Friday, September 29, 2023

An Interview With Scoopski

Scoopski is an artist from Philadelphia, with genres spanning across Alternative, Power-Pop, Pop-Punk & Geek Rock. His sound, which features tracks ranging from quirky, imaginative stories about his wife being a mermaid, to songs about social anxiety, broken friendships, MySpace, caffeine & childhood nostalgia, has been compared to the likes of Weezer, Bowling for Soup, They Might Be Giants, Motion City Soundtrack, and Fountains of Wayne.

We have had the pleasure to ask Mr Scoopski himself a few questions, and we are sure you will love this one!

How did you get started, and what has led up to where you are today as an artist?

My love for music started with pop-punk when I was a youngin in middle school. I used to download lots of music off of LimeWire and Kazaa back then (dating myself here!), and the songs that really started connecting with me were songs by Sum 41 and blink-182. But the doors of my musical love were completely blown off the hinges when I bought Good Charlotte’s “The Young and The Hopeless” in 2003, before a field trip. I listened to that album during the whole bus ride, and by the time the trip was over, I had declared my first “favorite band”. That fall for my birthday, my parents bought me tickets to see Good Charlotte live, and after that show I had decided I wanted to play drums. My dad is also a drummer, so that probably had a big influence in me wanting to play as well.

I got my first drum kit for Christmas that year, and it just so happened to coincide with my cousin getting his first guitar. We both started jamming together all the time, slowly but surely getting tighter and tighter. We started our first band a few years later, called Renegade Milkmen.

In 2007, I decided my love for music was going beyond just playing drums, and that I wanted to be a songwriter. I bought my first acoustic guitar with my first paycheck from working a summer job at Arby’s that year. The first song I remember learning was the riff to “El Scorcho” by Weezer, and shortly after that, I mastered powerchords. That was about all I needed to get started!

From 2008-2015, I played/sang in a few different bands in the Philadelphia music scene, in a couple I played drums and sang, and in one I was the frontman/lead singer. I also met my wife from the latter band, she was our keyboard player (she can now be heard playing piano/synth and singing in a lot of Scoopski’s songs!). From summer 2015 to 2019, I was fairly inactive with music, aside from performing an acoustic song at my wedding.

That all changed when one day in summer 2019, in our newly bought house, I plugged in my guitar in the basement and started playing some chords. I’m not sure if it was just having the freedom to play loud again (we had lived in an apartment previously), but something about that day was magical, because I haven’t been able to stop songwriting since! I’ve written over 40 songs in the last 2 years alone, and I don’t see any sign of stopping anytime soon!

Who do you feel has influenced you the most as an artist?

As mentioned previously, Good Charlotte were definitely a big influence on me.

But the biggest influence on me, and the one I think comes through the most in my music, would be Weezer and Rivers Cuomo.

One of the earliest songs I ever wrote on my own was a song called “Miles”, which is about Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog (a version of this song can actually be heard on Scoopski’s debut album “Bad Things Happen in Philadelphia”). The song is played in the 12/8 style that a good number of early Weezer classics are played in. Lyrically, Miles is about a pop culture character, and many Weezer songs are full of pop culture references. I really feel like that was the first instance of me tapping into that “Weezer charm” and making it my own. I liked the way it turned out so much that I kind of made that my “template” style in a way, although I do feel like I branch out from that sound a lot, too.

It’d also be wrong for me to not mention how huge discovering The Beatles was to me as well, and I feel like listening to John and Paul’s harmonies closely made me a better singer. I try to fill my songs with tons of harmonies, and The Beatles are probably a big influence on that.

Other very formative bands for me were Oasis, Green Day, and The Pink Spiders. The latter is a super underrated band who deserved to be one of the biggest band in the world, in my opinion!

What do you feel sets you apart from other artists and gives you your own sound?

I feel like I’m not too afraid to lean all the way in to something if I want to say it. If a song is really cheesy, nerdy, etc and I want to ham it up, I will, as heard on tracks such as “BFF Anthem”, “Top 8”, etc. But at the same time, I’m also not afraid to sing about serious topics such as friendships falling apart, infertility, depression, anxiety, betrayal, loss, etc.

I feel like most tracks I make fall squarely in the middle though, where they’ll be approached from a lighthearted angle, but are actually a somewhat serious topic. I feel like songs such as “Clark Griswold”, “Blue Raspberry Soda”, and “Dominoes” showcase this nicely.

What has been your biggest challenge and what do you feel you have learned from it?

My biggest challenge to overcome was self doubt. Another reason I didn’t play music for years was probably because I just told myself “there’s other people who are just so much better than me, what’s the point”? But I realized that the beauty of music is that no two people make it the same way.

So what if you’re not the best singer or best player? It’s still worth it if you have any drive to do it at all, because hearing the end product is so satisfying in the end.

When I first put music out as Scoopski, my listenership was very low, but it didn’t get me down. I just kept recording and writing, because I love doing it. Eventually, more people caught on. I now have hundreds of unique fans that have heard me somehow, whether it be from Spotify, BandCamp, YouTube, etc.

Always keep at it. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, other people will take notice and come along for the ride.

Tell us about your latest project, what have you got going on at the moment?

My most recent album “Things Are Fine” released on April 9th, 2021, but I’m already deep into album 3! I’ve released 4 singles from it already, with more to come! A song called “Black Cat Energy” releases on Friday, October 1st!

I’m hoping to wrap it up and release it by early 2022. A HUGE change in my life will be coming in early 2022 also, as my wife and I are welcoming our first child to the world. Knowing that things will be getting very busy and hectic, I’m trying to put a bow on one last album before our baby is born, as I feel like it will also be a good bookend for starting a new chapter of life!

What advice would you give to anyone new coming into the industry?

As I said earlier, always stick to it and give it your all. If you don’t see the returns you want right away, they will come with time. Put yourself out there, don’t be afraid to promote yourself shamelessly!

Is there anyone you’d like to thank for getting you to where you are now, anyone you’d like to give a shout-out to?

I would definitely like to thank my wife for being my musical and life partner, for writing great songs with me, and helping sing those harmonies I can’t hit!

I’d also like to thank a bunch of awesome indie artists I’ve met across Instagram and Twitter, such as The Cudas, The Negatrons, Modern Amusement, Fuzzruckus, Eric Linden, Mikey J, and many, many more! I appreciate you all, and I’m happy to be “almost famous” along with you all!

How can fans find you?

My music can be found on ALL streaming platforms you can dream up, from Spotify to Deezer. I’m also on BandCamp, YouTube, Soundcloud, and more! Just search for Scoopski!

Follow Scoopski
Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Bandcamp

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