Wednesday 9 May 2018

10 Questions: Scum

This interview was going to form part of a larger article; however, I've decided to post it up this evening so that I'm not keeping Scum waiting any longer. Scum are a London based hardcore band with links to links to Harrogate, where I reside. Those links have seen them release a split cd/digital EP with local hardcore band Ericbana (who I'll be featuring in the coming weeks). They came up here recently to play and EP release show alongside Ericbana, Leeds punks Strong Boys and fellow Harrogate band The 7ups. Thanks to Scum for taking the time to answer my questions. 

Who is in Scum and where are you from?

Scum is a four piece from Harrogate and London, Ross Lilley is our vocalist, Ash Merritt on guitar, Jamie Lyons on drums and Alin Lordache on bass. We're essentially nasty fellows who play something resembling metal/hardcore with a bit of thrash and grind thrown in for good measure. 

What is the history of the band? When and how did you form?

Scum was started by me (Ash) and Lyons around 2014 as a way to let off steam and exercise our musical muscles outside of the more straight ahead punk bands we were playing in around the time the band started. It didn't take us long to come to the realisation that we way preferred the musical freedom and heaviness of playing in a band like Scum, it quickly became both of our main gig! It took us a little bit to find Ross and Alin, two years in actual fact, we're still trying to get rid of them. Initially we started off a little more techy but as the band progressed, the groove became king, more extreme elements of punk seeped which takes us up to where we are right now. 

Have any of you played in previous bands and are you in any other bands currently?

Lyons and I (Ash) have played in a bunch of bands together over the years, we've done everything from hardcore to twinkly emo music but currently Scum is our main and only. Ross has played in supremely heavy bands namely Blind Mentality around the Pompey (Portsmouth) area which is where he's from. Alin played in a Birmingham based tech metal band called Rise Of My Empire for a good few years before joining us. 

Who write’s the lyrics/music? Is it collective?

The process tends to be that I (Ash) write the rough outline for a tune, then Lyons and I will properly get together in the practice space and structure it out and make it sound like us. Alin will then re-write the bass parts (always for the better). Lyric wise Ross is a loner so we solely rely on him to come up with shit. He's good at it so we basically leave him to it! 

What subjects do you cover in your lyrics?

It tends to be all quite serious and po faced! The folly of humanity, war, mental struggle, financial struggle, the political and social state of the world at large all are topics Ross has covered. 

Are there any bands that have influenced you?

A fuck tonne, the Dillinger Escape Plan are a massive one for me (Ash), mainly from the perspective of our approach, i.e. fuck the conventional path, make your own. Early Trash Talk and early Hatebreed for the groovy hardcore side of things. We personally grew up on a steady diet of Metallica, Pantera and Sepultura which all have a huge bearing on the riff style. That being said, we really try to not borrow too much from any one band in particular, we're incredibly conscious of when things do and don't sound like 'us' and we fully intend to keep it that way. 

What are your favourite albums/EPs at the moment?

...From the Ground by this band called Scum, duh. Seriously though, recently we all really dug the new Code Orange, we've also been on a massive Jamie Lenman hit recently, Devolver is fucking dope as are Reuben who amazingly i've only just discovered. I also recently discovered Bark Market who are incredible for that lo-fi rock and roll southern fried sound. The most recent Car Bomb album kills, and on that heavy side of things, the most recent releases from all Pigs Must Die and Nails, Employed to Serve, Knocked Loose, Fit For An Autopsy, Carpenter Brut are nuts. We're also heavy into various other genres from Horace Silver to Jamiroquai to MF Doom. 

What is your favourite gig/tour story? 

Every gig tends to be rife with alcohol fuelled shenanigans, it's the mental people that you meet gigging that stick in my mind. We played the Devonshire Arms in Camden a little while back, spent the whole day getting rather messy with strange old punks. The sound engineer turned out to be one of the said old punks, he went by the name of Diesel and bought a pitbull (who was much nicer than he was). He was a quick to temper old gentleman who did not take kindly to me calling him son in true Yorkshire fashion in a urinal encounter. People like that make gigging hilarious! 

What is your local heavy/punk scene like and who should we check out (band-wise)? 

Scum had two main phases of existence, for the first few years we were in London and unfortunately there wasn't much of a scene but in the North there’s Leeds with it’s famously sick hardcore scene, bands like Broken Teeth (Manc) and Higher Power (Leeds) are sick as well as more underground bands like Hex (Leeds). We're basically down with most of the bands that play places like Temple of Boom and Chunk. We aren't too aware of of whats going down in York but we're playing there at The Spread Eagle on the 13th of April (plug) so I guess we'll see! 

What is your favourite tipple?

The band drink is basically rum and coke, a drink we can consume to a shameful degree. Lyons is an alcohol bin and will drink basically anything. Alin occasionally brings us back home made Romanian moonshine from his trips to the motherland which tastes like petrol and could knock out a small army. Great for a cold, because it will kill you. 

You can listen to their split with Ericbana, as well as thier earlier EP below:-

Both are available as name-your-price downloads too.

Once again, cheers to Ash and Scum for taking part in this interview. I'll be posting up a review of the split soon too.

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