Uproarious Interview

It was earlier this year when I discovered Silent Uproar, one of the many music news (and content) sites that I visit on a regular basis. It certainly ranks among my personal favorites. There are plenty of sites out there dishing about bands, but Silent Uproar is doing the job better than most, especially considering it’s a labor of love. I had the chance to do an email interview with Scott Harkey, co-founder of this most wonderful site.

Brad: Tell me about why you started SU.

Scott: Well I have always been really into computers and into music, so I would always look around on the web for music news. While in college I found the PimpRockPalace.com (now theprp.com) and would go there all the time because the site had great music news that you couldn’t really hear about anywhere else. However, there was a lot on that site that I didn’t care about, and it didn’t cover a lot of the things I was interested in. So I would make my away around different websites each day reading up on all the music news.

I just thought it sucked that there wasn’t one site I could go to read up on all the bands I was into. I was just getting into trying to do web design, so I thought I would try and make a site of my own. I started out with something that was pretty much a bad rip off of PimpRockPalace and was disappointed in how things were looking. About that time I started talking to one of my friends, Robbie Player, about it and turns out he was into web design. Him being the artsy type, the tings he was coming up with looked great, and we went from there. We are now partners in all things Silent Uproar with him doing the design work, and myself handling all the business stuff.

Brad: I’m assuming you don’t make a living doing SU, so how do you make ends meet?

Scott: Right you are. We don’t make any money off of Silent Uproar right now. There are always ads, and I imagine we will move that way before long, but we have been holding out as long as we can. If we do put up ads, it will be very tasteful and un-distracting. Anyway, so yeah I am actually a IT Analyst at Wachovia Bank. I also do some web programming work on the side. Basically I am a nerd no matter how you look at it.

Brad: Do you hope to one day make SU into a full-time paying job?

Scott: That would be nice. We are trying to start branching into other areas that will be a bit more profitable. I started a record label earlier this year and we are looking at a couple bands this winter. We also have a web design company called Halo 13 and are always trying to get work through that. I think the ultimate for me is to open a indie record store and tie the website into the store. To create a whole community around both and use our label contacts as a way to do cross-promotional things with the physical store and the online presence.

Brad: You’ve got quite a few contributors. Did it start out as a small thing and grow into what it is today or were there a bunch of people that you wanted to get together for SU?

Scott: Well, it started out with Robbie and myself. After a while, keeping the site going each day started taking more time that we had to spend with it, so we started turning to our friends for help. As we continued to grow, we started talking to people that I had met online and had expressed an interest in helping. I think most of the newer people who help us out have come about that way. I am always interested in someone who is passionate about music and really wants to help with the site. We are lucky to have a staff of great people that love music and enjoy telling others about it.

Brad: One of the reasons that I really enjoy the site is because of the news. How do you go about gathering news? Do you rely on your visitors to help you with stories?

Scott: No, aside from the occasional Toadies news that visitors email me, we really get everything form other media sources. That is why it takes 9 of us to bring it to you. Band websites and newsletters are a main source, and so it is a matter of staying on top of those things each day. Also, we grab bits and pieces from other sites like Rolling Stone or Chart Attack and combine it to make a news story. We also get a lot of press releases and such from the labels. I think we each have a list of websites in our favorites that we just run through each day. Well, I have to be honest, I don’t do much news anymore.

How much are you working with the labels right now? Do you plan to do more direct work with them in the future?

Scott: Working with labels is both rewarding, and a major pain in the ass. It is great because you are hooked in directly with the source. You get better prizing for contest, more interview opportunities, and once you are setup with them you can generally pick the releases you want to focus on. However, they are also very busy with much more important sites than ours and thus some of them are hard to get to deliver on their promises. In that regard it is always better dealing with the indie labels because they really make you feel like they appreciate your support. You don’t always get that from a major. We currently work with 3 of the big 5 and a slew of independents.

Brad: What’s your view on the Internet’s roll in spreading the word about music?

Scott: I think it is apparent that the internet is the future of music. Unless radio changes and the play list opens up more to lesser known acts, more and more people will turn to the internet where they are not force fed a select handful of bands. It is totally your choice what you hear. Want to listen to the new Disturbed track, fine go stream it or get it off their website. Or perhaps you rather hear the new Glassjaw because you prefer GOOD music, well then go get that off their site. It is all about freedom of choice. You don’t have that with radio anymore. Throw in the fact that more and more bands are starting to offer free streams of their entire albums, often before they are released, and you have an unbeatable medium for music.

Brad: The end of the year is coming up very soon. What are some of the best albums of the year?

Scott: Man, so many…

Dredg – El Cielo Desaparecidos – Read Music / Speak Spanish

Glassjaw – Worship and Tribute

Queens of the Stone Age – Songs For the Deaf

Apex Theory – Topsy Turvy

Dillinger Four – Situationist Comedy

Chemical Brothers – Come With Us

Thrice – The Illusion of Safety

Bright Eyes – Lifted

Ben Kweller – Sha Sha

Phantom Planet – The Guest

…Trail of Dead – Source Tags & Codes

Best album that should have come out:

The Revolution Smile – We Are In This Alone

Brad: What’s in your CD player right now?

Scott:

Tori Amos – Scarlet’s Walk

Nirvana – Nirvana

Dredg – El Cielo

Coheed and Cambria – The Second Stage…

Cursive / Eastern Youth – 8 Teeth To Eat You EP

Thursday Three (R.I.P.)

In case you didn’t notice, which you most likely didn’t, Chris and I shut Thursday Three down. We’re both busy, which I suppose is a good thing and we felt like we gave it a go. Perhaps our timing was off or maybe people just don’t like to answer the tough questions. In any event, it may or may not be re-born, but if there’s anyone out there that would be interested in taking it over or have a cool idea for the domain, I’m all ears.

Rockaholic

I was talking to a couple of people today about music. Go figure. It’s come up, especially in the last few days (since I went to the Bridge School Benefit, which was incredible). It’s no secret that I’m a music geek. I was emailing back and forth with Dennis and I said that if you took William from Almost Famous and Rob from High Fidelity and you’d have a pretty good idea of who I am, speaking only of the surface of course. Music is my life. It’s what marks nearly every moment. I can’t live without it. I listen to music every possible waking moment and go to bed listening to it as well. It’s a very consuming thing for me.

I go see a lot of live music and I have a staggering music collection. I keep a monthly music journal that I put together with such a painstaking amount of energy, that most people would think I’m nuts, which may very well be the case. I kind of lost track of my original point, but my name is Brad and I’m a rockaholic.

Get Involved

While we near the end of Rocktober and move into November, I can’t help but start reflecting on the last year, as it relates to music (among other things). It’s too soon to start revealing what my favorite albums of the year are going to be, though I’m already compiling the list. Some of you could probably guess what’s going to show up at the top. Yeah, Queens Of The Stone Age will be up there. A lot has happened in the last year. It been good to see artists, and I’m talking BIG artists, campaign against the RIAA and the unfair practices of the major labels. Don’t get me wrong. The majors still serve a purpose, but they are becoming more and more obsolete. They are scrambling to figure out how to make money in an age where consumers are listening to music on digital devices, continuing to steal music and are educating themselves about the business.

There’s a battle that’s brewing and it’s important for consumers (you and I) to get involved in any way we can. Taking a chance on a little known band, supporting live music and shopping at the mom and pop shops is a great start, but there’s more to be done. Supporting the efforts of the Electronic Frontier Foundation is a damn good place to start, and I highly recommend educating yourself about their campaigns and helping out where you can.

What are some of the campaigns/causes that you think people should know about? What are you doing to support the artists and their music (aside from the obvious things)?

Thurday Three – Television

Better late than never. Participate.

Do you believe the general public spends less time watching television time due to time spent online? I don’t even know if the general public is spending less time watching television. My hunch is that people are watching more of it because of all the bullshit going on in the world. I’d like to think people are spending more time reading news online, downloading music and downloading porn than listening to our moron of a president give half-assed speeches.

Do you feel that surfing or creating for the Internet has taken from your television viewing time? Is that a good or bad thing? Surfing and creating for the Internet has taken away from a lot of things, if you want to put it that way. What I create and read on the net is worth every bit of my time. Sure, I’m a junkie for all of it and maybe I shouldn’t spend as much time on AIM as I do, but for the most part it’s a good thing. Television is for when I feel like giving my brain a rest (most of the time).

Have many hours of television do you watch per week? Favorite show? I’d say I watch between 5 – 10 hours per week. Having TiVo has totally cut down on my viewing, which is also great. It’s the best invention since sliced bread. I don’t have one favorite show. The shows I watch regularly are (in no particular order) The Sopranos, Alias, Smallville, Inside The Actor’s Studio, Seinfeld Sex And The City, The Mind Of The Married Man and Charlie Rose.

About Chuck

On September 23 I rushed to Borders Books to get a copy of Lullaby, the new novel by Chuck Palahniuk. It wasn’t because I was so excited to get the book, but Joel called me up and said Chuck would be reading at the Beverly Hills Library, and I didn’t want to miss it. While my only exposure to Chuck has been “Fight Club” and various interviews and pieces in magazines, he’s always come off as a regular guy with a somewhat twisted mind and some amazing writing skills.

After he read an excerpt from the novel, he told a story. He was on his way to the UK, taking off from New York. As he explained, it boggled his mind how people were so willing to take drugs from strangers. He was at the ticketing counter. The guy behind the counter looked uncomfortable, and Chuck asked the guy what was wrong. Apparently the guy had chronic back trouble and explained he had ten hours left on his shift. Chuck asked him if he wanted and Vicodin and the guy said sure. A couple of hours later he’s on the plane and just turns to the guy next to him and asked him if he wanted a Vicodin. He said sure. He then offered him some other drug. I can’t remember what it was, but the guy proceeded to take him up on that as well and then drank quite heavily. The guy passed out next to him, breathing shallow, and Chuck explained that he was shitting his pants because he thought the guy might die. I thought that was a pretty damn good story. I guess maybe you had to be there though. *shrug*

So anyway, I got the book so I could have him sign it. I figured I would finally buckle down and actually read one of his novels. Before I start talking about the book, you must know that Chuck came off as one of the kindest and human writers I have come across. He took time with each person to chat a bit and write in their books. He was completely honest an uncensored when answering questions from the audience. The whole experience left me with a really cool impression of him.

The book is about a reporter who stumbles upon a culling spell, which when said aloud or even recited in one’s head, kills people. It’s contained in a book of poems and rhymes from around the world. He discovers the poem because of a sudden outbreak of crib deaths that he’s reporting on. He meets up with a woman who ends up helping him control his “power” and they go on a hunt to destroy every copy of the spell. The characters are hilarious at times, as is the story. It’s a dark story, but presented in such an entertaining way. Black humor, I think they call it. Now I’ve got to read his other books. I think Choke is next on the list.

Thursday Three – Lying

Participate in the Thursday Three every week. It’ll make you cool.

1) What do you lie about? I mostly lie about my age. I tell people that I’m 28, but I’m really only 23. I’ll lie about anything really. I have no spine, no conscience, no accountability and no shame when it comes to telling a good lie. Go ahead, ask me a question. Try me. I dare you! The truth is boring and all I really want to do is entertain. All of this here…this site…my life…your life…all lies.

2) Why do you lie? (And don’t say you never do, liar!) To get ahead in life. Whatever moron said that the truth is always the best route (or some variation thereof) was feeding you bullshit. Lying can get you anywhere you want to go. Hell, it got me where I am today.

3) When is okay to lie? Or, is it never okay to lie? It’s always okay to lie, as long as people don’t get hurt. If you’re going to lie, be nice about it.