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?
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