London-via-Glasgow three-piece Dama Scout might be one of the most exciting, eclectic bands one the rise today. Blending a wide variety of genre influences, centered all around their focus on elastic time signatures and a concoction of various ‘spicy’ elements, their songs do more than prick up your and intrigue you. Having now released one EP from last year and a more recent single, the dynamic and vicious ‘Milky Milk’, they’re now on track to record their first full-length album, something that is no doubt a struggle in London.
After their set at Horatio’s Bar on the last day of The Great Escape, we sat down in the sun at the end of Brighton Palace Pier to have a chat about what drives them and where they hope it takes them.
Do you have a greater concept or sound you’re looking to put into this album?
Danny Grant (drums): I guess we’ve developing a bit of a thing as we’ve gone on. I don’t think we can pin down exactly what it is, but we had a bunch of songs that don’t sound like they should go on the album, so whatever these new ones sound like. With the early stuff, we really wanted it to sound like three people playing together in a room, and this one we’re possibly less concerned about that, so you might hear just a bit of diversity of sound.
Lucci Rossi (bass): There’s not a motto of approach or anything like that. I think we’re open and trusting of each other’s ideas. Everything’s a bit welcome, and it ends up sounding a bit of a kind of elastic mess, but in a good way.
Danny: Someone said to us a minute ago, when we play it sounds like it’s just about to fall apart but doesn’t, and that’s the kind of thing that we’re trying to get in, because it’s difficult to record like that because often you’re on the clock.
What kind of influences do you take to create that, whether that be other music or anything outside of that (other art forms, experiences, etc.)?
Lucci: Improvised jazz and contemporary classical music. I know I sound like such a douche saying that, but those musicians will approach performance in music placed in the mold of what they’re doing. Fundamentally we are a rocky three-piece but I think we’re keen for it to be a bit unique. It’s so tempting sometimes to do all the really cliche guitar stuff, so it kicks in a wee bit here and there, maybe more live than it would on a record, but it’s tried and tested-ly fun. I think recorded would be, I dunno, four percent more spicy. A lot of the lyrics are put together from titles of abstract expressionist paintings and stuff like that. I guess it’s pulling stuff from anywhere.
Is ‘Milky Milk’ a painting?
Lucci: ‘Milky Milk’…. maybe it is a painting. That’s actually just making up a straight-up song about making the most of good times, so kind of milking the milk of the good vibes. Milking the udders of life or something.
Can you go a little bit more into the experience of recording this album?
Danny: We’re sort of limited to what we can afford at the moment, so that’s not much. Really, most of it’s gonna be in various bedrooms, so I guess the way that we’ll try and achieve the sound of tension is just to have played the songs a lot together before we try and record them, because then we can hopefully capture that even if we don’t have the opportunity to play it all at once.
Lucci: I think the bedroom thing is good as well, though, for sometimes, again, all that elastic weirdness. In a studio-studio, you’re less keen to fully go down your own route.
Eva Liu (guitar): You’re less comfortable, and you sort of let go of it more when you’re in your own space.
When you release a song for people to listen to or when you perform live, what is the biggest impact you want to have on a person?
Eva: The difference or the tempo changes and what the put into one song, keeps them on their toes.
Lucci: I guess that’s the thing; I guess we would probably like to put stuff together that, if we hear it at some point, it might prick our ears up a wee bit.
Danny: A bit of an exciting energy, a bit of spiciness that keeps people interested. I don’t really know. We just play tunes.
What kind of visual stuff are you looking to put out for this album?
Danny: With the aid of slightly twisted visuals, you can write stuff that’s quite happy and still have a dark overtone, and I think it really helps, so we were just going for cheap gore, and absurd dark and colorful.
Lucci: And humorous. That’s a good way to get the good times out without it being too sugary.
Danny: I’m a massive horror fan, so there’s horror elements, and then there’s sort of stupid Tim & Eric comedy elements. It just helps to even just write the music to have this visual aesthetic as an aid, because it helps with how it’s perceived.
Lucci: We don’t want to be total serious Steves. The visuals help bring that down a wee bit.
Other than the album and stuff, what do you have planned from here?
Eva: Play more gigs outside of the UK. That would be good. We haven’t really left the UK.
Lucci: When we started the band, we basically said the main mission is to get to Japan, even to play to no one, but to get there somehow.
Danny: That’s number one, and then equal number one is just to be able to keep doing it without having to worry too much about how we’re going to be able to afford to do it. And then, we’ve so far made all the videos and done all the visual stuff for sales, so we’d like to continue doing that but it’d be nice to have access to some more resources there so that we could really develop that. Doing the video was really DIY but to be able to have access to locations and access to better gear and maybe some people to help, that would be cool, because I think we’ve got a lot in us, but there’s a lot of financial restraint.
Interview and images by Francesca Tirpak