What I’ve been seeing left and right (and rightfully so) is stress, chaos, statistics, difficult news, and things of the like. We’ve all been hit with an enormously difficult pill to swallow that normalcy may not commence for months, and something in me feels compelled to somehow help represent a light at the end of the tunnel for musicians, agents, promoters, road crew, and all other aspects of the music industry. While I could sit here and write out the reasons to be concerned, or the things lost over these months, I would rather write about something exciting – something refreshing and rewarding that in its own way represents hope – like for instance, the feeling of a new record being released, yeah?
I first met the members of Arson Daily on accident. I was in Raleigh seeing a show with my brother and we were grabbing a cup of coffee to kill time before the gig. Our barista was none other than Sir Quincy, the bassist we have all grown to know and love. He overheard us talking about the show we were going to, that we were from Wilmington, and in a matter of minutes we learned that he had recently been there with his band called Arson Daily and played at Satellite Bar + Lounge, the favorite neighborhood bar of Wilmington.
The full reasoning behind our meeting still hasn’t fully unraveled, but that’s the fun of it all. Within a few months, they were playing another show in Wilmington. It was sometime toward the tail end of 2017. Maybe 15, 20 people came. At this point, I had Modern Legend but wasn’t nearly as established as I am now, I was maybe a year and a half in. I had started dabbling with in store shows but hadn’t actively tapped into the layers of music scene here yet. I remember so clearly watching this performance - they were playing the same corner of the same bar where bands like Snarky Puppy once played back in the day. And it was the most fascinating thing to watch. All of these people were rushing to get beers and to party as they do at shows, but there was this handful of people that were totally immersed in the experience of watching them perform. It was somehow as if the rushing people, the entire bar, was moving in slow motion and their performance and the members of the audience engaged with it were alive and embracing every second of it. They were younger then, maybe a little rowdier, definitely a little rowdier. But I knew then, whatever “it” was, they fucking had it.
I will by no means say I know all there is to know about music. One of the most magnificent things about music is that like the idea of time or space, it has no bounds. It can be created and recreated every day, every minute, every second. Absolutely nothing is original and every single aspect of it is original all at once. We each have a personal relationship with music. I have never been a musician, songwriter, or performer. But I’ve never believed that discredited my knowledge and understanding of it. If anything, the language I experience within the world of music is simply purer or less tainted than those involved in the creative process of forming it. To see the beauty in something, most times you have to be the viewer of it. I’ve also been lucky enough to be raised in a family where we all work in music in some form or another, and therefore it has been in my blood and in my daily conversations since the day I could speak, so I was raised to trust in the music I found myself loving.
For quite some time, I was just a shop owner that sold records. And there was a time where Arson Daily was just a group of young guys playing bars. Somehow, and I do believe this is true, people just find each other when they need to. I am a very small part of their story, but they are a much larger and more significant part of mine. Sometime in very early 2018, I had formed a team to start doing booking, promoting, video content, and photos for bands. It was a matter of not even a year before that dissolved due to people going down different paths. Through that experience, I ultimately found my place in it all. But while the agency I had formed was in its peak time, we booked a small regional tour for Arson Daily. They were the first people to really give me a chance.
Zach, the lead singer, and I bonded quickly as we were both in one breath business minded, goal oriented, humorous and lighthearted. We spent months making this tour happen, and it was new territory for most of us. It was through this process that I realized my true calling lied within talent buying and promoting. To be clear, what I’m saying is that my beginning the part of my career where I'm a promoter is because of them. If there is anything I’ve learned about life, and industries, and growth – it’s that a huge portion of it is about taking chances on the right people, working really hard, having that natural talent, and trusting your gut.
Since then, Arson has sold out an incredible number of shows. They have gained a massive and dedicated following, signed on with Atlas Touring, formed relationships with bands that have changed their lives career wise and personally. They have maintained their roots while adapting to the growth and changes within them and their sound. They released the singles for this record coming out a few months apart and with every single one I thought the same thing – THIS is the one... no wait, THIS is... wait… And you know, it’s a hell of a special thing for the issue to be which one is the best out of a series of great releases.
While those were rolling out, after years now of working together, we sold out our first show as a team a few weeks back. It sounds like such a small accomplishment, sure, and in the grand scheme of things it is. But I stood there that night and saw these men on their career path doing what they are meant to be doing. And the crowd wasn’t 15, 20 people like before but instead more in the two hundred range. And I saw it happen, a slow and beautiful build of a career for people who deserved to have their music heard. And I thought to myself, that is what this is about. I’ve certainly always believed that in touring, you must be a performer that people remember. And I think anyone who has seen a performance by Arson Daily would most definitely feel that way. It’s totally invigorating, mesmerizing. Not for one second are you bored or even wanting to walk away to fill up your drink. It’s wild, and absolutely something worth being proud of.
If you are taking the time to read this, then you likely agree that live music is the backbone of the entire industry and still to this day is the most stimulating part of music. The music industry is a complicated beast, with many different personalities and visions. We all exist in it and play our roles, scratch each other’s backs when we can, and hope that ultimately our hard work pays off. Everyone has a story, and mine isn’t any more or less important than anyone else’s. But Modern Legend has a lot to thank these guys for – building relationships with so many other musicians that I’ve gotten to work with or get to know – Little Bird, Rare Creatures, Mo Lowda, Wanderwild and more, my relationships with Caleb Coker and Matt Washburn of Atlas Touring and all of the work we’ve done (and will continue to do) together. It’s been amazing, absolutely unreal.
The circumstances brought to us by COVID 19 are ones that no one can prepare for. We just can’t. Arson Daily is having to sift through rescheduling and cancellations with their album release shows, a run with Okey Dokey, a performance opening for Band of Horses and more. It’s been really difficult for an outside supporter to see this happen after knowing how much work they’ve put in, especially after seeing their growth and development myself over the natural course of time.
What I can say is this: they are some of the best and by far most talented people I have ever had the privilege of working with as well as calling dear friends. They have a new record, “Late Reflections” coming out THIS FRIDAY, April 3rd. They have put everything into this – their ability to relate to their audience, their impressive manner in which they write their lyrics, their intricate writing of music in the process of creating the sound we have all grown to admire – everything. If you haven’t already, I’m asking you personally to please go and pre-save it on Spotify. This allows them to be able to get on more Spotify made playlists and things of the sort, which in turn can help them get some more exposure. And if for some reason you don’t want to do that, just talk about them, share their stuff, listen to the record when it comes out. The music world is being hit like I’ve never seen in my 27 years of life and everyone inside of it needs everyone outside of it right now.
To my lifelong friends in Arson Daily, I look forward to your record release, and I’m so unbelievably proud of you and the path you’re on. Here’s to many more shows, records, and years of growing together and separately. You deserve every bit of happiness and success coming your way. Thank you for believing in me, and I’m honored to do the same. Cheers!
Photo by: Kendall Bailey Photography