Founded in an effort to create a safe haven for musical creativity, The Sound Wall in Opelika provides everything a musician could hope for. Stationed in a remodeled Victorian-style home that was built in 1907, The Sound Wall was remodeled by Rob and Jen Slocumb in 2016 and opened to the public in 2017.
The Slocumb’s are professionally known as the duo Martha’s Trouble. According to Rob, this project was something that the couple had been wanting to invest in for years.
“It was just something that Jen and I wanted to do a few years prior to buying it, so when we came across this house, we both had kind of a vision for what it could be,” Slocumb said.
The Sound Wall is mostly a listening room where artists from all over can play their music and people can come listen, eat and enjoy the atmosphere.
Inside the home are five main sections: a listening room that doubles as a recording space, a mixing room, a lounge area, a kitchen that provides food for their supper club events and the loft above that gives traveling musicians a place to rest during their residency.
Slocumb spoke on the effects of the pandemic on The Sound Wall. He said that after 24 months out of operation, artists are booking shows at The Sound Wall like never before.
“With the start of 2022, we have been inundated with requests to book shows,” Slocumb said.
He said that this is a great sign for live music. Since essentially all music venues were shut down because of the pandemic, seeing artists come back so strong is a sign of hope for a prosperous future at The Sound Wall, and these incoming artists have received a warm welcome from the Slocumb’s.
“We have at least two shows a month,” Slocumb said. “What we’re focused on is providing good, live music in an intimate setting.”
Though the Slocumb’s had the idea for The Sound Wall for years, it was not originally intended to be placed in Opelika. The couple had planned to move to Opelika temporarily from Canada where Jen had grown up and where they had been living. They started their family in Opelika and decided to latch on to the Opelika community.
“We moved here thinking it would be temporary. But Jen was pregnant with our son, and two years later we had our daughter. So, since we had already started a family, we just decided to make Opelika home. We weren’t planning to stay here; it just kind of worked out that way,” Slocumb said.
Slocumb also noted that he and Jen were committed to community. Their way of being involved in the community was through music. He said that they were passionate about the music scene in Opelika and wanted to see it thrive more than it had in the past.
“We’re really committed to community, and the way that we’re involved is through music because that’s what we’ve always done,” Slocumb said. “We’re really passionate about Opelika and what’s happening downtown. We saw the potential that the music scene had here.”
The Slocumb’s have made an effort to contribute to Opelika in hopes of creating a more vibrant music scene. Aside from The Sound Wall, the couple also started The Opelika Song Writers Festival in 2019, adding to their contributions to local songwriting and musicians.
Regarding the future of The Sound Wall, Slocumb stated that he was excited about the quality artists that were being booked there.
“It’s really about growing the audience and introducing them to new artists, introducing them to the supper clubs, introducing them to the whole experience of being in a listening room,” Slocumb said.
Between The Sound Wall and The Opelika Song Writers Festival, Rob and Jen Slocumb have made a huge impact on local music.
They have sought to give a voice to new artists, provide a musical experience that can be found nowhere else in the Auburn-Opelika area and bring the community together through music.
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Tucker Massey, sophomore in journalism, is a news editor for The Auburn Plainsman.