Never let it be said that Stray Scene is your typical alternative/indie rock band — oh no, they are far from it. There’s a retro vibe to their music harking back to the 1960s motorcycle culture and gogo clubs. It just screams cool … in a chill sort of way …
The Scarborough, England, band features Scotti Eccles on vocals and guitar; Rich Moore on bass; Sam Peacock on drums; and dancers Nils Arnold and Joe Marcangelo. Yep, you heard right — the band has two designated dancers to entertain the crowd. An explanation will follow shortly.
“You’ve Got The Clap” rocks a wicked vibe between pop rock and punk with a hooky guitar line that spins you round in circles.
“You Are The Light” steams in at full-bore like an out of control locomotive, with thundering guitars and drums.
“She’s My Saviour” has a crazy organ and a groovy bass line that carry the song magically.
Stray Scene are one of more than 50 bands to take part in Oxjam Leeds Takeover on Oct. 22 (http://oxjamleeds.co.uk/) on 10 different stages. It’s going to be 10 hours of fantastic music and I was very excited to be able to talk to Scotti about the band and the opportunity to play at this festival. Here is our conversation:
Tell me about Stray Scene … When did it start?
The band started in 2012. We were knocking about doing a few covers before, but I’d say 2012 was when we said, “Right, let’s just do our own stuff and see what happens.”
Has it been the same lineup since then? You, Rich and Sam?
Na, we are worse than The Sugababes, but I would say me and Sam have been at it the longest together. Rich joined us on bass back in March and we haven’t looked back. It’s the best we’ve ever sounded with this line up.
I’ve got to ask about your dancers — no other band I’ve seen has designated dancers … What’s the story?
Ha, well Nils Arnold, our very own dancer, has been there from the start. He has seen Stray Scene from the beginning. He’s not missed many gigs and when he does come to them, he used to go mad in the crowd getting everyone jumping around. Then one day he got on stage jumping around and the crowd loved it. We said from that day, “If you feel like getting up, you do it mate” and wow, he’s our official member. We have also just acquired another dancer, Joe Marcangelo, from Manchester. He is joining us for our gig at Manchester Night and Day tomorrow night (Sept. 23). Both lads have got great attitude and swagger. It adds to the gigs visually.
I saw a clip of a live video with the dancing … It certainly does add a new visual element to the show — pretty soon everyone will have their own dancers — you may have started a trend!
Well, The Happy Mondays had Bez, but they only had one dancer. We have two dancers. Think we’re first band to have two.
Your music sounds to have mod influences … I see you are fans of The Doors and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club … I can hear that for sure … What other musical influences do you have?
A lot of mods like our music, but we have had rockers punks all come up to us too loving us. It’s nice that we appeal to all types of fans. Other musical influences, I’d say bit of Black Angels, The Rolling Stones and The Rascals in there too.
There’s definitely punk in the mix too, it’s a really good blend. When did you pick up the guitar?
Not long ago really, about seven years ago. Never had any lessons — do it all to ear. If it sounds good, I’ll keep it. I reckon if I had lessons, I may not of wrote the tunes I wrote today … if that makes any sense to you.
So you got a relatively late start in music … What got you started? Do you play any other instruments?
I was a singer before in a band called The Maybes, but the songs never sounded the way I wanted them to sound, so I think that was the reason I started to play. I can play a bit of piano, bass, harmonica and tambourine, if that counts.
Yeah, of course it counts. Do you do all of the songwriting, or is it shared with the band?
I do everything when it comes to songwriting. It’s the one thing I’d say I’m pretty good at. I can could pick a guitar up and literally write a full new tune. I’ve got a shed load of songs stored in my head. If I get Alzheimers, the whole thing would be buggered. I will write them all down one day.
Best not wait too long! How has the summer festival scene been? Have you played many?
Feels like we have played loads of festivals this summer but it has been unbelievable, i think more people than ever are going to festivals its good for music
I think it’s great getting loads of bands together in one place — or as Oxjam Leeds Takeover is doing, in a bunch of places. This is your first time playing it?
Yes. You get to meet some unbelievable people and bands. We’re playing Yorfest on Saturday (Sept. 24) with The Rifles, who we looked up to when we started, and now we will be hanging around back stage with them. Can’t beat festivals. It’s our first time playing Oxjam Leeds. I’m really excited to play it. It’s a really good cause and every time we play Leeds, everyone is off their nut. You can’t beat playing to the Leeds crowds – they are hard to beat.
I’m excited to be coming over for it and hopefully seeing you play!
You just finished second in the Brit Project … How did you get involved with that?
Ha! Someone from Rolling Stone magazine sent me the link said “send your track off to these guys,” so we sent a track off and got in to the last 20 out of a thousand entries and eventually came in second! We had a festival on the same day, which might have been the reason we didn’t win it. We’ve been speaking with Alan Mcgee who was behind the whole thing he’s dead impressed with us. Nice to know he now knows who Stray Scene is now.
That’s an amazing feat! I was voting (for you) and watching it go back and forth at the end … If nothing else, I hope it does bring more gigs your way!
Yes, it definitely gave us some top publicity and the amount of fans voting for us was overwhelming. I genuinely didn’t know we had that many fans. Still taken back a bit.
That’s great. I bet it’s growing every day. So, what are big picture goals — what do you want to see the band do?
Sam, our drummer, said a few years back we should be playing Manchester Evening News Arena. I laughed, but he was deadly serious, so that’s the goal. We’ve played Manchester Academy, so keep plugging away, you never know.
On what I want to see the band do — good question — buy me more beers at gigs is the answer to that!
Haha! As they well should, lol! Anything I missed that we should talk about?
We’ve got our album launch 4th November in our home town of Scarbados at Scarborough Brewery. BBC Introducing is coming down for that and we are currently setting up a tour with This Feeling for 2017, so keep your eyes peeled for Stray Scene in 2017.
Wonderful! It sounds like big things are definitely happening for you!
You can find Stray Scene on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StraySceneOfficial/?fref=ts, on Twitter at @StrayScene1 and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvBwPS0Yq7NTzzkv5AJ_p-w/videos.