SLUG Mag Celebrates the Variety in Local Music with DBS VI & 33rd Anniversary Party
Death by Salt
Established in 2004, Death by Salt is a series of compilations made up entirely of some of our best local artists. Curated by SLUG, Death by Salt celebrates the essence of local music in SLC—basically, anyone with an “801” tattoo should be going ballistic about it. With the celebration of SLUG’s 33rd anniversary in 2022, Death by Salt is being officially released for the sixth time since the beginning of the tradition. Not only will the 10-track tape be available for purchase, but SLUG will additionally host a release party that doubles as SLUG’s 33rd Anniversary Party on Friday, February 11 at Urban Lounge. A select few artists from the tape’s lineup will play sets, possibly including some never-before-heard songs written for this collaboration. The opportunity to experience Death by Salt will be available for only the sixth time in the history of SLUG Magazine, and it will be a special night.
Audrey Lockie, SLUG’s Junior Editor, speaks on the curation of Death by Salt VI. “It’s been a long process getting all the music and artwork together, and finally listening to the 10-track tape through and seeing it all come together is such a rewarding experience,” she says. In some of the previous years’ Death by Salt releases, SLUG compiled local singles of one specific genre and released the albums as a celebration of that genre in our local scene. While Salt Lake’s music scene has been on the rise, the theme for this year’s tape went in a completely different direction. As Lockie describes it, “eclecticism” was the project’s focus. Death by Salt VI features 10 local artists from different and unique corners: Lord Vox, Josaleigh Pollett, LAST, The Aces, Jay Warren, Marqueza, The Ph03nix Child, Jacob T. Skeen, Bobo and Choice Coin. The last four of these listed will be featured at the release party and the night will therefore include emo (Choice Coin), electronic pop (Bobo), blues/garage rock (Jacob T. Skeen) and hip-hop (The Ph03nix Child).
“It’s been a long process getting all the music and artwork together, and finally listening to the 10-track tape through and seeing it all come together is such a rewarding experience.”
With the exception of the hit single from The Aces, “801,” all other singles on the tape were exclusively recorded by each local artist for the purpose of this project. Each artist has gained local exposure and has already carved out their place in the SLC music scene in their respective genres. The artistry presented with Death by Salt VI is a display of Salt Lake’s real excellence. The level of production and quality that is exhibited in so many SLC artists today is an evolving reflection of the history of Salt Lake’s music scene. Great music production quality in our neck of the woods has not always been this accessible, and Death by Salt VI is a true celebration of that.
SLUG also features the work of local artist Lunares for the cover of Death by Salt VI, which captures the heart of the project. Lockie says of the collaboration, “We went through a number of concepts and directions together before combining the macabre imagery of the skull with the honey/bee element, representative of characteristic Utah iconography.” Lunares helps to bring more brilliance to this project by celebrating local visual art and displaying the importance of this. Not only because everything SLUG does requires this visual art element, but the local music scene wouldn’t be what it is without visual artists as well.
A crucial part of what made Death by Salt VI possible was SLUG’s collaboration with curator Tyler Harvey. Originally from Portland, Maine, Harvey moved around and found a career in music while he was living in Denver, Colorado. It was there that he participated in a collaboration for a similar project. “I launched an annual vinyl compilation in partnership with Vinyl Me, Please titled 303 Music that’s now released four volumes. When I moved to Salt Lake City I had to give up the project, which was hard for me. However, it just so happens SLUG had pioneered a similar project in SLC that we connected about and decided to re-ignite this year—Death by Salt VI,” he says.
With his expertise in similar collaborations, Harvey was able to secure a sponsorship with an organization called Barnstock. “Barnstock just cares about music and community,” says Harvey. “The organization benefits nonprofits through live entertainment and community projects—they essentially find creative ways to give back to the local industry.” With such a similar mission to SLUG’s, it was a perfect partnership, and one that paved the way for Death by Salt VI to come to fruition this year.
Harvey also worked to help this project give back to the community as more than just a platform for local artists and the inspiration we hope it gives listeners: SLUG will also be donating portions of the proceeds from Death by Salt VI to the local arts organization Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts (MICA). “The compilations I’ve worked on in the past have been inspired by three things: music, art and social justice,” says Harvey. “MICA encapsulates all of those themes and I hope that this donation supports their mission in elevating emerging voices from the local arts community. My hope is that through this project everyone will discover a new act to support. I also hope that those who don’t already know about MICA discover the amazing work they’re doing.”
MICA’s vision involves supporting local artists in SLC by providing them with opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be there. They fight for creativity by making artistry available to specifically westside SLC communities that don’t always have events, education or activism readily available to them. Their mission supports the talent that is often hidden in those communities and works to inspire youth and adults to act on their artistic endeavors. The music and arts scene in SLC would not be the same without MICA’s mission, helping every year to put this talent on the map.
“The compilations I’ve worked on in the past have been inspired by three things: music, art and social justice.”
Harvey ties it together eloquently with his personal vision for the project: “Salt Lake City has such an incredible music scene with a passionate community that supports it. I hope that this project helps that community continue to grow while also nourishing young artists from all backgrounds, and their voices,” he says. It’s not just about the quest for excellence of the music scene in SLC, but the inclusivity of the scene, as well. It’s something that can set Utah apart from any other “music town” or big name music industry city—in Salt Lake, everyone can have a place. No matter their background, their upbringing, their ethnicity or their gender identity—mastery and exposure in music should know no classification.
Not only is Death by Salt VI a chance to celebrate the local music scene within SLC, but it’s a chance to look back and celebrate the history of where it came from and where it might be going. The community in Salt Lake as a whole has gained more and more attention in the last 33 years, leading to more support of the music scene, as well. It wouldn’t be the same without all of the community events, the local shows, the support of local businesses and the activism of local organizations. Hopefully, Death by Salt VI reminds people in the 801 of the community that we’re all a part of, giving us a sense of belonging which we will never stop pursuing.