As a fan of Tim Burton films and spooky season, in general, Skeletons is the kind of track that would fit absolutely perfectly into a soundtrack. Considering Scott Swain and his cult-film influences, it comes as no surprise how brilliantly his latest single would fit into a film score. The varying influences in Swain’s life have resulted in the manifestation of this extremely fun, chaotic single. Just in time for the spooky season, Scott Swain released Skeletons and it embodies every scene that’s included skeletons dancing in pop culture. The influence of swing, rock, jazz, and blues are so evident and Scott Swain, in his brilliance, has arranged a dynamic track that could fit just about any mood you’re going for. Skeletons is a part of Swain’s upcoming EP Isolation. Scott Swain has mentioned his influences like Depeche Mode, The Smashing Pumpkins and The Doors, but specified that what influenced Skeletons is the opening scene from Texas Chainsaw MassacrePart 2 when Leatherface chases two high school delinquents to the score of Danny Elfman’sNo One Lives Forever. Scott Swain has compared the single to systematic violence in society and how they’ve just hidden away like skeletons in our closets. It’s a theme that is heard echoing throughout the track, especially in the verse. The one instrument that stands out heavily is the muted trumpet which drives home a catchy melody and gets stuck in your head like an earworm (not unlike the one in Little Talks by Of Monsters And Men)
We were fortunate enough to get an interview with the man himself!
Unrelated to music, but since you’re heavily inspired by cult cinema, what’s you’re favourite cult film and what is it about it that attracts you?
A favourite cult film is The Shining. So much I love about it: the setting – the Overlook Hotel is a unique place, from the iconic carpet to the infamous bar (equipped with its very own barman, Lloyd, who is full of helpful advice.). I love the opening scene of the film – superb camera work which captures how isolated the hotel is in the Rocky Mountains, and the music is epic. You just can’t ignore Jack Nicholson’s stand-out performance. Also, the woman in room 237: lordy!!
When did you realise that music was what you would dedicate your career towards?
I’m not sure I ever had a moment whereby I realised I wanted to dedicate my career to music. I come from a working-class background and something like ‘doing music’ is simply not a career – it’s an interest. Plus the way the music business is these days, you can’t pay the bills with music. A fine example being Spotify. As an artist, you really get a bum deal: £0.0034 per play.
Do you prefer working in a band or as a solo artist? And is there any particular reason as to why?
Tough question. I think on the whole I prefer being a solo artist. That way I don’t have to rely on others as much. Sorry to say it but musicians can be a flakey, flakey bunch of folk. Doing things by myself means I know that things are going to get done. That said, playing live I do prefer having a band. It’s nice to vibe with a band and it’s great having the camaraderie.
What has playing in bands taught you when compared to performing solo?
I think what I’ve learnt from being in a band (vs a solo artist) is developing a sense of what each instrument can and can’t do which is really helpful when writing. I guess it’s also helped me realise how important it is to listen. So many musicians do not listen. They’ll say they do and will have convinced themselves they listen, but then the moment they play with other musicians they suddenly switch off from others and start doing and playing whatever they want/feel. Again, you don’t get this as a solo artist – mind you, my dogs sometimes behave like that.
What have you been doing in the 3 years since releasing Duality?
Since my last release, I’ve mainly been trying to heal and recover. Back in 2018, my mental health started to take a battering and so began a bit of a struggle. It went on for some time and it’s only recently that I’ve felt that I’m starting to recover from it. During this time I also had an unpleasant experience with someone calling themself a PR agent. I hired them to do some work for me and paid them what I consider to be a lot of money. They didn’t do the work (at all!) yet tried to convince me they had. Things got ugly and I had to take him to court. Fortunately, I won the case, the judge ruled in my favour within about 5mins. Nevertheless, it really made me question if I wanted to carry on with the music. It was a massive downer and put a dark cloud over my desire to play music. I didn’t touch the guitar for quite a while during this time. I eventually told myself that I can’t let that bad experience defeat me and so I started writing new music in 2020.
What would you say are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career so far?
I’d say the biggest challenge I’ve faced so far is the awful experience I previously mentioned. Going to court is never a pleasant experience. Other than that, I’d say a continuing challenge is getting people to come out to gigs. Artists usually get a fair bit of pressure from promoters to bring a crowd out to whichever show they’re playing. If you can’t guarantee a certain number of people are going to turn up then you won’t be put on. If you can’t bring any more than about 20 people then you ain’t getting paid. That’s just the way it works when gigging in the UK. I remember being booked to play a show for a well known London festival but was put on the bill at 2:30 in the morning. I explained to the promoter then it would be a hell of a challenge to get people to come out at that sort of time in the morning but this was not a response he wanted to hear. In the end, I didn’t play the gig. There was heavy snow that night and roads were dangerously icy. I explained to the promoter it wasn’t safe to travel (risking my safety to play a show at 02:30 in the morning is not where it’s at!). Despite apologising again the next day, the promoter did not respond to me and I’ve not been asked to play that festival again. Looking ahead, I’m going to be more selective with the shows I do.
So what are you waiting for? Go stream Skeletons now! And be sure to add it to your playlists!