Interview: Scams

SCAMS - Photo courtesy of SCAMS

Scams - Photo courtesy of Scams

In the few years of being a band, the members of SCAMS have been categorized under more genres than they perhaps like. So much so that lead singer and guitarist Andy Morgan prefers to avoid labels altogether, instead describing the music simply by its sound.

“I wouldn’t really even strive to call us like a rock or pop or whatever band,” he said, noting that SCAMS has also been referred to as emo, math rock and even punk rock. “We do definitely have a bit of pop mentality with our music and there’s nothing wrong with that…[but] it’s just like pure melody, really.”

His take on the music the band plays likely evolved from his own musical upbringing, which he admitted was more toward the soul and Motown end of the spectrum, citing Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye among his songwriting idols.

“It’s just pure melody,” Morgan said, describing the music he grew up with. “It’s just, like, perfect pop music.”

Thus it makes sense that his influences configure into the band’s sound, as Morgan wrote the majority of SCAMS’ debut album, “Rewrite Fiction.” However, he said fans can expect the follow-up to be different, with a more well-rounded collaboration of the members figuring at its center.

“[We now know] how to write together,” Morgan explained. “We can come together with our ideas and…we have our own language of describing what we do.”

Already the band is known for its raucous spirit during live shows, and Morgan said the new songs will be an extension of that: energetic and raw.

“The main thing we want this new album to be is just fun,” he said.

He also noted that the lyrical theme running throughout is one that is, at times, a bit mean-spirited, but ultimately focuses on the idea of staying true to and sticking up for oneself.

The album itself remains to be recorded; earlier this week the band traveled to Hamburg – where its label is based and the first album was recorded – to begin preproduction. Yesterday, the group played the Reeperbahn Festival, tonight SCAMS will play Berlin Independent Night, and then the members will return to Hamburg to lay down the tracks.

The past two days of shows have served as a road test for the four, to see how the new songs translate in a live format.

“We’re in our own little bubble at the moment,” Morgan said, referring to the fact that, prior to this weekend, SCAMS has not performed in the past three months. “We haven’t played any gigs because we’ve had this really intense writing period.”

He shared that setting aside a specific amount of time to write the songs has made the album feel much more seamless in its making, especially when compared to the amount of time it took to make the first one.

And even when “Rewrite Fiction” was released, Morgan admitted the band failed to promote it as much as they might have liked, due to changes in the line-up immediately after recording.

But now, the membership of SCAMS – Morgan, guitarist Jamie Macneal, bassist Adam Fenwick and drummer Chris Burgess – has settled into itself, making the band a much more cohesive unit.

“We spent a year touring and, like, that’s what really, like, made us, like, know, like what songs of ours we preferred, what our sound really was and what people responded to and what we enjoyed most in front of people,” he said. “So, with that in mind, I think it was, like, natural for us to write the album…I kind of see it as like, sort of a natural progression.”

In spite of what he described as an easiness to creating the songs for the sophomore album, Morgan did share that being in the band is not by any means an entirely carefree experience, but that the good certainly outweighs the bad.

“Every song that we’ve written is a fucking struggle, don’t get me wrong. That’s definitely the hardest part about being in a band,” he said. “But that mental state you get when you finish something that works and you play it like together over and over…that’s what makes it worth it.”

SCAMS plays Saturday night as part of the Berlin Independent Night at Comet Club in Berlin. The show begins at 20.00.

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