Kat Moss of Scowl discusses the band’s radical growth

Scowl. Photo: Alice Baxley

Santa Cruz hardcore band, Scowl, is blowing up! The group emerged from the beach town’s DIY scene, performing at houses and radical bookstores, and sleeping on floors and couches while touring. But the group’s aggressive sound which mixes in your face hardcore with a more exploratory aural dimension of extreme melody was let loose on their Psychic Dance Routine, the band’s most recent EP which just celebrated its one year anniversary.

Having just come from performing at the Sonic Temple Festival, where they shared a bill with bands that included Pantera, The Misfits, Mr Bungle and Cypress Hill, the group is slated to play a several other large festivals, including Las Vegas’ Punk Rock Bowling later this month.

“We’re in this really interesting position where Scowl and some of our contemporaries are having the privilege of having a larger audience than we’ve ever had,” says Kat Moss, the group’s vocalist. She’s speaking from the van on the drive to the group’s show that evening in Columbus, Ohio. While she laughs that between all of the touring, she’s rarely at home these days, she expands on Scowl’s members coming from the DIY punk and hardcore scenes.

“I love the ethos behind punk and hardcore. It’s a lot less about the chord progression and tone and a lot more about the mindset behind it,” Moss explains. She goes into detail on the band’s entrance into a larger music scene where situations are sometimes at odds with the group. Recently, Scowl dropped off of the official lineup for the South By Southwest Music Festival citing the US Army’s sponsorship of the event along with the involvement of several other US based arms manufacturers and their role in the attacks in Palestine. Instead, they performed at several unofficial shows in town during the fest not tied to the official event.

“With South By Southwest, we just wanted to stick to our beliefs,” she says. “Being in a band, you’re sending some sort of message – especially hardcore and punk, that’s kinda the point of it – and I think the things we choose to do sends that message. There’s a lot of pressure in that regard because the offers aren’t just punk and hardcore now. It’s bigger than that. It’s exciting, but it made us realize as things continue to shift in the world, and in our political environment, our decisions and the choices that we make might shift and change. I think as a band we just got to the point where we recognize it’s always going to be a case by case basis and we just want to be sure we’re doing things that feel right by us.”

While the band emerged from the hardcore scene, and their sound and drive is unmistakably inspired by the music and politics, Scowl’s most recent EP clearly expanded on their earlier style. The five song Psychic Dance Routine EP added a wider array of rock and even psychedelic influences, filtered through guitar licks and Moss’ delivery that combines singing with vitriolic snarling. All but one song falls roughly in the minute and a half to two minutes length – the single exception still concluding in under three minutes.

Moss explains that while the band approached writing these songs with a lot more experimentation with melody and structure than previous output, she saw the new songs as a challenge to write from a deeper place than before.

“It just felt good to set myself up with some higher expectations and challenges. It wasn’t very easy, to say the least. But I just wanted to make sure that what I was saying felt right and that I was saying it the right way and honoring my feelings, because it feels pretty vulnerable. I just wanted to make sure that I was telling my story well and that I was doing myself justice in the process.”

As it’s been around one year exactly since the release of the EP, Moss says that the group is starting to write new songs together, which she will only leak that “it feels like we’ve all grown up a little bit.”

But the group continues to tour, taking increasingly larger stages, where Moss says the band’s energy and message seems to connect well with the contingent of the crowd that is looking for more substance and ethics to their music. Despite the growth, Scowl remains a steadfast band rooted in radical politics and aggressive in sound. When it comes to their musical output, Moss says each member is very much on the same wavelength.

“We want to write good songs. For me its about writing music that I like, that feels good, that makes me happy. Every one of us wants that, and wants to still capture a sense of rawness.”

Scowl will appear at the Punk Rock Bowling Festival this month in Las Vegas before touring Europe and returning to tour the US to play dates with A Day To Remember and The Story So Far.

Complete dates and music can be found at their website.

ABOUT Shaun Astor

Picture of Shaun Astor
Shaun Astor cites pop music singers and social deviants as being among his strongest influences. His vices include vegan baking, riding a bicycle unreasonable distances and fixating on places and ideas that make up the subject of the sentence, "But that’s impossible…" He splits his time between Reno and a hammock perched from ghost town building foundations. Check out his work at www.raisethestakeseditions.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

@FOLLOW ME

Twitter feed is not available at the moment.

SEARCH TAHOE ONSTAGE

Search

EVENTS CALENDAR

Calendar of Events

S Sun

M Mon

T Tue

W Wed

T Thu

F Fri

S Sat

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,

0 events,