on Radio Free Brooklyn

Sam Sumpter of ”Bands do BK“

“We might all be going to hell, but hey—we did it for art.” Sam Sumpter of new RFB show “Bands do BK” on her love for her new city and why Matt and Kim should reach out…

as told to Michele Carlo

RFB:  Tell us a little about yourself and your creative path toward “Bands do BK.”

SS: I majored in journalism at UT Austin, and after graduating, had the opportunity to intern and work for a handful of really awesome media outlets. What I loved most about these experiences⁠—besides the pure narcissistic pleasure of seeing my name in print, of course⁠—was having a platform to promote the artists that I love and believe in.

But when I moved to Brooklyn three years ago, I no longer had that platform⁠ and creative outlet, and found myself feeling frustrated and directionless. Then I started volunteering for Sofar Sounds and doing work with Microsessions, and through those organizations, encountered a ton of seriously talented musicians. I’m not exactly sure how I got the idea for Bands do BK (brains are weird), but I’m so happy I did. Once again, I have an outlet through which I can be a part of and give back to the music community—and, as a bonus, kick it with bands I love over beers. Austin may be the “Live Music Capital” of the World, but Brooklyn is Brooklyn. From a fan perspective, I’ve seen mind-blowing shows in both cities, and as a journalist, I’ve met and interviewed so many passionate people in each.

RFB: For Bands do BK, you interview artists about their favorite places in Brooklyn. What’s been the most surprising or unusual recommendation?

SS: One of the first artists I interviewed for the blog was Tom Freeman of Covey (an amazing project!), who chose a cemetery as one of his recs. When we arrived there to do a photo shoot, we found it closed and locked, so he and my photographer ended up hopping the fence and running off through a field of tombstones to get the shots. We might all be going to hell, but hey—we did it for art!

RFB: Who would your dream guest(s) be and why?

SS: Dead or alive? Tom Petty and Phoenix are all-time favorites, but I’m not sure either of them would have strong opinions about the best spots in Brooklyn these days. There are a TON of people I’d love to interview, but I think Matt and Kim would be the most hilarious guests with the coolest recs. I was lucky enough to do a phone interview with Kim a few years ago, and I can only imagine how rowdy it would get with two of them on the air. (Anyone have a connection?!)

RFB: What would you hope listeners—especially those who are not from Brooklyn—take away from each show?

SS: Brooklyn isn’t exactly a hidden gem, and it’s no secret that there’s a massive amount of creative talent here. But what’s blown me away is how supportive people within the community here seem to be of each other. Part of my show involves the guest(s) choosing songs to spin from other local artists they love, and hearing musicians rave about each other’s work always makes for a nice and fuzzy feeling. Along those same lines, every musician I’ve interviewed has been so genuine and nice, and there’s been no “too-cool-for-school” action. It’s nice to know that in a city this big and crazy, there are so many people who are willing to help you out and support your dream. (Corny, I know, but I LOVE IT HERE.)

Tune in to Bands do BK Thursdays at 11pm.