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Scott Knutson: Provo’s Music Curator

“I will find you. And I will curate you.”

By Jordan Ottesen

Many know Scott Knutson as a prolific drummer. He gigs constantly and has played a major role in bands like Grey Glass, Brother., Drusky, Pacificana, and Brass Rook to name a few. But Scott is passionate about Provo music culture as a whole. He has been curating expansive Spotify playlists in an effort to document all of the music being made here.

What prompted you to start curating playlists of Provo music?

There were a few things that made me decide to make these playlists. One was a jukebox in my hometown of Bellingham, Washington. There’s this dude who made a comprehensive compendium of all of the local music of that city and put it on a jukebox and calls it the “Bellingham Local Music Library.” The idea behind it was that bands are were being born and dying out in quick succession in that town, and if no one preserved/collected the music, that precious piece of local history/culture would be lost forever. So he put it all in one place and is kind of this cool historian now. So once I discovered the music scene down here in Provo, I wondered if anyone was doing anything similar. No one was, so I made one, but on Spotify. Our music scene is way bigger, better, and bands come and go like daisies, so it seemed important to do down here. Plus, I know what it’s like to put out music and for it to be ignored. It’s a huge bummer. So making any sort of platform to celebrate and promote up-and-coming artists is a pretty gangster idea to me.

What do you hope to accomplish with these playlists?

A few things. 

1. Spread awareness of our killer music scene to the Provonians (Provites? Provoans? Provish?) who don’t know about it. Being a stranger in a strange land (i.e., a college kid from out-of-state) can be tough, but going to and rocking out at concerts gave me a sense of belonging. There are lonely Provo and BYU kiddos out here who wouldn’t be if they only knew about all the sick bands they could be in or see perform.

2. Promote local bands. The more people listen to the playlists, the more streams and fans the bands get. My dream is that someone hears a song on one of these playlists, goes to their artist page to find more of their music, and falls in love with a local band and goes to shows. If that happens only once I’ll know that this hasn’t been a waste of time.

3. Get a key to the city. (I’m looking at you, Mayor Kaufusi!!)

If you had to guess, what percentage of Provo bands/artists do you think you’ve captured on your 2018/2019 playlists

Hmm… 80%? The other 20% would be bands I haven’t heard about yet (I will find you. And I will curate you.), bands that don’t stream their music on Spotify, or bands that haven’t released music since 2017.

You’re a pretty prominent drummer in the local scene. Tell us a bit about all the projects you’ve been involved in.

[Laughs] Prominent? I don’t know about that. But thank you. Currently I play drums for Brother., Currents, and Drusky. I’ve also played drums for Grey Glass, Brass Rook, Pacificana, and Taylor and the Nerds. I’ve done session work at Cold House Studios before, too, and I host local-music house shows.

Photo by @breathliss 

What are some of your favorite things about the Provo music community?

Hruska’s Kolaches. I realize that’s not musical, but… those kolaches, man. I love the musical diversity here. For example, did you know Provo has a decent number of shoegaze bands? And punk-rock bands? And rappers? AND DID YOU KNOW THAT IMAGINE DRAGONS STARTED IN PROVO???? (sarcasm). Also the venues. Velour and 3rd Space get a lot of attention, but there’s also a sick ‘underground’ scene here, too. The Rad Shack, The Superfuzz, The Monarch House… the list goes on. If you’re ever bored in Provo, especially on a weekend, you’re not looking hard enough. Or following enough bands on Instagram. But mostly the kolaches.

What are some things you wish were different in the Provo music community?

More involvement with the colleges nearby – BYU and UVU. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to a BYU student and they’ve never heard of Velour. Or Rooftop. There is some seriously untapped potential nearby. However, currently there exists no effective form of communication between the student bodies and Provo City/the music scene (I’m looking at you, President Worthen!!).

What tips do you have to help young artists grow their fan base?

Hard work. And house shows. There’s no secret trick to it. 

What’s the best way for local artists to get in contact with you to get on your playlists?

DM me at @ProvoMusic on instagram. Something that I want to make crystal clear about these playlists is that they are comprehensive. I want to capture every artist on these tracks that has ever been a part of our scene. Not just the popular ones. If you are missing from these playlists (or know someone who is), please reach out to me. That being said, it’s Provo music only. So it helps if you have some evidence on your instagram page or something that demonstrates that you actually play shows in the Provo music scene. I’ve been contacted several times from Yugoslavian bands (I’m not making this up) asking to get put on the playlists. And I’m just like… no? (#NoCollusion) [Laughs]. That includes Salt Lake bands. I mean if you’re an SLC band that actively performs at Provo venues, then you belong on these playlists, in my opinion.  If not, then maybe make a Salt Lake City music compendium. But yeah, DM me.

The cover photo for the 2019 comprehensive Provo Music Playlist.

What kind of music goes into each one? What is each playlist all about?

There are 3 main categories of playlists.

  • Year playlists: These ones have only 1 song from each and every artist to release music that year. It includes all genres, so it’s a pretty fun listen. So far there is just 2018 and 2019. 
  • Genre playlists: Pretty self-explanatory. These contain a song or two from every Provo band of that genre, no matter the year it was released. I’m doing 5 genres for now: Rock, Pop, Acoustic, Folk, and Alternative/Indie. I have more in the works too (Rap, Punk/Hardcore, Shoegaze -stay tuned!). Many bands are in several of these genre playlists by virtue of them dabbling in a variety of genres. It’s pretty fun.
  • Special playlists: These ones are playlists where I’m just having fun with this. “Provo Hall of Fame” is a playlist of all of our local artists that have made it on TV or are otherwise crazy famous. “Provo Girl Power” is exclusively female-led bands. “Provo Chill” is just mellow music. You get the idea. 

How have you organized each playlist? 

I try to give each playlist a good flow. Meaning, I don’t front-load them with all the “best” songs at the beginning and put the less-exciting songs at the bottom. Instead, I like keeping things spicy and keeping the listener on their toes. Will I hate or love the next song? Who hecking knows. 

Make sure to follow Scott on Instagram (@ProvoMusic) and DM him your music. You can check out his comprehensive 2019 Provo Music playlist below.

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