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SCOTT AITKEN AND THE DELOREANS Bolt from the blue


Scott Aitken and the DeLoreans released their much anticipated EP Blue at the end of 2019. A follow up to the 2017 EP Green, it’s a collection of six tracks and experiments across several genres. Blue includes their popular track, Where Are You Now?, which hit No.5 on the Western Oz Top 20 of 2018. Having just performed Blue in full for the Manifest Festival at the Rosemount, BRAYDEN EDWARDS sat down with lead vocalist and songwriter Scott Aitken for a chat about the origins of the band, his major influences and where they’re heading next.

Congrats on releasing Blue, how long has this been in the pipeline?

Thanks! This album took about two years to make and we began work on it pretty much immediately after the release of our first EP Green. With that album we recorded it in about a week and so with this one we wanted to take our time and focus more on creating more complex instrumentation in the songs as well as a tighter, slicker production. Needless to say I’m pretty happy it’s finally out in the world.

Where did you happen to find the ‘DeLoreans’ that helped you bring these songs to life? They’re a pretty rare model you know…

I was lucky enough to have friends of mine who were great musicians in their own right and willing to help me realise the sound I had in my head. Ziggy Atwell and I met in high school when we were 15 and have played together in various bands over the years. I met Dave Cooper working in a music shop when I was 20 and we bonded over a love of weird guitar effects and comedy.

I met Alex Stock right around the time I was starting up this project and we all came together one day in a house I was living in up in Doubleview to just see how the songs would sound live. We played through my song Playboy which eventually came out on our first EP. During that first practice it all just clicked into place and we’ve been playing together ever since.

Your lead single Where Are You Now? has a bouncy melody but upon closer listens the lyrics are quite deep and melancholy. Was that a deliberate approach or just the result of being influenced by bands you listen to?

Well I was messing around with the chords and they sounded kind of melancholic in the first place. I am a big New Order fan and the idea I had for it was kind of similar to Bizarre Love Triangle which has those big thumping drums and synthesisers. Something about making a bouncy pop song and sneaking some sad lyrics into it has always kind of interested me.

The song is about losing track of people in your life for whatever reason and then seeing them from a distance, like on social media, and getting a sort of distorted reality of what their life is really like now. And the same can be said of how they see you. So the overall message is that things can get bad between people, but there’s always a chance to reach out to people and re-establish those relationships. So I guess I always see a lot of optimism and balance in that song by the end and it’s sort of cathartic in a way going through all that melancholy which is a bit like the album as a whole.

And what songwriters do you think have had the most influence on your approach to this album?

One of my biggest influences is Lou Reed and I think that’s probably most evident on Ship of Fools which is kind of a callback to a mid-70s sort of rock sound. There’s even a nod to one of his Velvet Underground songs on Numero Uno, and I got the title for that from something David Bowie used to say a lot, so his influence is on there too.

Elvis Costello is another big one and for the title track Blue, I was influenced by his song Shipbuilding to make a sort of stripped back tune featuring some jazz elements and a trumpet solo which was played beautifully by Blake Robertson-Hall.

I listened to a tonne of R.E.M. during the two years making this album and Michael Stipe had a big influence over everything including how I sang the songs. Listening to him kind of gave me confidence to really try harder in that respect and push my voice a little further which made the songs a lot better.

Is there an overall narrative that ties this album together lyrically? What was going through your head at the time of writing that you felt you needed to express?

I think it’s about introspection, going deeper into your own psyche and coming out the other side to use what you’ve learnt to affect the outside world. It starts with songs like Numero Uno that are all about ego and then Ship Of Fools which acknowledges the power of hate groups, which prey on the lonely. But ends on Get Up which is about sort of accepting the dark with the light and choosing to do what you believe to be right in your heart, for both yourself and the people around you.

So I guess I thought it was going to be a happy album but I just wanted to start it at a real low point. Show how you can get through it all and learn something from both sides of the coin.

And what music or experiences are you absorbing now that might go on to shape the music you make next?

With each album, I try to set myself a framework to work in, otherwise I’d have too many options and not know what to do. For the next one, I’m thinking about doing something a bit heavier, with shorter songs and a rawer, live feel a little bit like Elvis Costello’s Blood and Chocolate album where they just had the band in a room playing the songs live. The bands I’d probably associate it with would be the Pixies, Queens Of The Stone Age, Eddy Current Suppression Ring or Deerhunter’s album Monomania.

The idea will be we record the songs together as a four-piece, then the only other things we can add are percussion, vocals and industrial noises like motors, steel beams clanging together and elements like that; kind of an inversion of this album.

What’s next for you and the band? Any other shows or new music we can look forward to in the future?

We are planning some gigs for 2020 so we’ll be around town playing shows again soon. I did do some work on an album for Xerox covering a Mei Saraswati song along with Rag N’ Bone (now New Talk) and other great bands which will be out very soon. I’m also working on a single for release in the near future which should show off some of these new sounds and I can’t wait to dust off my distortion pedal and play it live.

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