One of the beautiful things about music is you can never judge a bands sound by looking at them.
Not to say they are ugly in any way shape, or form, but to look at photos of Greene County hard rock outfit Scattered Hamlet and you would subconsciously place them more in the bluegrass area of rock, but if you look further, and, more importantly, crank up their new album Stereo Overthrow you will awaken a very different beast indeed.
In fact, that form of judgement features prominently on the upcoming album which deals with public perception and more specifically record labels and industry insiders who want to change existing bands into a set formula and structure more conducive to sales than content.
Scattered Hamlet are one of those rare, unpolished gems you seldom come across that would rather go down with their integrity and moral fortitude intact than succumb to an industry machine that often values image over substance.
After cracking the Billboard Heatseeker’s Top 10 with 2016’s Swamp Rebel Machine, the powers that be came predictably knocking with promises of fame and fortune – if the band was willing to sell their soul for the machine.
Thankfully they politely told said people to stick it where the sun don’t shine so to speak and pressed on with their own musical vision that has culminated in Stereo Overthrow which is due out on November 12.
Combining elements of Southern rock with punk sensibilities and hard rock dismissiveness, Scattered Hamlet have delivered a definite contender for album of the year, but, more importantly, did it their way.
Frontman Adam Joad sat down for an often humorous hat about the album and the steps that have led them to their current position atop heir own mountain, with their own vision well and truly alive.
Without label support.
“It was kind of like… we’ve always combined classic Southern rock with punk rock like Motorhead, and I was just listening to Johnny Thunder, so we’re a combined sum of Southern Rock and punk rock elements that we’re from,” he explained. “This album, when I started writing it, was all about our experiences dealing with the industry and record labels and stuff. I’ve always felt like we have a couple of New York hardcore moments because I always thought those guys were good at standing up for the shit they believed in, so I have a lot of breakdowns where I think that’s my New York hardcore moment (laughs).”
Joad admits the unexpected – but deserved – success of Swamp Rebel Machine did place a touch of pressure on Scattered Hamlet going into the follow-up, but he also says the experiences learned through that run were a major motivating factor on their new material.
“It did,” he laughed, “because… it was so weird because every label passed on Swamp Rebel Machine. They were like, this album’s not gonna work. We’ll sign you, but you have to re-record the whole album. You have to sit down with our team of writers, and they offered us every bad deal in the world, and I was like no, fuck it, we’re gonna finish this album and put it out, and we put it out, and it did pretty good. Our album cycle got interrupted because our drummer was in a really bad accident, so basically it put us out of commission for almost a year while we were in the middle of the album cycle and we just … our drummer is like our brother, so we weren’t sure what we were gonna do next and after talking to his family and stuff and him now we ended up moving on and moving forward again, then friggin COVID hit (laughs). I was like, damn, man it’s a kick in the balls from every direction. We finally had momentum, and it was like we’re back, and then it was more like no you’re not (laughs).”
In the full interview, Adam runs through the musical content on Stereo Overthrow, the title and opening track and how it sets the tone for the rest of the album, the film clip to the single of Stereo Overthrow and it’s funny as fuck film clip, their sound and how they shaped it into their own, the cover image and how it (inadvertently) has appeal to Australian’s, the birth of Scattered Hamlet and more.