From the interior, vocalist and guitarist Josh Scogin is a humble and wise individual, sharing his introspective views on the art of making music. Looking at the exterior, we see Scogin charming punters with his energetic stage presence, not hesitating to be in-your-face while sharing a slice of diversity in the world of punk rock.
You may remember Scogin from his work on Norma Jean and The Chariot, dabbling in the genres of metalcore/metal. Moving forward years later, his latest passion project ’68 has already made a name in the music industry. Ahead of the duo’s sophomore release Two Parts Viper, we caught up with Scogin talking about the creative process of the LP, embracing spontaneity and the progression he has made as a musician.
So let’s talk about your new record Two Parts Viper. I mean, it’s wild, unique and incredibly diverse. How did you feel when you reached the album’s completion?
It felt really good. It always feels pretty good but this time more so than others. We had to record this album very differently. Always in the past, I’ve recorded it and maybe I write it for three weeks and then record it for three weeks or a month or whatever. With this one, we were on tour so much. We never had that amount of time off or anything so I would pop into the studio, record a song or two for a week or record all night; it basically was a very slow puzzle coming together over a seven month period.
Because of that, I think it’s unique to anything I’ve done in the past because some of it was written in the comfort of my own home in the Summertime when it was really hot. Some of it was written on tour in Europe where it was really cold in December. I think it’s a very natural progression and unique to the way I’ve ever done it before, and it was something I thoroughly enjoyed. But when it was time for it to be done, I was very, very happy to be like, ‘Okay, it’s not like this thing weighing on my shoulders anymore – it’s done.’
Obviously, during that seven month period, you guys were like stopping and starting songs. Did you in any way find that difficult?
It’s equal part a blessing and a curse because there’s something very healthy; you sort of dive down in a sort of dark territory and you kind of go back and forth. But you know once the month is done, you’re done. You gotta let it go – for better or worse. So it was a blessing because as an artist, you always want to make something better and two months later, you’ve got another idea. But it’s a curse because there’s something very healthy about being able to let it go after just a short period of time, and also when do you stop fixing something, you know?
You give me six more months and I can make it a little bit better, you know. Does it need to be better? I like to go off my gut instinct, I like to keep things pretty impulsive and spontaneous. When you’re doing it over a seven month period, sometimes you have to struggle with that and go, well I do have this idea, I do think it’s better so should I do it or not? It was a unique experience to have that but I try and do my best keeping it a blessing and not making it a curse but it was definitely challenging at times.
“It’s all a very big evolution.”
Would you say that you were overthinking a lot when you were writing the songs or did you think it came out naturally for this record?
The beginning of every song is very impulsive and very spontaneous and that’s how I like to write – that’s why I only give myself about three weeks to write because I don’t want to overthink it. I think rock n’ roll needs a bit of impulsiveness and spontaneity, so the beginning of every song came out like that. But then you know, I’d be on tour and I have every opportunity to listen to the song a thousand times if I wanted.
As you listen to stuff, you’re gonna be like, “I think I can make it better, I have a better lyric there or I got this idea”. I think these songs on this album definitely got tweaked and got worked on a little bit, but when I stepped back and looked at the whole album in its entirety, I like to think that it is at its best so that’s quite nice to be able to feel like that.
Compared to ’68’s debut record In Humor and Sadness, what would you say made this record different for you? What vibes did you get?
I think it’s very different. I don’t know if everyone could hear it on the outside but for me being neck deep into that, I feel like again it’s that journey aspect. The first record, I wrote within a week or two of each other – it’s a very specific time period, you know. To me, I can hear that. Whereas Two Parts Viper, I mean over a seven month period, it grows, changes its mind and thinks about different things lyrically and even sonically, I can hear such a wide range from track one to track ten to track five.
Like, they all sound unique to themselves. They all sound like they can stand on their own two feet. I’d like to think there is that common thread where it doesn’t feel like it’s just ten random songs from ten random bands but at the same time, it feels like a journey throughout the whole album versus just a timestamp, you know.
You worked with Matt Goldman. How did he contribute to the recording process of the album?
Well, Matt and I have worked together on almost everything these days. We just work really well and there’s no learning curve. Everything is very fluid, he has an idea or something like that. We just kinda keep moving, keep rolling. There are other parts where he’ll shorten or lengthen something or whatever. His contribution is definitely mixed within the fabric of the songs themselves. As far as writing, I do that in my own time but as far as producing and adding his ideas, that’s what Matt does.
Compared to your previous bands Norma Jean and The Chariot, how has working on ’68 shaped you as an individual?
It’s all a very big evolution. I think with ’68, it was a whole new world to discover with playing guitar and pedals and everything, so I mean it’s definitely shaped me in a unique way. Norma Jean was my first band so that was a big shaping point too.
At the end of the day with ’68, I mean I feel like it’s nice because it just took the thing I was comfortable with, being in a band and touring and stuff and opened up a whole new door in a whole new way. It was very fresh for me. I feel like I’m still changing, still evolving, still learning from it and finding better ways to do this. I think I’m still in that process of being ’68.
Two Parts Viper releases June 2 through Good Fight / Cooking Vinyl
Be sure to check out ’68 on the dates below!
‘68 AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES:
THURSDAY 20 JULY – ENIGMA BAR, ADELAIDE 18+
FRIDAY 21 JULY – NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB, MELBOURNE 18+
SATURDAY 22 JULY – THE BASEMENT, CANBERRA 18+
SUNDAY 23 JULY – OXFORD ART, SYDNEY 18+
MONDAY 24 JULY – SMALL BALLROOM, NEWCASTLE 18+
WEDNESDAY 26 JULY – CROWBAR, BRISBANE 18+
Tickets $30 + BF on sale via www.tickets.destroyalllines.