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Interview with The Scary Loud
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I got into playing music because I was forced into piano and theory lessons as a child. But both my grandfathers were musicians so it eventually took, and I started playing bass and guitar when I was 15. A bad band or two led to a couple of good ones after high school. A few good ones between members lead to forming The Scary Loud.
Without music? I want to say something “awesome” like “I’d be dead without music because it saved my life”, or “I could never do anything else, because I was born for this”. But in reality… I guess I’d do something similar. Like film.
Sean is wildly talented at making creature masks. Check out ClayKickerFX. Joe is really good with tech stuff, and Connor can do pretty much anything well in life. So they’d be fine.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When I’m not working on in or around my music, I’m recording, producing or mixing other people’s music as its been my career for the past 25 years.
Sean has ClayKickerFX, Joe is a big collector of fun music gear, and is a Dad. And Connor writes music and is a Dad.
How long has your band been around?
A year and a half, but Joe and Sean and I are in a hardcore band called “Twin Rivals” that was founded something like 6 years ago. We still play in that adjacent to The Scary Loud. Connor and I were in a band called The Pettit Project back in the early 2000s.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We’re from Toronto. We all grew up around Toronto in the fairly rich punk and hardcore scene in the various Toronto suburbs. I came out of the area-code 905 scene, playing along side and producing bands like Silverstein, Boys Night Out, Protest the Hero.
Connor came from the same scene and was the singer of Boys Night Out.
So even though we’re sort of more of a power-pop, or pop rock band, we’re all ex punk, hardcore or metal kids.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Frankly I just wrote down a mix of names that sounded fun. And we all voted. Amongst those names, The Scary Loud kind of lended itself to that sort of juxtaposition thing that bands do with names. Like “The Darkness” pretending to be mystical rock or metal but actually being kinda upbeat and silly. Also I really wanted this band to be about big Marshall stacks and Gibson guitars and being quite obnoxiously heavy despite essentially just writing super poppy songs. The Scary Loud seems to us to fit that dynamic. Also I thought the name and font would lend itself to a classic B-Movie monster aesthetic. Which for some reason feels like it goes with the “pretending to be badasses” rock and roll thing of yesteryear. Another names that almost made the cut were “Stuff’s Gonna ‘Splode”, “Must Kill, Must Win”, and “Bees? Bees!”
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
So we formed during Covid. So since lockdown ended, we’ve only had one show, and cancelled two others due to members getting…. Covid. So that one show was the most memorable. We’ve all played about a zillion shows with other bands over the years, and have absolutely shocking stories, but its easier to answer how I answered. We’ve got loads of shows coming up in the Toronto area over the next few months.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Out favourite venue was The Piston in Toronto. Because it's the only one we’ve played. And places we want to play are… everywhere else.
But seriously as musicians we all really like The Bovine, and Sneaky Dees, in Toronto. Also being punk kids, playing floor shows with your friends all around you in some community centre always felt like home.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Maybe something like Drug Church, because they have pop sensibilities but are a scary loud band. Weezer, because obviously. Maybe something like The Jealous Sound. Or a current pop punk band that’s making people happy these days.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
The best song in the world, played by the best musician in the world, is out there somewhere and you’ll never ever hear it. Because there are too many bands to sort through and this business is a lottery. Getting heard, no matter how good you are, or what people try to tell you about the internet making it “possible for anybody to break”, is absolutely not a guarantee. So, never, ever, ever, start playing because you expect it to go anywhere. Play music that you love, and nothing else.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Hey Sean, Connor, Joe, and Scotty… don’t release your singles in March like you intend to, because your manager will tell you to take them down and release them separately over the course of the next summer. And taking them down and putting them back up through another distributer is going to freak out the inner workings of Spotify and it’ll be a total mess.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Probably “Cranes”. It's a look into a young person’s life and obsessions, and even though she’s atypical with her various personality traits and life circumstances, she’s also has very typical, relatable feelings. And when you shine a light on anybody’s life, even when seeing the seemingly mundane day to day, its both heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time. Cranes is an attempt to take a snapshot on this girl’s life that hopefully feels familiar to the listener.
Although… it won’t feel that way to a listener just yet because the song hasn’t been released yet.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Our favourite to play, typically is “Can’t Quit Drugs”. I think we mostly also like “Cranes” and “Russian Big Muff”.
I feel like Sean likes playing “Hell” because he’s a hardcore drummer and its our fastest and most evil.
So far we get the most requests for “Can’t Quit Drugs”
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Typically, I come up with the chords, lyrics and melodies, and maybe a rough idea of lead guitar lines and drums. Then Sean and Joe figure out much better versions of the drums and lead guitars respectively. Joe comes up with a
lot of sonic pallet stuff with his crazy pedals and sounds. Since Connor joined the band, he and I will be coming up with the core elements of new songs, as we used to write together in our old band The Pettit Project, and together have a production team.
Sean and I sometimes come up with parts together from jamming, and Joe will also send me riffs that could fit for new songs as well.
As far as artwork, video, and social posts, a lot of that is Sean or our friend Derek.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I actually had to think about this because it seemed initially to me like it runs the gamut. But actually it has an underlying theme. Some of my lyrics are a bit of a“Fuck it…. Play chicken, drunk on your motorcycle” kind of carelessness. And some can be more hopefull. But this question has made me realize that a common theme is living life to your fullest. As cheesy as that sounds, I tend to be touching on that a lot, even when it seems like I’m sounding careless, or apathetic or sad. Our single “No Need School” is about following your creative dream and not choosing a typical path. “Modern Retro” is about driving fast and reckless in a two wheeled death machine. And “The Rumours True” Is about a groundskeeper at a high school that keeps himself free of unwanted relationships by helping stoke the horrible stories that kids have about him. But all of them in a way are about just staying true, authentic, and letting yourself be you.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Yup. But with any relationship in life, just communicate. Hear each other. If someone is unhappy, don’t get offended back. Hear them out, tell your side, hopefully you’re heard, and you’ll work it out.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Our album is done, but we’re releasing singles every 5 weeks or so, so check out what we have out, and look for the next single to come out shortly after.