MUSIC INDIE INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT VICKERY OF INDIE PUNK-POP BAND, COMMIT THIS TO MEMORY

NOVEMBER FALL 2021 EDITION

Interview by Isaac Davis, JR, MA, MBA

Answers by Scott Vickery

Our newest interview comes from the Punk-Pop Indie Band Commit This To Memory, carving out a nice niche in the music scene with their upbeat unique sound. The band’s other style blends in a healthy amount of Midwestern Emo that will delight music listeners everywhere. We had a chance to speak to Scott Vickery of Commit This To Memory about the band, their influences, and their inspirations, amongst other things. Here is what was formulated from our fantastic online encounter. 

Isaac: What’s your background? What got you into making music?

Scott: I think one of the things that drew me to music was how it moved my father. AC/DC or Def Leopard would come on the radio, and he would just light up and start playing air guitar on my leg in a joking way. There were many times we’d be driving to a job site on the weekend or somewhere fun, and my dad would always have the radio blasting the songs of his youth. I think seeing how it energized him really drew me to the power of music.

Isaac: How long has music been a part of your life?

Scott: Music always moved me. I would watch music stations like BET, CMT, and FUSE when most were still exclusively watching cartoons. I remember singing into the hairbrush to my parent’s music as a 6-year-old. I had piano lessons very young and joined the band at school when it was introduced in 5th grade.

Isaac: If it wasn’t for music, where would you be now?

Scott: Bored. HAHA.

Isaac: How did you come to realize that music was the way forward for you?

Scott: I think everyone has talents or interests that come naturally to us, and other times we kind of have to force ourselves to power through a task or interest. It was like water finding the path of least resistance for me. I didn’t struggle when I picked up instruments and started writing songs in 6th grade, primarily lyrics. Music and lyrics just came really naturally to me.

Isaac: If you had to sacrifice one skill, which would you least like to let go, and why?

Scott: My voice. I would like, and I think, I could have been a much better singer with the proper training. I look up to vocalists like Patrick Stump, Brendon Urie, and Haley Williams, and those artists have such powerful voices. I know they (Urie and Williams especially) had a lot of training as young ones, and I was pretty much self-taught. In my high school years, I would come home from school and put on my favorite albums and sing along to them. I actually did a lot of damage because I would have the volumes too loud, and I never warmed up or learned how to sing correctly. I have since done some training and have tried to balance my bad, self-taught habits and the proper way to sing. I think good lyrics and a good voice are the keys to good art, so I could never sacrifice my voice. I will keep working on improving that skill. Doing things to practice vocal cord care is very important for vocalists.

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Isaac: You are influenced by the iconic group, The Doors. What does their music mean to you as an artist?

Scott: Not sure if that is intended for me or not. I actually would not go out of my way to pick The Doors as an influence. I do see some resemblance, though. I think our drummer, Eric, definitely lays down similar drum styles and patterns. Eric is a jazz drummer, and I think The Doors have more jazz infusion than many people realize. Also, I think my voice is a bit reminiscent of Robby Krieger. I would pick more influences from the ’70s and ’80s like KISS, Def Leopard, Boston, and the Cars. My influences are a little more current. Taking Back Sunday, Fall Out Boy, All Time Low, and Four Year Strong are the bands that influence my musical style.

Isaac: How would you describe your style of music?

Scott: The Rock umbrella is no longer diverse, but the genre we relate to is Pop Punk. A sub-genre of the Punk genre, Pop Punk gets its name because it is a radio-friendly “pop” take on the aggressive and fast-paced backbone that Punk music relies on. Usually, the lyrical style is more “pop” focused too, like songs about falling in love or losing someone in death, instead of politics. The late 90’s and 2000’s take on this style influences me, but the 2010s and 2020s (so far) have seen a slight drift into a jazzier style with more natural sounding (less distortion) guitars, which modern take is something we embrace as well. Basically, I aim to write songs with a Blink 182 backbone, dressed in a contemporary style (Free Throw, Real Friends).

Isaac: In what way do you aim to make a difference?

Scott: I am actively writing new material, and one of my goals is to focus on supporting and honoring those coping with disabilities and illnesses. My mom has MS, and my wife has a handicap that makes standing at concerts and other activities very difficult. I want to do things that make live shows more inclusive for those coping with disabilities. I will be releasing songs and music videos where those who are rarely mentioned in entertainment (especially in a positive light) will finally see or hear themselves in a song. I want this to encourage and relate to those who struggle with health concerns and raise awareness to others to be kind and respectful.

 I have friends who have a rare condition that makes their bones very brittle, leaving them with very little energy. They have a severe health condition and are not capable of the same energy output and stamina maybe someone else our age has. Because of this, they have a handicapped parking permit. They look on the outside like anybody else, and people will actually cuss them out on the way into the grocery store. I am not sure who told them it was their civic duty to mistreat those who have physical disadvantages. Berating people who already have anxieties and disappointments due to their circumstances is not something any person should ever do.

How do you think you know someone’s medical chart when you don’t even know their name? This [mistreating others] needs to change. Baby’s get cancer nowadays. I’m not sure what people think, but disabilities and serious illness do not care how old you are; age has nothing to do with it. Sorry for the rant, but I am passionate about changing people’s views when it comes to this, and that is one of the band’s most significant mission statements.

Commit This To Memory

Isaac: Who’s your fashion icon, and why?

Scott: Hailey Williams because she is confident, vibrant, and cool.

Isaac: What’s the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into growing up?

Scott: [no response]

Isaac: Where is your career heading? What’s the vision?

Scott: We’re excited to be playing shows and writing music. It’s really about the craft for us. If we write good songs, people will take notice, and it will grow, but whatever happens, the vision is to follow our passion and have fun playing live music in small clubs.

Isaac: How do you put words to paper? What’s your creative process like for you?

Scott: I am very lyrics forward. I think most artists need a musical hook or chord progression, and then they form the lyrics. I have spent so much time writing that it all happens for me in a stream of consciousness. I will have a thought I need to express or something I just made up that hooks me, and as I start to build on the idea lyrically, I am hearing it. I hear the counter melodies and drums and guitars as one lyrical idea informs the next line. I usually re-draft frequently, but I often write a song in about five minutes. Our single EP called “Stuck Inside (Covid-19)” was written this way.

I was thinking about how everyone was growing tired of the covid shutdown fall of 2020 and thought to myself, “stuck inside…it’s time that I…found something to do…”. I had my guitar in my hands, and through experience, they just landed on the natural notes, so on guitar, I just followed the melody of the vocals and the following line “this Covid life is not one I would ever choose…” just rolled off my tongue. I wanted it to build and then crescendo, and I knew at that point I also wanted an A-B-A-B style for the song and for it to have an unconventional structure. Literally, how it came out in the studio is exactly the raw take I created in about five minutes.

Isaac: When it comes to performing, what’s your style?

Scott: Live, we have immense energy. I enjoy the artists and performers taking up the stage and engaging with the audience, and I want our shows always to have that same feeling. I think the audience always has more fun if the artist looks like they are having a perfect time, and I believe that positive energy creates a feedback loop and makes the live show more fun. I like to get the crowd involved. I want them to feel like the songs and emotions are theirs to share, not just an idle experience.

Isaac: If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Scott: There are several festivals I would like to play, like Slam Dunk, Riot Fest, and Warped Tour, but we would be happy to play anywhere abroad to experience somewhere outside of North America.

Isaac: What’s your favorite project so far, and why? How do you see your sound evolving in the next couple of years?

Scott: I want our sound to be dynamic, so I have chosen to have a few different style nods early on and will continue to mix in instruments and styles. I like when bands maintain the same sound, but I think some people are too quick to dismiss electronic elements that some bands add-in. I love some of the energy of various EDM artists and want the freedom to pull from any influence without feeling off-brand.

Isaac: What makes you different from others in the industry? Who are your biggest musical influences? Would you say you’re at all like them?

Scott: My biggest influences are melodic emo rockers Taking Back Sunday, punk-pop kings Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, and All Time Low. I also really like the band Four Year Strong and how they bring the pop elements as close to heavy rock as possible, and I want to bring some of that guitar work and heavy breakdowns into my songs as well. I think the 2000’s style punk-pop clearly influences our sound, but it is also uniquely ours.

Isaac: When driving, is there a specific track that has you blasting the stereo with the windows down?

Scott: “Backroads” by Sudden Suspension.

Isaac: Which artists do you think you would harmonize best with? If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why?

Scott: I would love to collab with many artists, but I think my dream collaboration would be with Haley Williams of Paramore. She has such a great voice and is a very cool person; I feel like that would be a really great experience.

Isaac: If you had to switch bodies with another artist, who would it be and why?

Scott: Max Bemis of Say Anything. I just want his mind really. He wrote the rock opera that I wish I would have written, and he has some unique takes on life and lyricism.

Isaac: Shameless plug time; promote yourself….

Scott: We just released our debut EP on all the major streaming services. It’s entitled “HOME.” I decided on that name because the songs all happened to reference being at home in some way. One song deals with the fatigue from the COVID-19 lockdown and being stuck inside your home. Another is about your stalker breaking in and going through your things when you’re not home. The word/thought ties the EP together. It’s an upbeat pop-punk EP for fans of Blink 182, Free Throw, and Microwave.

Isaac: Final thoughts…

Scott: Thanks for the interview! Stay tuned for our upcoming projects.

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