Scratching the Pop Itch; An interview with Matthew Scottoline of Hurry

Hurry began less as a band and more as a man singing songs to himself in his apartment. Up until 2014, Hurry consisted exclusively of that one man–Matthew Scottoline — joined by a revolving group of friends for performances, while doing all of the songwriting and recording on his own.

Hurry, which cites influence in Teenage Fanclub, Guided By Voices, The Bats, and Brian Wilson, remained a solo project until the release of their debut Everything/Nothing. Scottoline finally secured bandmates in cousins Rob and Joe Decarolis, who joined him for the recording of the band’s first official record. Everything/Nothing was released on Hot Green Records in October of 2014, and the band went on to tour with everyone from Yuck to Beach Slang.

Hurry got roped into Lame-O Records when they recorded the song “Shake It Off” for their 2015 six-band split Strength In Weakness (also featuring Modern Baseball, Beach Slang and more). On April 29, 2016, Hurry released their sophomore album Guided Meditation, and followed it up with their new EP Casual Feelings on October 21.

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Scottoline to discuss Philly, Guided By Voices, touring and more.

Philadelphia seems to be a hot bed for indie artists as of late, or has it always been that way? What is it about the city that inspires your band?

I think it’s been that way for a while. Philadelphia is a city that has a lot to offer any artist. It’s a major city, and offers all the perks that come along with that. However, it’s still relatively affordable to live in, so you can rent an apartment or a room, and still have the ability to have free time to pursue your art.

At the same time, Philadelphia has a really great community and DIY-spirit. It’s really a place where I think almost any artist can find a place to perform or showcase their work. There are amazing people running spaces and venues, and even the bigger entities do their best to support local bands when and how they can.

What are the biggest differences between Hurry and Everyone Everywhere?

Everyone Everywhere was music that was made collaboratively with friends who I’d known for a very long time. Most of us originally met and began playing music together in high school. In college, we spent our free time basically jamming for hours, and writing songs. They were all very of that moment, and a product of the four individuals involved and how we worked off one-another.

Because I’d always had a soft spot for pop music, that wasn’t always an itch that was scratched in Everyone Everywhere, which usually ended up going for more intentionally difficult song structures and timings. Also, as we all got out of college, that band started winding down, as everyone started pursuing their other interests and passions. I kind of found myself in a situation where I wanted to keep making music, but the system I had for doing that for a long time wasn’t really there anymore. So I started writing on my own, and following that pop itch. I never really intended to start a new band. It was more of a novelty, and something that I hoped if I just put on the internet, fans of Everyone Everywhere might check out and at least give it a shot. It turned out most of them didn’t really care, which is fine!

But really, the biggest difference is the sort of individual nature of Hurry, and that it’s just “my” thing. Everyone Everywhere sort of exists now as this scrapbook of my life during that time period. Hurry is what’s happening to me now.

I’m actually based in Dayton and can hear similarities between Hurry and GBV.  Are you a GBV fan?

Oh yeah, totally. I was kind of late to the GBV party… but Rob DeCarolis, who drums in Hurry, is a HUGE Robert Pollard fan, and basically forced me to start giving it a chance, and eventually I got hooked. That catalog is so intimidating to approach, and I think once I had him to kind of guide me into it, it helped a lot. Now I love it, and it’s opened up my world to that entire Pollard-Universe of bands and records. My current favorite is that Keene Brothers record. It’s unbelievable.

While Hurry was largely a solo project in the early days, your cousins have joined the band right? What do they bring to the table?

So, they aren’t my cousins, but Joe and Rob are cousins to each other. It’s confusing. And I think some other bios out there cite them as being brothers, too. But anyway, Hurry is basically just me writing the basic songs (structure, melodies, lyrics). I record demos at home, and send them to Joe and Rob. They kind of fill in the blanks on their respective instruments. Very rarely I will tell them what I think they should do, but only if I have some kind of very specific idea. But generally, they add so much to each song. If you listen to the first, self-titled Hurry EP, I played all the instruments on it myself… and it’s a lot more basic. Joe’s bass lines and the way Rob propels the songs with his drumming all kind of elevate my ideas, and make me seem much smarter than I am.

When did you begin writing Casual Feelings and when and where did you record that?

The songs on Casual Feelings were written during the same time period that I was writing for Guided Meditation. I had every intention of them being songs for that record, but it just didn’t come together. Tonally, they didn’t really make sense, and I felt like it would be better to try and use them for something different in the future.

We recorded at a studio called Noisy Little Critter, which is in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, about an hour west of Philadelphia. The owner and operator, Mike Bardzik, is someone I’ve worked with since my first band when I was 16. He recorded all the Everyone Everywhere records, and also Guided Meditation. He’s the best, and his studio is beautiful.

What were you hoping to accomplish or communicate with the EP?

Millions of dollars in sales and massive fame were my only intentions.

Honestly, I don’t really know. All I ever hope for with any release is that someone enjoys it, or our fanbase is happy to hear it. There’s a bit of a story to the EP, but I think lyrically it comes through fairly explicitly. It’s that journey from infatuation to self-awareness and discovering what might be wrong with you and how you might have to change in order to have any kind of deep connection with someone.

Have you done any touring in support of the EP?

We’ve done a bit! Most recently we did some shows on the east coast and out to Chicago.  It’s been a kind of wild run. One night we were playing a punk house basement show in Boston to 40 kids, and the next night we were playing with Nada Surf at a packed Bowery Ballroom in New York. It’s very weird to be an independent artist.

What has Lame-O done to assist in the Hurry endeavor?

Lame-O is amazing, and they’ve done more than I can probably even remember at this point. Before we were even working with them properly, they put us on their Strength In Weakness charity split, which was huge for us. And since then, they’ve always done what they could to support me, and throw their resources behind us. We’re still a relatively unknown band, from my point of view. We don’t have management, or an agent, and the guidance I’ve received from Eric and Emily has been priceless. I’d have probably abandoned ship on the band if not for them.

Have you begun writing a follow up to the EP yet?

I have. I have enough songs written for the next LP now. I am writing more. We should be recording in the winter.

You toured some with Yuck and Beach Slang, right? What were those experiences like?

We loved touring with Yuck. We met them when we did a one-off with them in Philly. We kind of hit it off during the show, and they gave the classic line that so many small bands have heard from bands much bigger than them, which is “We should do this again sometime.” Usually, it’s schmooz-y bullshit. But, for the first time in my life, the band actually meant it. And they got in touch when they were coming back to the U.S., and we did that run of shows together. They are really warm, friendly people. Max (Bloom) and I actually worked on a couple songs together after that tour. I’m planning to record one of them for the next Hurry LP.

Touring with Beach Slang was fine. I wouldn’t do it again.

What are your loftiest goals for Hurry?

The mostly lofty goal would be to get to the point where I can write music full-time, I guess. Which I think is almost every musicians goal.

Very lofty would be to get to the point where I can mount some kind of political campaign or at least be a pundit on a political television show. I think I have good ideas. Which I think is something almost every politician thinks. But maybe mine are better? I’d love to know.

(Visit Hurry here: https://www.facebook.com/Hurrymusic.)

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