Dama Scout are the kind of band I tend to prefer. A band that it’s hard to pigeon hole. A band that as soon as you think you’ve worked them out, they twist another corner and throw you slightly off course. There’s an underlying feel of Stereolab about them, but that in itself is only part of the package. Their latest track ‘Paper Boy’ has just been released via RIP Records – give it a listen and see what you think. In the meantime I’ll grab singer Eva and get the inside skinny on the band…
BM: Hello! Who are you, and where you from ?
DS: Hello, we’re Dama Scout. I’m Eva, I play guitar and sing, Danny plays drums and Lucci plays bass. We met in London but are kind of from all over… Ireland via Hong Kong and Scotland via Italy. Lucci and I met via mutual pals in London a few years ago and we managed to force his BFF Danny to move down from Glasgow to a flat in North London that is basically a portal for Glaswegians moving down here.
BM: Is Dama Scout your first band?
DS: Dama Scout is my first band but Danny and Lucci have played in loads of bands together and separately since they were little. I had been writing with Lucci for about a year before we made it a trio with Danny.
BM: Been friends is all well and good, but did you click as a band straight away?
DS: Our first practice was in an old toilet in North London. It was so exciting to hear the songs coming to life and felt like the start of something we could all really give a shit about.
BM: I’m always curious as to where a band get their name from – yours is unusual to say the least…
DS: I thought of the name ages ago, kind of before we even started the band. I’ve always loved To Kill A Mockingbird’s ‘Scout’ – she’s awesome. And I saw the word ‘Dama’ at the Natural History Museum in the section with all the taxidermy deers. I thought it had a pleasing phonetic ring to it when coupled together with ‘Scout’. I think it also means “woman” in some languages.
BM: I think you’re hard to pigeon hole as a band. How would you describe your music?
DS: When people ask us who or what we sound like, we say black metal sometimes or 90s garage (depending on who asks).
DS: We make music that hopefully sounds like me made it. We haven’t ever really referenced other artists’ when we are writing/recording.
BM: What about the music that influences you all as a band?
DS: The list really is endless. We bonded over sci-fi movies, cats, podcasts and negronis. Also – Christian death metal sort of.
BM: Was music a big part of your life growing up?
DS: Yes, my parents played a lot of music to me. It was a big bonding part of our family life. When my dad was a teenager, he was in a folk covers band with his brothers and sisters in Hong Kong. He played guitar and tried to get me interested in the instrument when I was 5 – I actually preferred the piano and didn’t get into guitar until much later. I was always interested in what my siblings listened to growing up. They’re a lot older than me and I wanted to break out of my Disney phase. My brother got me my first single which was ‘Don’t Speak’ by No Doubt. Also… my dad is really into karaoke.
As for Lucci and Danny, they both grew up in musical households with flautist mothers and jazz dads.
BM: From the songs played when you were a kid, which are the ones that stand out for you?
DS: There are a few, but certainly anything by Carpenters for me. I can’t hear Karen Carpenter’s voice without thinking of my mum – she would put them on a lot and sing along round the house. Rubber Soul by The Beatles is one of my favourite albums and my dad would often have it playing when he cooked.
BM: You’ve got some live dates coming up…
DS: May 12 / The Mucky Duck, Brighton (Alternative Great Escape)
May 12 / The Joker, Brighton (Alternative Great Escape)
May 24 / Sebright Arms, London (w/ Jay Som)
May 27 / Leith Theatre, Edinburgh (Hidden Door Festival)
June 17 / Sebright Arms, London (w/ Sports Team)
BM: How would you describe your live set?
DS: About 25 minutes long at the moment.
BM: What was your first gig like?
DS: Our first gig was a secret. It was both amazing and probably a bit rubbish. It was amazing to finally play the songs in that kind of space, and a bit rubbish because it was really new to me.
BM: What’s been your favourite gig to date?
DS: We recently opened for Happyness and Her’s at The Dome in Tufnell Park, London. It was really great to play in that awesome room and both those bands are lovely folk. It was a really fun day and there’s something magical about venues like The Dome in so much as you feel like they haven’t yet been ruined by a big scary chain company and is still full of history and personality.
BM: Early days yet, but do you have a worst gig?
DS: We’ve only played a few shows – I don’t think we’ve ever had post-gig blues because one was so bad *touch wood*.
BM: Have you got a track that you like playing live the best?
DS: We’ve been playing a new one called Milky Milk recently – I really like this one, it wanders all over the place with tempo and key, there’s big bits and small bits and we all sing together at the end.
BM: Any bands you’ve played with that you think we should be keeping a special ear out for?
DS: Fallopé & The Tubes, Lucci’s sister’s band are great – noisy, anti-pop.
BM: Of course playing live is only part of the story. Do you also enjoy been in the studio?
DS: I think they are totally different, almost entirely. I don’t think they go hand in hand at all. They are both good for different reasons. Being in the studio is more like baking a cake, you can take your time and add lots of different little bits, it’s a slower process with care given to the measurements and flavours. Playing live is kind of the opposite, it’s sort of like eating the cake or just smashing it up. I don’t know what I’m talking about actually, neither are like cake at all.
BM: I dunno about the cake, but you have put together a new release…
DS: Our latest single is a song called ‘Paper Boy’ that we’ve released with new pals RIP Records. ‘Paper Boy’ is sort of about nothing, sort of about imaginary friendships, sort of about false people, sort of about an actual paper boy and also sort of about nothing again.
We recorded most of it in a little cupboard in my old flat. We did the drums with a pal in Edinburgh then pieced the rest together back at home. We do most of our recording at home. I write most of our stuff with Lucci. We’re always collecting words, concepts & little moments to put music to. We then turn them into ‘songs’ and do rough demos. At that point we’ll mess about with it as a trio and see what we can do with the arrangement adding colours and different things.
BM: What kind of sound were you aiming for with the track?
DS: We tried to make it sound quite good. Some folk have told us it sounds brilliant, other’s have told us it sounds awful. It sounds quite good to us.
BM: The cover for ‘Paper Boy’ is quite striking. How integral to the music do you think the artwork is?
DS: Artwork, like the music – is fun and important. The artwork is a still from the video that Danny made for the song. It’s a shot of Lucci’s hand with paint on it, it’s eerie and dark but also light and fun.
BM: So what’s next for Dama Scout?
DS: We’ve started working on a little collection of songs. We want people to hear them.
BM: Do you have a message for everyone?
DS: Hello, you’re through to Dama Scout, sorry we’re not here to take the call at the moment but do what you want, all you have is yourself so find happiness in your eccentricities – leave your message after the tone…
BM: Finally. Tell us something we probably don’t need to know, but should know…
DS: I really love cheese but it gives me eczema. You choose your battles in life; the cheese one is real head-scratcher (literally) it has its ups and downs. But anyway, we all really love cats and my cat Margo is pretty much in the band.
PAPER BOY by DAMA SCOUT is out now via RIP Records.