WZEW 92.1 FM (aka The Zew) is celebrating 30 years of providing local music lovers an alternative to the repetitive rotation corporate radio offers. The 92 Zew Free Concert series is one of the many perks that this beloved radio station offers its listening audience, and they are now bringing Scars on 45 back to Mobile to give local fans a taste of their upcoming release “Safety in Numbers.” While this British indie rock band is thankful this album is finally getting a release date, they will also admit that it was not an easy task. Vocalist/guitarist Danny Bemrose gave Lagniappe some insight into the creation of “Safety in Numbers” as well as an inside look into what life is like for a British band touring in America.
SC: You guys are currently touring around the States. How would you compare your audiences in the U.S. as opposed to Great Britain?
DB: That is a good question! I’ve said this numerous times before. With the American audiences, it just seems like you got to go out and impress them a lot more, I think. I think in England it tends to be that people go out to gigs tend to have more of a party than in the U.S. It’s kinda nerve-racking in the U.S., because you always see people who just stand there going, “Impress me! Impress me!” We love playing in England, and we love playing in the U.S. It’s difficult to separate them both, but we love playing anywhere. We’ll play for anyone.
SC: Indie rock is huge in America right now. How would you describe the indie rock scene in Britain?
DB: To be honest, we’ve not really done anything in England. We don’t really go back to England much. Whenever we go back to England, we don’t do any gigs or kinda play. We just spend time with our families. We don’t really get too much time back home. To be honest, I used to keep my finger on the pulse of the indie rock scene in England. Before when we were touring in the U.S., I used to read the “NME” every week and keep my tabs on things there. I’ve kinda lost track of things back in England. In regards to the English scene, I don’t really know much. It’s nice to see a few English bums coming over here and kinda like doing well. We like to keep tabs on them and cross paths on the road or see them play a venue that we just played or radio stations that we’ve just visited. It’s nice to bump into a familiar band.
SC: With the American indie rock scene being what it is, how does it feel to earn the notoriety that have in the U.S.?
DB: It’s really satisfying. In the beginning, we tried to be in control of everything. We came to the point to where we realized that we had to be in control of what we can be in control of and that is working as hard as you can and touring as much as we can and hanging out with fans as much as we can.
SC: The release of your sophomore effort “Safety in Numbers” has been a long time coming. I think that the release date has been pushed back a couple of times. How does it feel to finally be getting this one out?
DB: It’s nice, because last year was a difficult year. We lost our deal, and we went back to doing our own thing. We really had to beg, steal and borrow every cent that we possibly could to try and do this album. Thankfully, at the beginning of this year, we signed a new deal to Nettwerk Records. It’s been really difficult but a really satisfying experience, this album. Like you said, we wanted to get it out a little bit sooner than this, but October 7 is what they (Nettwerk) asked for. So, we’re really looking forward to getting it out there and getting people playing this new album, because we’ve got a lot of work in it.
SC: What was it like putting together “Safety in Numbers?”
DB: This album was kinda difficult. What was different was that we weren’t really a band when we signed our first deal. The first album was a pretty much like a studio project. We would go down to our little rehearsal after we finished work and work on it bit by bit. It wasn’t really done like a band. It was set up like a studio project. For this album, everything was done a lot more organically. We tried a lot of stuff with the band where we rolled together in the studio together all the time. It was a much more enjoyable experience, and it’s something that we’re really proud of.
SC: The public has been sampling the new material with the single “Crazy for You.” Tell me a little bit about some of the other songs on this release?
DB: I think it shows growth in the band. People have described it as sounding a lot more epic. From a lyrical point of view, the first album was about relationships that didn’t necessarily turn out well. I think this album is a lot more positive. It’s got a song “Golden,” which is the first track on the album. It’s very epic and U2 sounding. The last track on the album is called “Fading Bright Eyes Dark,” which is just a piano and a vocal until the end of the song. When we recorded that song, we were trying to do a song that started out as small as possible and ended as big as possible. People who like the first album are going to like this album.
SC: In addition to touring and performing, you also have the Scars on 45 radio show. What made you guys want to put that together?
DB: It was our keyboard player Nova (David Nowakowski). It was his idea. What usually happens on tour is that we play and we drink, and then we let him go. Then, we let him go and see what he comes up with. It’s the funniest thing that we’ve ever seen. So, it was Nova’s idea to do the radio show. We get in the hotel room, press record, give him a few vodka oranges and just watch what he does.
SC: So, what’s the plan after the album’s release?
DB: We’re just going to be touring, really. We’ve got another six weeks on the road. Then, we go home for a couple of weeks. Then, we’re going back out with Augustana till Christmas, which will be a very fun tour.
92 Zew Free Concert feat. Scars on 45
Date: Sunday, Sept. 28, 6:30 p.m.
Venue: Soul Kitchen, 219 Dauphin St.