Best of 2015: An Interview with Sound Scene Express

Published On February 3, 2016 | By Leah Kennedy | Interviews


Nevada Color

Nevada Color

If you’ve been keeping up with Burgh-based blogs and local music recently, you’ve probably stumbled upon Sound Scene Express. Facilitated by Randy Jarosz, the outlet covers everything from album and show reviews, to artist interviews, to a wide collection of concert photos.

In 2015, Jarosz saw an opportunity to expand upon representing Pittsburgh’s thriving indie music scene–off the web, and up-close and personal. With that, he created Sound Scene’s first-ever awards show, an initiative to give props to the talented bands and musicians the site covered over the course of last year. We had a chance to chat with Jarosz recently, who’s planned the Best of 2015 show in its entirety–from the award categories, to performing artists, to the logistics and venue. He shared with us his great excitement for the upcoming showcase, along with what inspired its creation:

The Commonheart

“Sound Scene Express has done the typical end-of-year lists in the past, like most media outlets do. I have always wanted to organize a show, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so. Many cities have these types of awards shows to recognize great work by local musicians, but Pittsburgh seems to lack in that area. Something like this can only feed the competitive spirit of musicians and help grow a music scene that is already exploding. The awards show idea really has a ton of room to grow in the future

“The bands and James Street Gastropub have been great! They are all professionals and know the ins and outs of the concert business, making the event’s organization smooth. I started contacting bands in October, looking for groups that would fit the criteria of “Best of 2015. ” Luckily, February is an off-month for concerts compared to June, so that helped. All of the bands have been very excited about the event and Chase The Monkey’s frontman, Alberto Sewald, is even traveling from Nashville [where he’s attending college] to play the show.”
Along with a handful of captivating live performances, an extensive list of awards will be presented to contenders in several categories:
Balloon Ride Fantasy

Balloon Ride Fantasy

“There are nine categories. Four–including Breakout Band, Best Music Video, Best Local Music Festival and Coolest Event/Series–were voted by fans through a survey that lasted about a month. Best LP, Best EP, Best Single and Best Concert were picked by myself from the countless submissions throughout the year, and of course, going to concerts. I couldn’t expect everyone to listen to all albums to make a fair vote, so I left that up to myself. The final vote will be for Best Rock Concert Photo, and will be on display at the show for the final fan vote.”

Determining winners for this year’s awards also included a combination of fan votes and quality of bands’ releases (if any), along with their rapid ascensions in local music:
Chase the Monkey

Chase The Monkey

“Breakout band of the year was determined by the band’s rapid rise in the music scene, but didn’t necessarily have to be a new band or have a new album. For instance, The Commonheart burst onto the scene in 2015 and played every show imaginable. Nevada Color stepped things up a notch in 2015 after releasing “Adventures” in 2014. Beauty Slap has also been around a while but seemed to be just about everywhere in support of their latest EP. As far as the album voting is concerned, it was based on overall quality of the release. The top five selections in each category easily could have won the overall prize depending on who is picking the winners.”

On Saturday, February 6, make your way out to James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy to catch the awards ceremony, live performances from Nevada Color, The Commonheart, Balloon Ride Fantasy and Chase The Monkey, along with presentations from special guest host, Danny Rectenwald (of Bastard Bearded Irishmen).

Fans will also have the opportunity to choose the final award recipient by voting on the Best Concert Photo during the night.

Doors open at 8PM, and the all-ages showcase will begin at 9. Tickets can be purchased at the door or by contacting Sound Scene Express at

You can preview the performing artists’ tracks below:

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