Slap bang in the middle of a year which has offered plenty in the way of breaking news, and little in the way of gigs and career highlights, we caught up with Scott, frontman of South London-based triad Rich Parents. Although their debut gig early this year probably feels like the memory of a past life, there was still plenty to chat about, as we covered the London scene, socio-politics in music, and what it’s like to have Rich Parents…
Oliver: Scott, you’ve appeared in a number of London bands previous, did that provide you with a better scope to take on a more lead role in Rich Parents?
Scott: Personally, although I yearn to be in charge of most things I am involved with (much to the chagrin of my family, girlfriend, flatmates and anyone who happens to know me), I actually find it rather uncomfortable to say that I am the lead role of this or anything where that might appear to be the case. Robert is the actual engine of the operation and Sam is the purest musician of the group; I feel that whatever I am doing is a mere formality of the fact that bands generally have a singer and that they usually stand at the front. I once tried for many years in my first teenage band to play up to and categorically state that I was in charge, genuinely convincing myself that I was going to be on the cover of the NME within a year. All it actually led to was cheating on girlfriends, failing my A-levels and crying alone after Prom. I don’t know what the adult equivalent of that list would be but I don’t want ever tempt fate to have it happen to me or as a consequence the people around me. The real reason I joined so many bands was a reaction to all of that. Not only did I want to expand my musical palette and actually train myself to be a competent musician who could play their instrument but I also want to know someone else’s creative process, subject to their way of working. It also had the added perk of less responsibility which meant that I could always blame someone else if it wasn’t working. In the end it truly allowed me to know what I could individually bring to a project and how I work with a wide range of different personalities; also a terrible inferiority complex.
Oliver: ‘St George’s Day’ and ‘What Should I Wear to the Revolution’ are both woven with socio political themes. It’s early days of course, but are these matters going to be at the heart of the Rich Parents musical mantra?
Scott: If the sausage could be made any other way then I would try it but for the foreseeable it’s the only thing that we feel we can do. Most of the time when we are writing it’s about 75% of Rob and I talking about the sorry state of the world, 15% drinking and 10% actually doing some work. We are aware that these days I think political songs can feel as ubiquitous as love songs especially when people as commonplace as Hosier sheepishly attempt to make claims that their songs have a genuine insight worthy of societal discourse. So at the very least I try to do my part to come at points that may seem obvious to people in a way that isn’t. I’m a big fan of stand up and started out in performing through acting so I always feel a bit more comfortable when there is a character or some story to play with when I’m singing. To me it just makes everything easier than it already appears to be to people.
Listen/watch ‘What Should I Wear To The Revolution’ here:
Oliver: Back to basics for a moment : Why the name Rich Parents?
Scott: Well it’s kind of a joke to be honest with you. We spent so long trying to think of a name that we ended up just trying to make each other laugh to get through the tedium of the process. Eventually one of us, I can’t remember who, blurted out Rich Parents and it stuck like nothing else. I’d read this Sandie Shaw interview a few years ago that said it was becoming more and more impossible for working class people to become musicians or pursue any other artistic endeavour and it has always been present in my mind. With that in mind it definitely felt like the name would knowingly address any of the issues that we had of being three white guys who are all somewhat from a middle class background screaming out angry, political songs. It makes the whole thing a lot more tongue in cheek and it also made us more satirical, playing up to the idea a bit. I think that an infinitely more interesting way to approach what is slowly becoming a tired and tried set up for making music. A lot of the time it’s just boys pretending to be angry making noise and being praised for doing the same thing as each other. I never want to be a part of it.
Oliver: Comparative to Courting’s ‘David Bryne’s Bad Side’, your track ‘St George’s Day’ is an unapologetic portrait of a patriotic gent, and at a glance takes a subtler, more calculated route into judgement than an IDLES or a Shame track. Would you say that this route is a better means of progress?
Oliver: I don’t ever feel like anyone can really make an absolute statement about anything despite how often we all make them. I think this especially applies when making music or any art for that matter. You can have a viewpoint that is apparent in the text but if you are not going to go that one step further that might question if you are wrong then I think ultimately your work can end up being less interesting. Also if you want to affect change, what good is it going to do if you just scream in someone’s face that they are wrong? Surely it’s better to politely open the door, put the kettle on and then throw the coffee in their face. I like the music of Shame and Idles but I do feel that you end up sometimes having this weird competition about who is more authentic or not because they are trying to be “real”. As I said before it’s a performance, a show but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make authentic points from what may at first appear to be an inauthentic almost flamboyant way.