Kentucky based screamo/post-hardcore band SCENARIO have recently dropped their impressive debut LP and is literally poised to set the underground music scene ablaze with its scorching riffs, crushing power chords, visceral dual screaming, introspective passages, and sweeping climaxes. Zegema Beach Records has it launched in its entirety and we took this chance to learn more about the band, their story, and, as usual, unpach some more inspirations from their creative minds. Check out our interview below.
Following their electrifying performance at ZBR Fest 2022, the four-piece band sat down to produce 12 tracks that are both intense and emotionally charged, yet brilliantly structured to appeal to fans of chaotic mathy hardcore and post-rock inspired French screamo.
SCENARIO’s debut LP was recorded by John Hoffman at The Lodge in Dayton, KY, and was masterfully mastered by Carl Saff in Chicago, IL. The LP is co-released by Zegema Beach Records, The Ghost Is Clear and Mishap Records, and was deployed on April 24th, 2023.
Drawing inspiration from a wide range of bands and sounds, SCENARIO cites Kidcrash, Quantice Never Crashed, Capsule, Meneguar, Brighter Arrows, Botch, Cinemechanica, Boys Night Out, Refused, Comeback Kid, Funeral Diner, Folly, Portraits of the Past, Bloc Party, and Bosse-de-Nage as some of their major influences. As expoected, with such an eclectic mix of inspirations, you can expect an individualistic, multifaceted sound that remains compatible with contemporary screamo conventions.
Listen right here and scroll down to watch their music video for the song “Voyage”, filmed and edited by cinematographer Danielle Elise Bartley. Danielle is an amazing talent. She directed and shot the entire video by herself, with no help, and the end product is a testament to her skill and patience. We highly recommend her and encourage you to check out her work on Instagram at @danielleelisebartley.
Hey there guys! Can you briefly share your band’s story, including your individual backgrounds and past projects?
Michael: Jordan and I played music together in High School. We’re in our mid thirties now, so I guess the children inside of us didn’t die as we got older.
Bill: My background is primarily in more traditional punk styles. Played originally in a skacore band for a long time with stints in punk and hardcore. Moved to Cincy in 2019, played in a few projects around then ranging from metalcore to post-hardcore to alt rock. Joined Scenario in early 2022, Jordan made an ad looking for a bass player and I knew him through some mutuals, so we met up and I never looked back.
Bill: While we all like screamo to some degree and clearly our music is influenced by that, we’ve been listening to a lot of different stuff lately. 2 albums for me that are great so far this year: All the Wrong Turns Taken to Get Here by Knife the Symphony, and Against the Rest by Omnigone.
Jordan: Three years ago, Michael approached me about making music together, and it was just something we did on the side for fun. We both had very busy lives, and we didn’t expect anything to come of it. But to our surprise, it morphed into something serious that people actually care about. I’m married and a father of four, and I already had a two-piece screamo/sludge project called My Condolences. Michael is a full-time electrical engineer who lives two hours away from me, and with my job at the post office, I didn’t think I had time for this. But when we collaborate, it’s unlike anything I’ve experienced in a band before. The dude just pushes me to make the best music we can make. We’ve almost gotten into fistfights, we’ve screamed at each other, and the whole time, I’m thinking, “Why do I care about this project so much? This is literally some side shit I’m doing for fun.” But it’s because we’re pretty much brothers, and we push ourselves to be the best we can be musically.
After our previous band, Sounds in Sequence, dealt with addictions from our ex-bandmates and myself, there was no way that this band should still be together. It felt like an uphill fight from the very beginning. We went through extensive lineup changes, and we were ready to pull the plug. But then I reached out to our local hardcore Facebook group, saying we needed a drummer. Corey Williams, of Burn Victim and Suffocate Faster, stepped up, and it couldn’t have been a better fit. He brought a great metalcore style that gave us a nice metallic post-hardcore edge. We were trying to differentiate ourselves from screamo, and Corey was the key. When he joined, the old bassist bounced, and we were struggling again. The frustration of being in our 30s and trying to keep a project together is hard to describe. But out of nowhere, ska kid extraordinaire Billy Allison, a Peoria, Illinois transplant from Must Build Jacuzzi, stepped in and learned our songs in two seconds. He added so much to the old stuff, and he’s the best bassist I’ve had the pleasure of writing music with.
Now with a sharp and sober lineup, we’re ready to start writing “When All Is Said and Done.” Because of the diversity of our tastes and musical backgrounds (sludge, ska, screamo, grind, hardcore, metal), I feel like we made something that was truly unique. The writing process was pretty organic, and we fed off each other. Everyone had great ideas. The recording process was so grueling, I think we almost killed each other. Luckily, we had a great and patient engineer. Literally the coolest calmest dude on the face of the earth, John Hoffman of The Mimes and Vacation, worked with us at The Lodge in Dayton, KY. Now that the record is out, we’re pretty stoked that people can finally hear it. Because it almost killed us.
What were the sources of inspiration for your new album, both in terms of the music and the lyrics?
Michael: Inspiration for the music just came from literally decades of listening to music. Some of the direct influences include Kidcrash, Quantice Never Crashed, Capsule, Meneguar, Brighter Arrows, Botch, Cinemechanica, Boys night out, Refused, Comeback Kid, Funeral Diner, Folly, Portraits of the Past, Bloc Party, Bosse-de-Nage. There’s so many more bands and individuals we just don’t have time to list them here.
The lyrics are poems about death, falling in love, free will, determinism, the universe, God, rebirth, human nature, heartbreak, and gratitude.
Bill: Musically, I wanted to push myself. Playing with shredders at every level in this band forces you to up your game. I didn’t want to just play it safe, I wanted to show off a little as well and incorporate multiple techniques throughout the album. Tapping, slapping, just ripping all over the place trying to keep up with these dudes.
Jordan:We drew inspiration from various sources for this album, but ultimately, our biggest inspiration was each other, our friends, and our families. My bandmates constantly push me to do better and pour my heart and soul into my performance and art. In this stage of our lives, if we’re not giving it our all and striving to create something meaningful with the time we have on this planet, then what’s the point? Despite the challenges that come with getting older and raising families, we still care deeply about Scenario and each other. I was blown away by Michael’s poetry on this album. He wrote all the lyrics, and while we shared vocal duties, he impressed me with his lyrical talent. Themes of loss, recovery, beauty, and ugliness influenced his writing, and I know it was a struggle for him to find the right words. But he did an amazing job, and I’m proud to have worked with him.
Can you share some insights or thoughts on the concept or design behind your album’s cover art?
Bill: The art is a pic of Mike, living his best life. We almost swapped it, but I knew once we were done with the record that the picture was perfect and we couldn’t move off it. I was right btw.
Michael: The cover art was photographed by a friend Silvio Jäger. It’s a picture of me (Michael) hiking at Otter Cliffs in Acadia National Park. It’s a beautiful picture and I felt like it fell in line with the artwork we used for Sounds in Sequence. A small figure in a giant expanse. It makes me think about how small we are in relation to the universe. Our lives, our problems, our relationships, our feelings, our successes, our failures are all so small.
Do you have any planned tour dates for 2023 that you can share with us?
Michael: This band will never tour. We’re too busy with our lives to leave for an extended period of time. We do plan to play weekend shows a couple times a month for the rest year. You can catch us in Louisville, Chicago, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, or Lexington.
Jordan: No tour dates are planned. And that’s never going to happen. Just being honest. Chicago at ZBR fest is less than 2 weeks out and This summer and fall is about hitting the beautiful state of Kentucky hard where anyone wants us. Then focus on the tristate next if you have us.
What is your general commentary on your local (Ohio?) screamo/post-hardcore scene?
Bill: Cincy scene stuff- Cincy scene is honestly kinda sick, there’s always stuff going on and plenty of bands playing sick shows and releasing cool music. Locally, most of the bands we play with end up being more on the hardcore side, but we’ve done some sick mixed genre shows with lighter acts and really enjoy playing with anyone who wants to be homies. Jordan and Corey are true scene vets, so pretty much every show is some reunion or hang sesh with peeps they’ve known for 15+ years.
Jordan: As far as Ohio screamo goes I don’t know much about it. We are mostly from Kentucky. Billy is in a suburb of Cincinnati called Reading, Ohio. I think people get confused that were from Ohio because me and Corey have been involved with the Cincinnati music scene for a while. It’s the southern most city in Ohio, right across the river from Kentucky. In reality though Me and Mike have lived in Kentucky all our lives. We’ve played the most shows so far in Cincy so well just list our favorite locals from there. All these bands are worth a listen honestly are just some of the raddest ppl I know: Access to God, Louise, Sign Language, Knife the Symphony, Hospital, Burn Victim, Mollusk, and theres two newer bands that are sick called Fruit Looops and Blood Chill. Sorry none of its screamo.
Are there any local bands that you would recommend checking out?
Bill: Local bands worth the check out imo are Louise, Sign Language, Hospital, and Knife the Symphony.
I just caught KTS for the first time at a show we played together a few months ago, and was blown away. So loud and chaotic while also being extreme masters of their craft with vision and depth to give the music legit staying power. (Seth=best bass player in the scene, bar none)
Corey: Check out Tight Grip, Sign Language, Slutbomb, As It May.
What are some of the best screamo records released so far this year?
Michael: My favorite album so far this year is Lost from Life in Vacuum.
Jordan: I like the Crowning/ Eyelet split bc its sick music made by cool people. Also me and are big Abandoncy (Kansas City) fans. Some of my favorite screamo records are probably: Portraits of Past – Discography, anything by Comadre and big ups to Capsule – Blue, and Innard’s Tracing. Mike likes Cinemechanica (kinda math rock) and Funeral Diner.