Unwritten Law vocalist Scott Russo recently checked in with Killyourstereo.com to share insights into his writing process.
Californian punk veterans Unwritten Law return to our shores next month for a national tour.
Joined by Adelaide’s Grenadiers, the US stalwarts come down under on an eight show headline run.
In the lead-up, vocalist Scott Russo recently checked in with Killyourstereo.com to share insights into his writing process.
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It always happens two ways for me. I’ll come up with some kind of line, a hook or a group of words that sound dope and put a melody to it, acapella, or I will write music, get a cadence that I like, like the amount of syllables that are hitting it, a melody, then I’ll fill in the blanks of that melody with real, actual words. The music is going to tell me what the lyrics are about, if I’m writing music in a certain way, that’s what I’ll write about. Then I try and tap into something that I’ve either really lived myself and/or personally observed. I like to use real content so it’s sincere.
I mean, I really don’t fuck with politics, you know, like bands like Bad Religion or whatever. I guess that politics and religion are two things I personally don’t give a fuck about. Every single song I have written has been about someone, or something. It’s kind of like an outlet for any energy I’m feeling toward a subject that I’m writing about. The only thing that is taboo is bad songwriting! I truly don’t want to put anything out in the universe that I think I’d be embarrassed to play for my kids, or my friends. That is my quality control. I make shit now specifically so when I’m gone and my grandkids hear it [they'll] go, ‘fuck Grandpa was dope’!
How I Work with the Band
It’s kind of a fucked up question to answer, but I’m pretty gnarly. I, unfortunately for my band, will have everything pre-meditated and planned out to pretty much what I want, down to the kick and snare patterns. So with my band Unwritten Law in particular, I will demo out a song and give it to them, but then this is the deal with me and my music is that I have no egotistical attachment to it. So, if you come up with kick and snare pattern, or a lick that can beat that demo, or if you can beat that lyric for that matter, then the best of the best wins. I generally think my stuff is pretty close to completed when I give it to them, but always the better riff wins, that’s how it goes. No egos or feelings attached.
3 Things That Make A Great Song
I mean honestly, it kind of sounds pompous coming from a singer, but the vocals have got to have soul, that is really important. I think the next thing is that you have to have a hook and it’s got to be clever. Other than that, I think the beat and the bass line have got to be dope, or again fucking clever.
When Is A Song Finished?
You’re talking to the wrong guy about that! I mean, here I am working on an acoustic record for the last two and a half years! Especially if I’m in control, it’s not done until I can play it to you without any disclaimers, that’s when that shit is done. I tend to re-cook and re-heat shit all the time.