By Kieran Webber
As frontman for The Pharmacy, Seattle-based singer/guitarist Scott Yoder cut his teeth touring and recording all over the US and Europe. Now as a solo artist he has been further unbound and free to travel, collaborate and change. His first EP ‘Sisters Under The Mink’ was a stripped down departure from the poppy psychedelia of his former band. He spent much of the year touring the US and opening for acts as diverse as Jessica Pratt, Juan Wauters, Kevin Morby, Jesse Sykes, Mark Lanegan, The Abigails, Jimmy Whispers, Dead Meadow and a bunch more.
Recently he released his debut LP ‘Looking Back In Blue’ a wide and diverse soundscape that dances between folk and psychedelia screaming infuence from the great David Bowie.
Scott was kind enough to take some time to answer our questions whilst on tour.
CLUNK : So what was the reason for leaving The Pharmacy and do you have any regrets about it?
Scott : Oh it’s just a bit stifling being in the same band that you started as a 15 year old. There aren’t too many people that do that in other artistic pursuits. Imagine a filmmaker still continuing a series of movies he started as a teenager…like about Cowboys and ninja turtles…
CLUNK : Before you started on your solo project did you have an idea to as how you wanted it to sound?
Scott : Yeah a bit…I knew I wanted to interact with and sometimes confront the audience more. The sound and style of the music usually comes about organically depending on who I work with…and since I can work with whoever I want–I’m sure it will change or the next record.
CLUNK : Are you enjoying going solo?
Scott : I love it.
CLUNK : What do you prefer about it?
Scott : I can be myself and I don’t have to worry about expectations.
CLUNK : Some artists don’t listen to their own music so Im curious do you? And do you have a particular song that you favour the most?
Scott : Ehh – maybe a little…just because I get satisfied with the way a song turns out. ‘Looking Back in Blue’ is my favorite right now.
CLUNK : Are there any artists that influence you and your music ?
Scott : Marlene Dietrich has been a big influence on this tour..just based on her performances. Especially in The Blue Angel. I’m not sure why–she was just such a confident and intense sort of performer. But still very playful and a bit coy…I know almost nothing about her personally but I have her in my head almost every nite that I play.
CLUNK : What was the infuence behind your latest LP ‘Looking Back In Blue’ ?
Scott : It’s just a little summary of both the personal and musical breakups that I had just went through… As well as the physical breakup of my wrist from a bicycle accident. I ended up watching lots of films by Jean-Pierre Melville, Wim Wenders & John Huston while I couldn’t play guitar…
CLUNK : What are you top 5 albums ?
Scott : Yeah I’ve got a few right now –I don’t have the order for them but here goes: ‘Before The War’ by Bo Grumpus,’s/t’ by Jessica Pratt, ‘s/t’ by Blue Oyster Cult, ‘A Letter Home’ by Neil Young & ‘Fastest Guitar Alive soundtrack’ by Roy Orbison.
CLUNK : If you could collab with any artists (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
Scott : It would be cool to have Electric Light Orchestra as my backing band. Like the early 80s “Time” era…it s maybe a bit sentimental but I really dig the nostalgic synth vibe that they had then. I could do a duet with vocoder Jeff Lynne.
CLUNK : A lot of artists explain playing live and recording two different beasts but i’m curious to know which do you prefer (if you prefer one at all!) ?
Scott : I don’t think I prefer either…maybe live slightly. You get to directly introduce the music to people and see into their eyes what works and what doesn’t… And I don’t consider them beasts. They’re more like gentle giants or friendly trolls.
CLUNK : Through your time playing shows I can imagine you have seen some shit, any gnarly stories or experiences you’d like to share with us?
Scott : I am terrible at remembering stories right now. At the end of tour everything just blends together…I guess this was in Florida a while ago after a show at a university we were at a pretty chill bonfire. Except this crusty dude named Scab maybe needed some attention. Or he had some strange resentment? Anyway I remember him yelling at us for petting his dog “Mold” and he was in the verge of getting physical when his girlfriend’s parents showed up to give them a ride. And I just remember him looking so shameful… See I really need to keep a notebook on tour for better stories.
CLUNK : Lastly, what can we expect from you from you in the future?
Scott : Some synthesizers not in the modern sort of dance music sense…more of an improvisational sense. Get more loose with this songs live…that’s just some of what I’ve been brainstorming…I’m gonna go buy a notebook to write this down.