Rockin’ out this Wednesday on the plaza at noon will be Minneapolis-based Americana trio American Scarecrows, the second performance of our exciting fall Music on the Plaza series! Full of lush, multi-layered rock arrangements that are strung together through lyrical storytelling, the band’s music is unlike any other rock group around.
The Minneapolis trio (Seth Davin, Allen Maier, and Matthew Broadbent) refers to their style as Rock and Roll from the north country, containing big choruses and everlasting anthems. With beautiful metaphoric nuances that allude to the many aspects and experiences with coming of age, their music serves as an honest testament to the freedom and pleasures of being a youth in America.
I recently interviewed Seth Davin, singer and guitarist for the trio. Here’s a deeper glimpse into the world of American Scarecrows from Seth’s perspective.
Alexander Pham: How did you guys first meet and what made you realize you wanted to make music together?
Seth Davin: I met Allen through our old band Dropping Daylight. He was the first drummer to audition; he flew out from his home in Cleveland. We knew he was the guy after the first song.
Matthew used to play in a band called Somerset that Dropping Daylight had shared the stage with years ago. To be honest, while putting this project together there really wasn't any question about who to involve. Great rhythm sections are very tough to come by, and Matt and Al are incredible. Allen is a simple drummer who doesn't overplay (which is also very hard to come by), and Matt has an uncanny ear for melody and taste on the bass. They are easily the best Drummer/Bass players I've ever been in a band with.
AP: What is the inspiration or story behind your band name American Scarecrows?
SD: There really isn't a story behind the name. While this project was being put together a lot of names were bouncing around. American Scarecrows just seemed like it fit in well with the presentation and direction we wanted to take the band. I wish I had some great analogy about America and how Scarecrows protect freshly planted seeds from predators...but I don't.
AP: What is the process like for the three of you when creating new music - how do you guys collaborate on a project?
SD: I would say most of the time the songs start with me. I write a rough, simple version of a song, and once it feels complete I bring it to the table. Where then, Matt and Allen and I start to feel out where the song should take us. A lot of times we put songs together then deconstruct them and build them up again until they feel right. That is a fascinating venture for me. Being able to write a simple folk tune, and see Matt and Allen turn it into an anthemic rock song. There is a lot of trust involved, and once I bring a song to the band it definitely becomes a democracy, putting the pieces together. Everyone has a voice, and a valid opinion. I'm very thankful to have them around to completely tear my songs apart.
AP: How would you describe your music to someone who's never heard it before?
SD: We would have been huge in the 90's.
AP: What is the band currently working on and what can fans expect from you in the next year?
SD: Currently we are working on our second full length, which I'm already very excited about. In the next year fans can expect a brand new Scarecrows record, and a whole lot of shows.
AP: What's one of the weirdest performance experiences you guys have had?
SD: Haven't had too many crazy experiences with the Scarecrows YET...But with Dropping Daylight maybe 8 years age, we were asked to play this club in northern Minnesota which will remain nameless. It took us forever to find the place, because we didn't realize you needed to take an unnamed dirt road for a mile to get there. Once we walked in, I swear it was like being in a David Lynch film. Surly bartender, cross eyed costumers at the bar, replica electric chair in the corner, and unsettling lighting/pictures on the wall.
We knew we were in for a treat when the lady who booked us immediately started yelling at us because we didn't bring our own microphones and sound system. She ended up getting someone to bring in some gear and run sound. We played the show, which felt very surreal. After playing, she refused to pay us because of how unprofessional we had been for not bringing our own microphones. The debate got heated and we ended up getting chased off the property by a bunch of bikers. We still talk about that show every once in a while. I was 16 at the time. This story really doesn't do justice to how nuts the night was.
AP: What's a song on your playlist that you might be embarrassed if other people knew about, but is secretly a guilty pleasure of yours?
SD: To be honest, I'm pretty shameless about any "embarrassing" music I enjoy listening to. I LOVE "Firework" by Katy Perry. That's great pop music.
Come out for a lunchtime break and enjoy the stellar soundscapes of American Scarecrows on the Plaza, noontime on Wednesday. There is nothin’ better than a free concert on campus that is guaranteed to rock the mall!
Check out this video of American Scarecrows' acoustic rendition of their song “Wild Hearts”!