An Interview with The Silent Scene
Last Christmas Eve, in the final hours of their IndieGoGo campaign, The Silent Scene totaled a final sum of $7,236 from fans. Since December, The Silent Scene – Richie Arthur, Ben Spremulli, Duran Visek, and Jeff Maurer – has been fulfilling all of the campaign rewards, like a personal pizza party with the band, that they promised fans in return for cash to help record an album, film a music video and book tour. That album, Cities, which The Silent Scene spent the better part of 2014 writing and producing, was released last week. I talked to the boys over the phone about Cities, how they make their performances “pop” and their age disqualification from VH1’s Make My Band Famous. You describe your new sound as house – dance – pop – can you elaborate on that?
We just try to make music that sort of re-vamps the whole four piece band format and make music that we would want to listen to. In the process of doing that, we created songs with house elements, with electronic elements, with pop elements. That all came together in Cities.
How helpful was your indiegogo campaign in putting out Cities? Have you given out any of those prizes yet – personal video, invite to the private EP party, pizza dinner?
Yes! It’s been a lot of fun creating and giving all of the prizes that people paid for. We definitely put a lot of work into them. We had a pizza party the other week in Connecticut by us and that was a lot of fun.
Break do the writing and production process for me.
As far as writing, it’s mostly just me [Duran] and Richie bouncing back ideas off of each other back and forth. Working with Jon [Jon Buscema, producer] was a great experience – creating this whole album was the biggest sort-of collaboration that I’ve ever been a part of. We were – and are always trying to make each other better.
I know you’ve listed bands like the Neighborhood and Naked and Famous as well as DJ’s like Cash Cash as influences – are there any other big influences?
That’s a good list – also the 1975, Porter Robinson, Dillon Francis, Skrillex…I think a really big goal for us too is to making music that would have the same impact on the people that we’re inspired by too. Like, someone like Matty from the 1975 or Porter Robinson were to come across one of our songs, we would want them to be like, ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool. That’s something I would want to listen to or use as a point of reference.’
I think that a lot of that is a drive too – to impress and inspire the people that impress you. I think that that’s a cool concept.
Have you had a chance to see any of these guys live?
We recently all went to see Skrillex and it was one of the best shows that we’ve seen in years. At the Washington Avenue Armory in Albany, New York.
Unfortunately, we haven’t had a chance to meet or collaborate with any of our many influences but that’s a huge goal for us. We’re trying to get there.
As far as your own shows, you’ve got a couple of shows coming up in CT and NY – what are your plans for touring?
Right now we’re focused on showcasing a couple shows here and there – we kind of take it week by week honestly, we kind of have my car that we use to go everywhere. That’s definitely a lot of fun.
But yeah, as far as a tour, not really sure at the moment. We definitely travel a lot.
I think no matter it always ends up with all or one of us back in a basement somewhere, working on music, whether it’s after a show, before a show, or in between playing shows or in between studio time – we always end up back home, doing our thing, working on more music.
I wouldn’t say we’re the kind of band – yet – to play a show and then go out or play an after party or anything like that. But we definitely have a lot of fun with it. Our tour schedule is pretty tentative right now but we’re working on something especially after the release of Cities.
I know that throughout the month of July we’re going to be playing various shows throughout the Northeast and then in August we have some really cool stuff surrounding the releases of Cities and then after that there’s some stuff that we’re not really allowed to say yet in, definitely have some stuff planned, as a lot of writing.
I’ve seen you use some lights during your live performances – how do you add an EDM element to your live shows?
We just really like pretty stuff.Going forward that is something we would like to do. Mainly, it’s just we bring a box of – we have a laser, a fog machine and a shit ton of christmas lights.
Fog makes it all better. Fog makes shit pop.
We tend to have a set – especially with us constantly adding gear and revamping how we play our shows.
I think a lot of what we’re going to be doing is re-modeling it in a way with some of those laser lights. I think that mainly we orchestrate it in a sense so that no matter what sort of gear we have going on up there it always looks good. And if we go to a venue and they have nice house lights we always incorporate those into our performances.
And how do you incorporate your DJ side during performances?
It varies. Some sets are DJ sets, others are straight up just like originals and a couple of covers, but we always try to incorporate a sort of dance-like formula. We don’t like big breaks in between songs; we want it to be constant. And the dynamic has to flow.
Yeah, I think that that’s something we really try to strive for – that it’s not just a bunch of guys, playing instruments, and stopping in between songs, and then announcing the next one. I think a lot of what we try to do is to make everything very natural and make sure the show flows as well as it can and we do that by having transitions – whether it’s just ambivalence or direct EDM transitions into other songs.
We have yet to play a full-blown DJ set, other than one impromptu one we had to do at a Chinese restaurant. That’s a whole other story…We showed up to the venue and it was Chinese take-out place.
But, anyway’s, I think that we – I hate the term – but keep an EDM element with the transitions that we do have during our set and the way we make music as well.
While we’re on the subject of sort of side projects, any plans to post more Day in the Life videos any time soon?
Personally speaking, I would love to. There are definitely some things in the production process that we have to figure out but they are definitely a pleasure to make, for sure. The whole editing process of it – I think that it’s great. We look forward to having some more down the line.
What is the production process?
Really is just Duran walking around with a camera and then editing it.
The thing is we put a lot of work into the overall concept we put onto the internet to showcase who we are. We definitely try to make it worthwhile. I would love to get the series back up and running.
And how did the last minute disqualification from VH1’s Make My Band Famous affect and/or motivate you as a band?
Stuff like that we don’t really take to heart – we kind of just do our thing. It was definitely disappointing not even being able to at least sound check.
It’s really – it’s really more of a matter that we were just really, really fucking grateful to have that experience. Keep in mind it was something that we didn’t even enter ourselves in it just sort of happened to be and have and our name sort of slipped in and from there, out of 2000 people we got picked into 60 and from 60 to 24. And then that that fact that we even made that far was really humbling. And to be disqualified, yeah it was really disappointing and it sucked but that wasn’t our big thing, that wasn’t our one shot at this, we have a lot more going on and in the works so that was something that we were grateful to be a put of. We were disqualified very last minute but It was still a really fun ride and we’re looking forward to what in the future.