In the midst of holiday traffic, I braved the busy streets and drove to Corning, NY for a night of metalcore, rock and pop punk. It was a holiday benefit show put on by Save Our Scene in which the proceeds from the show went to help The Salvation Army. When I arrived at the Corning Union Hall the first thing I noticed was that there were no parking spaces available. I drove around the block a couple of times before deciding to park in the hotel parking lot located right next to my destination. I went there not only to watch the show and hang out with some friends but also to interview Jeremy Stanton, the founder of Save Our Scene Productions and Save Our Scene Promotions as well as the Truth By Blood Agency. Since I had never met Stanton in person, I asked a musician friend to point him out to me. He was easily spotted since he was the guy working the sound system and doing sound checks. He was dressed in a Santa t-shirt and a Santa hat. I introduced myself and then waited for Stanton to get a band all set up and ready to start their set. Then we went into a hallway to discuss Save Our Scene, Truth By Blood Agency and the holiday benefit shows amongst other things. (Truth By Blood is also shared with partner, Adam Merola)
Janet: Tell me about the history of Save Our Scene and Truth By Blood Agency. When did you start them and why?
Stanton: Save Our Scene is basically an idea that I came up with probably 4-5 years ago when our scene, the 607, wasn’t doing very good. There was a group of hardcore kids that were ruining all the shows. Cause of their actions we were losing venues. Venues were being shut down because of them. No one wanted to go to the shows anymore because they’d go and they’d get hurt. I wanted to do something about it and didn’t know what to do. I met up with a couple of kids who were running a fairly decent production company, actually started working with one of them and told them my idea of what I wanted to do, trying to expand and trying to get kids to start coming back out to shows again. I moved to Elmira and started booking for The College Corner, the only place in Elmira that all the shows came to. I came into it, turned that bar around from making $500 a week to making $3-4000 a weekend. Things didn’t go well with the bar owner and I knew things were turning sour so I started talking to one of my good friends living in Binghamton, Dustin Smith, who wanted to start booking shows but didn’t really know what to do. I gave him the name “Save Our Scene,” told him to use the name and start booking shows and I’d help with the bands and promotion. Dustin and I joined forces and started working together. I told him we’re gonna run Save Our Scene. We’re gonna blow it up, make it as big as possible. There are two branches of Save Our Scene, Save Our Scene Productions and Save Our Scene Promotions, and two other production companies that are subsidiaries, Subculture Events and Stay True Promotions. Truth By Blood Agency was started a year and a half into Save Our Scene. I had been working with a band from Boston called Mummified In Circuitry. Their manager and I had their band signed to a label that we thought was legitimate that I was trying to help out in Ohio. It did not work out. The band lost a lot of money and afterwards we both completely disconnected ourselves from that label and the person running it. We decided that we wanted to set up our own booking and management company and do things right. He’s in charge of booking and I’m kind of taking over the marketing aspect of it. We have about 9 bands underneath right now and we have people working on a website. It’s not out yet. We don’t know when it’s going to be out. We have our first ad coming out in Hails & Horns Magazine next month.
Janet: What do you look for in acts you book?
Stanton: If someone offers me a package that I’ve heard of but I haven’t heard too much hype about, I’ll throw it up on our Facebook page and ask the public what they think about it. If we get a good response, I’ll book them. Why not? Because Save Our Scene has a profile page, I can go to the profile page and see how many of our friends like them and if it’s a significant number, I’m obviously gonna take them. If the people who approach me are very friendly and very nice and professional about how they try and get people to book their band, no matter how small or big they are I’m at least gonna consider it.
Janet: What venues do you like the most?
Stanton: The American Legion in Binghamton. The people that run it are just the friendliest people. They really accept what we’re trying to do down there. If we ever need help or are in a bind, let’s say we don’t produce enough money to pay the bands and the venue, they take a hit and tell us to pay them back within the next couple of weeks and just pay the bands. One time this happened. To me that was awesome. I really like working with them. The Corning Union Hall is a great location. It’s a good sized room and it’s the cheapest venue.
Janet: Any future plans of spreading your area of venues?
Stanton: As much as I love booking shows and putting them on, I don’t like booking shows and putting them on. Since we have Subculture Events and Stay True Promotions and a couple of other small ones in Binghamton starting to come out I hope to eventually sit back and run Save Our Scene Promotions, just promoting our shows for them and maybe once in a while throw a show together. I kinda want to be the secondary guy. I’ll do a couple shows that I really want to do. [My band is] gonna be on the road a lot so I’m not gonna be available to run the shows. I’ll always partner-up with whoever asks me to. I’m good friends with Sage Patrick Keber from Never Fading Promotions and AJ Fagnoli from Personless Promotions up in Rochester and we try to help them out. Sage and I’ve been working on expanding Save Our Scene and Never Fading Promotions and kinda merging a little bit and it’s worked out.
Janet: Any plans you haven’t announced yet that we could announce for you?
Stanton: I really don’t know. There’s a lot of things we talk about behind the scenes but nothing official. Subculture and Stay True are gonna be the ones running the shows. I don’t have any huge plans right now. I have a lot of bands that we’re talking to that could be a huge plan in the future but we’ll just kinda sit back and see how it works out.
Janet: What are some thoughts you may have on the scene as it is right now?
Stanton: I will divide that into two answers because the two main areas that we’re working in are still Corning / Elmira and Binghamton. The Corning / Elmira area is great. The kids are very good out there. They’re very respectful. We always have a decent turnout in Corning with at least 150 people every show. They’re very open to the bands that we bring out. If it’s a new band, they’ll come out and give them a try. I had a band tell me that they love it [in Corning] cause the kids will buy merch like crazy. Binghamton is a little bit different. It is still very flighty. There’s some stuff we’ve been working on for a while. There’s pop punk and then another guy books straight hardcore shows. We’ve been trying to bridge the gap. It’s been working out but we’ve never had more than 110 people at shows. It wasn’t till recently that kids from Binghamton started to travel out to Cornng. Since we’ve started, kids from Coning / Elmira would always travel to Binghamton if there was a good show going on. So, it’s still a work in progress.
Janet: Tell me about your holiday benefit shows and your reason for doing them?
Stanton: We like to do these. We started doing them last year. Look at it this way, we fought tooth and nail to get to the point where we are and to get the venues. We had to work with our communities to get to this point so technically, doing these shows is us giving back to the local communities. I, myself, am a Christian. I’m not the most religious individual but I do believe in helping others. If there’s a reason why we do it, it’s because Save Our Scene is about helping all the kids in the scene so lets do a show once in a while that helps everybody else.
Janet: Thank you for the interview, Jeremy!
Stanton: Thank you!
To get more information on Truth By Blood Agency, or Save Our Scene-