The South Carolina Music Guide

Catching Up With Stop Light Observations

If you do not know Stop Light Observations, then you may want to sit up and pay attention. The band has certainly proven themselves successful within the Charleston market, and they have been working to expand their music throughout the Southeast. Having faced many challenges, they are finding their voice and broadening their appeal. It also can’t hurt to have a strong support system, such as Chucktown Music Group’s Mark Bryan, in your corner to help with the effort.  Moreover, SLO just recently signed with Shore Fire Media from New York, a proven PR and Publicity firm who has also worked with artists such as Lana Del Rey and Bruce Springsteen.

Will Blackburn, lead singer, offers some insight as to what the band has been up to over the past several years, and he shares their goals for the future with us.

On getting together with Mark Bryan…
“We made this record that we’re about to release in August of last year. From basically August to October, we mixed and mastered the album. We then put on the track list what we wanted people to listen to. I think at that time we started sharing it with people, and Mark was one of the first people to listen to it. I think he was the first person to listen to it outside of close friends and family. He seemed pretty stoked. He asked us to meet with him one night at Beer Works where our now bass player was playing with another band. Mark said, ‘I’d like to help you shop this record. I have no interest in being your manager, but I’d like to help shop the album.’ After that conversation, and a lot of help from his office, we’re like yeah, we’d love if Mark would manage us now. He is doing it, but if he found someone he could trust he’d probably pass us off to them.”

On hooking up with Shore Fire Media…
“They’re probably one of the biggest PR firms in New York City. They’ve worked with Springsteen, among others. I think Chucktown Music pitched us to them, sent them our music, and they quickly responded. We negotiated a contract, and we’re so happy to be with them because they truly are the best.”

On overcoming obstacles…
“We have always wanted to do things our way. I think after a certain point, you start to figure out that your way is not always the best way. It might be tried and tested but not always original. The idea for us is to be more original. I actually watch the show Vinyl, a show based in the 70’s. If they (recording studios) want you, but you’re not different, then you’re just going to be the same old shit they have heard that has been overplayed and worn out after a few singles. For me now, I would like to take the risk and be the different band that we are…

…If we were headlining festivals, that’d be awesome. We don’t need to be the biggest, baddest rockers out there, but we would like to do this for a living. If we could go on the road, or have a little spot to live here and go on the road, I’d be very happy. Obviously, we’ve had a lot of issues over the past two years. Getting focused on something that wasn’t going to be super beneficial, and then just discarding it. We were like, sporadic. We had seven band members. Then we had five. Wyatt had to move back to Florence, SC. Spencer, he’s just working all the time. He can’t travel as much. We are consistently getting smaller at this stage. We now have our core four members, and Mahoney (our new bass player) makes five. We’ve had those bumps, and then after we recorded the album, Coleman decided that he can’t do this anymore. He’s going back to school and has fallen in love. It’s quite a cool thing. Peaceful, never sour, and he’s here tonight. Everybody’s cool with each other. We’ve been friends since high school. I miss him, but we’ve gotten to meet Mahoney, and it’s working out well. He’s a funky ass bass player. Since Mahoney’s a little younger and greener than us, it reminds us to stay green.”

On recording their new album…
“We actually recorded it ourselves in a 17th century farmhouse on the Toogoodoo River. It’s very beautiful location. The entire album is done live. There are only a few synthesizer dubs on a few songs. I think that’s what makes this one record so different than others. For the most part, it’s probably our proudest and most honest work as a band.

Vlado Meller mastered it. Vlado is pretty friggin’ awesome. He’s done all of Kanye West’s albums. He’s done Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paul, McCartney. He’s done everyone. We used True Phonics Studios, and Vlado has a mastering studio within that studio. He used to live in New York and moved down here because he likes the beach. He does all of his mastering in that studio. Artists will send their music here, and he’ll master it and send it back. We are very lucky to have him on board.”

On tour plans…
“I would like to stick with regional for now. That has been something that has been a problem for us in the past. ‘Hey, let’s go to the West Coast. Yeah!’ But, we don’t have family connections throughout the West Coast. Nobody knows our music. We might have made some fans there, but we are making more of an impact here. For the most part, if we stay in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida… even if we go up north, we’d love to play in New York or Baltimore. These are target spots where we know we have fans. We have plans to go to festivals in Chicago and Atlanta later this year. In August, we’ll be going back to school, so we’ll probably do five or six shows at most. Going into the fall, the album will be released. We’ll probably do 90-100 dates on the back half of the year.“

The band is obviously looking forward to carving out a deeper groove in the local and regional scene, and once the new album drops later this year, it will certainly be one that you’ll want in your repertoire. If their first track is any indication, the rest of the album should be full of ingenuity and hip original jams which will have you permanently hooked.

For more on the band, check out their website – Stop Light Observations

And now, without further ado, here is the first track off of their upcoming album, ‘Dinosaur Bones’.

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