Saturday, October 23, 2010

Interview: Scott Moore of 23 String Band

37 FLOOD EXCLUSIVE: John King talks to Scott Moore about playing the fiddle with 23 string band, Wax Fang, Saredren Wells & Arnett Hollow, as well as new Albums, collaborations, and Zebras. 

John: Are You there?

Scott: yessir

John: my niece got online to look at animals, and it kicked me off line for a second...

Scott: haha it happens. is this a good time?

John: well, she is mad because she has a report on zebras to work on, but I told her that I am bigger than her and that she will have to wait..
But, I told her this shouldn't take too long, although she is puppy dog eyeing Me right now..

Scott: Ha! Thanks for doing this.

John: Thank you so much for Taking with Me!

Scott: Right On! What do You want to talk about? I was just reading the comments from that last post. hopefully nobody goes off on you this time! Nice to see positive feedback about the band though. we had a great show the other night.

John: i've never had as many readers comment on show announcements as they do for 23 string! they love you guys! i know you have your hand (or bow) in a lot of pies..
let's hear about 23 string band. how long have you been playing with them?

Scott: I've been playing with the 23 String Band for a little over two years now -- since summer 2008.
I do have my hand in a lot of pies, but right now this is the sweetest and biggest of the pies...

John: Good news then! How much of the creative process are you invloved in with them?

Scott: You know, one of the great things about this band is how well everyone gets along, personally but also musically and creatively. It's really a 100% group effort, whether you're talking about writing songs, coming up with arrangements, booking shows, posting flyers, or whatever. I'd say I have a pretty strong role in the band's creative process -- I write songs, contribute to arrangements, and do a lot of the booking and business stuff; but everybody has an equal stake, which is cool.
 I am working on a couple of tunes right now that I think have some real potential. Curtis and I have a songwriting team thing going on that's pretty cool.
John: Which is rare in music, it seems most bands have trouble getting members to stay involved or help out in the managment side.. i know i have had  that problem..

Scott: Yeah, I can't say enough how great it is to be in a band with my best friends, and both of those things stay steady.

John: It's a combo you don't find everyday.. How long has the band been together?

Scott: The band has been around with its current instrumentation (fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar, bass) for something like 3 years.

John: is there any recording or album making on the horizen?
Scott: Yeah. So the band does have an album, and I think it sounds really good -- and I can say that, because it was made before I joined the group! But we're overdue for a second album, and we're working through a bunch of new material right now, figuring out what works and what doesn't, tweaking arrangements, etc. We're hoping to get in the studio early in 2011 -- probably in February -- and have the album ready by the time the festival season starts next year.

John: any idea where you might record?

Scott: Not yet. Still weighing options. I think that'll depend somewhat on what kind of album we decide to make. We've also toyed with the idea of doing a live EP. Our live show is our bread and butter, it's what really gets folks excited about the band. -That would be a live EP in addition to a studio full-length, by the way..

John: Right! It's good to give the fans something while waiting on a new album. especially since it's been a couple years..

Scott: Yeah. Our fans are awesome! It's crazy, we kind of kicked it into another gear in 2010, and the feedback from fans and from folks in the business has been mind-blowing. It's been so much fun, and it's always so rewarding when someone says how they love the band, or you see someone singing along at a show. I've been a professional musician since I was six years old, and that kind of connection is the ultimate reward. And again, I consider myself lucky to be in a band that can make that kind of connection, show after show.

John: Speaking of live shows, when is 23 string's next outing?

Scott: Well, we're kind of winding things down a little for the rest of the year, so we can concentrate on laying the groundwork for an even bigger year in 2011. We do have a few things coming up, though. We're playing this Saturday, Oct 23, at UofL for the Bluegrass Bioneers event. 9-11pm. We have a few other dates as well, which are all on our calendar at

John: speaking of professional, i heard from a few people that the second you started at U of L, you took over 2 nd chair?

Scott: Yeah, what's up with that? I was really gunning for first.

John: but, that's pretty amazing!

Scott: I've done a lot of different things, and been fortunate to have had good teachers and a supportive family growing up. And I've worked my ass off. I don't really do the classical thing as much anymore, although I love the music. I just think it's more fun and rewarding to have a creative role in the music that I'm playing, rather than just reproducing.
 I think that goes hand in hand with what I was saying about connecting with the audience.

John: and speaking of working your ass off, you play with other groups on a regular basis, as well as your solo work.. You play with Sardren Wells a lot, will you be there at Actor's on the 22nd?

Scott: Yeah, I've kind of fallen into the role of the go-to fiddle/violin/whatever guy. I play a lot of different styles and I've spent a lot of time working on those styles, so I like being able to apply that versatility and putting myself in situations where I'm constantly facing a different challenge, because that's how you learn and become a stronger and more complete artist. I am playing with Saredren Wells this Friday night, the 22nd. I'll be playing Sunday with members of Bourbon Baroque and the UofL Early Music faculty, for the Monteverdi Vespers (string and choir music from the 1600s!) I've played quite a bit with Arnett Hollow, and had a great time with them at the Glassworks a few weeks ago. I've played with Ben Sollee in the past. I was thrilled to be asked to record a little bit on the new Waxfang record, and will be playing with them next weekend. The list goes on and on....
And I'm working on a solo album of all original material. Singing, playing electric guitar, doing some alternate style fiddle rhythm playing, it's kind of a post-rock type thing, with a lot of 60s rock influences. No timetable on that, though. I should also mention Andrea Davidson -- going to California in November to play shows with her out there. Love her voice and songwriting!
John: it amazing to hear someone so pasionate about playing with many different people and styles. i know so many classicly trained musicians who feel most comfortable staying with in the teaching relm and playing the same music that has been played for hundreds of years..

Scott: That's exactly what I'm trying to avoid :) I do love that music, though.

John: did you work on the wax fang 17 minute "the astronaut pt.1" that was released this week?

Scott: That's it. Speaking of classical music -- that's like the Wax Fang symphony! I love it. Theremin has never rocked so hard. Cheyenne and I did a pretty small little session on one part of the song, but I think I'll be doing a little more for the live show downtown.

 John: Wow, You have ton of shows coming up with a lot of different types of bands, i don't know when you find time for yourself, but we are greatly appreciative! I personally can't wait to see a release of your solo work, but understand that it may take awhile.

Scott: I love what I do, and I'm happy that it's something other people enjoy as well! I'm always just trying to get better and have fun. And get that Stones gig. Thanks John, I appreciate that. I've been fairly broke lately, and finding the time and money to go into the studio and finish that album has been a challenge, with so much else going on...

John: -i am broooke as well, and it never fails that just when i have an album's worth of material, i have no money to record it..

Scott: the life of a musician! 
John: well, thanks so much for talking with Me! I guess I should let my neice get back to the zebra report..

Scott: Sounds good. Thank you! Good luck with the report.

John: yeah, i think that report is probably gonna end up 'a john king production'.  Kids always convenintly fall asleep just when it's time to make a report for skool..

Scott: haha word. well, good luck, and have a great night. see you at actor's tomorrow night, maybe. i'm gonna go fill my belly. can't wait to see this online! And thank YOU for everything you do for the louisville music scene.

John: THANK YOU scott!! i will definatley see you at Actors if not at some of your other shows coming up!

Scott: peace

writers note: My niece Coco's report ended up being on the Congolese Mammal, the Okapi. It looks like a donkey with Zebra stripped appendages, and an elongated bat's face, but is actually related to the Giraffe. You can read more about the okapi here.  

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