Photo: Patiri Photography
Four years ago, Lance Saunders and Will Sartain combined forces to become S&S Productions. Since then, the duo have been booking some of the raddest national talent to play venues in Salt Lake City, Utah. In January 2008, S&S extended their reach beyond booking—becoming owners of Kilby Court and partial owners of Urban Lounge. These days the two venues each host over 25 shows per month. Combine these with their additional open market bookings and they estimate that S&S books around 60 shows per month. In addition to booking national acts and owning local venues, Saunders and Sartain own and run Kilby Records. The label released Laserfang’s album in late 2010 and expect to release work from local bands like Spell Talk, The Future of The Ghost and possibly The Devil Whale in 2011. No matter which way you cut it, Saunders and Sartain are an indispensible force in keeping the Salt Lake City music scene healthy and active.
SLUG: Tell us about your first experience with SLUG Magazine.
Saunders: The first time I picked up a SLUG Magazine was in Raunch Records’ Sugarhouse location around the age of 12. It was something I had never seen before. It was a secret underground newsprint paper filled with eccentric art and articles on bands I was unfamiliar with. I was just a dumb kid going through the awkward stage of adolescence and didn’t have any clue. The magazine was something that instantly appealed to me because it opened up a new world which I had no idea existed—an esoteric world that was thriving in Salt Lake City. It inspired me to say the least.
Sartain: I first picked up a SLUG Magazine when I was 15. I was going through puberty and kind of uncomfortable with myself. SLUG was a breath of fresh air. I was really into punk and indie music. It made me feel a little more in my own skin that people in my own city were making such a cool thing.
SLUG: How have you seen the magazine change since then?
Saunders: With every scene comes some sort of evolution and/or change. I feel that SLUG has always developed with the scene itself while preserving its dedication to the people in the city it adheres to. SLUG will always stay relevant due to this long, proven fact—no matter how many times the scene changes.
Sartain: SLUG seems to have an understanding of changing trends. It has stayed with the times. Maybe a better way to put it is that SLUG has stayed relevant.
SLUG: What is one of the most memorable SLUG articles that you have read?
Saunders: They’re all great, how do I pick? Nate Martin was one of my favorites for writing his opinions (even though sometimes they were overly offensive to some), Mike Brown for his crass perspective on everything, Helen Wolf (remember her?) for making me laugh every time. Dear Dickheads and Localized are also month-after-month must-reads.
Sartain: When I was younger, I thought Mike Brown’s articles were really funny. I had never read anything so crass, especially when I was a teenager. I guess those stuck with me because it was so shocking that someone would have the nerve to write like that.
SLUG: What is your favorite SLUG cover?
Saunders: It would have to be the SLUG 17th Anniversary cover featuring Rob Packard and his gigantic space helmet. He was so batshit happy that he was on the cover that he pranced around telling everyone it was an original photograph from his seventh birthday party, rocking what looked to be his father’s disco shirt from the ‘60s and his mother’s purse around one shoulder.
Sartain: Any cover with local people on it. I love it that a popular magazine like SLUG still finds time to feature our great local scene.
SLUG: Tell us about the most memorable SLUG event that you’ve attended.
Saunders: The one I’ve been trying to forget for years—the 20th Anniversary Party with Fucktards and The Hell Press.
Sartain: I think the most memorable SLUG event for me personally was the Redd Tape show we played for Localized in 2003 or 2004. It was with Danny Vesper. I felt really happy to be a part of Localized for the first time.
SLUG: How has SLUG affected your life?
Saunders: For the last six years SLUG has given me a creative outlet as a writer and has helped floss my aptitude in the literary sense. On another note, SLUG Magazine is an immeasurable component of the Salt Lake City music scene and it has provided me with considerable support over the years.
Sartain: My youth was shaped by SLUG. It helped inspire me to be more involved with the music scene and to know what was happening in town. I think every piece of the community is vital to the other. I would not have become an owner of Kilby without Phil Sherburne starting it. I think SLUG lent a lot of meaningful support to Phil over the years and I am not sure it would have survived without a supportive music community, which SLUG is and was a huge part of.
SLUG: Why do you think SLUG has continued to be relevant in Utah for the last 22 years?
Sartain: SLUG has provided an outlet for people to see a different side of things. There is value in that.