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Interview: 2021 Must-Know - SCORS

Interview: 2021 Must-Know - SCORS

London four-piece SCORS (their name the result of a lengthy process which culminated in seeing "SCORS" etched on an effigy and liking the look of it) comprise of vocalist and rhythm guitarist Jake Passmore, bassist Max Rampton (who is also credited with "secret harmonica"), lead guitarist Piers Sanders, and drummer Stix.

A balmy salve for these chaotic and unsettling times, the band released their sublime 'Punting' EP last year in November, which they describe as a "selection of older songs that reflect an era of constant change; conceived at a time where life began to feel consistently uncertain." Traversing high tides, low tides, and everything in between, SCORS write with emotional precision, painting sun-drenched portraits of intimate moments that are both empathetic and emphatic.

MUST-LISTEN: 'Forgetting How To Speak', 'Under The Sea', 'Perpetuated Waltz'.
YOU WILL LIKE, IF YOU LIKE: King Krule, The Strokes, Deerhunter, Rex Orange County, Gengahr, The Last Shadow Puppets... and playing Poohsticks with your friendly neighbourhood Yeti.

COUP DE MAIN: "What's life if it's not having fun," you say in 'E The Real You'. How much of life do you think should always be dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure?
I think all the time, especially within the context of the song. I think you should always look at your situation in the present and try and do all you can to make this moment as pleasurable as possible. These moments are the only things you can control in life. Rather than obsessing about the future as everyone says you should be doing.
SCORS - MAX RAMPTON: I reckon the narrator of that song was exploring the different ways to go about living, trying to find the balance between purely pleasure seeking thrills and the virtues of the ladder scramble side of things.
JAKE: It’s important to mention that you can derive pleasure from working hard for your own pride and wellbeing. There are many things in life that you have to put effort into in order to be content later. Things float easier when you derive pleasure in everything you do. But if you want it in numbers: about 88%.
MAX: The other 12% is for when things get real rough.

CDM: You perfectly capture a rollercoaster of emotions in 'Forgetting How To Speak'. Why is communication so hard?
‘Forgetting How To Speak’ references more hedonistic days like the rest of the EP, but this song in particular points out there were still times where you could feel a lot more separated from the world.
MAX: Communication generally can be quite difficult sometimes. It can be kinda frustrating trying to translate what you wanna say accurately - an ailment we both suffer from, as you’ll probably gather from the rest of this conversation!
JAKE: Sometimes it’s just easier to write about it.

CDM: What's the significance of the audio sample at the end of 'Forgetting How To Speak'?
We bought a box of old tape from a car boot sale, some of it being from old answering machines, and that audio was on one of the tapes.
JAKE: Though I've dug through some mental archives and I suspect it comes from a tall boy named Lennox. We went fishing with him up a creek in the highlands and I’d recognise that voice anywhere.

CDM: How does your songwriting process work?
Our songwriting process starts in many different ways. Often Jake will come up with a chord sequence and bring to me or the whole band and we will develop it from there.
JAKE: Though in more recent times, Max or Piers would bring a chord sequence and we would flesh it out from there. The way we write is constantly evolving and changing as we try to challenge ourselves more.

CDM: Jake, you're really vulnerable in your lyric-writing. Do you find it cathartic writing a song like 'Under The Sea'? Or is it hard to relive those feelings?
Well, in almost every case, Max and I write the lyrics together. Although this song is very old and the rare one I wrote at the beginning of the band myself, I still asked Max what he thought about it because he knows the situation it’s referring to. I think he added one line, "Your heart is still my home." I don’t remember what the line was before.
MAX: Songwriting in general can be very therapeutic; it allows you to express yourself in a way that you might not have consciously felt the need to say prior to writing the song - sometimes words flow easy, or sometimes you end up pouring over a single word for hours upon hours. Me and Jake wrote a song for a future project that took maybe two years...?
JAKE: Yeah, and even then we added another bit to it a couple of years later. I think it’s always going to be an exorcism of some feeling that has been waiting to get out. That in itself is always cathartic, your subconscious will do all the work as soon as you flip the switch. We find it easy to be open with each other and relate our experiences to create one narrative where it feels true for both of us.

CDM: Do you write your lyrics specifically for the songs, or do you write poems or prose and then evolve them into song-form?
Both. We’re constantly scribbling phrases or poems down in various notebooks, so on some occasions we end up using those. Other times we write each word of a song according to the vocal melody that Jake improvises when we jam.

CDM: How did your duet with Clairo on a cover of The Strokes' song 'I'll Try Anything Once' come about?
Claire was in London a while back and we just decided to play some guitar - I’ve known her since we were thirteen/fourteen through a mutual friend.

CDM: What do you think is the difference between a good song and a great song?
Usually lyrics. Many of our favourite artists and influences are lyrically strong.
MAX: Also, the feel, the groove--
JAKE: The percussive stuff that makes your body move.

CDM: All of your visuals are really cool. How involved are you with the creation of them?
I do it all myself, I have friends and collaborators who help on video sense because there’s a lot of roles to fill. But the reality is we’re just portraying the world around us.
MAX: We really did get trapped in jars.

CDM: Is there a story behind the mask that often features in your visuals?
There are many stories behind the SCORS face - it depicts the mighty Yeti.

CDM: What do you hope for people to take away from listening to your music?
Chronic melancholia?
JAKE: Mass euphoria?
MAX: Read between the lines.

CDM: If S.C.O.R.S. were an acronym, what would each letter stand for?
Stupid, Cold, Old, Rotten Soup.
JAKE: Social Consulate Of Romanticised Scenarios.
MAX: Silver Castle Over Rolling Skies.
JAKE: Secret Cult Of Revering Sasquatch.
MAX: Salad Croutons On Rod Steward.
JAKE: Imagine that, Rod would never go near croutons, they’d just bounce off his hair and skintight leather trousers.

CDM: What’s on your bucket-list?
A spade.
JAKE: Go to the desert.
MAX: Write a ballad in The Hotel Chelsea.
JAKE: Build a sand castle.
MAX: In that order.

CDM: If you could steal one thing without consequence, what would it be?
The nation's hearts...?
MAX: Oh wait we already have.
JAKE: Bad joke! Probably steal everyone’s nuclear codes and plans and accidentally burn them.
MAX: I'd probably take a Chicken Legend. Just to really show the man who’s boss. Or the moon, you know, the little things.

CDM: Do you have any favourite anecdotes/memories from touring with Declan McKenna?
We played a two-man show in Ramsgate because the rest of the band weren’t permitted to enter Ramsgate by the mayor - who was quoted as saying, "I didn’t like the cut of their jib."

CDM: I greatly admire the open letter you posted back in July of last year outlining the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement. Do you think musicians have a responsibility to use their platforms for good / enact change?
I believe everyone should collectively be perpetuating the information about the many injustices that plague our world. The more people stay aware of the problems, the more likely we are to fix them together. Though this doesn’t mean everyone has to post it on Instagram, this can be just within our personal lives, for example: calling out any injustices you see in real life.
MAX: I think the most important thing when it comes to these issues is having a continuous discussion and consciously addressing these issues; whether that be racism, homophobia, transphobia, or anything like that. These issues are so ingrained in our societies worldwide that they are subconscious, and it is going to take a lot of effort, probably generations worth to begin to tip the scales. You can’t remove a nasty cavity like that by ignoring it.

CDM: If you were a country, what would be your national anthem?
Probably 'Lujon' by Henry Mancini, or 'Ladyfingers' by Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass, or 'Tezeta' by Mulatu Astatke - I can’t decide.
MAX: I think I’d probably choose 'Theme From The Godfather' by The Professionals... or 'Canção De Amor' by Walter Wanderley and Portinho. Something organ-y...

CDM: You’re one of our 'must-know’ artist picks for 2021… who are yours?
Thank you, we're flattered; there are so many amazing artists coming up. Artists like Brad Stank, Charlorcha Kabucci, Malady, Byulah, to name a few.
MAX: Also, Allie Crow Buckley, Smokey Joe and the Ten Toes, BIGHEADMODE, and Djungelskog are a few more to keep an eye out for!

Watch the 'E The Real You' music video below...

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