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INTERVIEW: Scam Avenue

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Sailor”?

Lawrence: It’s a song about moving on—about something ending and something new beginning, be it good or bad.

Devery: I love “Sailor” so much.  I feel like “Sailor” is this millennium’s “If You Leave”—it’s a perfect prom song.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

Lawrence: Nothing specific. I guess I was vaguely thinking about certain people I used to spend time with. I was more channeling a mood than trying to write about anything in particular.

How was the film experience?

Lawrence: It was a lot of fun! The director of photography, Brad DeCecco, is an old friend, and we’ve done lots of stuff together in the past, so it all went pretty smoothly. It felt like a hang, basically, except there was a camera around. We shot it in the streets near our rehearsal space. There’s a popular music venue nearby and it was a Saturday night so it was busier and noisier than maybe would have been ideal. But it all worked out. Those shots of us singing were actually done a half block away from the venue and there was this loud pumping music emanating from it which occasionally made it hard for us to hear the song we were lip syncing to. So if we look like we’re concentrating really hard and/or distracted in those shots that’s why!

Devery: Really fun—though it was freezing outside! Some of the street shots were at 2 am and I was so cold I was shaking so hard I nearly had a seizure—someone would throw a sweatshirt over me between takes and then I’d throw it back to them and run back to my mark. It felt satisfying to shoot on the street where I spend so much time working on something that I love so much. Brad is a joy to work with. It was definitely surreal to hear this pumping club music while singing along to our track under a floodlight on the sidewalk.

Why naming the album after this track in particular?

Lawrence: It just seemed to encapsulate the overall mood of the songs on the EP. It wasn’t a conscious decision but looking at the songs now they all seem to be about being in one place and feeling vaguely (or extremely) uncomfortable with being in that place and wanting to be in a different place. And in “Sailor,” that move happens.

How was the recording and writing process?

Lawrence: Pretty straightforward. I wrote the music and words and I had a pretty good idea of what the arrangement should be so it was basically just a matter of recording what was already there in a sense. I was recovering from a cold when I did my vocal so my voice sounded a little different from how it normally does but it ended up suiting the song.

Devery: One of my favorite things about the process was our discussions as a band about the tracks and the mixes, getting them exactly where we wanted them to be.

How has the 80s have influence you guys as a band and why this decade in particular?

Lawrence: The 80s were kind of a bizarre period because you had a new generation of people making music and a lot of the old rules got thrown out the window and people were trying really new things. So there’s a lot of interesting sounds from that period. People often hear us and latch onto the 80s thing because of the synths I suppose but that’s just one of many influences on our music. For example, I’m a huge Beach Boys fan and a lover of 60s music in general and that’s definitely something that’s in the songs. I don’t want us to be pegged as 80s revivalists because that’s not where our heads are at at all. We didn’t set out to be such-and-such kind of band with such-and-such kind of sound. We just want to make good music.

Devery: I think it’s less about “the 80s” and more that particular artists from that period have significantly influenced us, individually and as a group. There was a period when I was younger where I had Kate Bush’s “The Kick Inside” and “Never For Ever” on repeat for about two years, and I think there’s traces of that in my contribution to this record. But I’m also a huge fan of 60’s French music – Gainsbourg changed my life. Ultimately Scam Avenue is its own creature, we aren’t trying to sound like anyone or any era.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Lawrence: The music just came to me one day. I usually come up with the music first and then the words come after.

Devery: I think our songs are “about” what the listener imagines when they hear them. You know what they mean in the way you know what a dream means.

Any plans to hit the road?

Lawrence: No, but you never know …

What else is happening next in Scam Avenue’s world?

Lawrence: Well the immediate thing is that the EP is going to be released at the end of October. After that, who knows? I’m terrible at planning things.

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, play guitar, music geek, movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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