Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Will Blackburn of Stop Light Observations talks influences, style


Based out of Charleston, South Carolina, Stop Light Observations has been delivering unique and subversive music since their debut album in 2013, “Radiation.” The band will be taking that unique sound to Druid City Music hall next week on March 2. We spoke with lead singer Will Blackburn about some of the band’s influences and genre-bending style.

Q: What are some influences behind the music of Stop Light Observations?

I think we have a whole bunch of influences spanning all across the board from all different types of art. As far as musical influences, anything from the ’70s. We love rock music, we love soul music, we love funk music. A lot of us really like hip hop, so we’ll listen to a lot of Outkast. I listen to a lot of Kendrick Lamar, so I feel like we’re pretty up to date when it comes to new age hip hop, and I think that’s something that kind of keeps us on our toes as far as when we go to make a song with how we’re going to mix and how we want to make it sound sonically. Even all of the stuff we watched as kids, like with John Keith and all the Nickelodeon and SpongeBob he watched when he was younger influences us. So yeah, a whole bunch of different art has shaped how and why we approach our music with a “let’s try and do something that’s never been done before” type attitude while still incorporating what we’ve learned.

Q: If you had to choose a genre or subgenre to put Stop Light Observations into, what would that be?

We get that question fairly often, and I really don’t have a good answer for it. I answer that way every single time I’m asked because as soon as you label something this or that, you’ve kind of forever tarnished it with a label. I’ll say we are alternative at our core, but then we’ll get into the studio and make something that doesn’t sound remotely alternative or rock. It’ll almost feel like more like funk or blues, it’s just not the same. I guess it does fall into that category of being an alternative version of pop or rock and roll, so it would make sense to say we are this distorted version of rock and roll. That being said, it is definitely hard to define. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter, we just roll with whatever it comes out sounding like that day.

Q: How has being from the South factored into your music?

Being from the South is a beautiful thing, it is definitely the most beautiful and eclectic part of the country and it has influenced us in a whole bunch of ways that we really don’t understand. I think we are all pretty outspoken about our political views and how we look at the world, and where we live, that really doesn’t fit into the majority. We see things in more of a progressive format. For instance, if you ever come to Charleston, every guy that’s in a fraternity down here, and I’m not picking on them I’m just using this as an example, they all dress the same, they all look the same and in some way or another, they have the same general large scope views, and I kinda noticed early on that we were never really like that. The coolest part about that is those fraternity guys will be the first ones to speak up about how they appreciate our music. I think that’s because, in some way, we are singing something that all of us have heard before and are used to, but in a whole new way and that brings us all together.

Q: Is there a specific song you guys like to cover?

We’ve always approached covers in a way that unless we feel like we can play it as well or better than the original artist, then we won’t cover it. That’s kind of tough because it’s not like you can just play someone’s music like they originally did, but we want to make it cool enough to make you say “f— yeah, that’s awesome.” We do a lot of 90s icon rock covers like the Pixies’ “Where is My Mind.” If we feel a moment in a show where we just need to pick the energy back up again, that’s a cover we will do. Usually we will only play one or two covers a show, though.

Q: What about an original song you guys like to perform the most?

That changes a lot depending on what new music we have. So if there is a new song we’ve written, we will play that at every show. Like right now we have a new song called “Problems” that is kind of punk rock-y and it is easy to play, and you can just rock out to it, so it is really fun. We also have a lot of fun playing “Purple People” and “Aquarius Apocalyptic.”

Q: What can the audience at Druid City expect next week?

Well we’ve got some new songs we are going to play and we’ve just come off of a bunch of sold out shows, so hopefully we can put on a great show. I would just expect a lot of fun. When we come down to Tuscaloosa or a college town like it, we are just coming to have fun with everyone. We aren’t trying to play perfect and precise music as much we are just trying to get sweaty, drink beer and have fun with the audience.

Stop Light Observations will be playing at Druid City Music Hall along with The Vegabonds and Lagoons on Thursday, March 2, doors open at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at

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