Interview with Scattered Hamlet: Adam Joad and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself as an artist?
AD: I don’t really think about how I’d describe myself. When I think of an artist I think of high society hipster looking folks with inflated views of their importance talking at an art show somewhere in Manhattan… you know staring at a canvas with something painted on it that looks like a 7 year old threw paint on. I know that’s a crazy generalization but I’ve always distanced myself from the term. I like my music or art to be an extension of common people, not some obscure elitist stuff. So maybe like blue collar or low brow is the best way to describe me— better yet, the Alpha Rock Supreme, the American Dream!
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
AD: I don’t really have any formal music training… but I first got involved in music by carrying amps for my friends. That led to hopping in a van yelling in a punk band, then learning guitar, moving to LA, eventually starting a successful band and then doing it full time. As for where I’m from, I was raised in rural Appalachia near the mason Dixon line, I was born on Long Island New York and spent my early years there. My Dad’s family were farmers out on the Island. Right now we’re based back between my bunker in Appalachia and Nashville.
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
AD: Life and other music inspires me to make music. I love listening to music and I get ideas from probably anything I’ve ever listened to. Without that formal musical training I’ve developed like my own language. Really learned musicians hate working with me, I may say, you know throw some “Iommi’s in there” or we need to have a “Thin Lizzy” kind of part, or add a “John Christ” thing. So I base my musical language around bands I associate things with. Like those comments would make sense to people who work with me ha ha. But experiences too, a lot of our songs are about experiences I’ve had or that I’ve seen other people have. The new album “Stereo Overthrow” for example is mostly about my dealings with record labels and living during the pandemic as musicians not being able to perform — from a rural perspective obviously. Like Rural King, have you ever been to that store? If not it’s like the greatest place ever. I got thrown out once during the pandemic but they showed me love on Twitter so I’m still a Rural King fan.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
AD: I want to systematically destroy all home schooled beta rock and make music unsafe again.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
AD: See that’s my problem, I don’t savor the moment, I just look for the next barrier to break through or hill to climb. Maybe playing with Dee Snider or Kid Rock.. I don’t know. I’m always excited when I see orders coming in from places we’ve never been.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
AD: That’s a problem, get out of your fucking bedrooms and get out and play and connect with people. I like that the Internet and home recording has leveled the playing field giving everyone a voice but there’s a downside to not having gatekeepers. Without them a bunch of garbage that’s not ready for consumption saturates the market. I hear it all the time, “soon as I get this recorded I’m putting it out on Spotify.” Well that sucks, it’s probably only like demo quality, you and your boy/girlfriend are the only person wanting to see it there, and you have no demand or method for promoting it. The “if you record it they will come” attitude doesn’t work. Maybe you’ll get lucky and it will go viral… You may also get struck by lightning or bit by a shark. Maybe win the lottery. I favor hard work and getting out there and doing it -Kicking down doors that are shut in your face, walking around obstacles, getting up when you get knocked down. Live life – that’s where music comes from. It doesn’t come from Dad’s credit card. A buddy of mine who’s a rock god said it to me best, it takes a good product, hard work and some pixie dust to make it in the music industry. I don’t know what pixie dust is but I think Sean snorted some at our hotel. Seriously though, to stand out you have set yourself apart from the pack.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
AD: How do I personally book shows? I hate booking. I leave that up to our booking agent and manager. Sometimes I’ll personally reach out to buyers if I already have a relationship with them and set it up.. or I’ll check in with friends who are in bands I know. Promotion we do through social media, word of mouth and sometimes we hire PR companies. We have four dates coming up in December and then full tours in 2022 metal god’s permitting. The last two years have sucked for live music.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
AD: You can’t stop technology. Downloading used to be big but now it’s all streaming. I use Spotify all the time, I love it. Unfortunately it doesn’t pay artists much at all. We make our money playing live, selling vinyl, merch, and even CDs. We’re lucky, our fans come to shows and buy physical products from us. For a band our size our Spotify numbers by “industry standards” aren’t good. I could care less though because we sell way more albums and concert tickets than algorithm bands with hundreds of thousands of monthly listeners but none of “monthly listeners” know who they are. They are just on some good playlists and they sound like everything else on that playlist so they don’t stand out from the other bands on the playlist at all… shit some of them even are paying for the streams so they look bigger than they are. So yeah, I like streaming sites but there’s problems with them. They are creating “algorithm bands” and that hurts the art.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
AD: Wow, so many. Off the top of my head Air Supply’s “Making Love out of Nothing at All,” because it’s one of the greatest songs ever written and performed. Or maybe John Lennon’s “Imagine” or Bryan Adams “Summer of 69’” I wish I wrote all of those.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
AD: Yeah there’s a metric shit ton I don’t like. It’s not enough to take me out of the game though. I’m not much for complaining. I chose to play the game and rules are changing, I either keep playing or quit, crying about what you don’t like doesn’t change it. Right now, and this is with art in general, I hate the politically correct, social justice warrior, cancel culture safe space confines artists are supposed to create in. No art worth anything has ever been safe. Artists should be pushing boundaries of the mainstream, not conforming to mainstream standards. Fuck the Sex Pistols would be cancelled in a minute today. We’ve regressed and we’re becoming a bunch of pansies afraid of hurting people’s feelings. If my words hurt your feelings you’re soft son, life’s going to whoop your ass.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
AD: We’re working on promoting the new album that drops Nov 12 “Stereo Overthrow.” We’ve already released two videos for it. So at the bunker there’s a lot of mail orders being packed and then we’ll be promoting the shows in December.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music online?
AD: Google that shit or check one of these sites.
Scattered Hamlet links:
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