Beginning the evening of Friday September 20th at Howler’s and running through until Saturday September 21st and Sunday September 22nd at Cattivo, Pittsburgh’s third annual Descendants of Crom festival brings doom and stoner metal to the forefront while touching on some other sub-genres and leaving no hessian dissatisfied. I chatted with the event’s organizer, Shy Kennedy, who also fronts the band Horehound and heads up Blackseed Records when she’s not promoting shows. Here’s what she had to say.
FAM: You seem to lean heavily towards doom/stoner metal. What is it that draws you under that umbrella and how did you get into that kind of music?
Shy Kennedy: I love a good amount of music styles but my personality and mood typically leans towards dark, heavy and moody. Art should reflect the times and while life gets low and serious often, it seems that way now more than ever. It’s reflective and deep and typically the musicianship that goes into it is straight forward but creative and complex at the same time.
The wave of bands in the underground are really doing it well.
FAM: What was the catalyst for wanting to start putting on the Descendants of Crom fests?
Shy Kennedy: There are 2 parts to this:
The first part is wanting to see all the touring DIY sort of bands do well in Pittsburgh as well as our local bands. This is a platform to introduce our community to people from the regional community as well as national. This strengthens the heavy community.
The second part is to bring fans and bands here together. It’s a one stop shop to see a variety of acts from different areas all in one place. Years ago, anyone who was a black sheep of sorts hung out at shows together. Now it seems we’ve segregated, and I’d like to see us unite more. There’s a lot of crossover in music, and when we stay in one pocket, it limits us as fans, musicians, and the talent that’s out there gigging.
The fact that it’s just a kick-ass showcase that’s a lot of fun is a bonus.
FAM: Was it as challenging as you thought to promote and organize such a festival?
Shy Kennedy: 100%
FAM: Are there dream bands that you’d like to see play DOC someday or bands that you wanted to get but were unable to?
Shy Kennedy: Of course! There are a lot of bands that are unavailable due to touring, recording, etc. with their schedules, but also sometimes money and other logistics can be problematic. Something like this is an investment of time and work. You have to put in the work for that sort of payoff. I’m not going to name bands I’d love to play, but I will say that nearly every band that has played has honored the event and are great and talented. Big-name bands came from somewhere, and you can bet that every band on the DOC line-ups, past and present, have the potential.
FAM: Which bands on the bill are particular favorites of yours?
Shy Kennedy: I hand pick them all, so they’re all favorites of sorts. My favorite newer bands, my favorite older bands, bands I’ve been waiting to check out, bands I’ve championed for years…
But I will say that I am excited to see the crowds reactions to the headliners (ASG and Brown Angel) and that having the specific variety this year is exciting. I think lesser known crowd favorites will be Sunvoyager, Witchkiss, and Enhailer , and that veterans Valkyrie and Solace will be spectacular. I am a busy individual during the event, but I always am sure to catch a song or three of everyone’s set, because it’s really all so damn great.
FAM: Why should people go to DOC? Sell us on it.
Shy Kennedy: All of the above with the addition of knowing that each person who comes through the door and purchases a ticket is contributing to the greater good of our heavy underground scene. If you’re into heavy psch/hard rock, trad/stoner/doom/sludge (even hardcore, punk, dark pop, and death metal are represented), you’re going to enjoy this and come out a fan of the event as well as numerous bands.There’s nothing like this around, and it’s a good safe and positive space. If you come with a good attitude, you are going to be welcome into this community.
FAM: What do you like most about the Pittsburgh metal scene, and what would you like to see improve?
More crossover support at shows and more venue support. People will find any excuse to hate a venue, and when you cut them out for stupid reasons, they disappear. The world can be an ugly place, and people who can identify with dark and heavy music benefit when we become a united front and cook up our own culture.
Get your tickets here!