So-Cal Rocket Dynamics interview

Posted by Dee-Ann On October - 8 - 20143,738 views
socal2Tell us about your band, where are you from?
Bobby Coddington – Upright Bass and Vocals.
Rich Contadino – Lead Vocals.
Mark Powell – Drums.
Matt J. Britton – Guitar and Vocals.
We’re from Los Angeles, California.  Some people call it the city of angels.  Other people would argue that it’s far from that.  Regardless, it’s the birthplace of the jet age style and hot rod culture which inform the So-Cal Rocket Dynamics creative aesthetic.How and when did you start?
Rich and Bobby met while both were working in the animation industry.  They did stints together in a couple of LA bands, with Bobby on electric bass and Rich on drums.  At a certain point, Bobby took the plunge into rockabilly, learning upright bass and writing the band’s debut album, Santa Susana Meltdown, with Rich on both drums and lead vocals.  Original SCRD guitarist Jason Karp played on the album as well.  Mark found the band by way of MySpace (having fallen in love with a couple of songs posted by the band there), and Matt came in as the band’s new guitarist shortly after the first album was completed.Describe your music style.
We’re trying to create a contemporary version of rockabilly music.  Rockabilly bands tend to trot out the same old musical and thematic clichés over and over again until the music becomes stale.  We’re striving to write and perform rockabilly songs which sound fresh, alive and contemporary.  Mark’s drumming is harder pounding and more elaborate than you generally get with a rockabilly band, and Rich isn’t afraid to take his vocals to someplace more punk when that’s what’s right for the song.
How did your love for this music start, which age, which artists influenced you?So-Cal Rocket Dynamics - Photo by Ash Sutton
For Mark it started with Stray Cats when he was eight and discovered Built For Speed, listening to it over and over again, loving that vintage yet modern sound.  It happened again when he was twenty with Reverend Horton Heat, hearing a similar mix of old and new that blew him away.  As a rockabilly guitarist, Matt’s mostly been influenced by Brian Setzer and Link Wray.  As a songwriter, he leans more toward Social Distortion.  Hopefully these disparate influences have shaped the band’s sound in an interesting and eclectic fashion.Do you write your own songs?  
Bobby and Matt are the band’s primary songwriters, but they take entirely different approaches to the task of crafting new material.  Bobby’s songs are very personal and heartfelt stories of real experiences in his life.  Conversely, Matt’s songs are more like little movies about characters he dreams up in his head.

Do you write together?
Dying Love from the new album was co-written by Rich and Matt.  Other than that one track, Matt and Bobby wrote separately.  That said, we purposely record our song demos in a very stripped down fashion so that each guy has a lot of room left open to create his own parts.  We all have a lot of influence over how each song comes to life, regardless of who the writer might be.

Tell us about your new CD.
The new album is entitled Too Bad She Won’t Live, which most people will recognize as a line from the Ridley Scott film, Blade Runner.  All four of us are fans of sci-fi, pop culture and superheroes in various forms, and you’ll find those lyrical themes in many of our songs.  We spent about nine months writing and recording with Producer Matt Thorne, whom we often refer to as The Fifth Rocket.  He’s a terrific musician in his own right, and really pushed us to accomplish things musically which we might never have discovered on our own.   From the beginning, we felt the idea of a stripped down recording which pays homage to Sun Records and singers from the 1950’s had been played out.  Enough other bands have taken that approach and we felt no need to do the same thing yet again.  With the exception of some vintage amplifiers here and there, we used modern gear and strove to make the album sound as big as our live shows sound.

What are your do’s and don’ts on stage?  Clothes, performance? What’s important, musical quality or stage fun?
At every show we’re trying to let the audience see how much fun we’re having and make sure they feel free to do the same.  The music is pretty fast and intense and the changes come so quickly that it’s easy to get sidetracked.  As much as we’d like to stand still and concentrate just on our playing, that would only give the audience half a show.  Basically, every performance is a balancing act between getting all the notes right and jumping around enough to keep things interesting.

Do you like other styles than rockandroll?
We’re into all kinds of music.  Among the four of us we’ve been listening to Butch Walker, Nick Waterhouse, Dex Romweber, Chelsea Wolfe, The Kills, Tame Impala, Bad Brains, The Clash, ZZ Top, The Cramps, The Ramones and The Damned.

SCRD_BWIs there an artist you would like to work with in future?
The first few who come to mind are Butch Walker, Jack White

Where would you like to play?
Finland, Sweden, Spain and Japan all have terrific rockabilly scenes.  We hope to reach all of them soon!
Do you regret anything? Missed chance, big mistake, …
We all make mistakes, but dwelling on them is just reliving them when they’re better left behind.  We try to always look forward and that’s part of what we love about the rocket as a symbol.  It’s all about speed, momentum and upward trajectory – all things we strive for as a band.
What are your future plans?
Rockabilly is a relatively small genre.  We want to be the first band anyone thinks of when somebody says, “rockabilly”.
Finish this sentence: we will never ever….
We will never ever surrender.  We’ve been through some tough times personally and professionally over the years.  Nothing has stopped us yet, and nothing ever will.  Rockets are GO!

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