Scrawl Mini Interview (playing Shellac's ATP this December)

Tuesday 25th September, 2012

Name Of Band: Scrawl

Hometown: Columbus, OH

Year Formed: 1985

Bio: "Long before the riot grrrl movement opened the floodgates for the widespread emergence of female artists in the male-dominated world of indie rock, the Columbus, Ohio-based trio Scrawl carved out their own tough-minded yet feminine niche within the underground community. Formed by singer/guitarist Marcy Mays, bassist Sue Harshe, and drummer Carolyn O'Leary, the group - originally dubbed "Skull" - debuted in the summer of 1985 by playing a 20-minute opening set for the Meat Puppets; with the financial assistance of friends, they entered the studio to record their debut effort a year later, releasing Plus, Also, Too on the small No Other label in 1987.

In the wake of the album's strong reviews, Scrawl toured extensively before signing to Rough Trade lin 1988. He's Drunk, an assured indie pop effort recorded at Prince's Paisley Park, soon followed, and in 1990, the trio returned with Smallmouth, a more intimate album produced by Gary Smith. Problems with Rough Trade forced Scrawl to depart the label in the autumn of 1990; a few months later, the company declared bankruptcy, and with its demise, the group's back catalog immediately went out of print.

The sting of the Rough Trade debacle clearly informed 1991's superb Bloodsucker, recorded with Steve Albini; a biting, bitter record, it too fell prey to industry whims and poor distribution, quickly joining the group's other records in limbo. After O'Leary broke ranks, Scrawl mounted the "Foxcore, My Ass" tour as an acoustic duo, recruiting new drummer Dana Marshall prior to signing with the Simple Machines label for 1993's Velvet Hammer. After jumping to Elektra, Scrawl issued their major-label debut Travel On, Rider in 1996. Nature Film followed two years later." (Jason Ankeny, Rovi)

Do your best to describe the sound of your band in one sentence:

From Trouser Press: “call-and-response, rugged melodicism.”

What are the most recent activities of your band?  

Shellac’s 20th Anniversary show in Chicago, ATP Festival in NYC, shows here and there.

How excited are you to play this event?

Are we allowed to say pee-our-pants excited?

Do you have a connection with Shellac / an idea why you were chosen to play?

Recorded a couple of records with Mr. Albini; played a few shows with Shellac; and hold them in high esteem.

Which of your releases do you feel ATP attendees should check out first?

Nature Film – 6 older songs re-recorded; 6 new songs; one cover. A good overview for the uninitiated.

Is there one of your tracks you think specifically represents you best?

No, but “Standing Around” and “100 Car Pile Up” would highlight the full gamut of our career.

Are there any other currently confirmed bands you're excited about seeing? 

Wire makes us hyperventilate, so definitely Wire.  Shellac, Mission of Burma, The Ex, Arcwelder, Uzeda…

If you were curating, name three bands you'd want to play your event...

Ass Ponys
Josef K

If you could pick one record released in the last year which would you recommend? 

C’mon - Low


Scrawl play ATP's Nightmare Before Christmas festival curated by Shellac this November 30th-December 2nd. The event is sold out but interested parties can sign up to a waiting list in case of future ticket releases here.

Read some previous mini interviews with bands playing this event:

Three Second Kiss
Bear Claw
Mission Of Burma
Red Fang