Transcription: 0336 - Scott Lawlor

Released: August 16, 2020

Darwin: Okay today, I have the great pleasure of speaking as somebody who actually reached out [to me] and was talking to me about artistic practice. And I was really intrigued because it actually hits on a couple of things that are really hot button items for me. And so I was really anxious to talk to him and find out a little bit more about how he does the work that he does. His name is Scott Lawler and he is an artist. He has a Bandcamp site that is just jaw-droppingly full of releases. He's done an awful lot of work. And we'll be discussing that in depth because that's at the heart of - at least some of - what I'm so curious about. So with no more ado, let's talk to Scott. Hey, Scott, how's it going? I appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to have a chat with me. I gave a strangled introduction there because I didn't want to give away any of your secrets, but why don't you describe your artistic practice, your work?

Scott Lawlor: Well, my work, it varies a good bit. I dabble around a lot in ambient music, as well as solo piano, and even some progressive rock. I've covered some old Pink Floyd material, and I've done a lot of work with drones. I've got one album that's five hours long. It was done with all just radio with short wave radio transmissions. But I like to do a lot of different kinds of things. I don't like to just regurgitate the same thing over and over. So I try to be pretty varied in what I present to people and how I compose things.

Darwin: Sure, sure. Well, that makes sense. Because one of the things that caught my attention when we first started talking is you're like, you know, "Hey, I'm an electronic musician and I've done 250 releases."" And I was like, "I don't think that I've talked to 250 people about any release I've done", let alone done that many releases. And so, you know, I went and checked it out. And first of all, some of these are extraordinarily long in their form. The work is incredibly varied. It goes kind of, there's a bunch of stuff. And a lot of the stuff that I first interacted with was dark I'm being stuck, the kind of things that I listened to a lot on still scream and some of these other, streaming things or, or that I interact with some net labels on.

And so, that's pretty familiar territory to me, but it's whole, you did a lot of music, but also there's some stuff that is very light and almost New Age-y. You do this solo piano work, which again is, some of it is very species. Some of it is very, very focused and even do some things that I consider on the experimental end of stuff, too. And so you're, you're going all over the place. I have to say, first of all, what is your motivation to do that many releases? What has you motivated to do that?

Scott: Well, I'm a stay at home. Dad. My wife says my job description is that I'm a stay at home dad who writes music for horror films. And I like that description, even though I haven't written any music for horror films, I could, you know? I have a lot of time and I do a lot of my work at night when everyone else is in bed. People usually ask you how the hell do you create so much stuff? And I'm like, I drink more coffee and get less sleep than anybody else in the house. So that's how that works. But yeah, a lot of the music that I do is just all over the place and I tend to sometimes be all over the place too, as you know, like when I give these interviews, I may wander off a lot, and sometimes it's hard for me to stay focused on things. So that could probably explain part of the variance and the different things that I do. So I don't want to do this again. This is boring. I want to do something else. And so I'll sit down at the keyboard and I'll write or improvise and I'll listen to it and I'll decide if I like it and then I'll release it.

Darwin: Yeah. I notice a lot of the stuff that you do is actually live recordings. Whether it's stuff that you were performing and you recorded during the performance, or maybe some of it you just did live recordings. Is that kind of, part of how you think of doing your work is, is largely as this kind of live and performative a result?

Scott: Yeah. A lot of my work is just it's unrehearsed. I just sit down and start playing. In fact, I used to be a DJ on stillstream.com and a lot of my albums were done as live sets on there, but I've also got things that I've been doing, these isolation concerts that I've been doing on YouTube since the 1st of April. So yeah, a lot of my things I'll just sit down and just start playing, not rehearse. Now, there are some things that I've worked on where I obviously had to do a lot of meticulous practice and rehearsing. If you think of things like Echos or Adam Heart Mother, even albums like the Soul Journey - which has one of my favorite albums, the second track on that album, Divine Presence took a long time to do because it has a lot of layers and it took me a while to figure out what chord progression I wanted to use. And how did I want the song to progress? A lot of my stuff is just improvised off the top of my head.

Darwin: Sure. Now, the other thing I noticed is that, there were a number of releases that looked like they were collaborations. And I'm wondering, how how then does that work? You release stuff under the name Nox...

Scott: Nox Intempesta - yeah, that's me. That's me and Jamie Lichfield, who lives over in the UK. He goes under the name of sevenism. And I think he came up with that title a while ago cause we wanted to do something different and that's different. I don't even remember what it means. I think it's Latin, right? Most of our albums have Latin titles and the way that we do our collaborations and the way I do collaborations with almost everybody is I'll send somebody a drone through usually through Dropbox and then they'll add something to it and then they'll send it back and I'll listen to it. And if I like it, we'll decide on a title and they usually do the artwork because I'm blind. So it's hard for me to come up [with something]. I can't do my own artwork. I have to rely on places like Unsplash, or other people who would be willing to do artwork for me and, obviously, I offer to pay people to do artwork and some have accepted that and some haven't, but yeah, collaborations, I'll send them material, they'll add some things to it.

They'll send it back. And if I like it, then we'll release it, or sometimes I'll just add more things to it. And we'll just keep doing that until we're both happy with the collaboration.

Darwin: Sure. That sounds pretty amazing. And I mean, do you do a ton of back and forth or is most of them just once or twice back and forth?

Scott: Most of them are once or twice back and forth.

Darwin: Okay, because I was going to say that my thought was that, especially if you're starting with a drone, there's a lot of material there already, you know? So, it probably is more nuanced additions than anything, right?

Scott: Yeah. Because if you start with a drone, I mean, that may sound like a lot of material, but it's really still an open canvas for the next collaborator to improvise over. And I've done a lot of collaborations with people from all over the place. Poland, the UK, the US, Israel - Wings of an Angel is probably the person I've collaborated with the most. He's from Israel. But I enjoy collaborating, collaborating. I'm working on a collaboration with Ran Kirlian He's from Spain and I'm working on another collaboration with Louigi Verona, from Italy, two people I've never worked with before. And those are, those are turning out to be really fun collaborations, too.

Darwin: How did you get in contact with these people?

Scott: Well, Louigi, I've heard his music for years on SomaFM. And I just wrote to him one day, I was like, "Hey man, let's work on something together. Cause I like your music and it's pretty cool. And I think we could make something that's that would be really unique because that's cool." Because, you know, each of us has a unique voice and so when you blend those together, it creates something pretty interesting.

Darwin: It's interesting that you say that, too, because - I would say listening through your work, even though there's hundreds of releases there... So I can't say that I poured over them all, but as I dropped in on different ones, very different styles, but very much of a specific taste. I mean, there's a Scott Lawlor flavor in those, and it's interesting that you have developed this voice. That's able to exist in all these different kinds of genres, landing spots.

Scott: Yeah. You know, my solo piano works - somebody told me that they felt that my solo piano work sounded a little bit like Harold Budd. And I was like, "Wow, that's an interesting compliment." I never thought about that. But I guess I could see the resemblance a little bit. Cause my piano playing is pretty spacious. And the progression between chords is pretty slow mostly.

Darwin: So I'm curious. One of the things I like doing on my podcast is talking to people about their background and how they got to be the artists that they are. Could you tell me a little bit about that? First of all, how did you get into music in general? And secondly, how did you get in a position where you felt that you found that voice? Because actually finding a personal voice is something that is another thing I wanted to talk to you about specifically - you know, finding your individual voice is something that a lot of people, they're not sure how that happens, and you seem to have done it. Maybe it was just some very organic way. But I'm curious: what are the touch points along your musical journey that represented things where your ears open to new ideas, maybe places where all of a sudden you were like, "This is the music I was meant to create." What does that musical journey look like?

Scott: Well, I've always been interested in music. When I was a kid, my parents, they got me cassette players and turntables and little toy pianos and drums sets to play with and stuff like that. And one of the things that I would do would make these collages using records and tapes, you know, when I was a kid, I'll make all these weird sound collages. And my dad used to work for IBM and he would bring home these cassette tapes that were with the programs that he had been working on. Cause back then, you know, a lot of the programs for computers were on cassettes. And I would take those and just put them in my tape player and just let them play all the way through. And I was like, "Man, this is great! This is really cool!" And he was like, "Gosh, I hope you're having fun doing this..." Like I was crazy.

And so I was like, "Man, this is really neat." I liked this. And I've been trying to see if I can find copies of those on the internet because they were really cool. But when I went to college, I got a degree in English and then another degree in psychology and I wanted to be a novelist, but then that didn't work out. So I went to grad school, started a degree in counseling. And when I was in grad school, I got a keyboard. My first keyboard was an Ensoniq - an SQ-1. Oh wait, no, actually my first keyboard was something my parents got me back in like 1988. It was some kind of an old Casio. And I think I made a tape of some stuff from that that a friend of mine probably still has. The Ensonic was the keyboard that really made me get into working on music.

And so I started writing more New Age stuff, stuff that was inspired more by people like Suzanne Ciani, Yanni, right? And other people like that. And I dropped out of grad school because I just - it was too soon for me to actually go going right from college to grad school. So this is in Akron, Ohio. I left grad school. I started touring around playing at different coffee shops and restaurants from about 1991 till about 1997, maybe. And for all that time, you know, my music was all New Age. But then I heard a Robert Rich sleep concert that somebody sent me on cassette back in like 1996. And I was like: I'm going to try to write something, not exactly as long as that, but I'm going to try my hand at space music. Cause I've always, I've listened to Jonn Serrie and Steve Roach and Robert Rich as well.

And so then, my album Times Escape, I originally wrote that in 1997, wasn't released until 2013 on the World Ghost label. Then I would play that out at like coffee shops and places. And people told me that I got some rather strange looks from people because it wasn't what they were used to hearing from me. Cause it was totally different. And then I had a long break from music from 1999 until about 2012 because I moved down to Florida. I got a job working with a software tech company. And I did that for a couple of years. Then I met my wife in 2004, moved out to Texas, we got married and I did a little bit of work here. Now I worked in, I played in music ministry in a church for a little while, but I got pretty disillusioned with that because the guys during rehearsal, they wouldn't really want to practice a whole lot.

And I was at a disadvantage where I couldn't read the sheet music and everything else. I had to do it all by memory and they had keyboards and guitars. They could practice at home. I couldn't, I didn't have a keyboard. So I was like, you guys need to help me figure all this stuff out. And I felt like I was on another level from them in terms of profession and calling. Not that I'm better than them obviously, but just something different. And people always said that my piano playing brought something really, really interesting to the performances that gave whatever they were doing a whole new dimension and that it was just hard for me to keep practicing with them - because they didn't want to really practice a lot. And so I just ended up leaving, no hard feelings or anything, but then I got an Ensoniq TS-12 in 2012 on Craigslist. And I just started working on some albums and I discovered Paulstretch.

Darwin: Oh, that'll do it. Paulstretch. Good night.

Scott: Yeah. So in a lot of my early albums, you can hear the artifacts of how much I used Paulstretch. And that's okay because you know, you've got to start somewhere with exploring things and everything. But I just started working on more and more things, listening to more and more music. I even got into noise. I've got some noise releases up there too. I'm inspired by people like Merzbow and other noise artists. There are some other noise podcasts I listened to. So that's how I basically got to where I am. I mean, I don't play out live anymore. All my equipment is pretty integrated into the physical space over here. So to take all that apart would just take too long.

Darwin: One of the things that you mentioned is that you're blind - like total blindness or is it sight obscurity? How does it affect your vision?

Scott: Well, I was born blind. I was born three months premature and the doctors gave me too much oxygen because my lungs weren't fully fully developed. And so I've got what they call RLF retro... I can't remember how to pronounce it all, but it's something that I probably shouldn't have even gotten anyway, because even back in the sixties there was technology available so that doctors didn't have to give the premature babies so much oxygen.

Darwin: Well, the reason I ask is because, what you just talked about as your musical journey is one that is a pretty aggressive one, no matter what is the situation. I would think that some of these things would be very difficult. You know, like you mentioned that, you're trying to work in a worship band and you know, you have to do stuff off of memory because you can't be depending on the sheet music. I mean, you've put yourself in a lot of positions where sight issues are a problem. I have to say, what is it: just that you've decided that you're not going to let any of that stuff stop you? Is that just a personal... you know what I'm saying?

Scott: And my blindness is an inconvenience at times. Obviously, because I can't drive, so I can't go to the store, blah, blah, blah. I mean, there are other things you can use like Lyft and Uber and all that, but it obviously doesn't define me. I don't allow it to prevent me from doing anything I want to do. And the worship thing, you know, there were people at church who would, you know, they would pray that I would get my sight back and that's getting into a whole 'nother thing. I don't know if you want to go down there - no, we won't go there. But no, my blindness doesn't impede any of those things. Hell, I've jumped out of airplanes!

Darwin: Well that's cool. I think it's actually amazing that, the way that you move forward with this stuff, it then all of a sudden makes it even more impressive that you're doing these 200-plus releases, because the process of doing a lot of releases is a sight intensive thing. You mentioned you've got covers that you have to do. There's interacting with the websites, because you're using Bandcamp for this. There's a lot of those mechanism involved in it. But you know, even putting together a studio, interacting with your collaborators through, through email and through Dropbox and stuff, you're just doing it.

Scott: Well, I mean, there is technology out there: there's speech for the computer and speech on the iPhone and actually on the keyboards, now. I just got a keyboard a couple of months ago that has speech built into it. And so that makes everything totally, in one way, easier. And then in another way it makes things more difficult in terms of decisions about what sounds to use, because there are so many more sounds. On my Roland keyboard, I had like 2000 sounds on this keyboard. I have 27,000 now.

It's crazy. I'm like, "Okay, what sound do I use for this?" And then I can spend hours just going through sounds, trying to figure out what I want to play.

Darwin: Sure. I'll bet. Now let's talk a little bit about some of the style things that you do. First of all, you mentioned that you've done some really long form work. I noticed that there were many releases that were well in excess of two hours long. And you mentioned you had one that even went as long as five hours. Now, other than the influence of Robert's sleep concerts, what is it that draws you into doing long form work like that?

Scott: That's a good question. I never really thought about that. The long form works are really immersive. It allows for the development and expansion of a concept more than something short, although people would probably say, conversely, if you write something really, really short, then you're forced to...

Darwin: You're forced to be focused.

Scott: Yeah. You're forced to be focused. So ah, there we go. That focus thing again.

Darwin: Yeah.

Scott: But the long form is just - I like the long form. It can take you on a journey that you can't get with the shorter works, at least that's how I see that anyway.

Darwin: Sure. That's interesting. It puts a stress on you as the songwriter. What do you do to prevent yourself from falling into traps or tropes or following the same chord progressions just because they always tend to work for you again? Doing the amount... this is where I get back to my curiosity related to the amount of work that you're doing and the variance in type, but how are you doing [it]? How are you doing that amount of work and not finding yourself falling into repetitive patterns?

Scott: Part of that could be the release schedule. Cause I'll write a lot of different things. You know, they may sound similar, but I don't release everything at once. Obviously I've got a ton of stuff on my hard drive, got maybe another 2 or 300 albums. So I might write a lot of things that have a similar sound, but then I'll find something in my back catalog that sounds totally different from what I've been working on. And I'll be like, "Oh, let me release this because this sounds different than what I released before." And so it's a combination of being willfully consciously intentional to be different all the time. But there's also an element of - I have such a big archive of things that I've written for the last six or seven years that just in writing that amount of stuff, there's going to be more variety anyway.

Darwin: Right. It sounds to me, when you were talking again about your journey, it sounds like in 2012 you restarted stuff. Is most of the stuff that you've released here mostly since 2012?

Scott: Yeah. Everything I've written I've written since then. The only old thing that I got to release is called The Lost Archives. That's actually material that I wrote back in like 1991 and it's on the, it's on the Studio 4632 label. But I'm going to eventually be putting that up on my Bandcamp page because a lot of times what I do is I release something on a label. And then I find out that the label's gone. So the music's gone and I didn't know about it. Like, you know, you guys can send me an email just to let me know you're going to take down the page and that's okay - but let me know! So I've decided that I'm going to put everything on my own Bandcamp page so that if a label does just disappear, my things are still available.

Darwin: Yeah. That's especially a problem with net labels because net labels - people sometimes get into them for all the great intentions in the world, but it actually takes a lot of effort to maintain, keep on top of the stuff, interacting with people that are both developing the music and consuming it. So there's a lot of work there and that tends to make them go away.

Scott: Well, and there are a lot of reasons that net labels could go away. You never know - the person could have died. We don't know. Maybe somebody reported the account; Bandcamp's got this "report account" button now, which wasn't there. They've only had that in the last, what, a year? I'm like, "Oh, this is new." So you just never know. And I don't hold ill will toward labels who just disappear, because I don't know why. And for me to assume that I do would be pretty judgmental and not want to do that, but I still stand by, you know, if the label is going to disappear and the person knows it's a good practice to at least send out a courtesy email to your artists to let them know.

Darwin: So all those years of touring around and doing gigs and coffee shops and stuff, you weren't taping your work at the time.

Scott: Nope.

Darwin: So there's another couple of hundred albums lost. Right?

Scott: Well, the thing is I was playing mostly the same stuff though, because I only had that one little tiny sequencer, the SQ-1. It was...

Darwin: Are you saying that the sequencer built into the SQ-1 was what you were using? Oh my goodness.

Scott: Yeah. What I would do is I would spend like the one or two days before the concert building a bunch of backing tracks for what I wanted to play and I would leave tracks empty with the instruments that I wanted to improvise over it in the live setting with what I had recorded. And I remember there were a couple of times when the sequencer crashed, so I lost everything I did - like the day before the show. So I'd just stay up all night to recreate everything and then go out and play. So yeah, that's happened a couple of times.

Darwin: That's wild. Now, what was the draw? That was an era when you were doing solo piano and you said New Agey type stuff. What was the draw of that kind of music to you? It also sounds like you had this background current in your brain somewhere that still remembered playing your dad's computer tapes. And at some point you decided to like find a way to merge those, I guess, or at least at least give both of them voice, right?

Scott: Yeah. Well, when I was growing up, I listened to listen to a lot of classic rock and stuff like that. But then in like 1980 - I think it was 1986 - I was listening to a program called Musical Star Streams. And before that happened, I was into like heavy metal. So I was listening to Slayer, Morbid Angel, Obituary; I even had the long hair for go with all that. And then I heard White Eagle by Tangerine Dream. And I was like, "Man, this is really cool." And that was the turning point for me to decide to get into New Age. I went and bought every Tangerine Dream album I could find like you do when you find out about a new artist, you know?

And then I got into some other artists. I heard about Liz Story who was a piano player. Then Kitaro and my, one of my friends turned me on to John Surrey. And so it was a pretty quick journey from metal head to New Age guy.

Darwin: Did you study piano in your youth or is it all, is this all self self-taught?

Scott: I'm mostly self taught. I had, I had a couple of years of piano lessons. I had a year of piano lessons in high school, which was actually cut short by an unfortunate accident in wood shop because when I was in woodshop, I accidently cut my hand on one of the machines that I was working on to build something for someone. So that took away like four, six weeks of piano lessons. But I was learning how to write chords and things like that. And then I didn't have any piano lessons until I went to grad school. And this woman in grad school was teaching me about how to play scales and stuff like that. And then after that, I went back to school for a little while in the mid-nineties to study music a little bit. And the piano teacher that I had, he was starting to teach me how to play classical. And when I would go off the path and play my own thing, he would say, "You're improvising again..." And I was like, you know, to hell with this, I'm not going to do this anymore. I just laughed. I'm like, man, you guys with your... I'm just going to do my own thing. So I'm mostly self taught.

Darwin: Got it. Sure. So why with all of the different kinds of music you do, why have you decided to just label it all with your name rather than trying to come up with, like "My noise band name is going to be Trash Cans and my solo piano name is going to be David Glory" or something. You know, you basically have in a way - it's almost, and I don't want it to sound pejorative because it's not meant to be, but it's almost like some of that stuff you don't care about. You don't care about the labels, the labels that people give to different kinds of music. I mean, your music is presented as "Here's my stuff. Enjoy it." And the one you enjoy today might be a New Age-sounding solo piano. The one you enjoy tomorrow might sound like, you know, like a rake on a tin roof. And you seem to not worry about that. It seems like that that's something that doesn't resonate with you in some way.

Scott: I think in our society, we're too hung up on labels. There's so much tribalism across all areas. One thing I want to try to do is break out of that. So my noise project does have its own name - It's called Spank Hookers. And I'm putting those on my Bandcamp page slowly, but I didn't want to try to have different Bandcamp pages for different things, because it's hard to get a really big following on Bandcamp. It takes a long time. Right. And I think I've got 639 followers. Who's going to be 640? So, and so I just feel that it's better to put everything in one place and the audience can decide what they like, and that could change from day to day, too.

Darwin: Sure. So when you interact with the listeners or your fans, do they tend to have a couple of albums that are favorites or are they just fans of your music and take whatever you put out there? Again, it's like you're so unique in the way that you're presenting your music. I'm actually at a loss to ask the normal questions because a lot of these things are outside the bounds of what most other artists.

Scott: Yeah. And that's good. Cause I don't like normal questions anyway.

Darwin: I came to the right place then.

Scott: There you go. It seems when I look at my sales, I think the things that do the most well in terms of selling are the drone based works like my Drone Excursion series. There's like 26 of those. And those sell pretty well. But the albums that I spend a lot of time on, like the cover albums or things like that, those don't seem to get as many sales as the things that I just improvise off the top of my head.

Darwin: Well, that's really interesting. And you think that might be because people that you have developed as your followers have come from that drone era, you said you used to be a DJ on Stillstream, for example, is it because you've developed connections with people in those areas?

Scott: Maybe - it's hard to tell because the people who right now... I think there are some people who just buy everything. I think most artists are gonna have those kinds of people that just get everything anyway. But some of them could have come from Stillstream. Cause I was playing back then, cause I was a DJ from 2012 to 2016.

Darwin: And for people who don't know people who didn't interact with Stillstream at the time, it's a thing where the DJ's oftentimes did live performances in conjunction with maybe playing other people's music. So I think it's important to, for people who didn't experience Stillstream, to understand that.

Scott: Yeah. And the station is actually still around too. And then Drone Zone. That's another one. I don't think the DJs play live on that, but some of my work has been played on Drone Zone here and there. But yeah, a lot of my blind... my show is called The Blind Flight and it was on for all those years, but most of the time I would just play other artist's music and my performances on Stillstream would maybe last a half hour or so out of a three hour show.

Darwin: I'm still wrapping my head also around the fact that these long form pieces are oftentimes performed live because they're really quite intricate. And I'm curious, first of all, the instrumentation: what is the instrument layout that you have in your studio?

Scott: Well, I've only got one keyboard. I've got one keyboard - that's what I got.

Darwin: Get the hell out! I just assumed you were going to tell me that you had like one of these 18-keyboard surround rigs that you kind of insert yourself in when you start and then you have to get helicoptered out when you're done!

Scott: You know, if I had something like that, I would never get anything done because I would always be so confused and overwhelmed by all the technology. So I keep it pretty simple. I've got one keyboard, which right now is the Native Instruments Komplete Control and everything's virtual. Everything is all virtual instruments. That's something that I was nervous to get into because I came from hardware. The Roland was just a hardware keyboard that I had hooked up to my computer by USB. And I was always worried about getting into virtual instruments because I heard so many horror stories about people's computers crashing, and then they'd lose all their instruments. And I was like - I don't want to do that. I just want this stuff to work. And then today I have the technology-day-from-hell. So I'm trying to get this new instrument installed and I can't get it work, so I got to figure that out, but yeah, I've just got the one keyboard and the one little i5 computer over here. And that's what I, that's what I play on.

Darwin: And do you record everything the hard disk - or do you... This is the other thing again, given the way that you work, it seems like it would make sense to have an external recorder or something just like capturing your whole life. Because it sounds like you're very willing to just sit down and just start laying stuff out there. And so do you have a lot of templates on how you set stuff up? Do you have real easy ways to record your work? If you find yourself in the middle of a flow, how does that work

Scott: With my old keyboard I would use Sound Forge to record everything. And I didn't set up any templates or anything. I would just record. I would find a preset on the Roland that I liked. I would make some adjustments to the sound, I would hit record and I would just start playing. Now on with Komplete and using Reaper, which is something I just started doing recently, I can do things like find different instruments to put on different tracks. And my isolation concerts that I do sometimes - they'll have five, six or seven different instruments playing at once. And I'll just use the faders on the keyboard, use the faders and Reaper to fade tracks in and out as I want to doing the performance.

Darwin: I see. Okay. So, so you actually have like built up some backing tracks for yourself to work with.

Scott: Yeah, I do it maybe an hour or an hour and a half before the show. There's no video with my concerts because I don't have a webcam. They were all out over during the pandemic.

Darwin: Yeah. Nobody's still can get them. That's that's actually a real killer.

Scott: Yeah. And so if you could see my performance, you would see me moving from the keyboard over to the computer to press other buttons and things to fade up, to fade up and down those vines and change and new tracks and all that. And that's still a little confusing to me cause I'll start recording and I'm like, "I forgot to arm the track. Oh, no wonder why I didn't record!" Or I muted it or whatever. And so I'm still getting used to working on this whole multi-track deal. It's still a whole learning curve learning process for me.

Darwin: Sure. And using Komplete as your instrument is a pretty aggressive way about going about limitations because - Oh my God, there is an awful lot of stuff built into that system. It's really outrageous.

Scott: It's crazy. Yeah. And I don't even have the ultimate edition! I just got standard. Maybe in November, on Black Friday, if they have that Cyber Monday, I'll get Komplete Ultimate and go up to like 90,000. I mean, why not?

Darwin: Yeah, because at this point it's all lost anyway. Right?

Scott: I mean 25,000 sounds. This - I don't know if I need more.

Darwin: Well, it is funny that with a lot of that stuff you literally could spend your whole artistic life just going from one preset to the next and testing them all, right? That isn't much of an artistic life. Right? Well, it's interesting though. I was going to ask you a little bit about these isolation concerts because they are a pretty significant thing and you've developed quite a stack of them. You've released some of them on your Bandcamp site, but there's more that are on YouTube.

Scott: Yep. I'm up to like 32 now.

Darwin: Yeah. Is it something that you do regularly? I mean, like a thing that you have scheduled every Saturday? Or is it something that just when the whim hits you, you fire one off?

Scott: Usually I'll just do it when I feel like. Now I did a lot of them in April and then when I got my Komplete system at the end of May or in the middle of May, I wasn't able to figure out how to get it to communicate with Open Broadcast Software. So I couldn't do shows for a while. I was really sad - I was like, "Oh man, I'm gonna miss doing this." But I stumbled across somebody's YouTube channel, and they were talking about how to use Traktor DJ in combination with Open Broadcast System to do YouTube sets. And I was like, "Oh, I wonder if this dude can help me get Native Instruments working and get Komplete working. And so I connected with him by email and we zoomed in and he was able to get everything working so I could communicate with Open Broadcast System in YouTube.

And it turned out to be an issue with I had the wrong driver set. Because I was using Asio and we set it to - I'll have to go look and see what it is now. I don't remember, but whatever it was, he fixed it. So I was really happy to start recording again on July 1st. And I've done some since then. Not every night, sometimes I need a break from doing all that. So I'll take a couple of days or a week break and then I'll do something else. Sometimes I'll schedule them out.

Darwin: Sure. How does your family feel about you being a studio rat? Because, you know, you mentioned that you're a stay at home Dad that's making horror music, but you've been doing it for a while. How do they feel about you having this kind of, let me just call it what it is - having this obsession about making music and sharing music?

Scott: Well, my kids think my music is scary. My wife will tell you that a lot of my music doesn't do anything. But she does like the more New Age and the more melodic stuff. She's just not a fan of the drones. That's a pretty niche specialty. But no, they're okay with it. And the studio is just right out in the living room and it's nice because the bar is right over my head. So all the alcohol and the wineglasses and everything else was all right there. We've got accommodation with a studio and bar, and over there is a big flat-screen TV.

Darwin: So that's living well. Well, Scott, unfortunately our time is, is already up, but before we go, can you just talk a little bit - for people who want to engage with your work, it's a little intimidating to go to a page that has hundreds of album releases. If you were going to pick a few that really represented the entry into learning and listening more into your work, what are the ones that you would recommend as the introduction to Scott Lawlor?

Scott: I guess I could give you some of my favorites. Soul Journey, Transition - that's what, all of five days after I came back from my brother's funeral in 2017. The sequel to Transition, which is called "In a Dark Room, a Single Candle is Lit in Memoriam for Those Whose Lives Are Incomplete." That's another one of my favorites. By the way, Transition and that album were nominated for Ambient Album of the Year for 2017 and 2018. Child of Rage is pretty popular. People seem to like that one really well. For cosmic and space, the really long album, the five hour one, which is probably my most popular on Bandcamp is called Journey Through the Boots Void. I'm actually working on a sequel, which is 12 and a half hours long. I don't know what to call it yet though. I started working on it in 2015 after I released the first one. And it's still not done.

Darwin: Oh, wow. That's amazing. Well, this gives people a chance though to get a taste of your work. Scott, I want to thank you so much for having this discussion, taking the time out of your schedule and for talking us through all of it. I really do appreciate it.

Scott: Well, I appreciate you having me on the show. Thanks.

Darwin: Alright. With that, I will say goodbye. Bye now.

Copyright 2020 by Darwin Grosse. All right reserved.