INTERVIEW: Scott Boone of Satellite Twin on Fugazi, Vinyl, and Lightsabers!

Pictured above: Scott reenacts the movie Up, but with less tragic montage. Photo by Sarah Tangel.

Scott Boone loves what he does, and as a member of Satellite Twin he does that well. The band make some of the most compelling indie in the city, with a sound that combines the fury of bands like Unwound or Fugazi with some definite prog musings. The trio have been busy lately with work on a few special treats including their track on the River City Rumble compilation, and a variety of shows. We caught up to Boone to talk about music as a form of socio-political expression, their upcoming release on Gubbey Records, and why anyone would like Donald Trump. You can catch Boone and Satellite Twin in action this weekend at 6pm at the Zanzabar stage as part of the aforementioned Seven Sense Festival. Listen to their last album below.

Never Nervous: How did you get into the punk/indie scene? Was it any one person or was it a band that drew you in?

Scott Boone: I used to be a huge Nirvana-head, probably because it was the most exciting thing available to me. In early high school, I met a drummer who was really into Lookout Records bands, which opened up a lot of new doors. Then one day I heard Fugazi. They pretty much changed everything for me. Until then, I was unaware that “punk rock” could be much more than a few snotty power chords and a fast drum beat…….you can be extremely talented and creative AND exude that crazy ass energy??  Fuck yeah. That was it for me.

NN: Did you feel included? Do you feel like the punk/indie/whatever scene here is inclusive, or exclusive?

SB: Any “scene” is going to have pompous assholes and little cliques here and there, but I really don’t think it’s an overall inclusivity/exclusivity thing.  If you’re nice to people and show respect, you’re generally going to receive the same vibe in return.

NN: What would you tell an aspiring, young musician about getting involved?

SB: I would tell them the 4 most important things that I’ve learned about playing music:

  • First, don’t expect to make money. If you do, that’s great. If you make enough to live off of it, that’s fucking incredible, but for most of us, at some point in life, music has to become secondary to something else. That doesn’t mean you have to approach it with less passion.
  • Secondly, collaboration is key. Listen to your bandmates. Never shrug off an idea as a bad idea. Try them all. In my experience, the best songs aren’t written by a single person who hands out homework.

“Listen to your bandmates. Never shrug off an idea as a bad idea. Try them all. In my experience, the best songs aren’t written by a single person who hands out homework.”

  • Third, NEVER let your ego run wild. Each new song or album may be the best thing you’ve ever done, just remember that it should be. Recognize the flubs and flaws so that you can move on to the new best thing you’ve ever done.
  • Fourthly, I’m still learning. 

NN: Tell us your musical resume. How have you evolved as a musician over time? What was your first band?

SB: I started my first band when I was in the second grade. My older brother Gary played guitar and I sang. We were called “The Tigers” and our hit song was “Color Tag: Orange and Black”. I still don’t know what that means. I think I’ve evolved as an artist rather than a musician. My skill level has peaked, but I can continue to find different ways to broaden it horizontally. That part of me is still evolving.

NN: How did Satellite Twin start? Who is in the band now? Has it been a consistent lineup?

SB: Believe it or not, Satellite Twin started with Craigslist! I ran across an ad that our drummer Jae had placed that read something like “looking to play some music, don’t give a shit what kind, don’t give a shit how old you are, don’t give a shit about your race, don’t give a shit about your gender” etc…. I thought it was brilliant, so I asked Shane (whom I’ve been playing music with for over 15 years) to pick up a bass and go check it out with me. That was around 4 years ago, and we haven’t stopped since. We did have a second guitarist for a while at the beginning. He’s an awesome person and a very talented player, but it became obvious at a point that we needed to be a three-piece.

NN: What was the first song the band put together? Do you still play that song? How does it compare to your newer material?

SB: I believe it was Placebo, the instrumental track from Tidal, and we play it at every show. Since we were so fresh, I would generally bring in songs or parts of songs to work on. Most of Tidal was an example of that. As we got more comfortable, we were able to read each other much more easily, and started writing songs together. Now we can go into the practice space, and fuck around with different spur of the moment lines/beats/riffs/whatever for a couple hours and come out with at least 2 or 3 pursuable ideas; sometimes an entire song. It’s a much more enjoyable way to write and I think we’re a better band because of it.

NN: Who sings in the band? Are the lyrics collaborative, or is it the work of the vocalist? Is there any responsibility for the singer to represent the rest of the band?

SB: One of my favorite things about Satellite Twin is that there is no leader. I feel like we all contribute equally on every level, and I’m comfortable thinking that they feel the same. With that being said, much like I tackle the guitar responsibility, I also tackle the main vocals. And as such, I treat it as another instrument in the band. The lyrics I write are because of how the words sound with each other and the rest of the music. They generally don’t have any profound meaning. Shane and Jae both will do backup vocals if the song needs it.  Shane does a lot of backups live that weren’t necessary on recordings, but definitely adds to the energy of the performance.

NN: Should music be used as a platform for politics of any nature (social or political)? If so, is there any obligation for the musician to be a role model of any sort?

SB: Oh hell yes. Although our music has little to no political agenda behind it, it’s certainly been proven that music can play a huge role in inciting change, or at the very least raising awareness. Sometimes, politics in music just comes across as preachy, like someone who will argue every point instead of listening, but when done poetically (think Dylan), it can be very powerful. I have a ton of respect for that.

“Although our music has little to no political agenda behind it, it’s certainly been proven that music can play a huge role in inciting change, or at the very least raising awareness.” 

NN: When should we expect the follow up to A Tower in the Right Flood?

SB: It’s actually in the mastering phase right now. The fine folks at Gubbey Records are going to release it on cassette, and there will be a digital version as well. The official release date is October 17th, coinciding with Cassette Store Day, and there will be a release show that night.

NN: Given the prevalence of digital releases, why release anything physically? What place do physical releases have in 2015?

SB: Digital releases are cheap and easy for artists and fans alike. It’s silly not to offer that as an option. HOWEVER, there are still many people like me who have never downloaded an album and probably never will. Call me old school. Call me a music snob, whatever. Give me a physical copy with artwork and liner notes, preferably vinyl.

NN: Is there any room for nostalgia in art or is the function of art/music to look forward?

SB: Why not both? The primary function of art/music is to please the senses. That can be done just as easily with something that is 1000 years old as something that is the newest innovation.

NN: Why does anyone give a shit about Donald Trump? What is wrong with our country?

SB: Ha! Good question. Everyone that I know who mentions the Trumpster does it to make fun of him. What’s scary is that some people are going to actually vote for him……I don’t know. I’ve always hated all politicians, but the more I read about Bernie Sanders, the more I actually see a flicker of humanity in that profession.

NN: What would make the upcoming Star Wars movie terrible and why?

SB: I just really hope there’s not too much CGI. I mean, you know it’s definitely going to be there, but there’s an acceptable balance. Also, I hate how they keep trying to make “cooler” light sabers! The light saber CANNOT be any cooler than it was….just one long shaft. Everybody loves a good long shaft.

“I hate how they keep trying to make “cooler” light sabers! The light saber CANNOT be any cooler than it was.”

NN: What non-musical things have you riled up lately? Have you read, watched, eaten, or drank anything interesting lately?

SB: For some reason, the only Bukowski novel that I’ve never read is Post Office, and I work there, so I’ve had my nose in that recently. The best tacos I’ve ever had are from La Taqueria Mexicana One  on Preston Hwy. Try the cow tongue taco (order the lengua)…. seriously. I only have Netflix to watch anything, but there are some gems on there. Peaky Blinders is a badass show, as well as “Copper”; also a shitload of interesting documentaries.

NN: What have you been listening to and why?

SB: Well, not by choice, but mostly us recently since we’ve been working on the new EP. Besides that, I’m pretty proud of my record collection, and like to thumb through and find shit I forgot I had. I’ve been listening to a lot of Deerhoof lately, Fred Frith’s projects, Do Make Say Think when I want to almost relax, Sinatra at Sands when I want to fully relax, Lightning Bolt when I want to never relax again….I’m not hip enough to know about the new stuff.