Brendan Manley – an Xperience Interview
Written by Staff on November 6, 2023
Brendan Manley – an Interview with Rob Smittix.
RRX: You are the founder, the editor and the publisher of 518scene.com. Tell us a little bit about 518scene.com for those that don’t know.
BM: 518scene.com is about two years old now. It is kind of a passion project of mine. I am a former Alternative Press editor and I was doing a lot of national music stuff. Even though I’ve been up here for probably 15 years now. I’m an expatriated Long Islander and I was doing a lot of national music coverage even though I was living up in the 518. Everything came to a big change in an end of sorts with the pandemic and things. Once the music scene kind of opened back up again and shows started happening again up here, I really kind of felt the urge to do something that was a little bit more on the localized level. Because my roots really are covering a local music scene. That’s how I got my start on the Long Island. I was covering all the great stuff that’s come out of there over the last whatever, 20 years. I have seen over a bit of time now, how much great music exists here in the 518 and wanted to be more of a part of that but also wanted to focus more on the heavier side of music, the indie side and that sort of stuff, because that’s really where my heart is.
I grew up being a metal head and got into punk, hardcore and stuff along the way too. That’s the first and foremost thing for me and I really felt like for whatever reason, that side of the of the music spectrum here in the 518 wasn’t really getting its full due.
I really wanted to focus on those bands and give those bands more coverage as well as promote the bigger shows in those genres that are coming to our market and to have the opportunity to interview artists in advance; to promote the shows, spotlight the local bands and then of course, on top of it all, we wanted to have a kick ass event calendar.
You can go to the site any day of the week and you can see everywhere at once, what is happening with a sort of curation towards again, that heavier indie spectrum and alternative rock spectrum of music that we focus on. And make it centralized because I found as a concert goer myself, if I wanna find out what’s going on this week, I’ve gotta go to like eight different websites. Every venue has got their own site, they’re all promoting their own stuff. Obviously, they’re not sharing with one another. So, where can I go to see it all at once? It was partly born out of that. Just a very practical need.
RRX: 518 really is a scene here. We have with so much talent, so many bands and I’m glad you’re with us now. You’re a part of it.
BM: It’s funny, I became aware of it when I was working for alternative press. I don’t know how familiar you are, I mean, that was a pretty big magazine for a while. They were covering large bands. This was 10 plus years ago, they started assigning me articles on State Champs and Drug Church. I actually discovered that Cory Galusha who plays guitar in Drug Church is from Warrensburg and I’ve lived here for 15 years now.
Bands keep popping up and coming out of here and some really great ones that are on a national level, getting attention. It’s exactly what I went through down on Long Island. I was there, I got my name out there because I was covering Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, Glass Jaw, Bayside and all of those bands when they were exploding on Long Island. It’s not yet to that degree here but it could be and it feels a little bit like that. So it’s cool.
RRX: Oh, absolutely. I don’t know if you remember it, or if you’ve seen it but it was probably about 15 years ago, somewhere within that time. I don’t even remember who it was that put out this study or whatever it was. But the Capital Region was like in the top places in the entire country with the most bands per capita. Basically, they were saying, if you’re not in a band, you know four or five people yourself that are. As they say, all big bands start out local.
BM: For sure, man. Again, I think that’s what drew me to doing a heavy related thing.
There’s so many bands on that side of it, whether it’s the metal bands that we have, or punk the more like beat down hard core you; as you might wanna call it. There’s so much of it here,
It’s so diverse and it’s great. I mean, so many great shows happening at different venues all the time. I mean, again, that was kind of why I wanted to create the site. It was like, I didn’t wanna miss anything, you know what I mean?
RRX: I certainly do. Now there is big Extreme Music Awards for 2024, that’s coming up January 13th at Empire Live. Of course, Mike Valente is involved, Capital Underground, we’re involved and so many more but you are also a part of this as well. Tell us about your involvement in this awards show and what it means to you.
BM: I think that it’s a perfect thing for us to partner with because it’s obviously right in our wheelhouse. I spend a ridiculous amount of time down at Empire Live and Empire Underground. I feel like I should have a parking spot or something there. Maybe I could rent one. I don’t know. I’m always down at the club and I’ve gotten to know Mike really well. We know a lot of the same people from the hardcore scene. I’ve gotten to know Mike over time and the minute I heard about it, I reached out to him and I said we really have to be a part of this. If 518scene.com is gonna partner with any event this year, it’s gotta be this one.
RRX: Well, I know one of the reasons this award show even exists is because there are other award shows out there that don’t really understand the heavier music, hard rock or even punk. They can’t really differentiate one from the other.
BM: I think the general consensus is rather than having one category where you have five different bands that are nothing alike duking it out for one trophy. We made it logical and granular with how we have our categories. Nobody else is gonna have best grindcore in the 518 as a category.
RRX: Makes sense to me.
BM: First people are going to nominate then we’ll announce those nominations, From there we have a great panel of judges that are gonna be involved in the process.