|Pictured above: Santa Jared receives a Christmas miracle.|
You might recognize the name Jared Riot from a few different places. As the host of the Keep Louisville Loud show on Crescent Hill Radio, Riot works towards the mission statement implicit in the title. If you’ve been to the Highlands Taproom, then you’ve probably seen him tending bar. If you’ve played a show recently, well, he might have helped book that too. In fact, Riot assembled The Collab, which is billed as Louisville’s premier hip-hop and rock collaboration. The idea behind the show is to showcase local hip-hop and rock bands in their respective elements, and may very well include a few crossovers on the stage. The roster for hip hop includes Touch Armor Class, The Analogous Enterprise, Blaklyt, Major Threat, and Shadowpact, and the rock line up includes The Tunesmiths, Powell, Karass, Dead Room Cult, and Freddie Was A Boxer. We caught up to Riot to ask him about promoting, keeping louisville loud, and his favorite lie. Take a listen to his radio show below, and check out The Collab this Saturday March 26th at the Tim Faulkner Gallery.
Never Nervous: How did you get into booking shows? What drew you to the music scene in Louisville?
JaredRIOT: I’ve been booking shows since I was 14 years old. It stared in Owensboro Ky, my home town. It was kind of funny seeing these touring bands from all over the country, dudes in their early to mid twenties show up and I’d ride up on my skateboard and be like, “What’s up guys, I’m the promoter.” A lot of times their faces were priceless. Music has always been a HUGE part of my life, but I’ve never been the greatest musician. That being said, I decided very young that I could contribute in other ways, mostly as a promoter.
NN: I understand you’re from Owensboro. How would you compare Owensboro and Louisville? What is the scene like (if anything) there, versus here?
JR: For about 8 years I worked in some part as the Entertainment Coordinator for the International BBQ Festival. For a long time, other than local cover bands, that’s the only weekend you can catch some good regional acts in Owensboro. There’s a few younger cats that are doing more regular things there now, but Owensboro isn’t like Louisville, where you can go out and see live music on any given night of the week.
NN: For that matter, what brought you to town? Tell us your origin story please.
JR: Owensboro is a small town that wishes it was a big city. With it being a small town, there’s a lot of small town mentality and politics. Once I graduated Highschool, I had to get out of that there and I had friends here in Louisville. Moved here, found the local hardcore scene and it’s all history from there.
NN: Are you or have you ever been in a band yourself? If yes, tell us about it. If no, why not? What would you do if you could? Hell, you could answer that one even if you are in a band, because surely you have ideas for what else you’d like to do.
JR: I mess around with lots of instruments, but like I said before haven’t ever really mastered any. I’ve jammed many friends throughout the years, but no bands have ever really formed from it. I’ve had some people recently asking if I’d like to play bass in a few projects, so maybe there is some future potential there. Until then I’m more than content with booking, promoting, and doing my show Keep Louisville Loud on Crescent Hill Radio.
NN: Tell us about your show that blends hip-hop and rock? How did you come up with that idea? You’re in a safe place if you want to reference the Judgment Night Soundtrack.
JR: In all honesty, the Judgment Night Soundtrack was a cool crossover. Not necessarily a huge influence in the Collab, but fun in and of itself. Truth is DJ Shaheed of Trap House and myself both have a history in the hardcore scene. While we’ve both moved on to appreciate multiple genres, the sense of community that hardcore personifies still runs thick through our veins. That being said, we felt that there is so much killer music throughout Louisville that people don’t get a chance to see because it’s not part of their “scene.” Basically we wanted to break down that barrier a bit and bring together some music that otherwise might never have.
NN: How will the show work out logistically? Are artists going to share the same stage at the same time? How did you pair up acts for collaboration, if at all?
JR: Originally we wanted to get the groups together prior and have them write actual collaborative efforts to record and put out a comp with the event. While that fell to the wayside this year, there’s always next year (yes there will be a next year). Even with that not happening, nearly all of the bands performing have already had some form of collaborative effort with the hip hop community. The Tunesmiths with 1200, Karass with Touch AC, Powell with Analogous Enterprise, and Shadowpact has their own backing band now. Jeremy of Freddie Was a Boxer has been known to fill in for Dr. Dundiff with the Smoke Shop Kids and has his own hip hop release that he’s been pushing pretty hard lately. Logistically, the show will alternate from one rock act to one hip hop act, etc. While we don’t have any “officially arranged” crossovers to happen on stage, all these artists are well versed enough with the collaborations that I can promise you that there will be lots of guest spots during sets. It’s going to be a spectacle for sure.
NN: What can you tell us about working for the Highlands Tap Room? How have you seen the scene grow from your perspective there? What kind of things do you think that artists could do differently to draw and engage an audience, if anything? Surely you’ve seen all sorts of shows by now.
JR: I’ve worked for Tap Room for going on 3 years now, I think. It’s honestly the best job and the best bosses I’ve ever had. Took over a lot of the booking responsibilities maybe a year ago. It started when I began doing Keep Louisville Live, an on going live/local music series happening every Tuesday at Tap Room. It’s in support of my radio show, Keep Louisville Loud, which is in turn 100% dedicated to promoting local music. We book bands of pretty much any genre you can think of and even a few you can’t. With the variety of genres that we book, I have to keep up with many different scenes. That being said, it seems like most every scene (metal, punk, hip hop, rock, etc.) is thriving right now. Exactly what changes have facilitated this boom in music, I can’t really say. All I know is everyone is pretty on top of their game right now. For recommendations? I really miss paper flyers. Everything is done via social media now, which is a GREAT tool, don’t get me wrong. However, I wish I saw more bands going out to shows with handbills like the old days. That’s definitely something that I miss and I feel could REALLY help bolster audiences.
NN: Relative to that, what makes for a good show? What about a rotten one?
JR: A good show has people there engaging with the artists. Furthermore, the artist has to be engaged with audience as well. It kills me when I see a room with only 10 people watching an artist pour their heart out, but it kills me equally when I can tell an artist is holding back BECAUSE there are only 10 people in the room. A good show draws people there to have a good time, no matter which side of the stage you’re on. I really try not to think about rotten shows, because if I’m doing my job properly, they don’t happen.
NN: How did you get involved with Crescent Hill Radio? What has your experience been like there?
JR: Hah my initial involvement with CHR was kind of funny. There was once a show called From a Basement on a Hill, that was hosted by a couple close friends of mine. We were drunk up at Tap Room one night and I was just asking questions about their show and the studio and what not when I just asked, “Soooooo… do you think they might want a punk show?” Totally expecting them to shoot me down, they were super excited about the idea and gave me the station managers email address. A week later, I had a weekly radio show. My experience with CHR has been super easy going. I built a studio in my spare bedroom, pre-record the show, and send them an MP3. Simple and easy. Can’t ask for anything more from them.
NN: Does Louisville really need to be kept Loud? Was it ever quiet?
JR: The name comes from a promotional group stated by Nick Smith (American Lesions, formerly of Great Floods). It was started a few years back with there was a bit of a lull in the scene. Not AS many shows, just kind of stagnant promotional efforts. In some fashion, I believe his efforts helped re-improve communication and promotion amongst bands. While that effort was at it’s peak is when I was offered the radio show and I stole his name hah. In short, no Louisville doesn’t necessarily need help keeping loud, it’s just a play on all the other variations of “Keep Louisville [Insert].”
NN: How would you like to see the local LPFM (low power FM) radio grow?
JR: I think with the efforts of CHR and ARTxFM we’re certainly on the right track. Everyone out there reading this, remember you can be a DJ too, just contact either of those stations and pitch an idea for a show. The more DJs we have, the better reach we’ll be able to obtain. As long as the two are around and pumping out great local tunes, that’s really all that matters.
NN: What is the best lie you’ve ever told and why?
JR: I’ve been purchasing alcohol since I was about 14. I could grow a beard at a very young age and took advantage of this fact hah. I would skateboard to the gas station, leave my board leaned against the wall outside, and by 2 cases of Milwaukee’s Best. I’d then proceed to skate, cases in hand, to my friends house, so we could drink said beer hah. Even got busted by the cops one time, saved my then of age friend from getting 15 counts of contributing to a minor, and received a lovely ride home from the police.
NN: You can launch three people into the sun without any repercussion. Who would it be and why?
NN: What non-musical things have you riled up lately and why? What have you eaten, drank, watched, or read lately that does it for you and why?
JR: I recently finished all of The Wonder Years. Super disappointed we didn’t get to see them graduate. I’ve also been getting into Peaky Blinders and been considering sewing a razor into my flat cap. Looking forward to Daredevil season 2. Also, I eat way too much Chinese takeout.
NN: Last but never ever least, what are your top three desert island album picks and why?
JR: Deftones: White Pony. All time favorite band and that’s the album when they started to branch out as “mature artists.” Led Zeppelin: Self Titled. Just in case I find some drugs on said island. Refused: The Shape of Punk to Come. Maybe I’ll feel like dancing with myself.