If you are a music fan you need to know about Shore Alternative (S*ALT). Shore Alternative is an online radio station, but has also been doing a fabulous job of bringing great music into Asbury Park, NJ. Eat Sleep Breathe Music interviewed Michael Merrell of Shore Alternative to find out how they got started and where they are heading.
ESBM: When was S*ALT born and how was it conceived?
MM: S*Alt was conceived the day after G106.3 (WHTG) flipped their format to a Top 40 station and at the time, was the only alternative rock radio station in the whole state. It’s hard to believe that a year has gone so fast but it was January of 2009. We knew there were no other outlets to discover new music that were very accessible to the community, so with the help of Millenium Radio whom we all work for, we were able to throw up a site with streaming capabilities in just over a week. And that is how ShoreAlternative.com was born. It gets me all teary-eyed just thinking about it 🙂
ESBM: What do you think makes Shore Alternative stand out?
MM: I think it’s the people that are involved. Everyone that works for S*Alt brings their own separate quality to the table and that is what makes it great. The main quality we all share is our undying love and passion for music and live shows. This really started as a passion project and now that we’ve gotten some exposure and we feel like it can turn into a legitimate business, but we still feel the same kind of excitement as we did when it first began. Anytime you have a bunch of legitimate tastemakers in one place, it’s a force to be reckoned with.
ESBM: Where can listeners hear Shore Alternative?
MM: As of right now there are two ways to hear the station. You can log onto ShoreAlternative.com and click the Listen Live button. Also as of 2 months ago, we can now be heard on HD radio, on 94.3 WJLK’s HD2 Channel. I know A LOT of listeners don’t have HD radios but a good portion of new 2009 and 2010 cars are coming equipped with them.
ESBM: Tell us about Shore Alternative night at the Wonder Bar on Tuesdays and Thursday nights at Langosta Lounge?
MM: This has been one of the best parts of S*ALT. Billy O’Brien is one of the best promoters on the east coast and week after week, he’s responsible for booking some of the best bands in the area and beyond. We’ve been putting these shows on for about 8 months at the Wonder Bar and about 4 months at Langosta Lounge, and now people know that every Tuesday and Thursday they can come out and see an amazing show. Tuesday nights at the Wonder Bar is the essence of what a great live show should be with a package of 3 or 4 bands in a legendary rock venue with great music in between sets.
Thursday nights at Langosta Lounge have been a bit more of a laid back vibe with one artist in an intimate setting. The kind of setting where you can have a nice dinner, have a cocktail, and get to see some of the best up and coming artists in the area. It’s been an honor being able to put these shows on, and look around on a Tuesday night and see 200 people hanging out and having a great time. But we couldn’t do it without the bands and the support of the people.
ESBM: What do you have in store for the future?
MM: More or less being a one stop shop for everything music related. If you need to see a concert calendar, if you want to read reviews of an album and buy that album, or if you’re just looking to hear some great music to get you through the work day… we want to be that destination. We have a lot of projects we’re going to be a part of in 2010 that we aren’t able to discuss yet, but it’s going to be a big year for us. Right now we’re just trying to make the website better and expand S*ALT with as much quality content as we possibly can. We want to be a real presence not only locally, but on a national level as well.
ESBM: Who are your favorite artists right now?
MM: That’s so tough because there are SO many.. Loving the new records from Spoon, Beach House, Surfer Acid and Massive Attack.
Also, I have to tell you that I’ve heard the completed album from River City Extension, The Unmistakeable Man and I promise when people hear this record, they’re going to completely freak out.
ESBM: What local bands do you recommend seeing?
MM: There are so many great bands in the area that it’s tough to list them all, and if I forget some I apologize.. Status Green, Last Perfect Thing, Taylor Allen, River City Extension, Brick and Mortar, Future Future, The Amboys, Scott Liss And The 66, Brian Graney, The Delfields, The Riverwinds, Black Birds, Montagna & The Mouth To Mouth, Sikamor Rooney, Landlines, Birthwater and Jac’, No Wine For Kittens, Foxes and Lions, Gimme Drugs and Walking With Cavemen.