RED HOT SHAME
Red Hot Shame is an indie rock band based in Northern California, fronted by singer-songwriter Xeff Scolari and his shifting lineup of musical cohorts.In the indie post-art rock world, Xeff Scolari is a hot topic, and we asked him a few questions.
Alan – Hi Xeff. Your latest album You Can't Make Me is how many in order?
Xeff - Hi Alan - it’s our 4th full length album, and we also have 4 EP’s, and a 5th EP “Scratched Tracks” coming out April 19th.
Alan – Red Hot Shame can be said to be a one-man band. Is that you + always other musicians? Or do you have someone who is a regular member?
Xeff - I think RHS can be said to have started off that way, as a one-man band type of project. But that’s no longer the case, and hasn’t been for years. I’ve been with Steven Pitsenbarger from the start, and then Ryan Wilson and Spencer Kennedy joined up a few years ago and have been the core of the band ever since. I met Mark Bennett while doing open mics after the Curiosity album, and then he joined up on the second album Sounds Like and has been with us ever since. Being a one-man band was fun for a mintue, but I like the sound of the music I make with my friends, rather than a whole lot of me me me.
Alan – It's one thing to record an album with hired players. The second jet concerts with the album and hired players. How are you arranged for concerts?
Xeff - I sometimes have to hire a drummer for a show if our guy isn’t available, but otherwise the band that plays live is the same one that’s on the albums.
Alan – Why I ask. The interview will be published in zines in Europe. So will you get to play in Europe? Or is your music only played on the radio in Europe?
Xeff - Playing in Europe would be incredible. Right now it’s radio only, but we’ll see what happens…
Alan – You have several albums under your belt. Aren't you thinking, for example, about the year 2025 to make a cross-section of your work and release it on an LP? Not just on CD?
Xeff - Like a “greatest hits” type of thing? No, I have to keep moving forward with new stuff, and let the old stuff live in history. I’d like to do a vinyl release though, but it’d just be the next full album, probably in 2025. Most of it is written already, and there’s some lyrics that I don’t want to get missed, so maybe that’s a good one to do on a LP with all the lyrics inside and all that good stuff… Ok, you talked me into it.
Alan – What is your relationship with chickens?
Xeff - In regards to the album covers and all the baby chicks? The baby chick was the artist Jeff Jordan’s creation, on a piece he had that was called Curiosity. I was working on an album and song called Curiosity, so I asked if I could use it, and he was kind enough to agree. Then beyond that it has evolved, grown up a bit, turned into a robot for a while, and ended up dragging us around on the newest album. The chick has become our mascot, but we haven’t named it yet. I guess we should. Otherwise my relationship with chickens is purely dietary
Alan – Regarding your work. How do you create? Do you work on the songs and lyrics yourself? Or do you sometimes get advice?
Xeff - It’s a mixed bag, sometimes a song will just fall out of the sky totally complete in 10 minutes, and other times it’ll take a couple of months, maybe. Ideas come when they want to. Usually I write alone, but I don’t pass up an opportunity to hear someone’s idea and try it out. Often I’ll come up with the bare bones version of a song with lyrics and chords, and then take it to the band and we’ll bounce ideas off as a group, and come up with something better than it was, had I kept it to myself. So, it always ends up being a group effort in the end.
Alan - The difference between You Can't Make Me and the previous albums?
Xeff - Mainly that it’s more of a live sound on this new album, more representative of how we sound at the shows. The others were more “studio” albums, more layering of instruments, stuff like that. A little more exploration of our various styles on this one, as well. The last album, My Satellite, was a space-themed trip, so we were staying within those boundaries. But we’re stretching out a little more here.
Alan - How have listeners received your latest album? Satisfaction?
Xeff - It’s gotten a better response than any other thing we’ve done so far. The radio play has been nice, and there’s a few tracks that seem to resonate with people and get a lot of plays. We’ve gotten some nice media reviews as well, so we’re pleased. As long as what we’re doing has a sense of upward momentum, we’re happy.