I am starting this week by speaking with Scott Lavene...
as he discusses his latest track, Methylated Blue, and how it all came to pass. He talks about filming its video in New York; which albums and sounds have made a big impression on him and what he can reveal about his upcoming album – Lavene reveals some new artists that we need to get involved with.
I ask if there are any tour dates coming up and, if he had the chance, which artist he’d support on tour; the advice he would provide to approaching musicians and which career memory stands out from the pack – he picks a cool tune to end the interview with.
Hi, Scott. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi there, Music Musings and Such. I’m ok, thanks. My week’s been swell. Mainly writing and staring out of the window.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Yeah. I’m Scott Lavene, an Essex boy. A songwriter. I make Punk ballads and Gutter-Pop; been compared to the ’70s English mob that Stiff Records put out: Ian Dury, Wreckless Eric and Elvis Costello. High prais,e indeed
Methylated Blue is your new song. How did that song start life?
It was one of those songs that emerged, fully-formed. I was part of a theatre show last year and sat at a piano during a break, sorted out the chords and melody and then the words came fast later at home.
What was it like putting the video together? Did you have much say in terms of its concept?
It was all me. The song is set in New York and the label were kind enough to let me use the budget for the video to go there and make it myself with a mate. It was great. Few ghosts from the past and bitterly cold but it’s such a great place. You could film anything and make a great video but we chose Harlem and Coney Island.
There is an album coming later this year. Is there anything you can reveal regarding song themes and sounds?
Yeah, sure. The songs are stories. One is about having a speed habit and working in a factory, one about my dislike for small talk; one about being skint, one about the afterlife; cynical takes on modern life, weird and wonky Pop. In terms of sound, I was going for a Serge Gainsbourg-meets-Chas and Dave and I think that, by jove, we’ve done it.
When did music come into your life? Can you remember the first song you heard?
Music has been part of my life since the start. Apparently, I took 7-inches to nursery. Every memory has a song attached. Stray Cats’ Runaway Boys is my first memory of music.
Which artists were important to you growing up? Who do you rank as idols?
At first, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder; Stax and Motown. Cheesy Pop and power ballads. I was into old Soul music as a small kid. Then I was a ’60s obsessive as a teenager, the Woodstock lot: The Doors, Small Faces; Joni Mitchell, Velvet Underground. I lived like it was San Francisco in the ’60s but it was actually Romford in the late-’90s.I mean, too many people are important to me to list. I haven’t even put anyone from this century. I’m a nostalgic fool, really. Idols would be Iggy Pop, Tom Waits; Nick Cave, Ian Dury and David Byrne. I like songs. I like singers. I like oddballs.
Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?
Steve Lamacq playing my first single. Dream come true. I can retire now.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Now that’s hard, but here you go.
Elliot Smith – Either/Or
It’s a cuddle. It lets you know that it’s ok to feel sad and that you’re not alone.
The Libertines – Up the Bracket
It reminds me of youth and rebellion. It’s chaotic and loose - brilliant.
The Beatles - Revolver
Perfect songs. Incredible band.
Might we see you on tour in 2019?
Yes. A couple of times. With a full band in June upon release of the album and then a solo tour in the autumn.
You have received support from D.J.s like Steve Lamacq. How rewarding is that sort of attention?
I probably care too much about that stuff sometimes but he’s a bloody hero isn’t he? 6 Music is on constantly in my flat, so to hear one of my songs on it is mind-blowing. More please. But, if my career goes down the sh*tter, I can keep that and bore my kids with it when they grow up.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Tom Waits - just so I could watch him from the side of the stage. My rider would be Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, tea bags; a kettle and a trumpet. I really want a trumpet.
How important is performing? Do you prefer it to life in the studio?
I wouldn’t say I prefer it. I could live in a studio forever. Playing live is a buzz, a fix. Making people laugh, cry and wince is pure joy and I’m grateful for every show as I’ve done my share of jobs I hate.
IN THIS PHOTO: Shop Girls
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Shop Girls, a songwriter from Cardiff. He’s got a few songs on SoundCloud. I love him. He can’t afford to get his E.P. mastered so, if there’s any fat cats reading this, give the kid a leg-up. You already know her but I’m completely in love with Adrianne Lenker’s songs and voice. Heaven.
IN THIS PHOTO: Adrianne Lenker
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I live by the coast, so I swim in the sea a lot but I unwind with music and books and films.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
The Clean – Anything Can Happen
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