It All Started With A Broken Foot

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 12:51

An Interview with Scars on 45

by: Casey Pukl

It’s hard to believe some of the stories that come out of the mouths of the members of indie rock powerhouse Scars on 45. Their journey is one that will leave you laughing, scratching your head, and wishing you had the same luck and raw talent. I had the pleasure of sitting down with the band when they came to play Jingle Ball last week, and I couldn’t be more excited for their return in February. Not only is the band super talented, but they’re also five of the most funny and friendly people I’ve ever encountered. Sitting down to chat with them felt like having Christmas dinner with a big family. There was a lot of love, laughs, and more than a few wise cracks. Sit back, fire up the video, and get to know the band.

 

CP: So, you didn’t initially start off playing music, correct? You were a soccer player?

Danny: Well, yes, soccer. That’s nice. Football. I’ll call it what we call it (laughs).

CP: Whoops. It’s the American in me. So now tell me how you went from playing football to starting the band?

Danny: Well, I played football from an early age, and then I played for a team called Huddersfield town. And then when I got to about 21 or 20, I broke my foot, which was, well it technically wasn’t my foot. It was my two big toes. Wait, no, it was my small toes.

Aimee: You’ve got two big toes?

Danny: Yeah, so that kind of brought an end to my football career. I didn’t really know what to do with myself, but luckily there was an acoustic guitar that I used to play around the house. So I just taught myself a few chords, and then I met Stu.

Stu: Taught me some chords as well.

Danny: Yup yup, taught Stu some chords. He hasn’t learned many more in ten years, (laughs), and then we met Nova, who is our keyboardist. And then us three, we kind of wrote some songs, hung around, tried to find more members to form a band. Then Chris came along, and then finally Aimee came along. She was an old school friend of Nova who didn’t know she could sing.

CP: I was just about to go there- I was reading some of this stuff in your bio and I couldn’t believe it. So you all had a bunch of people who had never played instruments before, and then you’ve got Aimee who has no idea she can even sing!

(This is where the entire band just started laughing, and agreed).

Stu: Basically, we shouldn’t be musicians.

CP: It’s incredible to think about. It’s really such a cool story.

Nova: It really is.

CP: So Aimee, what did you think when they said, ‘We want you to sing’?

Aimee: Are you sure? (Laughs) I was around at Nova’s house and I’d be singing. Nova, how old was I?

Nova: 17 or 18. Must have been.

(Whole band starts debating).

Danny: She was probably 22 or 23. So, it was like 3 or 4 years ago.

Aimee: Nova was playing piano at his house, just playing around. You know when you just know a tune and you just start singing, not even thinking about what you’re doing. I’d be making a cup of tea, and I’d start singing. And Nova went, “Can you sing?” And I went, “Uhh… I don’t know?” And he said, “I think you can sing!” And then he said that Danny wanted a female vocalist on one of the songs for the album called “Insecurity.” So I had an audition (laughs), no I just went down and recorded it to see if it worked, and recorded it, and he seemed to like it, didn’t he?

Danny: Yeah, that’s about right.

Aimee: And then I sang on another song, and another song, and another song, and eventually they had to let me in the band. They tried their best not to let me in it though. (Laughs)

CP: They tried to keep you out of it?

Stu: It was Nova.

Aimee: They didn’t want a girl in the band!

Danny: I wanted a girl in the band!

Chris: No, we did!

Stu: I wanted one too. It was Nova!

Nova: I already saw her every single day going to school and stuff.

Aimee: Exactly, so I thought about it for a while. Do I really want to be in a band with Nova?

Nova: We used to all be in these really bad bands before. And Aimee used to be one of the groupies.

Aimee: I wasn’t a groupie! I came to a few gigs.

Nova: She was a fan.

Aimee: I’m a fan of you, yeah.

Nova: Thank you.

CP: Awesome. So tell me how this record came about. Did you go into it aiming to make a record, or just start recording some songs?

Danny: We kind of tried to go down that route that a lot of English bands do. You know, do gigs in London and stuff. But that never really worked for us because we kind of weren’t really doing anything worth writing about. We just focused our attention on trying to record. We kind of locked ourselves away in a little rehearsal studio and just taught ourselves how to record. We did some demos with a friend of ours. And then one of those demos got on CSI: New York, a song called “Beauty Running Wild,” was in quite a key scene. And the money from that really enabled us to buy some better equipment, and we just started from scratch. We bought a Macbook computer, and we just started recording the album on that computer, and that’s literally the only piece of equipment that we had.

CP: For the tech kids out there, what program where you using?

Danny: We were using Logic on that, and that’s literally what we recorded the album on. And then those recordings got in the hands of Chop Shop/Atlantic, and they just wanted to sign us from those recordings. We assumed that when we signed, we’d go into a studio and rerecord the album, but they were just like ‘Well, we want to release this.’

CP: That works!

Danny: Right. So the album really couldn’t be anymore us, really. We did it all ourselves pretty much. In part, you look at it, and you think, ‘Oh, we could’ve improved on that part and that part,’ but it’s just us completely from the first chord to the last chord.

Stu: I like that— from the first chord to the last chord. That’s good.

Nova: We’re very proud of it now. It’s very close to our hearts.

Danny: It’s got a lot of good memories, it’s not like we did it when we were signed. We did it when we were still…

Stu: It was still exciting and …

Danny: We literally had nothing when we did it.

Stu: We didn’t have a record deal, and we got just a little bit of money from the CSI sync, and it was exciting. We were just going to make an album for ourselves.

Chris: We had no idea it was going to be released.

Nova: We hoped we would record something and burn some CDs and give them to our friends, and it would go through the rounds. More people would find out about the band that way, and then maybe we would get a record deal.

Danny: I think we got to a point where we just thought, ‘Oh well, if we record an album, we could maybe sell it at gigs.” And we didn’t really do many gigs, so we thought it would just be nice for our friends to hear it, so when we found out we were signing to Chop Shop/Atlantic, it was like, ‘Wow.’ It all came around really quickly. From the moment that Steve, our manager, played it to Alec, who kind of owns Chop Shop, it was really within a matter of weeks really, we were signing. It was fast.

Nova: Happy days.

CP: Wow, that is really fast. So now, have you mostly been touring the states?

Stu: Completely touring the states.

Nova: This last tour, if you want to call it that, we’ve been here for six months. But we’ve actually been in America for ten months in the last twelve months combined.

CP: Do you guys have any favorite places?

Stu: They’re all favorites. It wouldn’t be fair to say one.

Danny: We always say that you really can’t put into words how different our life is from just two years ago. So, I had only ever been to Florida on a family vacation, and I’d only ever been once or twice, but I was very lucky to be able to afford to go growing up. We were very lucky to afford to go to America. So the fact that now we’re going to every single city and town, we just meet every new person with the same enthusiasm of the previous city. Every single place has something that just kind of takes our breath away. Then there are certain cities where you think, ‘Yeah, this is really special.’ Like Portland, for instance, I don’t know if it’s because the weather is like it is at home, or it’s just a cool city on the water, but you have certain cities that stand out to you.

Nova: I think from every city, you take a little bit away with you every time you go. We’ve been to almost every big major city apart from Miami, and we’ve been to tons of little ones as well. Some of them, we’ve been to four times already. When you go, you take a little bit away that makes it even more special than the last time you went.

Stu: Everywhere we go, everyone just welcomes you with open arms. I can’t think of one place that hasn’t been that way.

Nova: It’s so welcoming. Everyone has been so welcoming. A lot of times you think of a city and you think of your experience in that city. Even if it’s not one of the major ones, you remember your time there. Peoria comes to mind.

Stu: Yes, Peoria!

Nova: This was a town I’d never even heard of, but we were treated like kings and queens there! When you turn up like that, you’re always going to think of that.

Danny: I think that is the thing about America, you go to all of these big major cities, and you think, ‘This is going to be just an incredible experience.’ And it is, but the towns that you least expect to be special, they’re the ones that you’ll always remember. There are all of those small towns in the south where we think there will be maybe three or four people there, and you turn up and there’s like 300 people singing every word.

Aimee: Last time we did a show in San Diego, we were on a boat, wasn’t it?

Nova: Yup.

Aimee: It was amazing. It was light when we set off, but then halfway through the night, obviously it got dark, and we went under this bridge, and it was all lit up. It was just amazing to see.

Stu: That was one of my favorites.

Nova: It was so cool to see the skyline and then all of the helicopters going to the training camp nearby.

Danny: That’s one of the greatest experiences we’ve probably ever had.

Stu: We’d been asked to play on the boat for a party, and I think we probably thought there would be fifty or sixty people there. But we turned up and there were like 600 people there.

Aimee: We thought we were going to sink at one point! (Laughs)

CP: Are you planning to go back home anytime soon?

Danny: Friday! End of this week. Stu actually goes back tomorrow to see his kids, but we’ll all be heading home for Christmas. And then in January, we’ll be starting to head out for our own gigs for a month. Our first time.

Stu: Our own gigs!

Aimee: First headline tour! And then we’ve actually got a show back home on the 23rd, which just sold out.

CP: That’s awesome! Congratulations!

Aimee: Thanks! We don’t usually sell out gigs at home.

Stu: Yeah, but it only holds fifty people (laughs). Just kidding.

Nova: Kidding! Six hundred people. (Gets super close to the mic on my iPhone) Six hundred!

Danny: We very rarely play at home, because we don’t really have the opportunity, but it’s going to be nice. The last gig that we did in England…

Stu: Over a year ago!

Danny: We had just signed, but we’d never been to America. I don’t think people really knew what we were going to do. But now, knowing everything we’ve done in this last year, it’s nice to be able to go home and play a gig in front of our friends.

Aimee: My family actually gave me a surprise party when I came home last time. They were so proud.

Nova: After Christmas?

Aimee: When we came home after like 4 months in America.

Nova: (to other band members) Oh yeah? I wasn’t invited. Were you invited?

Stu: I wasn’t invited, were you?

Chris: I wasn’t invited.

Danny: I was invited.

Aimee: The party was just for me, not the rest of you!

Danny: I was invited; I just didn’t go.

Aimee: My family was proud of me, and nobody else.

Nova: Ouch.

CP: Well, let’s avoid any further hurt feelings and leave this interview to be continued when you guys come back to see us in February, shall we?

Danny: We’re going to give each other hell anyway.

Special thanks to the band for their time, and an amazing performance at Star’s Jingle Ball show! Don’t miss them February 23rd! Take a listen to them on Spotify at the link below!

Scars on 45

WHAT: Scars on 45
WHEN: Saturday, March 3, 9:30pm
TICKETS: $10-$23 Buy Tickets
MORE INFO: Artist Profile