before you and to hear the lamentation of their women?And yet, I can’t bring myself to hate the 27-year-old Stringer, nor his local-music loving website, scenesc.com, which releases its second music-scene sampler on Saturday at the New Brookland Tavern. After all, we’re after the same thing: Giving Columbia’s top-flight original music scene its props.“Music’s not an area of competition for me,” Stringer says. “If [Free Times] has a story that I’ll like, I’ll write about it. I just want everyone to know about it.”Hence the compilations. Last year’s sampler, SceneSC’s first,was released digitally and in hand-stamped, recycled-cardboard sleeves. This year, Stringer’s stepping up his game, releasing the 2011 compilation on 12-inch vinyl.There’s just one hitch.“The vinyl’s not goingto be here on time,” he shrugs. “Of course that happened.”The issue: Too many songs. The songs Stringer sent to the vinylpressers — he only sent 10 of the compilation CD’s 16 tracks — pushed the per-side time limits. The result: Thepressers told Stringer the product would “sound terrible.” So Stringer cut two songs; he admits it was a good problem to have. In keeping with his keep-it-local philosophy, Stringer got local design super team The Half and Half to print the covers; local musician NatePuza did the artwork.“I love it,” Stringer says. “My nickname is Moose, so there’s a moose on the cover. I heard you can’t have a good album without your picture on the cover.”And it’s certainly a good compilation: Its 16 songs were partly culled from releases from the past year, cherry-picking tunes like Valley Maker’s “Cain and Abel” and The Restoration’s “Henry’s Letter From the Front.” Some of the tunes are from upcoming records, like Elonzo’s “Fight, Fight, Fight.” Some are even unreleased, like Josh Roberts and the Hinges’ brand-spanking-new “Steady As We Can.” (Aside: New material from Josh Roberts? God damn yes.)Everything’s legit, too: There are documents. Contracts. Signatures. All nine yards.“I don’t want to risk it,” Stringer says.Company, which contributed “Someone Tell Me,” for example, is on Fat Possum Records; the song appears on the EP Fat Possum released in January.
“I just asked them,” he says. “They said ‘Go for it.’ And they signed all the papers. I’m like, there’s gotta be something wrong here.”
“I guess the worst thing that could happen is we have to pull the song. But this year, we’re giving it away for free. I mean, we’re going to be selling the CDs and the vinyl, so I guess
It goes toward keeping SceneSC alive and toward releasing more compilations, putting on more shows and helping out more bands. Not all bands would be so ready to give up potential royalties, but it’s a matter of trust, Stringer says: He trusts the bands, and they, in turn, trust him. It’s what’s helped grow the site in its few years of operation.
“We have overhead,” Stringer chuckles. “It’s getting bigger than I ever thought it would. Our hits come from everywhere now. We’ll have, like, 100 people from New York.”
The site’s even done some partnering with Warner Bros., too; Stringer’s trying to set up a listening party for the release of R.E.M.’s upcoming Collapse Into Now.
“Except it might not be good,” he laughs. “People might leave. So I’m scared about that. But I’ve been scared about that since Up.”
He leans back. He opines about Up being an underrated record in the R.E.M. canon.
“I wish I could put them on vinyl,” he says. “It would be awesome one year to have Band of Horses, Toro y Moi, just have everyone participate. Just do something huge.”
His eyes light up. He smiles wide. Then, he shakes his head softly.
“We might get there eventually.”
Not that Stringer’s angling for SceneSC’s inclusion to the Pitchfork-curated Altered Zones blog ring. Nor is he angling for Stereogum-like ubiquity. He just wants to keep writing about local music. He wants to keep adopting regional bands and make them feel at home in Columbia — bands like Wylie (from Charleston), The Dirty White (from Florence) and Junior Astronomers (from Charlotte).
Stringer’s just following Napoleon’s plan for the Battle of Waterloo: He’s going to show up, and then he’s going to see what happens.
“I don’t know where I’m going,” he shrugs. “We don’t have any plans for it. It just started as a blog. And wherever it’s going, it’s going.”
The New Brookland Tavern is at 122 State St. in West Columbia. Josh Roberts and the Hinges headline the evening; Wylie, Sequoyah and Elonzo also play. Doors open at 8:30 p.m.; admission is $10. Call 791-4413 or visit newbrooklandtavern.com for more information.
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BY PATRICK WALL
David Stringer, scenesc.com
Clad in a loose-fitting long-sleeved shirt and a ragged Detroit Tigers baseball cap, David Stringer looks like your average USC student. But unlike the average Gamecock undergrad, Stringer’s got his finger on the pulse of the Columbia music scene; in addition to slinging the guitar, Stringer curates scenesc.com, a blog dedicated to music made and played in South Carolina, particularly in the Capital City. Stringer says he started the site in July because he felt that, well, someone should do it.
“I’m trying to do my part in the music scene,” Stringer says. “There weren’t any other web sites out there … for bands to get in front of a lot of people.”
Since launching the site, Stringer’s become a fast favorite in the local music scene, and scenesc.com offers what Stringer calls a “one-stop shop for local music lovers.
“They can read about shows, they can watch videos,” Stringer says. “If they’re out of town, they can catch up on what they missed.”
The reaction from bands, Stringer says, has been “awesome.”
“They love it,” Stringer says. “I started out taking pictures; I wasn’t even going to do videos. But no one was doing video of local shows. And now anyone can come and find videos of local bands.”
As for the future of the site, Stringer’s goals are modest: He’d like to continue to add more video to the site; he’d like for the site to become more interactive; and, ultimately, he’d like for the site to be self-sustaining. But Stringer also knows that for as much of a labor of love his web site is, he doesn’t want to be running it forever.
“I want to pass it on,” Stringer says. “I never want it to become stale. Maybe there’ll be a 19-year-old kid who really loves it as much as I do. And if they come along, they can have it. Just so it stays alive and kicking.”
The Art Bar isn’t the only local entity celebrating its anniversary this week. (What? You hadn’t heard? March right back to this week’s cover story this instant, mister.)
Local music blog SceneSC.com celebrates one full year of existence Thursday at the New Brookland Tavern. Mazel tov, boys and girls.
David Stringer — profiled, you’ll remember, in the “Behind the Music” Free Times cover story — started scenesc.com in July of 2008, mostly because he felt that someone should do it. And though SceneSC.com has become a much-bookmarked link for the local music scene, though Stringer wasn’t sure it’d even be around for very long.
“I didn’t really know what I was getting into,” Stringer says. “There was a point when I felt like giving it up because of the amount of time that it took up in my life and I didn’t know if it was even making a difference.”
Indeed, Stringer and a ragtag group of supporters have turned the site into a much-needed Internet gathering point for local music fans, offering tour updates from some of its favorite artists, show reviews (replete with pictures and, often, video) and commentary for local music buffs. But the site’s biggest fans are musicians, and Stringer and crew have done a yeoman’s job promoting local music and musicians.
As for the future of the site, Stringer’s goals are modest: He’d like for the site to become self-sustaining, financially (he estimates he’s plunked down $3,000 on the site); there are plans to release a compilation on Aug. 21 at the New Brookland Tavern; and he’d like, ultimately, to pass it on to the next generation of local music lovers. Because whatever doubts he had about the site are now gone.
“I don’t really see this web site ever going away now,” Stringer says. “We are trying to make something constant in a South Carolina music scene that is always changing.”
Site favorites The Restoration, The Fire Tonight (whose Stephen Russ contributes to the web site), Allison Weiss and Y/our Sparkle Heart will perform. Doors open at 7 p.m.; admission is $5 for the over-21 crowd and $7 for the under-21 crowd. Call 791-4413 or visit newbrooklandtavern.com for more information.
The Daily Gamecock
SceneSC aids music artists, fans
USC grad’s Web site to connect Columbia acts, listeners
Music-promoting Web site SceneSC not only promotes bands and supports the Columbia music scene, but it also connects fans with the musicians through show and album reviews and live videos.
SceneSC was created over the summer by David Russell Stringer, a USC alumnus, and is the first Web site of its kind in South Carolina.
“I started [SceneSC] July 1, and created it to help do my part in the music scene in South Carolina. There weren’t any Web sites out there for bands and fans to go and connect with other people and find out about new music,” Stringer said. “There used to be a Web site called SC Music, but there hasn’t been one in the past five years.”
The local music community has struggled over the past couple of years with being recognized as a great music source, but also with getting locals to actually attend shows and lend grassroots support to the musicians.
“I think there are a lot of good artists in Columbia but [locals] don’t know about them yet because there is no way for them to find out,” Stringer said. “We [at SceneSC], are trying to create more of a community to bring everyone together so that people will know there are other good artists out there and will be able to connect with them.”
Five bands shared a stage Thursday night at New Brookland Tavern. Columbia natives, Marry A Thief, This Machine Is Me, The Decade and Ghosts of the Great Highway played alongside Maryland-based Amen, The Animal, formerly of Columbia.
“For the kick-off party, we were trying to get as many big bands as possible,” Stringer said. “For future shows, we are trying to get two successful bands and then a few bands that we feel are ‘up and coming.’ We are going to try to do four SceneSC sponsored shows a year.”
Along with the five bands that performed Thursday night, several more will be featured on a SceneSC compilation CD that will include a lot of B-Sides from bigger bands in South Carolina which will be used to promote the bands and raise money for the site.
“I came up with the idea because we were trying to think of a fundraiser that would help bands and help us raise money to keep the Web site going,” Stinger said. “We decided to do the compilation and bands were really excited about it because it helps get their name out there.”
Stringer and many others involved in SceneSC would like to carry on the foundation work that they have already created. Along with continuing the Web site, they intend to create several more promotional items for the site to help the bands.
“We are going to start to do more professional videos next year [along with] a compilation CD that is coming out in January [and] a South Carolina bands DVD,” Stringer said. “We think we might [also] go more regional with the Web site, but not anytime soon.”
July 3, 2009
Scene SC birthday party adds to local scene, OTIS TAYLOR’S ON THE SCENE
You can get listings anywhere, but you’ll only get the story here. SCENE AND HEARD: David Stringer, who runs the music Web site SceneSC.com, wanted to help. “I had a couple of friends’ band that I thought didn’t get the promotion they deserved,” said Stringer, who used the site to start promoting bands. “I had been thinking of something to do to help out with the music scene.” Scene SC is a year…