Scoopski’s “Babble” Features a Guest Appearance – Q&A

It’s been a long time coming that I’ve wanted to write about this band. Roughly about 365 days to the date, in fact. Back in October I had written about a newly released album, “The Ghost of Dancing Slow,” by The Star Crumbles. In the post, I made mention of a fella that I met on Twitter at the beginning of the year by the name of Scoopski. At least that’s what I thought his name was at the time when I first met him. As it turns out, he’s Mr. Scoopski, and his band is named Scoopski. The Scoopski lineup actually consists of him at guitar and vocals, Mrs. Scoopski at piano/synth and vocals, and one “DJ Juan Headly” at… laptop. Their Spotify bio describes their sound as “Power-Pop, Alternative Rock, and Pop Punk” and that fits the bill perfectly, the only thing I could add to that is that they are outstanding.

Mr. and Mrs. Scoopski – DJ Juan pictured in the middle

It was indeed Mr. Scoopski who had awoken me to a concept that would end up being one of the most definitive things in the year to come for me: “#Tweetcore.” As I recollected in the blog post, Mr. Scoopski had rallied a bunch of independent creatives together on Twitter to compile a New Year’s playlist. One I still have in my library called New Year, New Indies. That was January 2nd, 2022. Here we are a year later and what a year Scoopski has had up to now. They released a highly acclaimed full-length album “See You Soon,” a Mic1park Podcast Top-10 single for the year with “Steve and Nancy,” and a well-received Christmas EP that had tracks landing on Spotify editorial playlists to top off 2022. Scoopski has “scooped up” approximately 3.4k monthly listeners on Spotify and 1.7k followers. So, what’s in store for 2023? Right out of the gate Scoopski is releasing their first single just days into the new year titled “Babble.” There are a few things that make this single unique and special, and not just due to (spoiler alert) the cowbell in it. The release date is intentional, it has a special guest appearance, and when you hear it, you could probably say we should have seen it coming.

Scoopski as a musical project conveys an ethos of: “Fun, catchy, pop songs that the whole family can enjoy together.” As stated, once again, in their Spotify bio. And once again, I would also have to say that characterization hits the nail on the head. It’s nearly impossible to listen to Scoopski and be in a bad mood. I particularly like how the music is upbeat and rocking, yet at the same time uplifting. They don’t over-do-it either, there is an artistic authenticity to the writing that goes far beyond a “bubblegum” variety of Pop. It’s well crafted, rocking, Pop. I had a chance to ask some questions of Mr. and Mrs. Scoopski about the new release, band members, as well as what’s in store in the near future:

Mr. and Mrs. Scoopski thank you so much for chatting with me! What inspires you to create music? Who would you say are your biggest influences? I know in the past we’ve specifically talked about Weezer and The Beatles, what else and is there any variation between what influences Mr. Scoopski and what influences Mrs. Scoopski?

Mr. Scoopski: Excellent question! I’d say we share most our influences in common, but of course there are some variations as well. Aside from Weezer and The Beatles, who are definitely big ones, Green Day is a huge one for both of us.

Mrs Scoopski: Green Day was my first concert. I had a Tre Cool cake for my 14th birthday and a Billie Joe cake for my 13th birthday. I wanted my parents to name my baby brother Billie Joe. (sadly they didn’t!) I was “Idiot of the month” on Green Day’s fanclub in the 2000’s. We danced to “Last Night on Earth” as our first dance at our wedding. It’s safe to say I’m a mega fan.

Mr. Scoopski: They were a very formative band for me as well… Our new single “Babble” has a bit of a Foxboro Hot Tubs feel to it in my opinion actually! The band that got me interested in playing music period was Good Charlotte, and I remember being curious because Chris Rock at the MTV VMA’s called Good Charlotte a “mediocre Green Day”! So I went out and bought “International Superhits” at FYE.

Mrs Scoopski: I was also into Good Charlotte, but I was more of a Simple Plan gal at the time.

Mr. Scoopski : As far as pop-punk goes though, there’s one we tend to disagree on, and that’s blink-182…

Mrs Scoopski: Yeah.. I respect them as musicians and influencers of the genre, but I just can’t get into them, I feel like there’s just something I can’t connect to in their songs.

Mr. Scoopski: And that’s fine! They were definitely another early influence on songwriting for me… The humor aspect was huge. There’s one artist that’s very big for her that I appreciate and like listening to, but aren’t an all time favorite of mine or anything, and that would be Evanescence.

Mrs. Scoopski: My desire to play music in general started because a friend left the Evanescence album “Fallen” at my house, and listening to Amy Lee is what inspired me to first start playing piano. Songwriting is something I did even as a kid with my friends (mostly for fun/as jokes), but in high school I got more serious with it.

Mr. Scoopski: We both have a huge appreciation of 60’s pop and rock music. You already know about our love of The Beatles, but there’s many others we love such as The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Simon and Garfunkel, CCR, The Mamas and Papas, etc. And as far as 70’s, we both really really love ABBA.

Mrs. Scoopski: I initially got into ABBA as a kid because of The A-Teens. I liked The A-Teens but when I found out who really sang the songs, I begged to go to Circuit City to get “ABBA Gold”, and fell in love.

Mr. Scoopski: If you catch me randomly listening to music in my car, you’d probably hear Fountains of Wayne, They Might Be Giants, or Oasis. Those are the kinds of artists that I get inspired by a lot these days.

Mrs. Scoopski: In my car, I usually tend to be listening to some Broadway or classic Disney soundtracks. I’ve always loved Broadway, and the performance aspect of Broadway is really what pushes me to want to sing more.

Mr. Scoopski: There’s a couple bands where I’d say we meet right in the middle. The Hush Sound is a mid 2000s indie band that is kind of a perfect combination of our musical tastes. Grouplove’s first two albums are absolute classics in our household and we reference them all the time. The Pink Spiders is a huge band for both of us too. They’re not quite as well known as the other artists we listed, but we both listened to them in high school and when we met each other we found out that we both mutually liked them and owned albums from them, so it was destiny! Seeing them live in 2019 with The Dollyrots was a big inspiration to start making music again.

If we had a Mt Rushmore of our influences, it’d probably be The Beatles, Green Day, Weezer, and The Pink Spiders. Maybe ABBA too. Yeah, let’s just make 5 spots on Mt. Rushmore. Mt. Scoopsmore.

Mrs Scoopski: Definitely.

Love it. Super interesting background there about Green Day, I’m definitely a fan there too, as well as most everything else you mentioned there, Blink as well.

Tell me a little bit about your creative/writing process, how does the music make it from concept to final product?

Mr. Scoopski: It varies a lot from song to song! Typically for me, it will usually start with chords and a melody. The song concepts/lyric ideas usually hit me out of the blue. For example, with the new song “Babble”, I had all those parts on guitar for about a year, but the right concept for the song just wasn’t coming to me. One day I was playing the riff and the chorus line “I love it when you babble” just popped to mind, and the rest fell into place quite easily after.

Mrs. Scoopski: When I write songs, it actually starts with a melody coming to mind. From there, I experiment with keys and chords until I find the right fit. Lyrics are usually what holds me up, I’m a perfectionist and hold onto songs until I get it right.

Mr. Scoopski: I just tend to write a heck of a lot of songs, and she writes a little more sparingly, which is why the majority of our stuff you’ll hear are my tunes, but each Scoopski album has had at least a couple of her songs on them. (See You Soon had 3). I always run my songs by her to get input from a second ear too. A lot of times I’ll have a part in a song that I’m unsure about, and if I play it and she goes “that doesn’t bother me”, it’s a keeper.. if I play it and she makes a face, it’s… not a keeper! She helps me with the grammar of lyrics sometimes as well.

For recording, we’re very much home studio/DIY. To be honest, we like the freedom and flexibility of being able to record and edit as long as needed.

Mrs. Scoopski: Speaking of flexibility, the synth of the new song I actually recorded while we were completely isolated, I was in the basement with COVID. It was a fun distraction and break from binging Ozark.

Mr. Scoopski: Luckily you waited to record your vocals until AFTER the COVID, though.

I’m a big fan of the DIY ethos. Totally add a freedom to experiment artistically.

Tell me about the music scene where you are from. What’s popular, what do you like or dislike about it, and what interesting things are happening?

Mr. Scoopski: The Philly music scene is pretty rad! I’ve only recently started really “actively” participating in it again within the last year… I think the last time before that either of us had been to or played a local show was 2014, but it felt great to get back to shows and the stage.

I think BEES! are absolutely phenomenal. I initially connected with them on Instagram during the “pandemic times” of 2020, and finally getting to see them live AND play shows with them twice this year was incredible. They are absolutely electric onstage, I highly recommend going to a show of theirs if you live in Philly. Jackson Vincent makes some really moody, atmospheric music that he dubs “music for ghosts”, and it’s really a fitting description, you have to hear it for yourself. The Mack Brothers are big social media pals of mine, but sadly I haven’t been out to see them live yet.. but their songs are great, very classic feel to them with really smart songwriting and beautiful harmonies. Unlucky Mammals are an awesome group, I think their bio they call themselves “jangly punk” and that fits, their songs have a very 90’s feel and they put on an awesome show. And of course, 1/2 of new wave sensation The Star Crumbles is from the area!

As far as dislikes, I don’t really like to stir the pot or create negativity.. but I will say that when I was looking for shows last summer, the response I got from local promoters was very marginal.. maybe it’s just because our live act is hard to pin down and find a good fit for… but I promise if the sound is done right a 2 peice to a backing track can work as a decent rock show.. it worked for Ween and They Might Be Giants!! That said, Scoopski is currently taking a little bit of a break from shows now though.

Mrs Scoopski: I’m not a social media person, so my knowledge of the Philadelphia music scene is pretty much limited to the guy who plays saxophone across the street from us. He plays it quite loudly, and not always very well.

Absolutely, love all those Philly acts you mentioned too. I’m amazed at times how much great music is coming out of that area right now. Mrs. Scoopski didn’t specify whether that sax man was a “like” or “dislike,” I’m going to assume “like.” Sounds like something weird that’d be going on in Portland at any given time.

DJ Juan Headly. How did he land this gig? He’s awfully quiet.

Mr. Scoopski: Yes, DJ Juan is definitely a quiet one, but he’s certainly got a good head on his shoulders.

Since currently the Scoopski live show is only done as a two piece (or sometimes as a one piece), we weren’t really into the idea of performing acoustic/stripped down. That just didn’t seem exciting, especially with these songs, they’re big fun pop-rock tunes. So without a rhythm section currently, we have Juan “on the laptop”, playing backing tracks!

Mrs Scoopski: He’s always in our basement when we rehearse or record. It’s his Headquarters.

Hahaha. Puns are fun. The special guest there on the new single… is there anything you’d like to make mention about that? Any spoilers? You think you’ll be working with him more in the future?

Mr. Scoopski: Oh… That special guest! Yes, we would love that. This one is definitely meant to be a novelty/time capsule type tune. I don’t think you’ll hear the style of “Babble” become like… the main style of Scoopski. But said guest is definitely being immersed and surrounded with music constantly, so I think it will certainly be a huge part of his life!

Mrs Scoopski: He already plays on the piano keys with a lot of confidence.

Mr. Scoopski: Who knows, he might replace you! He also already sings/mimics a “lalala” part of a song he likes, so he’s well on the way!

Mrs Scoopski: It’s a fun, cute song, and it’s releasing on the guest singer’s first birthday as well!

Mr. Scoopski: I’m really glad we did this song, the feedback has been great so far!

You were also telling me about another single you got coming up in February. What’s some backstory on that one and when it’s going to be released?

Mr. Scoopski: Oh yes, I am very very excited for that one… I know as an artist you’re always most excited about what you’re working on next and it’s hard to look at things objectively sometimes, but I really think it has the potential to become a Scoopski classic!! It’s definitely a more serious tone than “Babble”, kind of the same contrast you got with our two singles last summer, “Dad Bod” to “Steve & Nancy”. It’s got some lyrics that wouldn’t sound too out of place on a Taking Back Sunday or Brand New record, but it’s also got some super pop sounding parts musically. It will be the only other Scoopski single for the winter season, but it’s gonna be a firecracker of a song for sure.

Mrs Scoopski: It sounds a lot like The Pink Spiders.

Mr. Scoopski: Definitely! It’s got some killer piano in it too!

You were basically my edification on Tweetcore, how did you come across it?

Mr. Scoopski: Oh that’s so awesome, that makes me really happy to know that I helped introduce someone to some great artists and a wonderful community! My own introduction to the Twitter music community starts I want to say back in early 2021. Previously, I used to just think Twitter was a place to complain about your life and complain about the news, I mean, that’s how I used to use it, and I suppose that’s how many do still use it, which is fine!

I had never really thought of it as a viable place to promote music. But then after I compiled the first real Scoopski album, “Bad Things Happen in Philadelphia”, I made a new account. It kind of stayed dormant for awhile, I didn’t use it too much, until one day in early 2021 I had notifications from a guy named Daniel Tidwill. Daniel runs this awesome compilation of newer songs posted to Spotify called “The Finds”. He sets it up so that people can vote on their favorite tracks on The Finds each week, and that feedback kept drawing me back to Twitter more and more. I can’t thank Daniel enough for taking the chance on Scoopski’s songs and bringing me into this world of Twitter!

The next connections I made were very important, and I want to say they were probably linked to Daniel and The Finds in some way too. Sometime in May 2021, I made a connection with an act called The Negatrons, who were about to release their first album. I can’t understate how important this connection was, because through The Negatrons I was introduced to SO many Twitter artists who I began to listen to and befriend. Some of the earliest I can recall was Eric Linden, Fuzzruckus, and Modern Amusement. Then shortly after, I remember connecting with Mikey J, The Future Us, Orange Creek Riders, and many many more. Then in the fall of 2021 is the first time I remember connecting with names such as Brian Lambert, Marc Schuster, Todd & Karen, Phil Yates, and the rest of the beautiful little world of #Tweetcore. That is, until I connected with the incredible Quizboy last summer, too!

I really love the Twitter music community and I feel like you’re all real friends of mine, even though I haven’t met 95% of you in person!

Mrs. Scoopski: What’s Twitter?

If you were to meet someone for the first time and say, “I’m in a band,” what is the first Scoopski song you’d pick to introduce someone new to Scoopski?

Scoopski: Great question! The cool thing about Scoopski is we have such a large variety of songs that honestly, it’d depends on who is listening! Obviously, we have the fun, quirky tunes, but we also have some more heartfelt, emotional stuff too. If I had to settle on one, it might be “Living in Key” from “See You Soon”. I feel like that one encapsulates so many different sounds and styles, and we both have lead vocal parts in it. It’s got a lot of energy and a lot of heart, and that synth breakdown rules. Very proud of that one.

Mrs. Scoopski: It definitely depends on who is asking… but my default answer would probably be “Mr. Spyder” from “Bad Things Happen in Philadelphia”, because that’s always been one of my favorites, I just think it’s a very catchy song. It’s fun to play, and it’s one we wrote completely collaboratively, so I feel like both of our songwriting styles come through in it.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions with AMS Radio!! I wish you guys all the best in the coming year.

The Scoopski’s: Thank you for having us! This was a ton of fun!

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