Thursday, July 11, 2013

Interview: Scott Moore of 23 String Band

37: So you guys have a new album since the last time you talked to us, Catch 23, when did that come out, how’s it being received?

Scott: It came out in Fall 2011, it’s been received really well. Really positive reviews, it’s been played on the radio all over the world, it debuted at number nine, I think, on the U.S. Folk charts. We’ve sold a lot of them. People seem to like it.

37: I gotta’ say, I’ve heard a lot of Bluegrass bands in my day, but one thing that I think is really special about your sound is that you guys have some intangible element of really hard rock n’ roll that’s kinda’ hidden in the works, How do you pull that off? Where does that come from?

Scott: Oh man. Part of it’s just the music that we all enjoy. Obviously, we all listen to really different kinds of music. To answer your question, I grew up listening to a lot of 60’s and 70’s rock n’ roll, that’s what my dad would have on the radio and I always loved that music. I grew up with that even more than Bluegrass and Folk, even though I play in a bluegrass band.
I think that’s kind of true with all the guys. Several of us have played in rock n’ roll bands over the years and we’ve all come to bluegrass in our own way. On the one hand, we’re all from Kentucky and we all love the traditional music of the region, but on the other hand we have a lot of different influences. We’re all younger guys who came of age in the 90’s and I think almost everybody who came of age in that time gets excited about rock n’ roll.
            But also from a technical perspective, we have a lot of focus on energy. Early on we’d go out to shows and play, and the one word that keeps coming back to us throughout the years no matter who we’re playing to is “energy.” So we’ve always tried to put on a good show and known that that was one of our strong suits. We like to be a little edgy, which is similar to rock n’ roll.

37: This is a really big month for you guys. You’ve got Forecastle coming up, you’ve got the Grey Fox and Bowery Electric all in the next couple weeks. Are you excited for that?

Scott: *laughs* Is Bowery Electric still on our website? We actually had to cancel that show but we are gonna’ be in New York for the first time, so that’s exciting. We’ve got a couple shows there. We’re playing at the Living Room and the Jalopy Theatre in addition to the Grey Fox Festival which is a little bit north of the city. Kinda’ upstate. So yeah, it’s exciting. We’ve had the opportunity to travel the mid-south and over to the Rockies and we usually do about two or three trips a year where we’ll take a week or two and go out on the road.
            We’ve got three guys in the band with full-time day jobs that they’ve had for a long time, a lot longer than they’ve been in this band, and another guy who’s going back to school so that makes it hard to get out on the road for any length of time. Any time we get to travel, I consider myself fortunate and I’m pretty sure everyone in the band does. Going to New York is going to be a lot of fun. I grew up outside of the city and our Bass player got his Master’s Degree in the city. So it’ll be a little bit of a homecoming for me and Marty, and none of the other guys have ever been. It’ll be exciting for everybody for different reasons, I think.
            Forecastle is obviously gonna’ be a lot of fun. I’m stoked about all the other bands on the bill. I’m stoked about all the bands that I do know and excited to see a lot of the bands that I’ve never heard of. Hopefully, I’ll come away with some new favorites.

37: That brings me right into my next question. What bands are you specifically looking forward to seeing at Forecastle?

Scott: I don’t have the bill right in front of me, but I know I’m excited about someone everyone else in the universe is excited about, which is The Black Keys. These days, they’re killin’ it. I’m looking forward to that, because I’ve never seen them before.
            Dawes is another band that I’ve never seen live, but I fell in love with their first album. I’m not as familiar with their stuff since then, I’ve heard some of it on the radio. But I’m a really big fan of their harmonies and their sound and their songwriting.
            My girlfriend turned me on to Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I’m a fan of their lyrics and songwriting
            I’m also excited to see Old Crow Medicine Show. Obviously everybody in a sting band would be interested to see their performance, I think. They’ve helped open a lot of doors with this younger generation with this gradual movement that all of a sudden string band music and Appalachian music and just Folk music in general has kinda’ become cool. It was always cool, but people have been able to find out about it because of groups like Old Crow Medicine Show. The genre in general has benefitted from them and it’s fun to see their songs.
            Flaming Lips are always killer. I saw them when we played Forecastle 2010 and that’s when Wayne Coyne went out into the audience in that giant balloon and they had a crazy light show and all that stuff. I’ve not heard their new album, but I understand that it’s kinda’ stripped down a little bit more. Just kinda’ old fashioned rock n’ roll… as old fashioned as The Flaming Lips get. I’m really looking foreward to see what they can do without all the bells and whistles. Although that was a lot of fun too.

37: Yeah I’m really excited for them too. I’ve been a fan ever since I was an angry teenager and still haven’t got to see them yet.

Scott: Oh! I played on Jim James’ record and I got to see him and his band when they played at the Brown Theatre in Louisville and I’m looking forward to seeing how their sound has evolved. That was one of the first shows on their tour. I think they’ve come together a little bit more since then.

37: When’re you guys going on?

Scott: We will be playing at 3:30 on Saturday. 3:30 PM on the WFPK stage and we might be able to wiggle into a slightly earlier time slot and just play for longer. We’ll definitely be playing by 3:30 and it’s possible that we might start playing before then.  So I’d suggest getting there a little early and finding a nice spot in the grass to cheer us on. We’d definitely appreciate it.

37: For people coming into the city for the festival, what is your favorite place in Louisville to get a bite to eat?

Scott: Wow. Man, that’s a tough question. I’m a foodie. I love cooking and eating good food, and Louisville is… it’s almost a cliché to say it at this point, but Louisville is a great food town. Especially for its size, it’s got so many good places to eat.
            Man, that’s a tough one. That’s way tougher than any musical question you could ask me.

37: Well what’s a really good meal to have in Louisville?

Scott: I mean, you can’t go wrong with… um… can I give you three?

37: Yeah that’s fine, give me three.

Scott: I’ll just stick with downtown ‘cause Forecastle is downtown. Mayan Café… Fuck. I’ve got a soft spot for Harvest because I used to work for the owner. I worked on his organic farm for a year. Then I worked for his company called Grasshopper which helps grow good, natural food and sell it to restaurants in Louisville and elsewhere. It’s great food, great food, and a great… cause is the wrong word, but I think it’s important.
            I hate to go Latin again, but I’m a big fan of El Mundo, ‘cause they’ve got killer margaritas and the food is really good. It’s a fun vibe. It’s one of my favorite places.

37: So Mayan Café, El Mundo, and Harvest?

Scott: Sure, I’ll go with those. I could give you ten more in a heartbeat. *laughs*

                                       Note: Scott emailed me later to add: 
We partnered with Rye on Market last year and came up with the Back Porch Sessions, a four-month residency. It was a blast, and we had a great time collaborating with some very special guests too. The food was amazing. Thought Rye should probably be on that list too. (Holy Grale, Silver Dollar, Roots, Queen of Sheba, Kashmir...I could go on...)

Let me know if you need anything else. See you at Forecastle!


Editor's Note: Logan Nichols is an English Major at Berea College joining 37Flood for this year's coverage of the Forecastle Festival. He is very excited about this. If you see him around this weekend, feel free to say hello. He likes strangers. and most likely beer too.

1 comment:

johnking said...

Nicely done Logan. Welcome aboard!and thank you Scott, It's always great hearing what you are up to!