If you haven’t heard of Scott Kid before, you’re about to. Wrapped in mystery, the music of Scott Kid teases and allures as much as his identity, which until now has remained fairly under cover. Electronic and trip-hop beats tempt you in while the lyrics and voice of Scott Kid tickle across your skin like searching fingertips. It is the perfect music for these steamy summer nights. His latest album, Solitary Man, can be downloaded for free off of his website along with all his previous albums. We got the chance to sit down with Kelly Blatz, aka Scott Kid, to talk about his new album and what has made the music tick. Look for more in the next issue of Fourculture magazine as we dig even deeper into Scott Kid. Can’t wait? Download the music for a better taste of all this amazing artist has to offer!
You’ve just recently put up your new album, Solitary Man, for free download on your site. This is your fourth album in two years. What is inside of you that keeps you expressing yourself musically at such a rate? What was the first song you wrote?
To be honest, it’s a sort of obsession or addiction that I have. After every album I finish, I make an effort to try to stop. There’s a quote from Rilke that says “A work of art is only good if it has risen out of necessity.” I try to test that by deliberately trying to stop. But there comes a point, and I never know when, that the piano lures me into its arms and once I sit I am back on the wagon again. After that it all comes pouring out. I guess it’s the old filling the well thing. Once it gets to a point where life overflows it’s got to be let out somewhere. At the moment it’s in music. Now, do I think it’s good? I have no idea. I just know that it had to get out.
The first song I ever wrote in my life was when I was around 8 or 9. We had a family guitar and I didn’t know how to play it. I just strummed on open notes and wrote a little song that I remember to this day. I can still sing it. “You left me standing there at the doorway. You knew we both had to live in a poor way. You had to go, but still I know that I love you very much.” I’m not sure where those lyrics came from but I must have known something about life, because I am pretty sure it happened to me somewhere down the line. The first song I wrote under Scott Kid was “The Healing.”
Until recently, you have kept your identity well under the radar, known only as the mysterious Scott Kid. What made you want to remain elusive to begin with and why have you chosen this time to be more vocal about who you are?
It’s funny. People think that it was a whole mysterious marketing thing to try to draw curiosity or attention in some way. It was not like that at all. When I started this project I didn’t think I was going to release it. It was just something that I needed at that point in my life to get through something I was in the thick of. When it actually started turning into an album, I figured the only thing I could do with it was release it in some way. I guess it makes it immortal or concrete in some sense. I knew I didn’t want to use my name or any pictures or anything like that. My intention, at that moment, was to do something that I would do when I was a kid; when money or success or pressures of that kind didn’t matter. What would I do purely out of love or expression? That’s how the name “kid” got in the picture. I figured it needed a first name and “Scott” was the first one that popped into my head so I went with that. I didn’t know if anyone was going to listen to it or hear it, but it ended up spreading around in the blogosphere and getting a good response. I was very surprised. All of a sudden I had to answer to why I had no pictures or bio etc. There was a certain protection that I had over the music and why I did it, so I decided to just keep it anonymous when I started writing the second album. I didn’t know it was going to go past 2 albums. Now that it’s the 4th, I felt a certain need to own up to it for some reason, whether it’s good or not. Maybe because I think this will be the last. Who knows at this point?
Who has been the biggest influence on the sound you’ve created as Scott Kid? Did it take you awhile to arrive on a sound you were happy with or did you always have a clear plan?
I don’t have any major influences overall. I feel like as we live life we intake all of this information. Whether it is songs, or poems, or films or books or conversation, etc. I feel we keep the things that affect us and that speak directly to our souls. Call it a soul bank. When we decide to create, I think we crack open this soul bank and that stew that has been brewing just pours itself all over whatever it is, be it canvas, paper, or piano. When I first started with this project, I didn’t know whether it was going to sound like Milli Vanilli or Madonna. I just started to play what I liked to hear, and I guess that’s a combination of everything I have ever loved in music. Once Roger came on board, then he had his whole soul bank and once we combined it all it clicked into something neither of us could have predicted.
You’ve worked with Roger Romero (Dawn of Ashes, Falling Skies) on production of your albums. How did you get involved with Roger and what has he brought to your music that you wouldn’t have had without him?
This is actually the first time that I get to tell this story. As life happens, we met on Craigslist. Once I decided that I was going to make an album with the songs I was writing, I needed to learn production. I knew a little bit, but this program I was working with was very complex and I wanted to learn firsthand. So I looked it up on craigslist and he was the only one listed. I called him and he came up to the house and I think it was the second session when he asked me to play him something I was working on. I played it for him and he said “I really dig this. You mind if we work on this?” Of course I said yes and after he put the first break on it a light bulb went off in my head. I knew instantly that he had to produce this album, so I said “Can I buy you out for the summer?” and he said “Of course” and off we were. Here we are 2 years and 4 albums later. With Roger and me, it is deep. Let me just start off by saying that what you hear in the Scott Kid sound, that is as much Roger as it is me, if not more. I credit him with any recognition that we get. If he hadn’t come on board, I’m not sure if I ever would have made it through the first album. I always like to say that I am Scott and he is Kid. That’s how I look at it.
We first clicked on mindset and life experiences. I knew he did it all for the right reasons and that he only created what spoke directly to his soul. Roger is a deep guy who really feels life in all of its light and dark. We shared that sensitivity to both the extreme light and the extreme dark; The Chiaroscuro. Looking back on the music we make, I think that the biggest overall theme of it is the balance of the light and the dark and how they play against each other and with each other, either ugly or beautifully. Also with Roger and I, when we make music it is effortless. Not that we are highly skilled or anything, but that we feel we are tapping into some other source and we are grateful to be able to be vessels bringing it into the world, like a parent or something. Your kid may not be the best kid. He may be a pain in the ass. He may scream and cry and throw fits everywhere. But he is beautiful and you love him because he is your kid.
You actually self-produced a song on Solitary Man. Does being in the production process change your view on your music in any way? Will you be self-producing more of your own work in the future?
We really co-produce all of the albums, especially by White Noise, but my production only went so far. It was as if I went off and found all of this beach wood and then Roger whittled it into this little Indian Man with a canoe and a peace pipe. Obviously by osmosis I learned more and more production as the albums went on and I was hungry to learn more and more. Production is a whole other art form. Not to mention mixing and mastering which in itself is an entirely different art form. Roger really started teaching me about looking at sound as an experience; designing sound to create an experience, almost visually in a weird way. My writing process usually goes from the piano, to the computer. With “Candy”, which is the song I produced on this record, I started with the computer and all of these elements came together like magic. You just get lucky sometimes. When I take the songs to Roger, as the process goes, he usually takes what I have done and then jumps on it and rides that horse all the way to crazy mad dreamscape land. With exceptions. Holy Ghost was a very minimal album, which was a lot more of my stripped down production. But when I gave him “Candy” he said “Get that out of my face. I’m not touching it. It’s done.” So, there was my first fully produced track. I almost felt like the Karate Kid and he was Mr. Miagi or something.
As far as more self-producing, who knows? I think if we do another album (like I said, I will try not to), then it will be the same process as always. Maybe more and more we will have Karate Kid moments but I would much rather have Roger on the track than not. But if he decided to move to Tibet and the well fills up and, out of necessity, I have to make an album on my own, then you will hear it self-produced.
Describe the Solitary Man album to someone who has never heard your music before.
Always very hard to answer because, to be honest, I don’t know what it sounds like. You could have told me that it was complete shit and I would have believed you. You may think that, who knows ha! I think it’s always better for someone else to describe your music. I always find it a bit odd when someone analyzes their music and can break it down so much. All I can go back to is what I was saying about the light and the dark. The Chiaroscuro. Yea let’s just say Chiaroscuro. Haha!
Will we get to see any live Scott Kid shows now that you have revealed yourself?
Roger and I have been discussing it. I have gotten approached to do shows in the past and it was just never feasible to me. My enjoyment and release came out of the writing and recording. But the live show is a whole different art form and experience and my curiosity is rising and it all seems very feasible now. We shall see what opportunity presents itself. If there is a demand, then we will play. I know that’s probably a taboo attitude in the music world as an artist, but that’s just how I feel.[hr color=”light-grey” width=”100″ border_width=”50″ ]
Scott Kid on the web:
— Paula Frank | @jelenfan