A Conversation with SKOTT at Wayhome 2017

I’ve often been asked what my favourite music streaming service is and I’ve never responded with a uniform answer. I’m lucky (or some would say poor) and scam off the benefits of my best friend’s Tidal account. You have the option of logging into one person’s account from a few different cellphones, so she happily has leant me this courtesy for the past year or so. We curate monthly playlists as a team and it’s the perfect balance (Tidal, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry and please don’t change you’re regulations, we are broke 23 year olds).

While at different parties or pres with friends with a dead phone (like it usually does the first half an hour of me getting there), I would often stream off their Apple music accounts. I am often the resident DJ at most outings with friends due to my apparent knowledge of music and my own pretentiousness.

Overall, my favourite music streaming service to find new artists on is Soundcloud. I connect with a lot of my other friends who are also very into music, and combing through their “likes” is one of my favourite pastimes in order to find new tracks I can bump for the remainder of the week. Usually, I ultimately get sick of them from overplaying, but I know I will return to it within a couple of months, eager as ever.

About a year ago, I was combing through Soundcloud and I stumbled upon a new artist under the same label as BANKS who goes by the name SKOTT. She has a very sultry voice, and a very interesting story about growing up in a remote village, raised by fellow musicians. I was intrigued, and after learning that she would be coming to this year’s Wayhome, I had to get to know her.

We had the opportunity to sit down with SKOTT and discuss her touring process and the importance of taking a step away from the light in order to keep creating music.

Kimberley Drapack: This was your first North American show. What was the experience like?

SKOTT: When people sing along, it’s really hard to describe…. ㄷEverything is still pretty new, it was less than a year ago that we had our first show. To come to this stage, it was huge, by far the biggest we’ve played. I was a bit nervous about the size, but the audience had so much energy. I’m really happy.

K: Although you just started your career, you are currently on tour with Phantogram in the U.S. Do you have a certain item, or something you need while touring that you can’t live without?

S: This may be nerdy, but I like to play video games as soon as we’re on an airplane, or when I can’t sleep. Right now I’m playing Faster than Light, it’s sort of like a space ship type of game. I think that helps me. It clears my mind. If I have a lot of things to think about, or things that are stressful. It’s been the same game for a while now so it’s comforting and I can zone out for awhile. 

K: Your latest single, Mermaid, dropped last week. How is now playing it live for the first time? What was the inspiration behind the single?

S: Mermaid is very special. It is the oldest song of them all, I just hadn’t released it yet. I wrote it on piano a few years ago, and, before that, I was certain that I wanted to become a songwriter.

I think I wanted to be an artist for awhile but I didn’t want to admit it to myself. When I wrote ‘Mermaid’ and recorded a basic demo, I was really feeling like I wanted to do this. I wanted to be the one to sing the song. That song made me realize admit to myself that I wanted to be an artist, and I admitted to another people as well.

After that song, I began to write with myself in mind. It’s a pretty old song but I was working on it for a long time because I wanted to make the production work. For some reason, the song always felt like it wasn’t there yet. I needed to get help with this, bring in other people and try to get it where I wanted it. In a way, it took three years to finish this song. 

K: Three years is a long time.

S: So much has happened since I wrote this song. Since it’s so old, it was extra hard to release it, because it’s been with me for so long. It’s almost easier to not get too attached to demos or have too much history with a song because you don’t dare to release it. You want it to be so perfect, that you can never achieve that. There is no way to ever be finished. It’s tricky to know when to understand that now it’s only in my head.

K: Now that you have told yourself you want to be an artist, what has that been like for you to be playing shows all over the world?

S: There’s a lot more that came with it than I expected. I didn’t have Twitter and Instagram before, a simple thing like that. I barely knew what it was. I’ve never been active with social media and I’ve been known to forget my phone.

Apparently, all artists have to have a social media platform, and not only one. My manager and our team have told me to post more often, and I had to learn that from scratch.

The touring and the interviews are new, from being in the studio, (I call it my cave) where I’m only focusing on the writing on the music, is very different from then being out in the light.

The most important thing, and the biggest challenge is to find a balance so you still have time to go into the cave sometimes, and continue writing music. All of it is because of the music, it has to be the core of everything. Sometimes I feel with companies, it feels like music is second hand. That’s a thing you have to battle, to keep that as the main priority and focus.

K: Do you feel that there are moments while you are performing that you can feel that intimate moment similar to what you had while you were in the studio writing the song?

S: You share something that can be very personal, but what I’ve found fascinating is that it kind of completes the song when you go out and perform it. The song is now in a new light when you share it with an audience. You almost rediscover your song and you understand new sides of it.

When you have something on your mind, and you talk to your friend about it and hear your own words, you understand something new about it. That’s kind of what happens when you’ve been sitting with a song and yourself and you go out and perform it. It’s almost like you understand new parts and sides of it.

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