Interview with Rick Jamm (Jamsphere Magazine & Radio Network)
THE 20 QUESTIONS WITH RICK JAMM SERIES
Exclusive interview with Kev Scott
How long have you been working on your latest project ‘Appeals for the Lonely’?
Kev Scott: Well, I started recording in spring 2017, so its been a long time in the making, which doesn’t reflect well on the album because the reasons for it taking so long to make are purely time and equipment based! My trusted guitar amp broke and it was one of those things where nobody knew what what was wrong with it and how to fix it so I was without that for more than 6 months, that really slowed me down.
Who or what influenced the birth of this project?
Kev Scott: Just a natural progression really, I enjoyed the whole process of making my last album ‘The Loved Ones’ so i was keen to jump straight in to making another album, though I knew it would be under slightly different circumstances, I knew Chris Holland (bass player and co producer on ‘The Loved Ones’) wouldn’t be around as much because he was going travelling and he put so much into the last album that I found it a bit daunting without him but it was something I had to just get on with.
Which musicians are you collaborating with this time around?
Kev Scott: Aside from Steve Pellatt on drums I did the majority of it myself, I did all the guitars, keys and bass and then had Lewis Dickinson on sax and flute, he’s an amazing musician, he doesn’t mess around when we’re recording, real one take stuff! Then there’s the singers, I’ve played with Joanna Byrne for a few years now, she’s sang on all 3 of my albums, we get on great, there’s a great chemistry in our voices and we really gel. We recorded ‘For Brothers & Sisters’ as a charity single for Manchester childrens hospital when there was some sad news about a friend of mine but it was going to be on the album anyway. Jo then got involved in ‘Beautiful Winter’, she’s a huge Beach Boys fan and that’s the kind of sound I was looking for for that song, she also played her 12 string guitar on it which gave it some warmth and low end.
I’ve tried a few times to create a huge choir but it’s easier said than done, I’ve known Kate Ferris most of my life and we have family ties, when I saw she was out there with Emma Perry performing I asked then to get involved, I was blown away by the end of the session, the song wouldn’t have been then same without them.
Which instruments are you playing on the album?
Kev Scott: I tracked the bass in the studio when Steve (Pellatt) did his drums, I did all the guitars, piano, organ, harmonica and banjo.
Apparently you also produced the album. Is this a new experience for you, and is there a specific reason you wanted to produce it yourself?
Kev Scott: I co-produced my last album with Chris (Holland) but as I said earlier he wasn’t going to be around so I decided to do it alone. I want to learn as much as I can about the whole process of making albums. I paid someone to produce my first album and although I wasn’t unhappy with the finished product, I felt quite frustrated. It’s a communication thing, they want to please you, you don’t want to be a pain in the arse, throughout the process, I think we both did our best to be fair and it was a relief for us both to get it finished, so from then on I said that I’d prefer to learn how to produce and mix myself. Nobody to answer to, learn by my own mistakes and if I get things wrong, I’ve only got myself to blame.
Do you currently have a preferred song on the album, and if so, why is it special to you?
Kev Scott: I think ‘Dust’ is the one for me, it’s an old one written by Steve and we played it in our old band ‘Nula’ around 2003, the only studio recording we did was an acoustic version with him playing guitar and me singing so it was nice to get a full version of it for this album.
Which usually comes first to you – the melody or the lyrics?
Kev Scott: Usually its lyrics, or just lines that I’ll develop once I get the sense that a song is brewing, I never sit down and force a song to come out, it’s never produced a good result so I tend to just wait until I know one is about to come. I’ll play around on the guitar or piano and something will magically come out at some point and then it’s a case of putting the pieces together.
What key ingredients do you always try and infuse into your songs, regardless of style, tempo or mood?
Kev Scott: There really isn’t a recipe to be honest, I stick to what I feel the song needs, if it’s a happy song it gets a happy vibe and it goes from there, as long as it’s honest and passionate, that matters more than having any kind of key ingredient, it’s a natural thing.
This is your third album. How much do you think you’ve matured as a musician and songwriter? And where do you feel you still have room for improvement?
Kev Scott: I think as I’ve got older I’ve tried to improve my vocabulary in my songs, try to be a bit more intelligent and interesting with the lyrics. Pushing myself as I’m writing and trying to create a certain scene or image if you know what I mean? As far as musicianship is concerned, I try to improve on things I’m not as good at, I can get by on piano and lead guitar, I’m not as good there as I am rhythm guitar or bass but you have to explore those things,
I’ll always look to improve on whatever I’m doing really.
What do you feel was the most difficult aspects in regards to the recording and completion of this album?
Kev Scott: The whole thing was difficult and if I’m honest I wasn’t happy through the whole thing, I came close to binning it near the end. The thing is, with ‘The Loved Ones’, myself, Steve, Chris and another friend (John Banks, lead guitar) worked on the whole thing together, I wrote the songs, made full band demos which they put they’re own parts over, then we went into the studio and rehearsed it so by the time we started recording it we were really tight and it sounded like a band which is what I wanted. With ‘Appeals For The Lonely’, Chris wasn’t around and I think Steve listened to the demos once before we put his drums down, which to his credit he pulled off. So the process didn’t start well and then it was all down to me and I felt lonely working on it by myself without anybody to bounce ideas off. I guess I got there in the end but it really wasn’t a happy experience and I’ve learned a lesson there.
Listening to ‘Appeals for the Lonely’ now, would go back and change anything on the album, or do you feel that it came out exactly as you wanted it to?
Kev Scott: Haha! See above! I’m happier with other musicians around me!
What would you consider a successful, proud or high point in your career so far?
Kev Scott: I’m really proud of making 3 albums in 4 years. I’m proud of how much I’ve leaned from the first album to now, id like a crack at remixing that album.
A great high was having my song ‘Hotel K’ from my first album featured on the author Kathryn Bonella’s website. I read her book about the Kerobokan prison in Bali (nicknamed Hotel K) and was inspired to write the song. Once it was finished I contacted Kathryn to see if she would be interested in hearing it and she loved it so much that it was used on her website to support the follow up book ‘Snowing in Bali’.
Which aspect of being an independent artist and the music making process excites you most and which aspect discourages you most?
Kev Scott: It’s such a hard industry and with my family and work commitments I know it would be a miracle to be signed and have everything that goes with that. I’m lucky that I’ve found a place in my life where I can still make music and get it out there. So nothing discourages me because I’m happy with what I do, I know I’m not going to be playing stadiums or doing big tours but I accept that for what it is and just make the most of it. As long as people here my music I’m happy.
If you had the opportunity to change one thing about how the music business works right now, what would that be?
Kev Scott: I suppose a little more help for independent artists to get recognition by the bigger companies.
If someone has never heard your music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?
Kev Scott: Deep, soulful emotional and a little bit of a rollercoaster. Jason Pierce meets Neil Young! Good luck with that!
Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites as fundamental in building a career in music today, and what is your personal relationship with the new technology at hand?
Kev Scott: I think it’s great! The unfortunate thing is that you don’t get any money back from it coz of things like Apple Music, Spotify etc. It gets your music out there though if you’re willing to put the work into promoting yourself.
Could you tell us something about your involvement with the band ‘Blanket’ – recently signed to Sony?
Kev Scott: Well I wouldn’t say I have an involvement with them as such but Steve (Pellatt, drummer for Blanket) and I are very close, we’ve been playing and making music together for over 20 years, we’ve got a great telepathy kind of thing going on where he seems to know what I want when he’s playing on my stuff, it’s a natural thing from growing up together but it’s always been like that from making demos in his garage when we were 14 to making studio albums now. I’m proud of how he’s worked at being a full time musician, it comes with a sacrifice and its paying off for him.
Simon (Morgan, guitars for Blanket) owned a studio in Blackpool and when me and Steve formed Nula back in2002 Si recorded the 2 ep’s we made while the band was together.
What is your relationship with visual media? Do you think videos are important for your music? Do you have a video you would recommend fans checkout so they can get in to what you’re doing?
Kev Scott: We made a video for a song on my last album, a song called ‘Helpless (cryin’ out). https://youtu.be/hIlGMrBTz8U Making that video was a great experience, I got in touch with a friend from school who now works on TV, she’s been on coronation street, emmerdale, casualty, all that kind of stuff and she brought a real professional side to the video, how she got into the character and how it came across in the end. I was really pleased. So yeah, video is great but it’s hard to make one that stands up to being a piece of art. I’ve done a couple that are kind of the cliche live band performance videos, they’re good to watch if you’re not expecting anything great!
Do you prefer working and creating in a studio environment, or performing live in front of an audience?
Kev Scott: I’ve found my comfort zone in recording, it’s what I enjoy, I want to play live but at the moment I can only play my stuff solo, I’d really like to get a band together to perform my stuff, I’m sure it could happen but it needs to be with the right players, I’m not being a diva when i say that, it just needs to be people I trust, if Steve and Chris had time in their schedule and we had something to aim for, we’d do it and it would be brilliant!
What’s next on the upcoming agenda for Kev Scott in 2018?
Kev Scott: Well I have 12 songs ready for my next album and have demos ready. I’m going back to the band thing where I’m more comfortable and feel part of something, I’m hoping to get a few new songs while we’re at it, I’m working on one right now, if more come, that will be great but I’m buzzing at the prospect of recording the ones that are already done, Steve’s already played on the demos, it’s exciting and I’m really into the new songs. I’ve just moved house so I’m in the process of building a studio where we can make things happen.
The album ‘Appeals for the Lonely’ sees Lancashire singer-songwriter Kev Scott, working with longtime collaborator Steve Pellatt (Blanket) and also features Lewis Dickinson (sax/flute) and Joanna Byrne (Phantom Voices), Kate Ferris and Emma Perry (backing vocals). This is Kev’s third self-produced album, and is the follow up to his 2016 release ‘The Loved Ones’. Here the artist shows Kev’s true development, not only as a songwriter, but as a musician (performing all guitars, bass, banjo, harmonica, organ and piano) and an upcoming producer. From start to finish this new album builds upon the potent success of Kev’s previous releases to even greater musical heights.
It isn’t often these days that I use the adjectives beautiful and wonderful to describe modern music releases but those apply to this release. Kev Scott has quite possibly never sounded as confident and in the moment as a vocalist, lyricist, and musician than he does on ‘Appeals for the Lonely’.
Kev is in a place he’s visited before, but the familiar-sounding tracks journey across the genres in search of those sounds. Once again, he surveys everything from folk music to rock rhythms and textures to populate his songs. Kev’s understanding and empathy with American roots music is a given.
Similarly, his feeling for British folk. He also makes room for more traditional chugging electric guitars and rolling drums. Stir the lot with his intuitive understanding of rock ’n’ roll dynamics and you have this intriguing album, brooding, mysterious, full-blooded, fascinating. Electric and eclectic. The more you listen, the more you hear.
From the opening track, “Dust”, this album taps into familiar archetypes to make sense of Kev’s own life experiences. It’s an imaginative tapestry of sounds and stories, where the music blends together into something seamless and intuitive, while the songs seem at once like modern texts and yesterday’s diary entries.
This is a recording that’s detailed, immediate, and full of life. The result is one of Kev’s most accomplished and casually ambitious albums, one that borrows freely from different musical vernaculars.
“The Madness & The Silence” shows off intervening horns, while “Beautiful Winter” is filled with rich layers of harmonies. “Tonight’s Prayer Part 1” has the twang of Americana but also moody atmospherics that give it an otherworldly sheen.
By contrast, “Soldier” fuses slippery grungy rhythms to acoustic guitar strums, while the vocals veer between melodic harmony and fiery drumming. What unites all these disparate sounds is the subtlety that Kev Scott brings to his performances: He never lets out full-force shouting roars, and many of the songs, like “The New Age” are practically sung in a sweeter conversational tone.
Kev Scott’s acoustic-guitar strumming folk mystique draws the listener in close, where it becomes clear that these stories, confessions and anecdotes, sound vital and vibrant. “For Brothers & Sisters” sets the introspective tone for these cuts, which is followed by “Heaven In Her Eyes” and “Lights Down Low”, all of which grasp for a sense of transcendence in a world of fleeting pleasures.
More often than not, that transcendence comes through the intimacy of Kev’s voice. The singer-songwriter is clearly still restless and ready to explore on “Tonight’s Prayer Part 1” which is a hurricane of overdriven guitars and capricious percussion.
The album closes on that same crunchy and gritty note with “Time To Say Goodbye” – a palpable and pulsating track that evokes a sense of matured and distilled alternative rock. The majority of the work here on ‘Appeals for the Lonely’ is compelling, forging a project that integrates a range of themes, approaches, and tempos — at the center of which, of course, are Kev Scott’s songwriting, musicianship and vocals.
When music pours out of the soul, making it way from brittle harsh bones, the lush muffled dense and intense pockets of velveteer blood, the thoughts that shape our reality, and the skin that tries to contain us, something comes to life. Like a Pheonix pushing against the fire to be known, to just burn, regardless of consequences. That’s where it feels this album is coming through. Snaking from, through, and in-between the buffers that make us individuals, and maybe even lonely, to find some kind of light.
I can almost imagine this album comes to life with the sound of a crackling fire, to crackle between the rasping distinctions and stylistic choices that make up Kevin Scott.
After all, if you’re touching those deep places in your own soul you want to know you’re not alone. You want to know you can travel to those places and has done the work. And I can feel it in the gruff of his voice, the echo of his words, and the spaces between the lyrics. This is an artist baring his soul. Holding the human soul. Translating languages, feelings, stories, into something that lives in the dimension of music. A world where the irony is – no one will ever be lonely.
I guess I could be ambitious to call this a simple album. The kind of album that fits in anywhere. The kind of album that slips in without having to roar too much. Or kick up too much dust. And while some might read simple and see naive or incomplete or nothing of note – simple art isn’t easy. It just is. Which puts a strange familiarity to it. Something that sounds like home. Without trying to sound like another person or dip into someone else’s riffs.
The perfect blend of grunge, rasppy cords that makes you move your heavy feet, and earthy (somewhat poetic) inspirations that lighten the corners of your world. Background listening – made up front. Blurring the lines between soul, rock, country, folk, and the blues. I get this sense that this album just had to happen. It just had to move through Kev Scott, and it’s left no prisoners in the process.
“Appeals to the lonely” is for everyone who has felt like a troubled soul trying to find a world to belong to. It’s a reminder of the grey and the fact that grey can only exist if it’s let some light in.
Tracks to nod my head along to include
#Track11 – Time to say goodbye. Reminds me a little of Mr Cat and the Jackel. Loaded. Cool. Crisp.
#Track04 – Tonights Prayer Part 1. Haunting. Enigmatic. Makes you lean in.
#Track07 – For Brothers and Sisters. Feels like something out of time. A kinda home. And the duet is absolutely gorgeous. A reminder there’s still something pretty out there.
If you’re looking for an album that’s roar, real, untamed, unapologetic, unrefined, and the exact opposite of mainstream, over commercialised, mass-less-soul-ness. You might want to keep your eyes on this countdown.
It’s simple. And deceptive.
Today’s music review comes from Kev Scott’s Album “Appeals For The Lonely” a finely mixed project that has a nice folk vibe. As I mentioned the mix allows for the amazing instrumental work to shine as the album opens up with a strong 3/4 groove led by Kev who brings out a warm vocal performance paired nicely with some strong songwriting. “Appeals For The Lonely” is a great listen for almost everyone as Kev takes us through different emotions with songs like ‘soldier’ which brings out our inner hope for the troops as well as the worrisome bravery a soldier must bear as he prays for a trusty rifle. Kev Scott’s songwriting was particularly the ‘meat and potatoes’ of this album, you can really hear that he put a lot of time and effort in his approach of the overall mix and dynamic ranges from song to song. The musicians did an amazing job as well especially the drummer who really shined throughout, especially on “Tonight’s Prayer.” I thoroughly enjoyed this album, it was an easy listen but really dense in musicality which is what I personally love in my music. “Appeals Of The Lonely” by Kev Scott releases on September 28th, 2018 (09/28/2018) on SoundCloud so be sure to pick that up as a great gift this winter!
Brett David Stewart (Freelance Journalist)
Review - Kev Scott’s ‘The Loved Ones’
By Brett David Stewart (BrettDavidStewart.com)
As an independent music critic, I get a slew of alternative rock outfits of every shade across my desk on a daily basis. It’s a particularly hard scene to break out of, perhaps even the most saturated with the exception of the hip hop and singer songwriter communities. Kev Scott, a musician from the North-West of England is attempting to cut through that noise with his latest studio endeavor, an LP entitled ‘The Loved Ones.’ Does Scott stick the landing, or fall flat amidst a sea of other alt-rock acts in the indie scene right now? Let’s find out.
‘The Loved Ones’ opens with its titular track, a reverb-soaked jaunt through slide guitar, melodic harmonies, and Americana-esque instrumentation. As a performer who cites the likes of Neil Young and Fleetwood Mac as influence, that footprint is immediately obvious in Scott’s work. That’s not to say it’s derivative, though, because it isn’t. The title track of ‘The Loved Ones’ offers a fantastic foray into alt-rock that sounds like the lovechild of Wilco and My Morning Jacket.
The LP’s second track, ‘They Get A Feelin,’
gives the listener a proper insight into Scott as a lead vocalist since he’s fairly buried in the production of the first tune. He has a nasally sound to his voice that could probably best draw a parallel to Tom Petty’s, so with that said, it definitely works for him. The explosive nature of ‘They Get A Feelin’ is what makes the track so excellent, though, and the entire band is helping craft a massive, cinematic landscape.
One of the highlights of ‘The Loved Ones’ is likely ‘Helpless (Cryin’ Out),’ a country-tinged ballad that offers a particularly lovely performance. The sound that Scott establishes on the tracks preceding the song is still largely at play: lots of reverb and the instrumentation sounds very full. There’s a dose of country crooning and lonesomeness in the lyrics, though, and that’s a welcome experimentation that suits Scott well.
As the album progresses, there are some interesting sonic experiments to pick out of the experience. ‘This Twisted Love’ houses a terrific lead guitar performance throughout the whole track, making the song worth spinning on a good sound system. There’s a saxophone, too, and one can’t help but wish it wasn’t so undermixed. You can barely hear the brass, and that’s a shame, because when it does arise out of the song, it’s splendid. ‘Good Old Harry’ is another intriguing endeavor, one that showcases the softer side of Scott’s writing, even if some of the lyricism is a bit kitschy. “Smiles will appear when I think of you.”
In the mid-section of ‘The Loved Ones,’ there are some potential pratfalls. ‘Carried My Baby,’ for example, is largely forgettable track that’s far longer than it needs to be. Lacking any particularly compelling lyricism, ‘Carried My Baby’ is the weak link in the collection, and ‘The Loved Ones’ could have been a bit tighter with its exclusion.
‘White Feathers,’ however, picks up that slack with Scott’s best foray into folksy singer songwriter territory. The song, which slowly grows from a relatively soft starting point, is absolutely stunning. Scott’s songwriting is in fine form and when the backing vocals slowly build around him, it’s masterful. I’d go as far to argue that ‘White Feathers’ is the highlight of ‘The Loved Ones.’
At first glance, ‘Gonna Chase Your Clouds Away’ is a daunting affair, clocking in nearly eight minutes in length. It’s definitely one hell of a jam session, but that shouldn’t deter listeners. The chemistry between Scott and his backing band exudes from this track. Again, though, I wish Scott’s mix didn’t blur all of the instruments together into one sonic heap. I want to hear that saxophone loud and clear. Regardless, the foot-stomping finale of the track is one of the best moments on the record.
‘Where The Love Grows’ is another instance similar to ‘Carried My Baby.’ The song is listless, not nearly as impactful as tunes like ‘White Feathers’ or ‘This Twisted Love.’ The track could have been a snappy three minutes, but it’s well over five, and wanders into oblivion because of it. Scott can be rather fascinating when he explores extended territory, but in the same vein he can fall flat when the song lacks conviction.
As the album’s finale, ‘My Heart’ offers one of those longer performances that does feel necessary. The atmospheric effort slowly builds in a fantastic fashion, even if the highly repetitive lyricism may get easily annoying to some listeners. ‘Gonna Chase Your Clouds Away’ may actually have been more apt as a closer for the album, but ‘My Heart’ does the collection justice anyway.
‘The Loved Ones’ is a very good independent alternative rock record peppered with folk, singer songwriter, and country influences throughout. It has its missteps, but by and large it’s stronger than the majority of its counterparts in the scene. Hence, to answer the question posed at the beginning of this analysis: is Scott able to cut through the noise? Yes, most of the time he is.
Rick Jamm (Jamsphere Magazine)
“The Loved Ones” is the brand new album by Lancashire singer-songwriter Kev Scott and is the follow-up his 2014 debut album ‘Songs about People & Feelings’. The collection of songs which is a journey through love, loss, tales of strange relationships and world issues is performed by Kev (vocals, guitars, keys, piano, harmonica & banjo), backed by long time collaborators Steve Pellatt (drums), John Banks (lead guitar) and co-producer Chris Holland(bass/lead guitar).
This is a terrific set of ten songs that features anything a person would want out of a folk-rock influenced album: soaring harmonies, desperate lyrics, fast-paced build-ups and cool come-downs. Kev has a wonderful rapport with the other players and the musicianship is strong throughout
Standouts “The Loved Ones”, “Helpless (cryin’ out)”, “Carried My Baby”, “White Feathers” and “Where The Love Grows” have really nice musical build-ups to them and great sustaining emotions running through the arrangements. These are songs that pull you in and keep your attention. But to be truthfully honest, every song will draw you in, simply because the lyrics, harmonies, and overall musicality are blissful.
The album itself is an easy five stars; an exceptional, moving record from a tremendously talented artist and group of musicians. There’s some peaking and distortion at the various ends of the dynamic range, and that’s what makes it so much better than the common dump-a-digital-album release.
This sounds like an authentic recording by a real live band. The so called revival of folk-rock continues with Kev Scott, but do not be tricked into thinking that this album is just another addition to the long list of Mumford and Sons, the Lumineers, The Head and the Heart collectives, etc.
Scott’s influences go much further back. If you love music, you will love this album. If you love passionate vocals, you will love this album. If you love lyrics, you will love this album. You will love this album. Period.
Some music you have to get in to and let it grow on you, but that’s not the case with this. The songs are fairly simple melodically but with lush acoustic dominated instrumentation and emotional singing.
The album has moody, somber material such as “My Heart” but also forges moments of sheer exuberance as on “This Twisted Love”, which means I ended up being more impressed with Kev Scott than I initially thought I would be.
Why didn’t I listen to Kev Scott sooner? That was my thought after listening to his new album. The year is still new, but to my mind “The Loved Ones” will hold up as one of the best in folk-rock music all year. On each and every song Scott is always ready to make his play not just for your ears, but for your heart and soul as well.