Friday, April 18, 2014

Scammers [Interview #172]

1)     What kind of scammer would you say better represents you: a church tent healer or psychic mediums such as John Edwards?

1.) I have mixed feelings towards the name Scammers. It really has nothing to do with the music but I've allowed it to sink into my live performances, which are sort of chaotic and demand crowd interaction. In that sense, it's church tent healer. There's a feeling that you have to get excited about it or leave quickly, because nonbelievers are usually made into volunteers. That said, after these next couple tapes come out I'm giving the name a rest and trying out what it's like to be Phil Diamond. I've been Scammers for a stint, but I've been Phil Diamond all my life.

2)     What is there to do in Missouri?

2.) Missouri I'm not too sure. I live in Kansas City, which sits in both states... Kansas City is a strange little town with an overactive social scene and a lot of motivation to Start Things. A lot of this motivation comes from the art institute graduates / dropouts and their need to change Art into What-They-Do. This has a cool little effect on the place, though oddly it often ends up promoting restaurant and foody culture. KC is a foody town. There's a million places to eat an entrée over $20 and drink $11 mixed drinks. The ones who start these places are usually artists or people interested in becoming known in the art scene.

Overlapping but less conspicuous is the music scene, which is generally supportive and active. This is a town where you can play live every week, a couple times a week, and it doesn't especially effect the audience, because the audience is always the same 20-50 people. It's a good place to cut your teeth as it were.

3)     How did you end up releasing cassettes on so many different, yet great tape labels?

3.) The tape scene spans the world but is very small and very connected through music blogs and facebook friendships. I met a lot of these guys through writing for Decoder or setting up shows in KC. It's easy to meet people in these smaller tour stops because you're generally one of a handful of satellite contacts for touring artists. I'm sure in New York it'd be way harder.

4)     Do you feel cassettes are the superior form of musical playback?

4.) I've kicked this one over a million times now and think that music no longer has a medium, much like it never had a medium at the beginning... the rest of it is just how you want to display the item you buy and how convenient it is to listen to. Tapes were great for me when I had access to a car with a tape player, but my new car has a CD player. I've never had a car with a record player.

Tapes are interesting though. The tape scene is a really rebellious force in a world of bought-promotion. You won't see many tapes getting Spin or Pitchfork reviews, but you'll see them getting some traction. I've never had much luck selling them over the internet though, so it's a challenge to tape labels who don't have the artist's live show right there in front of them to peddle things at. People still prefer vinyl, but it's effing expensive to release.

5)     On the description of the “Conventions” CD you seem to prefer CDs over everything else.  Do you feel that the death of the CD has helped make it cool again?

5.) I think that was a joke, but honestly... yeah. I have 4 cds sitting in my car right now. Thug Entrancer, The Body, a live MV & EE thing, and some kinda boring promo copy of something else. I have listened to these albums way way way more than what I've added to my iPod lately, even though it's always in my pocket. I enjoy CDs for the same reason I enjoy tapes. It's a shame they've got a bad rep at the moment. Wav files are still way better than MP3's.

6)     Do you feel that digital music should have a set price- such as a dollar per song for example?

6.) I don't know. I think that digital music has been made tricky because artists are only paid in exposure. I tried doing a pay-what-you-want thing once for a bandcamp album and a lot of people downloaded it and no one bought it. I've tried charging $7, $6.66, and $5 on bandcamp for downloads, and $5 seems to be the only one that sells a lot of copies / bits / whatever.

7)     Your new tape is called “Cover You” and it is on Field Hymns.  Do you feel that “Far Behind” was overrated and “Cover Me” is the best Candlebox song ever?

7.) This is the one I don't know how to answer.

8)     Will there be a physical release for “A Song That Can Exist”?  A cassette perhaps?

8.) Well, A Song That Can Exist was released on a pretty short run cassette through Jehu & Chinaman. It sold out pretty fast I guess. I still haven't seen any copies. I would love there to be more available. I'll probably make a CD of it when I get some money. This is my general gripe with the tape thing; they either don't sell at all or they sell out immediately and then there's no more physical copies for anyone to have.

9)     Final thoughts, shout outs, plugs, etc… ???

9.) My wife has been building this child inside of her for nearly 8 months now. I've never seen anyone deal with so much bullshit over participating in a *normal part of human society* and I'm very proud of her / impressed with how strong she's been through it. I would have killed people by now, so my shout outs are to her.

As far as Scammers goes, I'm expecting 2 more tapes this spring from cool tape labels and I'm finishing up the first Phil Diamond release... real excited about that one.

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