It wasn’t long ago that singer/songwriter Scott Collins was sitting in classrooms, working hard on a Master’s Degree in the field of Psychology, dreams of music sitting heavy in his eye. It was so recent in fact, that’s it’s pretty fantastic to see what Collins has already accomplished since musically emerging in 2010 with his pet project, the Suicide Pistols. Even since then, so much has changed – somewhere between then and now Collins found himself working closely with Grammy nominated producer Chris ‘Frenchie’ Smith on the single “Marigold” – the song that was chosen for placement in a series of NASCAR commercials and was selected 2nd in the singer-songwriter category and 3rd in the love songs category at the 2014 Austin Songwriters Group annual symposium. It was through these events that the Austin native truly arrived, and since then his sounds has only grown and blossomed, alongside his violin-wielding collaborator, Lexi Cardenas.
With Lexi, Scott says they can fill a room with Americana storytelling, a “hometown” version of good ol’ rock n’ roll, music that’s meant to be played live. And that’s not a bad transition to Collins’ latest record, Let’s Start Here, a mellow folk collection that can still generate a foot-stomping good time in a live setting. We asked Scott for more details on the work – he said, “It’s very transparent and similar to our live show. We wanted to give people something they can take away that is also what they just heard and experienced. My past records are all rock and roll and I felt it was time for the music fans’ take home to match the live show. The writing process was easy. I already had the songs written and fully produced. Lexi is incredibly talented and we’ve also been playing for a little while now. Plus we recorded at my home studio so it couldn’t have been more comfortable and fun.” That home studio is a professional recording venture called Chicken Run Studios – it’s a beautiful spot for making sounds. Click to http://scottcollinsproject.
XXQs: Scott Collins
PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what makes you stand out from others in your genre?
Scott Collins (SC): I would describe Lexi Cardenas (violin and harmonies on the EP) and my sound as Americana. I write folky storytelling songs with bigger melodies and structures that lend toward “home town” rock and roll. Very honest and vulnerable music. The stories can seem somber but with exciting chorus themes the music can be very uplifting and fun. At our EP release show on April 8th my favorite part was watching how many couples got up and danced the entire set. So the sound is folk people can dance to with killer harmonies and violin. In terms of being different from others in our genre, maybe it’s that we can bring a real big energy to the stage for just two performers. Not that others don’t but our dynamics can go from listening room to big stage.
PEV: Calling Austin home, what kind of music were you into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?
SC: I was born in Chicago and raised in Austin so I basically had an identity crisis at 8 years old. Moving from Illinois to Texas was a massive change for me. When I got to Austin I became a sponge for all things. An observer of all. Meaning I also listened to anything offered. One of the results of this is a box in the family attic full to the brim of old Garth Brooks, Deanna Carter, Brooks and Dunn type country. But I was really into emotional rock and hip hop at a young age. Ever since then I’ve kept my open attitude toward music and have always been interested in wide arrays of genres. Also, my father and brother loved classic rock and blues so that was around me constantly growing up and absolutely comes out as an influence in my earlier EP’s. I don’t remember the first live show I ever attended but I did see ZZ Top in concert at a real young age and you can only imagine how much that blew my mind. If you can’t, then I’ll tell you, it did.
PEV: What was it like trying to break into the music scene when you first started? What was your first show like?
SC: It was very fake it till you make it for me. I dropped out of grad school for rock n’ roll and since I played guitar I told people I was available to jam. An amazing vocalist and folk-rock singer in Fort Worth named Aimee Lovett took me on as a guitar player. I remember my first show was at the Curtain Club in Dallas. It was freezing outside and inside the club. I remember being invited on the big vaulted stage to play three original songs I wrote with Aimee in front of a pretty solid crowd. I also remember being so nervous and cold I flubbed on the guitar a couple times. But the greatest thing was feeling truly in that moment and on that stage that I had fulfilled my dream. I had played a legit show in front of an audience at a real club. From there on out it’s just the journey and work equals success. Also, the big headlining band got off stage and started talking to me about how cold it was and hard to play without messing up. It really made me feel ok and somehow officially and finally part of the club.
SC: A genuine, danceable, vulnerable, powerful original songs, killer harmonies, fun covers, violin shredding, guitar rolling good time. I think that’s a sentence. But seriously when I play solo it’s great. I can explore a wide range of songs and connect personally to the audience. With Lexi Cardenas we share such a great energy with each other that I’m seeing it naturally spread to the audience and people seem to feel real comfortable and happy.
PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage to perform?
SC: I honestly just step right into the moment. There’s nothing in my mind – I try to keep my mind as clear as possible so that I can focus on staying “in the songs” and also reading the audience so my performance can match their mood. Most times I really just step up there and let go. Jump right in. And Lexi jumps right in with me.
PEV: What is the best part about being on stage in front of an audience?
SC: For me, being able to disappear into the moment again. I’ve had a long musical journey with some great ups and disastrous downs. But I cherish everything I’ve learned and grown from. Some of the journey took me out of the moment on stage. But I am back in full force and getting lost in the music/performance with an audience is the greatest feeling.
PEV: What is the underlying inspiration for your music?
SC: My inspiration comes from my journey and everything around me. I focus on working real hard in the music business and the reward is purging a ton of songs. I write constantly and they most of the time just come out after a long rehearsal or studio session. Almost every song on my latest release, Let’s Start Here, are my “ten minute” songs as I call them. Meaning they are written in their entirety in ten minutes.
PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out, do you ever look back on your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?
SC: Constantly. I never forget where I came from and every person that’s helped and supported me along the way. I owe so much to all of them. Plus I love to learn and grow.
SC: I have a lot off tattoos! Just kidding – you can see that on the album cover for Let’s Start Here. One thing might be that I own and run a professional recording studio as well in Austin, TX called Chicken Run Studios. It’s on a beautiful acre, come on out some time and feed the real chickens Martha and little Stewart.
PEV: What happens when you hit a brick wall when writing? What are your methods to get over it?
SC: I’m very blessed to never have that happen. I’ve lived a lot and have a long story to tell. Plus I’m surrounded by stories every day. I would say one method could be rehearse some songs to a metronome for a few hours. You’ll be so burnt out a song may just purge out!
PEV: How do you think the industry has changed since you first started out?
SC: It’s actually changed so much that I feel we are all trying to grasp it and evolve with it. Young and old, experienced and new. The beauty of it I feel is the growth and importance of D.I.Y., Do It Yourself.
PEV: What can fans expect from your sophomore EP titled, Let’s Start Here? What was the writing process like for this work?
SC: It’s very transparent and similar to our live show. We wanted to give people something they can take away that is also what they just heard and experienced. My past records are all rock and roll and I felt it was time for the music fans’ take home to match the live show. The writing process was easy. I already had the songs written and fully produced. Lexi is incredibly talented and we’ve also been playing for a little while now. Plus we recorded at my home studio so it couldn’t have been more comfortable and fun.
PEV: With all your traveling, is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?
SC: Definitely Europe and Australia. The amazing PR company Penny Loafer PR, that released Let’s Start Here, is originally from Australia so we absolutely have plans to tour there.
PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career?
SC: They jumped on board and support me fully. It’s incredibly humbling and inspiring. Heck my mother is at every single show and even some tour spots!
PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?
SC: Truthfully I am really one hundred percent focused on the studio and my music career. Most of my time is taken up hustlin’. But I love going out to shows and supporting my local music scene and friends.
PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration. Why?
SC: I’d love to write with Frank Ocean. That would be a dream of mine. I have an entire soul side y’all don’t know about yet.
PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
SC: Jonathan Terrell from Austin is always one of my favorites and a good friend. I’ve been a big fan of his since I started playing music here eight years ago. Also, Sabrina Ellis (A Giant Dog, Sweet Spirit) is one of the hardest working most rock and roll women in the business. Also based out of Austin. She is the future of rock and roll purity.
PEV: If playing music wasn’t your life (or life’s goal), what would you do for a career?
SC: I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Texas in Austin and almost finished getting a Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology. So, a psychologist.
PEV: So, what is next for Scott Collins?
SC: A lot more music, videos and touring. I have tons of songs, a studio, and an amazing team. We are gonna keep the machine moving and keep pumping out music and playing live shows.
For more information, click to http://scottcollinsproject.weebly.com/.