Click here to visit official website.
August 2012 (e-mail)
Guitarist, composer & singer SK is known to most as the founding member of moody rock band Neurosis. The past couple years have seen him on solo tour, recording a soon to be released Neurosis album & contributing to the Songs Of Townes Van Zandt tribute album with fellow Neurosis bandmate Steve Von Till. In addition he owns a record label & hosts numerous radio shows. He recently released a new solo album, The Forgiven Ghost In Me, under the moniker of SK & The Road Home, showing his Americana hymnful side, or described as "a collection of grim 3 a.m. folk songs" by one reviewer, in contrast to the rock of Neurosis ... though still with the same plaintive durge feeling.
A favorite PR company of mine, Earsplit, forwarded me the annoucement of SK's new solo release. It's not uncommon for musicians to show different sides of their persona via a couple different bands. What really got my interest was this dual faced output combined with his additional work as a radio host & with a record label. I saw that SK & I aren't so far apart when it comes to our work - both of us have our little niche, put in more hard work than most may realize with kickbacks smaller than those with a traditional career path, have a diverse output showing a range of creativity & more importantly just keep doing our thing.
Special thanks to Dave Brenner of Earsplit PR who I enjoy working with periodically when I share another artist on his roster.
* * * *
AJ: In the midst of all your other activities, what was the impetus to releasing a new solo album?
SCOTT: I'm always writing material for one or more of my vehicles for expression. These songs where done, I recorded them in December a couple weeks before we recorded the NEUROSIS record.
AJ: Was there a dominating influence/inspiration in the creation/writing of The Forgiven Ghost In Me.
SCOTT: It's always just reflections of my path. My life, the people in it, the events that shape my mind. It's always the same with me.
AJ: It's SCOTT KELLY & THE ROAD HOME, but who is the ROAD HOME? While with a name like that I must also ask - where did it come from?
SCOTT: THE ROAD HOME is Noah Landis [of NEUROSIS] & Greg Dale. Noah also engineered & produced the record. He encouraged & guided me through many of the songs. Both of these guys are intuitive artists, we didn't really have to talk about much, I just gave them songs & they wrote their own parts. I adjusted a couple of moments but the things that they brought instinctively are what you here on the record. The name came from Gladrielle Allman, she is a friend & an author. She suggested it & I thought it was perfect.
AJ: On your blog back in April you candidly wrote: "Every time I come back to Europe I am first reminded of how much easier it is to exist as a fringe artist in this part of the world. Not only do the people in general have a deeper education & appreciation of art but the support that comes from the elders of the society here is something that is nothing if not completely honorable." Would you mind elaborating a bit on these thoughts? I've occasionally asked American bands about the differences between America & Europe having heard them voice similar sentiments in other interviews, though often in the abstract based on something they feel versus can be directly noticed ... ironically European musicians I've talked to don't notice understand this contrast & answer with a question back to me.
SCOTT: I think you would have to see it from an American perspective to get it. Its just the way it is there. Art is important there. It always has been, you can feel it in the people, you can hear it in their words & the way that they express themselves. I don't really know how to elaborate more on it other then to say its obvious that art is part of their education as they are growing up. Also, the state supports the bands, clubs, zines, etc. in many of these countries.
AJ: What's going on with NEUROSIS? I know you guys recorded a new album. What's the game plan on that or anything about it you can share/preview?
SCOTT: The album will come out October 30th. Gigs to follow.
AJ: How did you & NEUROSIS band mate Steve Von Till get involved in the Wino tribute album Songs Of Townes Van Zandt?
SCOTT: We were all asked to be a part of it by the guy who put it together, Ansgar Glade, he runs Neurot in Europe as well as his own label My Proud Mountain. He has been our friend & co conspirator for 20 years.
AJ: There's so many ways to approach a cover song, from duplicating the original to re-intepretting to going off in a whole new direction, how did guys look at the Van Zandt challenge?
SCOTT: I just looked at each song individually & attacked as I thought I could do best. In the case of "Lungs" I read an interview with Townes where he said he thought it should have been a more aggressive song, more shouted, so I did it as I had hoped he would have wanted it.
AJ: How's the world of running an indie label treating you? I also own a small label. Over the past 3 years I've gone completely digital & now have started doing my own ambient music in cooperation with other artists ... to offset costs & increase my break-even income, let alone expand my audience. It's a struggle no matter what. These days I'm working hard to remember to separate myself from the goal & the why I do this & just do the work. Added to the fact that for the last 2 years I worked at a record store that was forced to close its doors as online sales eclipsed walk-in sales, plus the fact we sold 80% vinyl, gave me another view of sales/distribution. But, how's the slings & arrows of the music world affecting Neurot Recordings?
SCOTT: We adjusted our business model a few years back to keep afloat. We aren't signing as many bands as we like too, we have to very selective & go with bands who are effective in going out & promoting themselves as our budget is super tight.
AJ: How's Combat Music Radio these days & your other radio work on Scions Radio 17? I just recently ended a few years of doing music interview podcasts myself, to focus on promoting my other work. It's nice to have some free time back, ha.
SCOTT: KMBT is still alive at www.combatmusicradio.com. I'm doing my shows on Scion now. I love doing radio, I don't know if I'd ever get the chance to do it professionally at some point in my life but I would jump at the chance.
AJ: To conclude my questions by returning to the road home ... does your family travel with you abroad or are you going the far away cobblestone roads alone (or just with fellow musicians)?
SCOTT: I cant afford to bring them, occasionally we can get everybody to a NEUROSIS gig on the west coast but other then that there's just too many of us. My son is a full time NEUROSIS roadie, so he's always with me wherever we go. It doesn't get much better then that.