Saturday, November 11, 2006


Loads of talented folk out there in cyberspace. Case in point, the Scallions aka Shawn and Mike Franklin who parley their Residents-styled sensibility into pristine powerpop and ambient electonica. They strike me as intelligent musicians as well. See if you agree...

What place does music have in your lives?

Shawn: Music has always been in our lives. We weren't a typical situation where someone gets into music in his/her teens. It has always been there. Our Dad is a musician and our Mom is into creative things with art and such. It's a happy balance.

How would describe the kind of music found on the new album?

Mike: We call the sound Avant-Garde Power Pop. The songs are short 60’s and 70’s influenced traditional pop songs with an experimental edge. I think we were finally able to find a balance between our power pop hooks and our more experimental side with this project. It just sort of took shape over the course of recording ATC. Those five looooong years we spent recording it. I think there is a little something extra in the production on this CD that will take more than one sitting to appreciate. Fortunately, the majority of the feedback has been positive so far. No matter which style we play, melody always comes first.

Looking back, some of our older avant-garde tracks made people run screaming from the room. We haven’t abandoned that side and this wasn’t a calculated approach by any means. We’ll actually be revisiting the more experimental side again on our new vinyl project.

Is the D.I.Y. ethic important to you?

Shawn: The D.I.Y. attitude is crucial for us. Yes, we are a signed band with Chuck D from Public Enemy, but we still do a lot of legwork. Now we have people who help us out with videos, art and other things, but we still like to have the final say and control as much as we can.

Mike: It’s been nice to have a hand in all aspects of our music. Things changed slightly once we were signed. We started working with individuals outside of the group and handing certain jobs over to them. Luckily, we’ve hooked up with some great people who really get us - so we weren’t disappointed.

How does a band that cites the Residents as a major influence end up signed with a rap label?

Shawn: We are a band that is into so many different styles of music. Well, Public Enemy is one of my favorite bands (so are The Residents) and I have been a hardcore fan since the first album. I have always wanted to meet Chuck. I ended up getting his email address and asked if he sign our guestbook at the time. I thought it would look so cool. He ended up doing it like 3 weeks later but he also downloaded some of our songs.

As it turns out, he was giving a lecture near where I live and got to meet him in person. When I asked him to sign some things, he asked "who do I make this out to?" I said "you actually checked out my band The Scallions" and he cuts me off and said my name. I was on cloud nine for days. I emailed him again saying how great I thought the lecture was. He responded saying that he wanted to know if we wanted to license out some songs for his online label Slam Jamz. At the time, he wasn't doing anything offline. Years later, he changed all that and we were chosen to do a proper CD/DVD.

What does the future hold for the Scallions?

Shawn: As Mike mentioned, we have a vinyl only avant-garde record coming out called "Sounds of vinyl and the past." It’s coming out on Mind's Ear records. It will be an instrumental record and contain a lot of different sections. I am so happy with it. We are like 90% done with the recording. This is a record dedicated to the people who have been into us since we started releasing material for the public. Also we are assembling material for the next Slam Jamz Scallions CD.

Mike: We both have a backlog of material to go through for the next CD. We’ll start sifting through that and decide what makes the cut, clean it up, and record it. Some of the demos are already done. We hope that the next release doesn’t take five years!

I wouldn’t mind playing or show or two either…

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