Scowl: furious and floral
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Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 08:46
Scowl: furious and floral

I only recently found out about Santa Cruz-based hardcore punk band Scowl when I saw they were coming over to Europe with Comeback Kid and Be Well. I quickly checked out their 2019 debut EP 'Reality After Reality...' and was blown away by the band's take on hardcore punk that harkens back to the days of Black Flag, Justice League and Negative Approach. Furious and intense and lifted to the next level by the fiery vocal performance from lead singer Kat Moss. The band's debut album 'How Flowers Grow' will be out later this week on Flatspot Records. Until then you'll have to make due with this interview.


PRT: ‘How Flowers Grow’ is the band’s first full-length, following 2019’s demo and EP. Is there a lot of difference in terms of stress between recording a demo and an album?

Kat: Yeah. When we recorded the demo we were just messing around and we did it with our friend Marc in his studio he built out in his garage. The whole process for that was very relaxed and we had no expectations, but for the full length we had a specific idea of exactly what we wanted to do. We did the LP with our friend Toshio at Panda studios and we put a little more pressure on ourselves, but the process was still very fun and we are happy with what came out of it.


PRT: Would ‘How Flowers Grow’ have come out sooner if it hadn’t been for COVID? Or is it because of COVID that you had the time to write and record the full-length?

Kat: We wrote the album as soon as covid hit because we wanted to keep doing things even though the world was shut down. The album may have still come out at the same time, but who knows.


PRT: I love how the album is a constant barrage of furious hardcore…  except for album centerpiece ‘Seeds to sow’ which sees you going for something moodier, with dreamy vocals and even a saxophone. Can you tell me a bit more about where that one comes from?

Kat: Originally that song was just going to be an instrumental and it has a heavy influence from french Oi but after we recorded it we decided to put vocals over it. We all really like albums that can throw a curveball or switch the sound up a bit without it sounding misplaced.





PRT: Lyrically, you cover both the personal and more societal issues. What is the more daunting to write?

Kat: Honestly, societal issues are a huge challenge to write about. Specifically because nearly everyone faces them- but nobody has the same perspective and experience. Attempting to communicate your personal feelings of anguish about these issues is tricky. Writing about personal issues can be intimidating at times because vulnerability is scary, but there’s less effort required in explanation and delivery.


PRT: The album will be out on Flatspot Records. What was it about them that made you want to go with them?

Kat: Flatspot has done some of our favorite releases in the past. We knew they would take care of us and help us put the album out properly. Ricky and Che are great and we are stoked to work with them on this.


PRT: You have an obvious floral theme going on that comes back in everything from the artwork and the merch designs to the clothes that Kat wears. Is that something that you like and went ‘why not?’? Or is there a reason behind it?

Kat: From the conception of the band, I (Kat) felt that the theme and visuals of the band wouldn't feel authentic if I couldn’t identify myself with them. I had little interest in using traditional punk and hardcore imagery. The flower came from Malachi and I, shooting ideas for a logo and possible merch. We just ran with it and it’s taken on a lot more meaning than we intended. A happy accident!


PRT: With most bands you look at a pic and go ‘of course they’re in a band together’. But in the video for ‘Bloodhound’ you all have a bit of a different visual aesthetic going on. It made me wonder if the musical influences of the four of you are equally diverse? Or is there a lot of common ground?

Kat: We share a ton of interests with our music tastes and can talk about our favorite bands, songs, and records forever. At the same time we all started from differing times and tastes of punk, heavy, and alternative music. The guys have shown me tons of my favorite bands and vice versa. At the end of the day we try to bring influences from tons of different styles of music when we write.


PRT: We are being treated to a lot of hardcore bands that have a slick sound. Then there’s bands like Turnstile who are pushing the envelope of what hardcore is supposed to sound like. And then there’s you who like to go back to 80’s hardcore punk, back when it still came with this sense of danger. Is that a sound you agreed on before you even started or is that what happened  when you started playing together?

Kat: That was what we wanted to do the moment we started the band. We love bands like deep wound, negative approach, and Agnostic Front so when we started writing, it was a no brainer.


PRT: Speaking of which, how did you all get together?

Kat: Malachi and I talked about starting a band for a while, wanting to play a style we both loved. He had been playing in a different band with our drummer Cole, so it was a no-brainer when it came to who to ask to play drums. We had a few different friends play bass for our first few shows until we finally had our good friend Bailey join as our bass player. We’ve been rocking together ever since.


PRT: In a couple of months, you will be coming over to Europe for your first Euro tour with the likes of Comeback Kid and Be Well. What are you most looking forward to? And what are you dreading the most?

Kat: We are really looking forward to just being there and experiencing being in europe. We have never been to a show out there either so we are all really excited about seeing new scenes. We are dreading the cold a bit because we are going out in winter, but that's ok

Tom Dumarey
Tom Dumarey

Lacking the talent to actually play in a band, Tom decided he would write about bands instead. Turns out his writing skills are mediocre at best as well.