>> The idea for the show came about around August of last year. I remember listening to my WITR 89.7’s Rochester Sessions on a rainy Friday. It covers local music in Rochester and its surrounding areas. I thought about how I consume music, how I discovered it. Until that year, I had never stepped foot into a steamy basement show. I hadn’t even been to that many concerts in my life. Maybe, Maroon 5? Alicia Keys? Nothing but flashes of memories. Still, I loved music since the day my dad pressed play on that Barry White cassette tape in his dark green Miata. It was then, on that Friday back in August, that I realized I was disconnected from a huge part of the music experience. Local music. We’re fed discovery playlists by Spotify and Apple. We’re told by Pitchfork to like that new Kanye West album and the new Red Hot Chilli Peppers (I admit both of those albums are dope). We lost the organic process of finding new music. I wanted to fix this within myself. So I came up with a simple idea. What if I could cover local music scenes in cities around the world? I had the internet and I had the ambition. So I set out on covering my favorite artist’s hometown, Melbourne, Australia.
I was crazy for choosing a place on the other side of the planet but, it worked. I contacted these musicians I found on Soundcloud and Bandcamp. Everyone wanted to help me out. Joel from The Old Bar, the great people at the Evelyn Hotel… it seemed like everyone in Fitzroy, a small area of Melbourne where all the best rock music is located, wanted to help me out. It came together, and there it was, Study Abroad Radio. I kept finding new places to cover like Nashville, Tennessee, Berlin, Germany, and Vancouver, Canada. I found myself interviewing everyone from venue owners such as Chris Merrell of 333, Nashville’s ever raunchy, Thelma and the Sleaze and producing duo, Ducks!, out in Berlin. There was one thing missing though. I was doing all of this from my tiny desk by the radiator on Black Creek Road in Chili. I needed to jump off the deep end and submerge myself in a new music scene outside of Rochester to find the true potential of this idea.
Nearly every one I had been talking to mentioned just how massive the Philadelphia music scene was, so naturally, I beat my head against the keyboard searching for the most influential people willing to talk in the city about music. I crowdsourced data with the subreddit /r/Philadelphia. I searched blogs and cross-referenced local show bills. It took about a month to put this all together. Krit came on board as a photographer and we set out to Philadelphia to make this whole adventure happen. Everyday we went out to places like Everybody Hits, a batting cage by day and a DIY venue by night. We chatted with influential artists like Curtis Cooper who runs his own house shows with his roommates. Rapper Marv Mack, new-folk artist Liz de Lise, the curiously odd Ed Schrader’s Music Beat and others too. My goal was to grab a piece of every genre being pursued in Philadelphia and, I’d say we got close to eclipsing that aspiration.
I want to focus on the little guys. The people who would rock your basement until 5am. The people who tour in vans without AC. The people who live, breathe and eat music. It would be fun to interview Paul McCartney or Jack White but they already have a voice. They’ve been heard over and over again. I want to look in our own backyards and see the genius that lies within them. Study Abroad Radio is a mission to take back music discovery from the streaming giants. To put a face on artists. To transcend that spoon-fed playlist. We’re Study Abroad Radio and we’re here to stay. <<