Interview with Mikael Rise, lead singer of Scamp  (August 21st 2008)

I can Imagine that you are known by our Danish readers, but can you introduce yourselves to the people who do not know the band? Who is in the band, how long have you been playing together and what releases you already have done etc.?

Mikael: We are a quartet at the moment. The band consists of Morten Christensen behind the drums. He is the talented one who is arranging the songs and he comes with insane drum patterns. Then there is Kristian Bruun on the guitar. Kristian hails from the deep North in Struer and takes care of coming up with new riffs. Kristian joined the band back in 2003 just after the release of our first demo. Mads Christensen is one of the co-founders of the band along with Morten. Morten and Mads have been friends since high school and they have taught each other how to play. Mads is often the one who brings the insane guitarring into the picture, but my take is that Mads and Kristian have an equal share in that. I am the lead singer of this gathering of nerds. I'm the newest member of the band. I also joined the band back in 2003. My role is to create the voice of Scamp, something that isn't always easy when you have Mads, Morten and Kristian coming up with fucked up riffs that nobody can figure out.

Up till the release of 'Mirror Faced Mentality' Scamp has recorded two 3 song demos. The first was called "The new groove Complex"and was recorded with Jacob Hansen behind the mixer. This demo is what made the Scamp machine start up. After that Mads and Morten wanted a full ensemble. They found me and Kristian, no bass player though... The second demo featured the present line up and is called 'Re-draft'. The songs were written collaberately and was meant to show what Scamp was all about.

The band signed a deal with Scarlet Records, how did the band get in contact with them?

Mikael: We tried all sorts of channels to get in touch with labels, everything but sending out a promo package. Hmmm.. in retrospect that should probably have been one of the first things we should have done, but hey, who the hell cares? We have our deal now. We owe our gratitude to Jacob Bredahl for bringing our album on Filippos (Scarlet Records) desk. He heard it and apparently he liked it because a few weeks later we received a draft for the contract.

Scamp is another word for bastard, but is that why you choose that name, or is it just because it sounded nice?

Mikael: Definitely the last one! After a night of playing and torturing beers, which is a permanent ritual in Scamp, we were watching Lady and the Tramp on the Disney Channel.Then the little son of a bitch Scamp appeared on the screen. We all agreed that such a lovable creature was to be idolized, so we took the name after the son of a bitch.

Was it he band's first choice to record the album at Jacob Hansen Studios?

Mikael: No, we will never go freely. Actually it was recorded at Ziggy's studio in Aabyhoj with Ziggy, John and "Delete" Kenneth doing their magic. We had worked with Ziggy on the previous demo and liked his style and sound. Jacob Hansen was also an option, but we didn't have that much money. Besides, Ziggy is a killer producer and did a great job, the quality of the raw recording was so good that it almost sounded as it had already been mixed and mastered.

Tue Madsen mastered the record, not a bad name to have your record mastered. Satisfied?

Mikael: Of Course! I have worked with Tue a couple of times before and you just can't say it enough, he does magic. He can hear the sound of a band and mix accordingly.

What does the title 'Mirror Faced Mentality" mean? Is there a deeper thought behind?

Mikael: The title refers to the way we reflect on our lives. It is to depict a person who sees everything by setting the world up against himself as you do when you look in a mirror. It has a lot to do with the way you see yourself, if you are feeling bleak then the world probably looks bleak to you too. In the words of Nietzsche we can longer retain a universal perspective on things and with it any coherent sense of truth. The world has become subjective and the title is to imply that you have your own unique image of the world amongst an infinite number of images.

Meshuggah and Fear Factory are influences in your music, are there more bands that have inspired the band?

Mikael: Kandis, Bodil Udsen, Jon and Volbeat. We get inspirations from all genres. Refused is an awesome band along with Periphery, Textures and Invocator. Invocator was probably one of our main sources of inspiration in our teenage years, so they have definitely had an influence on our choice of genre. But basically anything that has a good groove or challenges the listener is something worth listening in our opinion.

What would you say to people who say that Scamp is just a mix of Meshuggah and Fear Factory and no more?

Mikael: I would say: could you pass the gravy? If people connect their nerve fibres in such a way that Scamp comes up as a mix between Meshuggah an FF then by all means let them rejoice over that abstraction. What ever makes people happy, whether it is meant in a bad way or a good way it doesn't matter to us. Meshuggah and FF are great bands and we will always take it as a compliment.

Why do all bands at the moment add clean vocals to their music? Why Scamp also?

Mikael: I have noticed that trend. We put clean into the music for several reasons. First of all because we think it fits the part of the song it is in. Second, clean vocals aren't that easy at all when you are used to yelling all the time. It's a challenge to create something that fits the music. Third, we like the soft sound it brings into our compositions. The music is much of the time very intense and sometimes you just need a breather to bring it down. It gives the energy a good flow and brings variation into the music. I admire a band like Mnemic because they excel at fitting the clean vocals into their songs. And last but not least, we want the chicks to show up at our shows and shake those good looking booties.

How is the writing process for a Scamp song? Are all the songs written before entering the studio?

Mikael: Almost. Everything has been rehearsed and corrected a thousand times before we even think about recording a demo/album. The only thing that has been altered during the recording process is the vocals, but that was mainly because the rest of the band couldn't hear me in the rehearsal room.

The style of music you play is not easy, because of the many strange tempo-changes. Is it difficult to play this so tight on stage, or is this no problem?

Mikael: Actually the tempo doesn't change during one song, but the timing does. It is hard to play and you need to fuck flies to play this kind of music. It takes a ton of practice, but live experience always makes things easier. After a while every little riff is stored in your spine and you don't really have to think about it anymore. But if we take a break for a few months it takes a while before everything is as tight as it should be. On stage is not a problem. We have enough live experience to rock the asses off of the audience.

In my country Holland, we have a band called Textures, they also play technical, polyrhytmic metal. Do you know them?

Mikael: Of Course! Great band, I already mentioned them as an inspiration. I think Textures, Sybreed and Periphery will be the next generation to dominate this genre if they don't do already.

What's going to happen in the next months?

Mikael: Time will pass, we will wake up and eat our breakfast. We are working on a few gigs for the fall and we are writing new songs. Other than that we are just anxious to see if people like the album.

Could you tell our readers why the world needs a band like Scamp?

Mikael: Evolution baby! We helped you evolve to the polyrhytmic stage of human development. Pop and simple rock'n roll are dinosaurs. If you need to challenge yourself and get out your rage and energy listen to Scamp. If you just need some good music, listen to Scamp!


Scamp - Mirror Faced Mentality

Album available on Scarlet Records.