The Scared Crows – new Interview
Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us. Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started and what brought you all together?
TSC: The Scared Crows was formed in North Hollywood after about a year of bouncing around town doing living room jams. Los Angeles is really great for songwriters and musicians. There’s always somewhere new to play and the people to listen. We just kind of found each other through that method. We’re a trio at the core with Tyler Forrest on guitar and vocals, Adrian Hires on bass, and Andre Mohring and drums. This interview is with Tyler and Adrian.
PD: Have you been/are involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?
TSC: We’ve all been in various bands through time from punk rock to hip-hop. Every band we’ve been a part of has helped mold our sound as musicians. Our unique backgrounds is what makes our sound so interesting. Andre continues to play a lot of hip-hop and you can catch Adrian playing fusion jazz. Our style is a result of our musical history.
PD: What inspired the band name?
TSC: It just came out as if it had been cooped up somewhere in my mind. Instantly, it felt right. I looked it up and found it was an episode of Betty Boop from 1939. That made me love it even more.
PD: Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to?
TSC: I needed an outlet for performing and releasing songs. I was patient to find the right members, which was worth it. We’re all the same page, which is to continue writing original songs and have an actual impact on music listeners. We all share a similar world view and hope that our songs can provoke thought or emotion. It’s all for the greater good.
PD: Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?
TSC: It’s been the same. With this band, we’re all so experienced. We aren’t trying to fit into a mold or follow a trend or sound like someone else. We’re just doing what we want and sharing the wealth and spotlight. I’m sure some thing will evolve as we grow, but we all make it an effort to stay humble and remember why we do this.
PD: Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?
TSC: It’s the songs. My guitar playing has also really evolved. I’ve been writing songs since I was a teenager and have come a long way. One thing that is consistent though is the passion behind it all. The sentiment hasn’t changed, I’ve just become so fluent in music and lyrics, as you would expect from ten years of obsession.
PD: Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?
TSC: Very organic. The cool thing is today, there are no rules. Anything goes. It’s fun to incorporate different styles into our playing. We’ll do hip-hop or jazz because we want to. Our collection of voices as individuals is what makes up the sound. We’re all so unique and experienced already so it’s not really a question of trying new things. It’s doing whatever feels right in the moment.
PD: Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?
TSC: I could list a bunch of bands and musicians through time that have influenced us, but I think what we all agree on is songs. Great songs from across the globe of all eras and genres. It’s hard to even say because there are so many. When I hear Adrian play bass, it reminds me of Cake. Some say my guitar playing has hints of Stevie Ray Vaughn. When Andre plays drums, I want to hear Snoop Dogg on the mic.
PD: Is there a process to the songwriting which generally guides the writing of songs?
TSC: I have a pretty large repertoire of songs I’ve written through the years that we have brought to life to get started, but what’s exciting is now we’re starting to write together from scratch. A new idea could start from a chord progression, a bass line, melody, lyrical theme, or drum beat. Everyone writes their own parts and guides the process equally. It all comes together so naturally. We trust each other.
PD: Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?
TSC: We have two sides of us. One side is cynical and edgy and we write lyrics based on relevant topics in our society, like our song “I Hope Your Phone Dies”, a fun song mocking cell phone culture. Our other side is genuine, emotional, and reflective. We use music to express and share stories about relevant things in our lives.
PD: Give us some background to your latest release.
TSC: The last song we put out is a demo called “Animal”. We wanted to throw it out and see how people reacted. It’s a really fun, funky tune about doing what’s natural: making love. It’s so much fun to play live because we can jam on it for while and get everyone dancing.
PD: Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.
TSC: I remember coming up with the riff in my buddy Justin Kroger’s apartment, who is also an official Scared Crows member but the way. We were jamming on it and the sound of the guitar riff called for something raunchy. Like it always does, the lyrics just came out. “Make love f*** like an animal”. Instantly recorded it.
PD: Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?
TSC: Both. I really believe in performing songs for some time before committing to the record. You can piece songs together as you record, but sometimes it lacks life and experience. We’ve been playing one song called “Mercy” for almost a year as our set closer, but we still haven’t recorded it. It’s evolved so much from the beginning. You have to nourish songs, let them grow. I do love writing in the studio, though. Magic happens.
PD: Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?
TSC: We like to boogie. If you come to a show, expect to dance. We like to keep it fresh so every show is a unique experience. We always try to do something new with the sounds during live performances, whether it’s adding effects to the instrumentation or even throwing in some key changes to the songs. We always want to keep the audience surprised somehow.
PD: It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?
TSC: Honestly I think any band out there can get to where they want to be, but it requires tons of work and dedication if you’re not necessarily trying to appeal to the corporate masses. You need to give people a good reason to listen to you and to follow your music. You must be honest about everything as a musician, your lies can be pointed out by anybody, even if you’re trying to project musically in the most innocuous way possible.
PD: How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?
TSC: As much as I’m not fond of internet culture as a whole, I must admit that social media can be a great way to bring yourself out onto the music landscape. Most young people connect on social media now, why not give them something to connect them stronger like music? The downside to social media is that now there is an overabundance of people promoting music and unfortunately it’s a lot of the same boring stuff. It makes music even more trendy. But, that does offer the opportunity to stand out, which is how it is helping us.
PD: Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?
TSC: We love meeting new people, especially at our live shows and we always want people to have a good time. That’s what music is really about for me personally. Come see us and hang out.
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