By Matt Mattei - [email protected]

Steamtown Music Awards voting still open for Best New Artist and more categories

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Glow November
Riley Loftus
Elephants Dancing
Adam Bailey
Animal Planit
Chris Shrive of Flatland Ruckus
Black Hole Heart
James Barrett
The ClamStompers
Sir Polo

Twelve acts are nominated for Best New Artist at this year’s Steamtown Music Awards. The winner, voted on by the public, will be presented at the awards ceremony on Sept. 15 at The V-Spot in Scranton. Here’s a quick look at each artist or group through the answers of two questions: How would you describe your sound? And, what does it mean to you to be nominated?

Glow November

Hometown: Scranton

Facebook: @glownovember

Kyle Taylor, singer, lead guitar

“Pop-punk,” Taylor said. “A lot of the bands people say we sound like are State Chance, Neck Deep, Story So Far, Four Year Strong. People say we sound like a good mix of them. A lot of (our songwriting) is stuff from our past. Our album is called “Life Sucks Get Over It.” (One song) is about Jim and Pam from the Office. We write about stuff we like.”

“I think it’s awesome. For a while we kind of saw the scene die when we were younger with the closing of Eleanor Rigby’s. Now it’s like the scene is blowing back up in town. People are coming out and seeing bands in the city, and it’s great to see.”

Riley Loftus

Hometown: Scranton

Facebook: @rileyloftusmusic

“I’m pop and R&B,” Loftus said. “In the live music scene, I try to be different than other artists. I like to give people something different than they’re used to. I’ll sing Drake and Lil Wayne but I’ll also sing some Van Morrison and Neil Young songs. I don’t sing “Margaritaville” to death. I try to keep it fresh.”

“I’m so excited to be nominated, especially in this category. There so many talented artists locally, and to be nominated among them is an honor. Scranton has such a great live music scene. It’s an area that appreciates live music. It’s nice to see all of us honored for that.”

Elephants Dancing

Hometown: Wilkes-Barre

Facebook: @elephantsdancing

“Everything is reggae based, but we’re reggae rock, hip hop, folk,” guitarist and vocalist Danny Sales said. “We try to keep it fun and rhythmic and that really defines our sound. The biggest thing for us is we all grew up playing drums. Me and our other singer, Mike Iorio, met because we both played drums. We syncopate a lot of our rhythms in songs. We grew up listening to punk, pop-punk, rock. That kind of influences what we do.”

“It’s really cool. Since we’re just starting up, we have a unique sound people aren’t used to. It’s nice to see this much support and people coming out this much in our first year and getting behind us. A lot of what we talk about is fun, togetherness stuff, so we appreciate getting it back.”

Adam Bailey

Hometown: Scranton

Facebook: @adam.baileymusic

“Stylistically, I’m influence by Ed Sheeran and Coldplay, that type of singer/songwriter, very laid back,” Bailey said. “Sonically, I’ve had people say my music is very folk with a pop element, similar to people like Jason Mraz and James Blunt. I’ve loved Coldplay for a long time. I’ve followed all their music. The same goes for Ed Sheeran. The type of music I do live — my CD was done with a full band with a bass and a drum and background vocals — but when I do my show live I try to recreate that. I use a pedal, a Boss loop station. It allows me to create my own back track to lay bass notes down along with drums, so it sounds like a full band.”

“To be welcomed into the scene at such an early time in my career is really nice, and it shows how much the community pays attention to up and coming artists and how they’re willing to support each other. I think this is one of the better areas of NEPA that allows you to perform and create. It’s not a competition where people fight tooth and nail to be better than each other. It’s a community where artists support each other and like to play music together and jam.”

Animal Planit Music Empire

Hometown: Hazleton

Facebook: @AnimalPlanit

“The most important thing to us when it comes to creativity is being original,” emcee Kancun said. “We strive on that. We have close to 200 songs released on our Reverb Nation page that aren’t on the three albums on our (Facebook) page. We feel today’s music is watered down. Everything is about the club or doing drugs or having sex with somebody’s girlfriend, and we try to stay away from that. The foundation of our music is being original and having timeless music. A lot of people who don’t like rap tell us, ‘We don’t like rap, but we love you guys.’ That’s what we strive on is making music with substance.”

“It means the world to us. If one person acknowledges our music it means a lot to us. It’s a blessing and extremely humbling. Honestly, from where we come from, just trying to make good music and being recognized by our peers and being able to perform at the conference alongside the greatest musicians in our area from the rockers to the country musicians to everybody, it’s humbling. We’re honored.”

North Winds

Hometown: Williamsport

Facebook: @NorthWindsOfficial

“We’re very influenced by older pop-punk, like Sum 41 and the first Good Charlotte album,” said guitarist Lee Fenstamaker. “Some of our slower parts have some slower hip-hop portions. We try to incorporate as much of what we like as we can. Every one of us listens to every genre of music under the sun. Any time we feel like branching out, we try as much as we can to incorporate it.”

“I think it makes it that much more special, because it is from the people, and the people are what matters most in this kind of stuff. It’s so cool. We played at the Other Side a few months back, and the scene was just so receptive to us. It’s so cool it’s a fan nominated award, definitely, definitely awesome.”

Flatland Ruckus

Facebook: @Flatlandruckus

“We try to use the old-school country, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, as our influences with a little modern twist to it,” said frontman Chris Shrive. We love Chris Stapleton. We do as much of his stuff as close as possible. I have a beard, and I wear a wig and a hat, and we do a small Stapleton set. We have one original song on Unsigned Radio. It’s called ‘Alright Just Fine.’ It’s kind of a feel good break-up song. We hope to have an EP ready for February of 2017. This started out as a duo, and as of January, we’ll be a five-piece band. It’s really going to rock.”

“It’s a big honor. It just goes to show that people look for the fact that you put passion into your music. You don’t have to have a particular sound, but when you put your heart and soul into it, people recognize that. You can put out a sloppy cover just to make noise, but when you really put your passion into it, that’s when the public starts to reach out and realize that. We appreciate that they’re supporting live music. We refuse to charge a cover charge. If there’s anything I can give back to them, it’s that. I won’t play where there’s a cover.”

Black Hole Heart

Hometown: Scranton

Facebook: @BlackHoleHeartBand

“We have an EP coming out in September, and we’re working on a full-length in the fall,” singer/guitarist Kyle Lukasewicz said. “If people listen to our demo, and then listen to our new stuff, there will be a big difference. It’s still going to have its heavy moments and dynamics but it’s more singer/songwriter oriented where we have a different approach to songs. But we’re not losing our edge. I used to be the primary songwriter, but now our second guitar player Steve contributes a lot. My influences personally are Bob and the Sagets, the Kosmos, bands from the local scene. My friends are the guys in The Menzingers, Tigers Jaw, Captain We’re Sinking. They all took off. The area has, not so much a sound, but there’s something in the water here. I also love the Pixies. We draw on the loud/quiet dynamic. I’d be hard pressed to find a band around here who hasn’t been influenced by Nirvana. We’re taking elements of punk music and spinning it so it doesn’t sound like punk music immediately.”

“Honestly, when we found out we were nominated, we had no idea, and it was pretty bad ass. I’ve been in Philly for the past few years, so I haven’t been here for the last few Steamtown Music Awards. It’s such a good thing for this area. It’s such a positive thing where these bands can come out and have people come out and check them out and get their foot in the door with other venues. It’s a great networking opportunity, and I don’t see any negatives to it. We’re surprised and honored, because there are so many fantastic bands in this area.”

A Season Underground

Hometown: Forest City

Facebook: @aseasonunderground

“Our sound is a little eclectic in the way that we write. (It depends on) however we’re feeling at the time. Our range of influences is so broad — for instance, the band members are fans of everything from Halestorm and Blue October to Courtney Barnett and Ryan Adams — that it can be really hard to peg down one specific influence. However, we strive to consistently be open and honest and I think that’s something we draw from any band of any genre over the board.”

“It really is such an incredible honor to have been nominated for best new artist. Having only started playing together half a year ago, its an incredible feeling to have made an impact on the local scene enough to be thought of for this award. The growing support is amazing and even on our hardest days, keeps us feeling like we are doing something great. At the end of the day, if just one person can feel even one ounce of emotion from what we’ve made, we can sleep with smiles on our faces.”

James Barrett

Hometown: Clarks Summit

Facebook: @Jamesbarrettmusic

“My music is a mix of acoustic with an alternative electric feel,” Barrett said. “People have told me a lot of my songs are relatable, and they like them for that reason. My influences are The Gaslight Anthem, Alkaline Trio, The Dangerous Summer, The Menzingers and a lot of other artists like that.”

“It’s a very awesome feeling. It’s a little odd, because I really am not new. I’ve been playing out for years, but until I released my full-length this year, it kinda went unnoticed. But it’s awesome that people like my stuff enough to nominate me for that, and the nomination itself is cool enough.”

The ClamStompers

Hometown: Wilkes-Barre

Facebook: @TheClamStompers

“Folk and country with a little bit of old fashioned rock thrown in,” guitarist and vocalist Katie Kelly said. “All the music we made had acoustic instrumentation and took influence from music made in the 1960s and earlier. “

“I’m proud that we have a nomination for Best New Artist. I think it shows that we had a lot of potential and the project was worth the hard work.”

Sir Polo

Hometown: Scranton

Facebook: @Polosback

“I would like to say my brand of hip hop is a flare of old school mixed with high energy poetry and a touch of new age nuances,” Polo said. “I absolutely love all kinds of music, so being able to take what producers give me, no matter the stylistic outcome, and put my poetic touch to it is what I strive for. I want to have the most authentic music; and I know I do.”

“It was actually an honor to be nominated. The feeling, knowing people in the area took the time to even consider me, is a blessing. Though it’s a long shot, and I was ultimately hoping to be among the hip hop nominees, I am 100 percent thankful for just being thought about. It means everything to have someone look at or up to you because of your talents.”

Glow November
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_14009898_1040541582731895_223283327_n-1.jpgGlow November

Riley Loftus
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_1897797_438869262974289_7720158707924755346_n-1.jpgRiley Loftus

Elephants Dancing
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Elephants-1.jpgElephants Dancing

Adam Bailey
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_IMG_20160718_164758-1.jpgAdam Bailey

Animal Planit
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_received_10207046753343635-1.jpegAnimal Planit

Chris Shrive of Flatland Ruckus
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Ruckus-1.jpgChris Shrive of Flatland Ruckus

Black Hole Heart
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_14012136_1577115052592468_1640963891_n-1.jpgBlack Hole Heart

James Barrett
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_James-Barrett-1.jpgJames Barrett

The ClamStompers
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Clamstompers_resized-1.jpgThe ClamStompers

Sir Polo
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Polo-1.jpgSir Polo
Steamtown Music Awards voting still open for several categories

By Matt Mattei

[email protected]

VOTE ONLINE

Online voting is still open for the 2016 Steamtown Music Awards. Categories open for voting include Best New Artist, Recording Studio of the Year, Music Publication of the Year, Music Journalist of the Year, Music Photographer of the Year, Local Radio Station of the Year, Local Radio DJ of the Year, Live Music Venue of the Year and Music Store of the Year. To cast your vote, visit www.electriccitymusicconference.com/nominees-voi.

Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651.

weekenderadmin
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Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651.

VOTE ONLINE

Online voting is still open for the 2016 Steamtown Music Awards. Categories open for voting include Best New Artist, Recording Studio of the Year, Music Publication of the Year, Music Journalist of the Year, Music Photographer of the Year, Local Radio Station of the Year, Local Radio DJ of the Year, Live Music Venue of the Year and Music Store of the Year. To cast your vote, visit www.electriccitymusicconference.com/nominees-voi.