Riskee and the Ridicule 27/02/17
Paula: Blame Culture – great title and very different to ‘Dawn of the Dog’ how did you come to choose that as the album title?
Scott: Our drummer Matt came up with it, we came up with loads of names but none of them really fit with what we were doing. As soon as he said ‘Blame Culture’ we all agreed and that was that. We’re living in such turbulent political times, it fits perfectly for us.
Paula: What was the inspiration behind the cover – there’s Putin, Thatcher, Trump, Blair?
Scott: That’s the one, yeah. First of all, credit to Dave for all the artwork, he came up with it all way before the album name. Each head fits with a track on the album. We’ve just had the CD’s delivered and the full artwork features Rupert Murdoch crossed over with Jimbo’s face with one of our lyrics “You look nothing like your profile pic.”. It’s just how the media twists things to make people see what they want them to see.
Paula: I thought the artwork was saying – political monsters of war?
Scott: Absolutely. The point of the artwork is that you can take what you want from those images.
Paula: Opening track ‘Nobody Likes Us’ is it a hit back at the keyboard warriors – do you get a lot of negative comments?
Scott: Yeah course we do but we love that and feed off it. There’s so many elements in that song, that’s my style of writing I switch from one topic to the next and then back to the other. You can take whatever you want from it but yeah; “Why aren’t your band famous yet?” and you get all these different things, opinions and you’ve got the other side of it where people don’t wana let us into the music industry, they kinda wana keep us at arms length because they don’t know what to make of the music yet but we’re coming anyway so they’ll soon find out!
Paula: ‘Banger’ – What a track! One of my favourites on the album. What is that about?
Scott: It’s about how people only see from their own perspective and regardless of what people think about us, we’re just gunna keep putting out bangers and you can’t deny the music. People can think and say whatever they want about us but it’s not gunna change anything we’re gunna keep writing music. That’s the main message anyway but there’s a few different things going on.
Paula: Is there a music scene in Ashford? Do people understand Riskee there?
Scott: Everyone’s supportive but as a scene, there’s a lot of grime kids coming up, my influences are from garage and grime. There’s a lot of talent there. But is there a scene there? No. There’s not even a proper music venue there anymore!
Paula: From your lyrics and song content it seems like you’re someone who’s been through a lot of struggle – is that fair to say?
Scott: Yeah, just the same as everybody. Everyone’s been through their own turbulent times – I’m no different. I’m not old but if I wrote a book it would be pretty interesting! That’s the best time to write music is when you’re in pain. That’s the thing about music it can take you to any level. If you feel sad it can lift you up, if you want to stay sad it can keep you there and being able to write is incredible. I feel very lucky that I can write and channel my aggression into music, it’s a beautiful thing.
Paula: What gave you the bravery to front a band because you’re very different from most singers – you really give a voice to the unheard/ignored- underdogs in society
Scott: I used to battle rap and do sets on pirate radio and at raves. We’d battle rap in car parks or turn up at people’s sets and clash them. So that’s where the pravado and anger comes from.
Grime now is kind of what punk, was. It’s the new punk. It’s the sound of the streets, the sound of anger, the sound of youth and they really don’t give a fuck. I like that. I’ve taken my grime influences and put that into the band. I’ve always been into heavy music, the first gigs I went to were Korn, Marilyn Manson, Metallica. It was a natural progression.
Paula: It’s great to see a UK grime influenced lyricist fronting a rock band in such a fresh way.
Scott: Nothing is regimented with us, everyone brings their own thing to the table and no one is the boss. I will sing and take a hook and melody to them and I might of written a verse. They are all gunning to be heard and we allow each other to be heard. Bring everybody’s emotions and talents to the table and this is what happens. We’re not trying to be a metal band or a punk band but people labelled us punk before we’d even considered it.
You are aligned with bands like King Blues and The Skints – What do you think of bands like that? You’re becoming a voice for the underdog generation –
It kind of fell into place, we’re not trying to be anything. That’s just the way that its come out. I work a normal job and live a normal life, I’ve been on the wrong side of the law, I’ve done a lot of stuff. That comes out in the music, its all influence. We’ve been lucky enough to tour with The King Blues we’ve also done a few shows with The Skints, lovely people. Yeah, do you know what? Britain has got the best music going in the underground scene right now, it really has. And everybody’s talking in their own accents and not pretending – well all the decent bands anyway!
Paula: There’s a terrible bank advert out at the moment which moved you to write on social media ‘well done nationwide last nail in the coffin for spoken word’ – do you think spoken word fights an uphill struggle?
Scott: Have you been stalking me?! Ha – nah everybody knows how everybody feels about the bankers and I just saw that and thought – don’t take spoken word, that’s not yours- that’s ours! Leave that alone.
Paula: Do you think spoken word has always been fighting an uphill struggle?
Scott: Yeah. There’s no hook there and no beat to fall back on its just the power of words. To be a good spoken word artist, there’s no safety net and if you’re laying it out on the line for everyone to hear I respect that massively. I don’t think it’s something that should be cheapened by a Nationwide advert.
Paula: Daddy’s Boots – you come across to most as a bit of a hard nut – especially on stage you have a big presence – so linking in with your son on this track – is quite brave – tell us about that?
Scott: Yeah I love my son more than anything, that’s just that. With my stage presence, I had quite a lot of anger issues so I channelled that onstage. Anger comes through my writing and I actually push that adrenalin out live. That’s why I maybe come across like that sometimes.
But with my son, I keep him completely off social media. I don’t like the idea of Big Brother watching every single step he takes. I experience these moments with my son and I don’t need to plaster it all over social media. He’s only 3 but he loves the music so I wanted something for him to look back on, a song he’s a part of. There’s good advise in there too but I don’t wana be all soppy!
It’s bad because you find yourself picking up your phone and scrolling through facebook and you ask yourself; “Why am I doing this? I don’t actually care!” it’s just habbit. My son is too young to decide whether or not he wants to be on social media, that will come in his own time. It’s not my choice to make.
Paula: Is it hard to be a family man and still appear masculine?
Scott: Nah. I just get on and be me. Anyone who does that, I’ve got massive respect for. As I’ve got older I’ve gained confidence to be me and not care what anybody else thinks. The more people that do that, the better. There’s a line in ‘Daddy’s Boots’ that says “Content is beyond rich.” I’ve never been more content in all my life. Every time you want more and more, you’re never really living in the moment. You’re never staying true to the moment you’re in, same as we were saying about social media. If you’re happy right now, you’re not striving for anything else. You can work to better yourself but content is the best thing you can be. I don’t want to work and work and work, I want to spend time with my friends, with my family, I want to make music. But I don’t want to push, push, push because when we first come in to the game, so many people were blowing smoke up our arse like management, etc. We thought we wanted to be famous, but now we don’t care. Whatever happens, happens and as long as we’re having fun and enjoying it that’s all that matters.
Why do you think people struggle to live in the moment?
Everyone’s just concerned about getting on in life and making matter – get a mortgage, be in debt – everybody’s in debt. They keep us in debt. They want us to be in debt, they want us all up to our eyeballs because then we’re going to work – they want your energy to keep everything going. The best way for them to do that is to keep us in debt, it’s not fair but that’s how it is.
Paula: You and Jimbo go back a long way how has your friendship developed?
Scott: He’s just a brother to me, he absolutely is and the same with the other boys. There’s a bond you get when you create music with someone and it’s a sacred thing. To be able to say “I’ve got this song, we need to work out the chords for it together.” You can only do that with your band. He’s bringing as much to the table as I am so it’s a great relationship.
Paula: At one point on the album you have an argument with your liver – Where does the humour come from?
Scott: I have no idea, genuinely I don’t know! I don’t remember writing that I found it in my lyric book and thought; “I like that I’m gunna add that in to the album.” That one got people smiling so that’s why it ended up in there. I don’t know where I channelled that from, probably my massive alcohol addiction!
Paula: Backwords – explain how this song works because it has hidden words in the rhyming words?
Scott:Yeah that song… it’s great to hear other people say positive things about my lyrics, in school it was the opposite of that. I was in bottom set for English because I couldn’t relate to ‘their way’ of teaching. I saw things differently and certain words stood out and I’d spell them backwards. So that’s where I got the database of those words from so ‘don’ becomes ‘nod’ etc. I though noone’s really done that so I wanted to put them into a song. I thought that would be a special thing. It took quite a lot of work to do that and at one point we were gunna snatch it from the album because it weren’t quite sitting right. But the producer did a fantastic job on it. That was great. It’s a good song, it changes the dynamic of the album and brings it down a notch but in the sleeve of the album it says all of the words that are reversed so you can check that out.
Paula: You can tell a lot of work has gone into it so I’m glad you’ve put that on the sleeve to make other people aware of it. In a culture full of throw away statements, thank you for taking time out to write such a great album.
Scott: That’s alright! I find the songs you think over too much never come off as well as the ones that you construct in 30-40 mins. So that’s why we weren’t sure about Backwords being on the album initially, I didn’t think the hook was strong enough or the bridge. But the instrumentation is amazing and the boys did a fantastic job there. I love the verses and the fact there’s hidden words in them.
What’s on the horizon for 2017?
There’s loads of stuff I can’t talk about yet but we’ve got some tours coming up and I’ve started writing again already so hopefully we’ll be able to put an EP out as well!
Paula: Wow, you don’t stop!
Scott: Nah it’s too much fun to stop!