05/26/2024

Undead Goathead

Dedicated to metal, music, and mischief.

Interview with Scarlett O’Hara and A Skylit Drive

Intro:

One fine day, I got an email from yet another PR Service. I get dozens of those, all day, every day, but this one caught my eye. A Skylit Drive? My curiosity was already piqued! My nostalgia was on full blast!

Alas, little did I know how quickly my life would take a nosedive, despite this blissful state of elation on receiving my first ever official press passes. I asked my boyfriend-at-the-time to please operate the cameras for me, as he had done so in the past. I was basically giving him free concert tickets, plus backstage passes to meet and greet the bands, and of course I would buy everyone a round of drinks, and probably some street truck El Pastor tacos, being the party animal that I am. But he refused. He insisted that he would only get in the way. Alas, this became a self-fulfilling prophecy, as his absence, in and of itself, was a burden. It was then that I knew that our relationship was on the rocks, and that it was the beginning of the end.

In the following weeks, we broke up. He sat on his ass and played video games while I attended several funerals for multiple family members. He went to the gym and worked out, while I had my own strenuous exercise regimen of carrying heavy boxes and bins of my belongings, down three flights of stairs at his old place, and up three other flights of stairs at my new place. The last thing I wanted to do was my responsibilities and obligations, including transcribing this article, especially with the haunting unspoken absence of he-who-must-not-be-named.

And yet… When I finally sat down and did the work… It was like the conversation was about my situation. Using a labor of love to combat severe depression. Hell, the bands themselves had recently lost a founding member. While I believe now, as I did then, that it would be inappropriate to grill the bands about their late comrade, I do think it would be cordial to offer my professional acknowledgement and personal condolences for their loss here in these introductory paragraphs. Rest in peace, Jordan Blake.

Now, with all that being said, to give context as to this complex, confusing, and wildly emotional situation:

Here are my conversations with two monumentally talented bands.

Scarlett O’Hara

Undead Goathead: Alright, so can I please have each member introduce themselves, and their role in the band?

Scarlett O’Hara: Hi, my name is Moses, I am the frontman of the band, the singer.

I’m Alex Samodouroff, I play guitar.

What’s up, I’m Logan Burns, I’m the other guitar player in Scarlett O’Hara.

UG: Awesome. Are you releasing any music now or in the future?

SOH: Yeah, we’ve been busy for the last year and a half. Recording with producer Andrew Bailiff out of Nashville, we have a ton of songs coming out.  There’s going to be quite a few, actually, of them of the new unreleased stuff that we’re going to play today, so today is like the first time that we’re actually going to be playing some of these new tracks for the first time.

We’re talking a lot of tracks. We have a whole new CD worth, so be expecting a lot of stuff coming out pretty soon.

UG: Wow that’s awesome. What is your guys’ songwriting process?

SOH: We’ve changed. You know, we jam. It’s definitely an exchange. Back in the day, it was primarily just the typical… All of us would get together and jam. We would write something.  But now, you know, ever since we’re working with some of these new producers, Eric Ron out of LA, Andrew Bailiff, we’re going in with a blank slate, and not really having preconceived songs or anything really. We go in and work with the producer. Feel it out, we listen to some tracks and everything. We get some influence and just start writing. More times than not, you know, we’ll come out of the 4-5 hour session, with a complete full song, we’re really lucky to work with those writers and the producers that we do, Because they’re just beyond talented.

UG : Excellent.  Alright, did you guys have anything to add about the songwriting process?

SOH: I mean, it’s fun. Most of the time when you’re writing lyrics or when you get stuck or you don’t know what to do, it’s nice to have sombebody else there who has a lot of space and this can be like a… What kind of word am I trying to come up with…? Experience!

UG: Okay!

SOH: And working with them makes it a lot easier, feels like less than expecting the pressure to get this song out now. We can all go in there and just wing it and relax.

I think it’s like, you go down there with a clean slate because it’s easier, but you go in with an idea, and kind of let it flourish in there.

Yeah, we always got kind of like an influence or somewhat of an idea, like similar artists that we’re all into, and nine out of ten times, even if it’s not the rock or metal genre. We’re oddballs in that sense. Like that on the way up to a tour or something we’re listening to Ariana Grande.

UG: She’s cool! I stan! Yes!

SOH: At the same time, it’s like, from here, most of the songs, it’s like when you write, a lot of it will start sounding the same… We’re having a lot of different heads and different influences. It makes every single song sound different but something similar. I think that’s how we stay creative. Everything is very diverse.

And a little shout out to our amazing co-songwriters! We got Michael Whitwarrick, we got Danny Peloran, we got Field Hooks, we got all the heavy hitters in Nashville. Some of them, they’re doing stuff with BTS and Luke Holmes and Jellyroll, we’re in great company.

UG: Wow, all over the place. Well, that leads into my next question. Who are your musical influences?

SOH: Yeah, I really love The Weekend, Ariana Grande, Panic at the Disco, Breaking Benjamin, all over the scene.  

UG: That’s awesome.

SOH: I followed Brittany from the beginning. Bring me the Horizon. I love all that.

Man I love the way they change. Like a band evolving totally. I don’t know, it jumps around. We like a lot of R & B, which comes with the singing. Pantera. It works out really well. We’re all pretty different, and yet the same, if that makes sense.

UG: Okay, rad!

SOH: Mine are all over the place too. Like you said, I’m definitely into the Texas staples. Pantera and all that. Being only a couple hours away from where they’re form and all that.  But I’m really into pop stuff. I’m super into The Weekend. I love the pop divas. Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Billey Eilish.

UG: Oh yeah, love her!

SOH: I still jam all that early 90’s R&B, TLC…

We got a lot of dark pop going. And that’s kind of like more of what we’re steering toward, keeping a dark edge to it, so it’s not too far off. You’ll definitely hear what we mean when we play some of those unreleased tracks tonight.

UG: Nice, nice. That’s another great segue into another question. How do you guys feel about the modern music scene?

SOH: I mean, it’s definitely a changing landscape. It’s constantly evolving and always calling on different things for the artists to do. Back in my day, there was only social media. It was Myspace.

UG: Oh yes! I miss Myspace!

SOH: Yeah, it was the best! And so you got to focus on only the music aspect of it, and Myspace would take over. But nowadays you got Tik Tok, you got Instagram, Snapchat. All of them. So now you have to tailor your content for each outlet to maximize the best result. That’s really one of the hard learning curves that we’re experiencing now with the new modern eras of music. You have to learn how to swim, or drown, I guess.

Oh yeah, and the other thing is that many bands are trying to be genreless, or genrefluid.

UG: Oh yeah!

SOH: That makes it easier to reach a broader audience.

UG: Totally.

SO: Bring it back where you are. Have fun over here in the pop realm, have fun over here in the funk realm… Bring it back where you are. And that really helps a lot.

UG: Alright! Why do you love being in a band?

SOH: I don’t want a regular job! It’s been on and off… We went to college and got a degree, and everyone was like, ‘what are you going to do with your degree?’ And I was like, ‘go back to music!’

UG: This is the main plan. This is plan A.

SOH: Yeah, exactly. Also, too, it’s the kind of person that we are. I don’t know how else to explain it. That’s part of being in the band. Part of why I wanted to do it initially was playing with the awesome gear. Playing with the awesome guitars. Toys for adults. Hanging out with my literal lifelong buddies. We’ve known each other for 20 years. We’ve been a band and everything together for 15 years out of that. I can’t imagine doing anything different. Two of us went to college, got degrees, I did real estate and all that stuff. But there was a call that kept playing in my head…

UG: The siren’s call of music!

SOH: Yes, exactly! And then it was just like I gotta do what the universe is telling me to do. And, you know, here we are again. I think all of us have that passion to do it.  We really don’t know how to do anything else.

Actually, I know how to do other things! I just don’t want to!

UG: How do you feel about going on tour?

SOH: It’s awesome. You know, you get to be in a vehicle with these guys…

UG: Yeah, I could imagine that would be very interesting!

SOH: If you’re into traveling and you get to do this every night. It makes it a lot easier. But it’s fun. Touring is definitely a whole lot of work. It’s tedious. It’s waiting. It’s nerve wracking. But it’s so much fun.

It’s a lot of work, but when you’re doing it, it doesn’t feel like work. It’s not like when you’re at a 9-5 job looking at the clock, punch in and punch out, like I wanna go home and get out of here. It’s not like that.

UG: Yeah. Dedication.

SOH: The work for a tour begins two or three months before the tour actually happens.

We were rehearsing at theaters and everything for the last month, doing live rehearsals for just this, spending 7 – 8 hour days doing just that. It was a lot of work, but worth it.

UG: Nice, nice. What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

SOH: Find a good producer.  As much as you may enjoy writing songs and everything, there is definitely a method. There’s a way to go about it…

UG: The right way. Professionally.

SOH: Yeah. All the power to the people who self produce and all of that, if you can pull it off But speaking from experience, properly write a good song that’s going to do well commercially, that takes you to a different level.

Stick with the bandmates that you have. Choose your bandmates wisely. They’re your coworkers, you don’t want to be working with someone who sucks. It’s mentally draining. It’s physically draining. You have to have really good chemistry with your bandmates.

I’m going to go off and say, advice to new bands, invest in one really good song, instead of three or four mediocre ones. Do a single if you have to. Don’t do a full length if you don’t need to.

Have a five year plan for all of it. It takes multiple years for a song to actually hatch.

That happened years ago when there was an influx, and the internet and bla bla bla, but put your efforts into one thing consistently. Don’t overdo it, and then it’s not worth it.

A prime example with us: We recorded Friction and Obsessive in 2020, those didn’t get released until 2022. That was a rough year. Covid messed up a lot.

UG: Alright, next question: What is your favorite album from your own discography?

SOH: Technically we’ve done an EP in 2007, an album in 2010, and then a hiatus, Welcome to the Brodeo in 2017, and that’s when we got the ball rolling again. And now we just dropped a couple new singles. I can’t give too many details out now.

But definitely my favorite stuff out of our discography is the new stuff that’s about to come out.

In my opinion, of course.

UG: Alright, looking forward to it!

SOH: Yeah, setting the bar high!

UG: Alright! Last but not least, what do you want to say to your fans?

SOH: Thanks for the  multiple years’, decades’, plus, worth of support, sticking with us. We started when we were 17 years old, now we’re in our 30’s. Some of those same people who were around back then and took pictures of us when we were teenagers at a show, and they’re still going to our concerts, and we even saw them on our last one…To have that … it’s a crazy feeling but I don’t know how to explain it…  This dedication and appreciation for your art. These things that we created with our feelings and all that. It means a lot. We get messages from people saying that those songs changed their life, or saved them in some way. Motivated them. Being helped. That alone is an amazing feeling.

If we focus on physical stuff, and all the loudness, and the fame… But when you actually connect with somebody, and they tell you, “I was thinking about killing myself…”

UG: Oh my god!

SOH: “…but then I listened to this song, but then I realized I wasn’t alone and other people were going through it.” You can’t put words to that. So I just want to say thank you to everybody.

We try our absolute hardest for all of y’all and we want to give you many more years of Scarlett O’Hara!

A Skylit Drive

Please note that this interview was conducted outside. There was an anthill on the sidewalk. Before I started recording audio, the band guys were joking about ants crawling all over us, like that one album cover of Consuming Impulse by Pestilence. Hence the weird opening lines. Nobody knows better than I, that one of the worst things for band interviews, is the unpleasant prospect of stumbling into an encampment of spicy bois. (Spicy bois, in this context, of course, refers to an army of fire ants.) So I got to have that lovely image in my head, while I struggled with my own starstruck stumbling and mumbling, not to mention fumbling with handfuls of audio recorders, cameras, notebooks, and pens.

A Skylit Drive: Uh oh, I gotta check my legs. I think I feel them crawling all over my hair too.

Undead Goathead: Oh no! Now you guys are making me paranoid! The interview hasn’t even started and I’m already paranoid!

Alright, so can I please have each member introduce themselves and their roles in the band?

ASD: I’m Miles, I play drums for a Skylit Drive right now.

Jag, singer.

Kieth, I do vocals and lead guitar.

I’m Jon, and I play guitar.

UG: Excellent, thank you. And are you guys planning any new music now or in the future?

ASD: Definitely in 2024.

UG: Okay, perfect. Got any more details on that?

ASD: We’re actively writing, and also celebrating Wires’ 15 year Anniversary.

UG: Oh, wonderful, love it. And what is your guys’ songwriting process?

ASD: Usually starts with this guy.

I’ll send Jag something, and he sends it back, and we send it back and forth, and it just gets better and better. It’s a very exciting process.

UG: Awesome, perfect. Well it sounds like everyone has a role in that, so that’s amazing. And how do you feel about going on tour?

ASD: I am so excited!

UG: Awesome!

ASD: Yeah, It’s very exciting. Personally, it’s been a very long time since I’ve been on the road, so it’s finally time to get back at it!

The last time I was on the road was actually like back in 2007. That’s almost ten years ago now. I’m super excited.  I’ve been on tour twice now this year. Neither time with my actual band.

UG: Alright! That is hilarious! I love it! And then who are your guys’ musical inspirations?

ASD: Metal specifically or just all music altogether or…?

UG: Both! Yes, I want them all!

ASD: I’m under fire!

I feel like I for sure would say Jack White and JB Havoc.

UG: Yes! I respect it!

ASD: Mixture of that and Travis Barker.

UG: I can see that, I can see that!

ASD: I’m personally honestly not inspired just by other music. I’m inspired by interactions, or situations. I’m inspired by other things.

UG: Interesting!

ASD: I do get influenced by music and stuff, but I also get influenced by whatever speaks to me. Like this song has really good drums. Or this band has amazing riffs.

It’s just whatever I like. Same with food.

UG: Perfect! I agree! Music be the food of love, like Shakespeare said. What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

ASD: Always stay true to yourself.

 Just don’t give up, no matter what the situation is. Just keep going through it.

Stay kind, and speak genuinely.

Whatever time they say last call is, that’s what time last call is.

UG: Oh yeah, no, you don’t want to get stranded in Albuqurque, trust me! Alright! What is your favorite album from your own discography?

ASD: Probably Wires. The one we’re playing tonight.

UG: Good call! It seems we have a consensus here?

All: *Nodding silently in agreement*

UG: Nice! How do you feel about the modern music scene?

ASD: It is ever changing. The days are gone of going into the studio and slaving away to work on an album. It seems that’s a boring process for the listener. If you don’t do it, someone else will.  

We live in an age where everyone has the attention span of a cocker spaniel.

UG: Pretty much! Why do you love being in a band?

ASD: Doing all the hard work, writing, getting out there, shake the demons out.

Shake the demons off. And also the connection.

Do this, just to do this. Go out and travel. That’s enough of a reason. Like going out on a road trip. Where are we going? Stop in a random place! I’d like to stay in the Grand Canyon, that’d be fucking sick.

UG: Hell yeah.

ASD: Actually, no, that sounds dangerous.

UG: That’s the fun part! Oh, wow. Alright! Last but not least: What do you want to say to your fans?

ASD: Thank you. Thank you for sticking around for years and years and years. Still coming out to shows. If they’re anything like me, I’m starting to get old, and weak in the knees. My hat’s off to them.