Brooklyn’s Bryan Scary is known for his work with the psych-pop band The Shredding Tears from back in the early 2000’s.
Today his bandmates Graham Norwood on guitar, Everet Almond on lead guitar and vocals, and Adrian Perry on bass have joined Scary to form Evil Arrows.For the last year the band has been working on an EP project, releasing a new set of singles every couple of months.
Playing the dives and clubs throughout Brooklyn and New York City, Scary has continued to pull from his psychedelic inspiration with his driving rock-based riffs and song structure.
I spoke with Scary over the weekend about his new band, new release and their plans for the future.
How did you form the band Evil Arrow?
The group began as a recording project really, but it was me, a few other people and friends from other bands. I got the idea for it because I wrote a huge amount of songs in a short period of time and I wanted to just crank out recordings. I have another project which goes under my name, which has been around longer, and is more lavish conceptual productions. We do a lot of staged theatrics, but with this band I wanted to shed all of that. I wanted to work on the songs and home-recording them.
Where are you guys from?
I’m originally from Chicago and I’ve been in New York since 2001. Mike, the drummer, is from Long Island, Graham is from the San Francisco area and Adrian is from the Boston area, but we’ve all been living here for a long time. I came here for film originally, and I went to school for it. I’m still involved in that, but not quite as much.
I think it’s a lot of like-minded people. It’s a certain kind of thinker and artist that gets attracted to this kind of city.
Do you find there are a lot of like-minded people you can work with?
I have a mixed feeling about that. I don’t know a lot of people that I can fully connect with on a musical level, but I have all sorts of musicians that I play with and write with. It sort of depends on the scene that you’re involving yourself with. I haven’t had trouble meeting people, but I personally have never been a scene kind of person. I sort of repel from scenes actually.
How do you write your music?
I’m pretty much always writing myself and I have multiple projects, and I’ll spend good portions of the day writing. I’m one of these people who have a lot of songs. It’s like the opposite of writer’s block for me. I have a lot going on and anything is pretty much down, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to use that.
I think I write a certain kind of song on piano and a certain kind of song on guitar. You get very different results based on what instrument you’re writing on. The process for that is just play, find the hooks, and with some singing and writing we can put a structure around that. The lyrics are usually come later.
Where did the name Evil Arrows come from?
Not to take any greater meaning out of it, but it comes out of a passage in the Bible. But, band names are very difficult and I was just trying to think of a good one. It seemed like that particular book had been successful for many years so I just found a phrase that appealed to me. It had nothing to do with the actual phrase in the Bible. It just seemed like a good place to go. I sort of think band names take on the residence of the music. You don’t want to push too hard to match your music with your name.
How do you find a niche in the Brooklyn music scene?
It’s tricky because if you’re a band starting out, you don’t have a guaranteed amount of heads that will show up to all of your shows. You don’t want to be headlining really nice venues or expecting a certain amount of people, but at the same time you don’t want to be playing venues you don’t want to bring people to.
So, I think the best way to do it is to get on a bill or find other bills and pair up with other bands, putting two heads together. It just creates more of a communal feeling at the show, and that’s always fun.
You want to find venues and play places that have a reputation – a place that the press likes to go to – and the nature of the venue that you play at speaks to a certain degree on what you want people to think about when they think about your band.
How do you find bands to partner up with?
I think we’ll really play with anybody, but it’s much easier with this kind of band than it was with our older bands. The older band was a saccadic sounding and looking kind of experience and we didn’t really fit with anybody. The new band has much more potential to hook up with a lot of different kinds of sounds, but it is hard.
What do you hope to bring your audience when you play your shows?
I think that a show is something that someone should be fully engaged the entire time and not just background music. I like to keep things snappy and short and to the point, and just exciting. I’ve done a lot of costumes and visual things in the past and this is different. This is much more stripped down and the songs are really short and we crammed a lot into the set. It’s more of a constant energy for just a brief period of time, and it bursts if you know what I mean.
What inspires you?
It comes from all sorts of places. We have heroes in other bands that we look to for sure. For me, this band has a lot more late-70s punk, New Wave going on than ever before. So the Attractions, the Soft Boys and Robyn Hitchcock stuff.
How long have you been working on your latest EP?
Well it’s part of a series, and like I said before, it started as a recording project. We recorded six EPs over two years and we’ve been playing them all out over the course of the year. In January we released EP1 and now we’re up to EP4. We’ve been working on all this stuff since then and collecting songs for EPs over the years. It’s really like one giant album that you’re getting at the end of the year.
We put the first three in a compilation, but that was released in Japan only, but we’re probably going to do that with the next three too. We will most likely release them all on vinyl, but at the moment we are just doing this digitally per EP.
There are a lot of friends playing on them, so we have been finding out what the actual live lineup is going to be. Now that we have this very solid four-piece for the live show, I think our goal for next year is to continue writing with the four-piece and do an LP.
Why do you think that has become the trend lately?
I think it’s cheaper and quicker to do EPs, and no one is really buying LPs now. But an LP has been something that I wanted to do for a long time. To me it makes a bigger statement and people expect it to be as such, and there’s a lot of pressure behind it.This format is like, here’s a lot of songs that we’ve written check them out if you like us, as opposed to this is “Sgt. Peppers,” so it’s a little more causal. But if you’re a fan of the band, and they’re still putting their top work into it, then it’s still an exciting thing.