In his first music video, Charlotte-raised artist Suspence sets the stage for his single “Rules” over a beloved space for skaters on the East side of the city.
Suspence, the artist name for Spencer Sims, saw not only an opportunity to highlight the community he’d become a part of over at the DIY skatepark that recycled the former Eastland Mall site, but also to capture a visual memory of a place many skateboarders called home.
Founded in August 2015, the Eastland DIY skatepark grew up and out by the hands of the local community that wanted a park made from their own collective visions. As of March 3rd of 2022, that spacious vision was closed off by the City of Charlotte, isolating yet another part of the local culture for development, in this case a new practice field for the recently established Charlotte FC soccer team.
Sitting down with Suspence at Bart’s Mart, a home pub he found for himself with its own growing music community, we took a few moments to remember the places that, like the skate park, were essential mainstays of the local community before either the businesses folded or were bought out.
“It’s your Prices Chicken Coop, it’s your Zack’s Hamburgers. This is all going to be gone, so this is almost going to be a way to remember Charlotte [as it was].”
Much of Suspence’s drive in using the skatepark as both a stage and backdrop to his first video also extends to his own memories. Having worked in the mall when it still stood, he can still visualize a hazy layout, and like many Charlotteans, it has been a journey watching over each change to our environment, both good and heartbreaking.
“As I’m telling my story, I’m starting at where it all began. This is all slowly putting these pieces together as [any] new music is released to [help listeners] understand where I came from and what I want to do with the music.”
Connecting his track “Rules” with the video, Suspence cites his lyrics as being layered, speaking about himself as well as serving as a warning that reflects upon how society now functions outside of the real world. As well in the song, he uses Tinder as a catalyst in how even meeting people has drastically changed.
“I’m really just talking about how I think we are doing things backwards. [In the song] I’m saying ‘Get off of Tinder and go meet people in person!’, because when we only try to interact behind a screen, it’s not the right way to do things. Sure, you can get lucky and start a nice relationship, but that’s not what it is catered for. If you’re at a local bar or at the Whitewater Center, or somewhere to socialize, go socialize so you won’t just be on your phone.”
While not completely knocking how many aspects of modern life have become digitized while chatting, Suspence not only talks about a personal vision in seeing active growth in communities he’s a part of, but in his travels to make a stand at the Charlotte Council meetings, he strives to move differently, seeing a different vision for how the city could be, and in a matter of opinion he shares with others, should be.
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