The UK’s hardworking, film-loving SCAMS are the most recent top pick amongst a plethora of bands who’ve sent us their music, just dying (ahem) for a chance to answer Sentimentalist Mag’s own version of the infamous Proust Questionnaire. They are one of Northwest England’s rock/electronica standouts, with both stellar shows at Liverpool Sound City and SXSW behind them, and a debut album to come, slated for a September release.

What year did SCAMS form?

This band has its roots in years-old ties, a few of us have been playing together for a while now under different names but if I was getting all Wikipedia about things I’d say Scams formed last year in 2009.

How did all the band members meet?

Tom and Depo went to school and used to play in another band together, Paul and I got to know each other when he made the transition from a fan of one of my old bands to a member of said band when I realised how much better he was at playing than our bassist. Tom joined up with us at the start of Scams and Depo’s just taken over on drums recently.

What is the band’s favorite venue/city to play?

You can’t deny yourself a great hometown show every now and then; Chester’s too small a city to attract all the big names but when bands like us play everyone’s up for it. Our most memorable shows have been in places like Hamburg, Bergen and Austin for SXSW ‘cause when we play this far away from home and people still love what we’re doing it puts the biggest collective smile on our faces.

What’s your funniest band audition story?

We didn’t audition any of us in the band really; at least we all knew what we were capable of before we got involved together from seeing each other play in various different ways over the past few years. Depo was the only guy who really auditioned as we had a few drummers who wanted to join at the time and he hadn’t been behind a kit properly for a while since moving onto guitar but him being an old friend and being able to put up with us trumped it. We got him to play the songs first which he did fine then immediately had him play the sample pads on top of the normal drumming for the song. It’s funny watching a drummer do this for the first time as it’s like patting your head and rubbing your tummy; we then got him to sing harmonies as well. He pulled it off first time with his usual self lamenting attitude and that’s good enough for us!

What was the strangest/most interesting thing to happen to the band?

Probably at SXSW in Austin, we were outside a Wendy’s, and sat opposite a man in a bear costume who was having an argument with a drunk driver after he nearly ran his girlfriend over. He was shouting “I’M NOT A GAY BEAR, YOU’RE A GAY BEAR!” at him at the top of his lungs.

If you could meet any musical hero living or dead, who would it be and what would you say to this person?

This is far too hard to answer, If I’m in the right mood I’ll say thing like “Meatloaf and ask him how he’s so awesome.” Personally, (and I know this is far too obvious an answer), but it would be Michael Jackson. The idea of that level of fame both fascinates and terrifies me and as I grew up, he grew more and more out of touch with reality. I don’t know what I’d say to him though, probably ask him what he usually had for breakfast, how he likes his eggs or something.

What do you simply hate about being in a band? You know, like the sound man showing up two hours late for a gig, buying guitar strings from “that guy” at the music store who is more interested in his Chinese food than ringing you up, or trying to find your drummer, (sorry drummers), or insert your band mate who always goes missing, two minutes before your set time.

Anyone in a band will tell you the worst thing is all the waiting around, every gig is pretty much just waiting till you get to play your 45 mins. Watching things run over at badly organized gigs so you have to cut things short is even worse. I don’t get nervous but I do find it hard to relax and watch other bands, etc., until after we’ve played. I’ll also say what’s bad at the moment is having to fit the band around everyone’s day jobs, it’s doable but ultimately a ball ache of organization. I think that it’s every band’s dream to just be able to entirely focus on the band alone.

What is the band currently working on?

Ever ones for making life hard for ourselves, we’re making a series of mixed media videos for the songs on our debut album. I’m in the middle of a frame by frame animation for a song of ours called “Youngblood”. We did a stop motion video for the song “Lions And Tigers And Bears”, which was hard, but this is other level shit. I’m working with a friend of mine and we’ve decided that balls-out hard work is the only way we’ll ever get it finished around other commitments, meaning we’re each hand drawing around 150 frames a day. This is all leading up to our single and album release, so if it encourages more people to check out our music it’ll be worth it.

This is a temporary video for one of the songs from our album made entirely from cartoons from old episodes of Sesame Street.

  1. [...] SCAMS: Now Hear ThisSentimentalist Magazine… buying guitar strings from ?that guy? at the music store who is more interested in his Chinese food than ringing you up, or trying to find your drummer, … [...]