Susto is Real. If you’ve been at all tuned in to Charleston’s music scene over the past few years, you’ve run into these words.
“That’s been there since the very beginning, before I had any inkling that people were going to like the band” says frontman Justin Osborne.
Susto is a disease sometimes described to as a “folk illness,” it is a state of restless anxiety and listlessness that is associated with Latin American cultures. Osborne was feeling the effects of susto at the time of the band’s birth. The motto “Susto is Real” began as a defense of the condition’s legitimacy. Being a folk illness people tend to write off its existence, but Osborne knew it was very much real.
Since then the words have taken on a new life as a testament to the band’s raw authenticity.
“We value very much having confessional lyrics, and a real and authentic tone and soundscape.”
Frontman Justin Osborne
Susto’s self-titled debut came out in 2014 and has been in Charleston’s heavy rotation ever since. Its Americana veneer is tempered by indie rock sensibilities, giving it a familiar but exciting air. The lyrics explore lost love, the follies of youth, and dreams broken and alive. The entire album drips with the genuineness that the band strives for and embodies susto (the disease) in musical form.
Since the debut the band has been hard at work touring. A live album, Live From the Australian Music Hall of Fame, and an EP with a calypso version of "Black Jesus" have been released, but no new Susto has been heard since 2014. At live shows the band has offered new tracks, including a record named Hard Drugs, to ease the wait. But the anticipation for a new set of songs is peaking. The inevitable question is what can you expect?
”We are not approaching anything any differently—but naturally the songs are going to be different, as we learn new things in the studio, play with new soundscapes and just progress as people in general.”
An EP is set to be released this Spring that will most likely include Hard Drugs and a few other songs the band has been playing on the road. The release of this EP is very intentional and is meant to sonically bridge their first record with the impending record set to be released this fall. The second LP will be a hybrid of the foundation Susto has built upon and the direction they’re headed.
“The second record is more expansive genre wise, but I can’t imagine that fans of the first record wouldn’t like the second record. It’s definitely Susto.”
The new album is born out of Charleston and incorporates new rhythms and sounds that are reflective of a more diverse and urban environment.
“For strictly Americana fans, there is definitely that in there but the sound is more groovy and less train-tracky. We live in Charleston; I don’t live in Puddin Swamp anymore.”
Susto is coming home Tuesday to play the Music Farm. They’re on the second leg of their tour with the group Heartless Bastards, a rocking Americana group led by powerhouse female vocals. It promises to be a great show, and you can count on hearing some new Susto to tide you over till the EP release. The band is excited to be coming home, if only for ten or so hours, before they head to the next stop on their tour.
Susto's new album reflects the urban environ in which it was created
“Charleston is the most wonderful place on the planet, and we haven’t played in town for a while. We know it’s a Tuesday night but we can’t wait to see everybody and get the city out there.”
Doors are at 7:00, get there early and show some hometown support for an incredible band. It’s one of those shows you’ll be telling your kids about when you’re old—about how you saw Susto before they were cool – because Susto is headed for success. Susto is Real.