Currently Unsigned: Evil Scarecrow

'I have always found staying at home in my pants watching The Great British Bake Off hasn’t expanded our fan base much'...

Being unsigned doesn't necessarily mean being unknown, and today we hook up with one of the bigger outfit's we've spoken to as part of our Currently unsigned series... Ladies and gentleman - Evil Scarecrow!

Greetings, hail and well met... Please identify yourself! "I am Dr Hell". What's your role in the band? "I do the main shouting and play the guitar. I’m also very good at breaking equipment". 

Every band needs someone like that. Who else makes up Evil Scarecrow? "Brother Pain (guitar, high fives), Princess Luxury (keys, samples, swan fights), Kraven Morrdeth (bass, backing vocals, pantaloons) and Ringmaster Monty Blitzfist (drums, bouncing).

Okay, introductions over, on with the questions - How long have Evil Scarecrow been together? "Ages. A bit like when you become an old man and can’t remember your own age, I’m not sure any more. I stopped counting the years countless years ago".

Fair enough. What have you released in all that time? " Two Albums and an EP. But from the 13th October this will three albums and an EP! It’s taken us years to get our third album out. But it’s finally done. In fact the physical copies should be arriving at our giant Evil Scarecrow mansion any day!"

Being that you have been in the business for a fair while, you'd probably agree that being an unsigned band is completely different now to how it was five, ten or fifteen years ago - How important do you think record companies are in today’s modern world of social media et cetera? "Good Question! Better than the others so far... they were a bit boring". I'm sorry. I'll try and do better. So your answer is? "Well, for a long time, we haven’t considered ourselves unsigned, we see ourselves as self-signed or at least self-managed. Dammit! We need a new word for bands in our position! How about “Sovereign”? That’ll do we are a “Sovereign band”... we have complete power and autonomy!" (laughs maniacally). "A great label will manage you, book you shows and festivals (possibly through a booking agent partner), team you with a great producer, work closely with the physical and digital distributors to get your music placed in the right places, push you through their PR company, arrange artwork and physical production, video production, setup all the dull things like ISRC codes and PRS/MCPS registration and a whole host of other stuff! This is a lot to do on your own (we just about manage)! So, I think record companies can still play a valuable role today, but they probably need to rethink their model a bit. It’s not like we haven’t had any offers (albeit from fairly minor indie labels), but they haven’t brought much to the table that we don’t already do ourselves. But you’re right the landscape has changed dramatically in 20 years and, in my mind, it’s a hugely exciting time for music. Pre-internet era, the labels held a lot of the power, I think even 10 years ago you’d probably struggle to get a half decent demo together and propagate that via the web in a meaningful way without support or decent cash. But nowadays things are lot easier to get things moving without a label. The power is shifting to the artist and the audience, which was inevitable..But it’s still always a challenge building your fan base and exposing your music to people. Plus not all bands have the inclination to do everything themselves so they’ll either need a label or take the steps necessary to become a sovereign band - I am going to bandy that phrase all over now".

Bandy as much as you like! I rather like the term myself... In your last answer you mentioned things like PR people, which kind of pre empts this question. But I'm going to ask it anyway... Are band managers, distro companies, merch companies and PR reps just other means by which a band can lose money or does each separate part of the machine still have something to offer the unsigned band? "When people talk about the music industry I so often hear it in a negative light. Take Gene Simmons' bizarre view that “Rock is dead”!? Jerk. There seems to be an insidious, pervasive idea that the ‘industry is corrupt’ and full of ‘money grabbing assholes’. This is something that we don’t recognise at all! Yes our distro company will take a cut, yes our booking agent will take a percentage, as will other parts of the “machine”. But I love the fact that our silly madness may be a (very small) contributing factor to them making a living! How cool is that? And how would we cope without them? It’s a romantic ideal that you can “make it” doing everything on your own. But that would be a bit insane! We would have been utterly lost without our long suffering band manager! All of these parts of the machine are even more essential for us. Without out PR agent (BJF Media), our booking agent (TKO), our production team (Dave, Dean, Janine), our amazing producer (Russ Russell) and our world-wide distributors (Cargo Records) we just become an “unsigned band” again. Sovereign all the way baby! We have an incredible team behind us this year and the press, live venues, promoters and radio shows all add into that mix. (thinks)...Check that out! That must have been THE most sensible answer I have ever given. Normally I am on about monsters or being drunk or swearing or something else inane".

Haha it's an incredible honour to think you've been reduced to 'proper' answers by our line of questioning. Obviously we're all up for drinking and swearing but thank you! Let's have another question and see if we can keep this run going. What for you as a band has been the most effective means of getting your name out to a wider audience? "Ha! Who knows?! It’s hard to even know how wide our audience is (that sounds a bit filthy.. I mean “wide” as in “wide reaching”, not “wide” as in... physically... downstairs...). We always see a nice peak (also sounds v rude) in interest after playing big festivals such as Bloodstock. But the support we have had from the likes of TeamRock and Metal Hammer magazine (and of course yourself) go a long way in getting recognition for the band. Probably simple things like word of mouth. Our fans are super crazy and do tend to force everyone else to at least try and like us!"

And what about the least? "“The least effective means of getting our name out to a wider audience”?(More thinking), I have always found staying at home in my pants watching The Great British Bake Off hasn’t expanded our fan base much"

Strange that. .If you don’t have a manager, how many hours a week do you spend on non-playing activities as a band? Do you do that stuff anyway even if you have a manager? "We do have a manager, she is great. God knows how much of her life is dribbled away looking after us lot! On top of that I am doing most of the stuff that a label would sort, plus trying to get everything ready for the Pledge Campaign exclusives and of course doing interviews for wonderful people such as yourself. So even with a manager I am probably spending 20 to 30 hours a week at the moment, on top of a full time job... It’s not always this chaotic though. Pants and Bake Off still get a look in".

That's good to know. Prioritising is half the battle. Now for the more fun stuff - What have you got lined up activity wise? Plug away! " We have a very special launch party planned for the 24th October at our home in Nottingham. We’ll be attempting an acoustic set which will no doubt be hilarious and awful in equal measure. Plus we have our own beer being brewed! Tickets are limited though, it’s a very intimate venue. Plus you can pre order our AMAZING, JAW DROPPING, WRITTEN IN CAPITAL LETTERS, BRAND NEW ALBUM - GALACTIC HUNT from Pledge Music or Amazon and probably a load of other places".

Any other gigs? "12th November at the Waterfront in Norwich, 20th at Warehouse 23 in Wakefield, we're at the Underworld in London on December 13th, Yardbirds in Grimsby on January 3rd and we'll be at Hammerfest in Gwynedd on the weekend of March 12-15."

Exciting times ahead! Where can people find out more about all this activity? "Our web site (you can sign up to our newsletter there) or Facebook / twitter... or ..."

And finally. Anything else the readers of Metal as Fuck need to know about your band? "Some of you will absolutely hate us. And that’s okay! Don’t feel bad about that. We never set out to be popular, it was sort of an accident. We’re sorry. But everyone will hopefully love us and continue giving us the amazing support that they always have. Buy (or steal, we don’t care) our music, spread the word, come to our shows, enjoy life (if we get to part of that then that’s just awesome)!"

You can buy tickets for Evil Scarecrow's album launch show here: