Scattered Melodies is a soulful alt/reggae/funk/fusion band that originally started up as a rhythm section back in 2012. Over the years, the drum & bass duo has evolved into a full lineup with Killa Maus on vocals & keys, Haley Green on vocals & acoustic guitar, Kazton Boone on guitar, Phelan Parker (aka DeeJay P-Phunk) on saxophone, and Billy Sutherland on guitar. This now-7-piece collective of Arizona natives is full of grooves and earworms. They began their musical journey by featuring a different singer for each song, which is how they got their name. So far, the group has collaborated with Hayley Green, Laura Hamlin, Catfish Mustache, and Pride Through Strife. According to their mini-documentary, the band is “A Constant evolution of sound and collaborations”. They are exploring their funky, rocksteady voice through their two-part EP, Culture.
“Culture (Side A)” is deeply rooted in funk, while blending elements of hip-hop & neo-soul. “Side A” features independent artist Human on tracks “FTC” & “Vibe Check”, and ZeeDub on “Makin’ Love Is Easy”, who is from Arizona band The Stakes. Inspirations for the new EP came from such artists as Vulfpeck, Anderson .Paak, The Free Nationals, Black Pumas, Durand Jones and the Indications, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. The intro (‘We Got It’) is a laid-back 80-infused soundscape, whereas the second tune, ‘FTC’ turns up the heat with a driving force of guitars, sax, and forward-placed drums.
The ensemble often includes blaring saxophone, trumpet, and trombone in their music, and their melodious new single is included. ‘Makin’ Love is Easy’ is lighthearted and groovy. It begins with a talking guitar and a warm horn crescendo, as the video shows a glamorous duo singing to themselves in the mirror on a movie set. In the music video, the two main characters appear clearly unhappy with their jobs; all the while, a mysterious producer in an orange shirt keeps showing up and can be seen receiving various (concerning) phone calls.
The chant ‘Oh my god, you got it going momma’ comes in next as the winds reiterate the words with horn stabs, developing a head-nod-worthy mini-motif. A sultry female voice comes in shortly after with:
‘I see you lurkin’I notice you noticin’ meI know you see how hard I’m workin’You have exactly what I need’
The couple can then be seen acting out an on-screen fight as they lament ‘It hurts but there ain’t nothin’ worse….Then us not being together. The songwriters even pepper in a little bit of flute before things start to get strange.
The band tackles the subjects of unhappiness, the film industry, love gone wrong, and a zombie virus all in one fell swoop. The plot line ends devolving into a veritable blood-bath that is somehow still laced with both upbeat energy and comedy. The motif ‘oh my god’ takes a dark turn as people are attacked and legs are eaten by an undead being. The story that accompanies ‘Makin’ Love is Easy’ is meta and unexpected, to say the least. We are reminded of the supernatural-themed Panic! At The Disco videos, like ‘Saturday Night’ and ‘Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time’.
“Culture (Side A) is designed to fill the atmosphere with positive vibrations and feels, get your body moving on the dance floor, and inspire a reflection on your own culture you create in your life & community. The culture of Scattered Melodies has been created around love, respect, and friendship. And music of course.” -Scattered Melodies
Scattered Melodies expertly entwines sexiness with horror, and indie with reggae and funk, leaving us wondering what themes their next album might have in store for Culture (Side B).
Featured image by Josh Montag.
How did you end up with so many wind instruments in your group? Were any of the members in marching bands in high school or college?
So we actually only have one active horn member, Phelan Parker (aka DeeJay P-Phunk) on saxophone. He played saxophone in marching band all throughout high school up in Flagstaff, Arizona, as well as throughout college at NAU. As for other horn players though, on previous albums we’ve featured trumpet players, trombone players and additional saxophone players as well.
You guys are pretty well known for your comical show promos. What do you think is the funniest one you’ve ever done?
Do you plan to release any more concept albums?
Each of our records tend to have an underlining theme to them, it just feels right to do it that way. We believe in preserving the process and art form of listening to an album in it’s entirety, taking the listener on a musical journey. And when the journey is complete, it’s always nice to take something away from it, so yeah I imagine our future albums will continue to have a theme to them.
Can you describe your songwriting process?
Throughout the years our songwriting process has been all of the above. There are songs that have been created by Jake and I (the two founding members of Scattered Melodies), there’s a good chunk of songs that were written by myself and given to collaborators to sing on, some songs were brought to the table by either Killa Maus (our male vocalist & keyboardist) or by Kazton Boone (our guitarist), and then other songs were created from a freestyle jam at band practice and then crafted into a full song from there. This keeps it fun and interesting for us, it keeps the door open for collaboration and safe place to bring ideas, and is probably why we have such a variety of sound throughout our albums.
What inspired you to put the zombie twist in your music video for ‘Makin’ Love is Easy’?
For awhile I was set on the idea of just having the music video be a soap opera, but I wanted everything to fall apart and for the greedy, lust-driven characters to eventually meet their demise. And in the spirit of taking everything one step further, one day the idea of zombies popped in my head and it all made sense. Plus being a 90’s kid, I have a check list of music video themes to hit. We’ve covered zombies, video games & pop-up video in the past, so I guess next on the list is either involving aliens or a video rental store.
What kind of atmosphere will Culture (Side B) bring to the table?
Culture (Side B) is definitely going to have a different vibe to it. A lot of the songs were recorded with Side A, but we are taking a different approach to the mixing aspect and giving everything some more reverb and other goodies that will help it stand out on its own. The two sides will flow together and can be listened to as a full album, but in the spirit of vinyl you would definitely notice a difference when flipping over the record. Fans can expect Side B out in 2023, but we have some goodies to release in between the two (just in time for Christmas).
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