Introducing The Scruff, a band I literally fell in love with over the weekend. So I saw them ages back, supporting The Bohicas at The Horn in 2015, and again playing This Feeling at Nambucca a few months back. The lads are definitely the funniest band I know, and this interview genuinely is my favourite I’ve ever done. They’re a ridiculously funny group of guys, with a fantastic Britpop/ post indie punk sound to their music too. Last weekend, The Scruff played the main stage at Wilkestock festival, and between Judah Gayle and Carl Barât’s sets (big up), I found myself in the back of the band van carrying out one of the weirdest and funniest interviews I’ve done. We got to talk about loads of stuff, including Adam’s moustache, The Sherlocks, the band’s love of xanax (and the occasional mention of Charlie), religion & spirituality, and how old Adam really is (spoiler, it’s younger than 33).
Line-up wise, The Scruff have undergone a recent change, with new guitarist Jack joining Adam (lead vocals and guitar), Sam (bass), and Omar (drums). “So what happened to Robby, your old guitarist?” I ask the band.
“What happened to Robby? We killed him, he’s dead now. Nah he moved to America, we knew he was moving to America and we were gonna get a new guitarist, and unfortunately we ended up with Jack…but he’ll do until we find the next guy.” “Everything was in place and then Omar’s mum died” they tell me, “we had a new guitarist and it was all gonna be a nice quick turnaround, and then that happened and life just got in the way, and everything sort of changed to like ‘ok these aren’t really the important things’…So we didn’t have a guitarist in place, then Robby’s last ever gig we did a hometown show and there was this blond twat there interfering cause Monarchs played before us and Sam’s pedals broke, and so we were like ‘fucking oh my god the show’s running so behind,’ and there was this blond twat at the front literally just chucking his oar in, and we were like ‘who’s that blond at the front of the stage?’ and I liked the look of him so I added him and it turned out he was in a band and they’d just broken up and he needed a new band.”
“I wasn’t even gonna go” Jack tells me, “and for some reason I had this feeling and I was like ‘I’ve gotta go to this’ and I made my brother drive me and he weren’t gonna he was like ‘nah nah nah’ so I racked my amp up as loud as I could in my room until he was just like ‘fucks sake if you shut up I’ll take ya’ and I went on my own and ended up in the fucking Scruff.” “Well…” the band pause, “he said he ended up in The Scruff he’s not quite in The Scruff, he’s nearly. He’s a session musician (“oi don’t say that in front of people” Jack exclaims) he plays alongside The Scruff he’s not quite a full member yet.”
“He’s changed the sound though, the sound’s got a little bit, I dunno it’s not as complex” I’m told. “I suppose ‘cause Jack’s younger” Sam muses (“and more handsome” Jack intervenes); “I dunno about handsome… but young” he laughs.
“Can we interview you for like a minute?” Omar asks, which I of course reply with “yeah go for it,” bearing in mind we’re all fucked at this point.
Adam: Ok guys so I’m going to be the mediator, welcome to the show Omar, and you’re gonna do a brief talk with Sahera and just ask her about her spiritual beliefs.
Omar: No problem at all. So Sahera, do you have any spiritual beliefs at all, ones you can tell us about, I mean what sort of thing are you into?
Me: So I believe in reincarnation and stuff
Omar: Reincarnation, amazing. I mean where does the soul go after?
“Be careful how you answer” they joke, “if you answer the next question right he’s gonna ask you to marry him.”
Me: But I don’t believe in a God
Omar: No, but there must be something out there perhaps a universal conscience of some sort, I dunno not a God as such
“Not like a bearded man in the sky that’s just weird” Adam laughs, “like it’s so funny how if you go ‘there’s no God’ people are like *exclaims* but if you go ‘Father Christmas isn’t real’ they go ‘well yeah we know duh’, It’s so odd like you can say one thing but not the other, but really there’s like the same amount of proof for either’s existence, like Father Christmas and God are in the same category but if you say you don’t believe in one it’s really offensive and the other it’s just ‘shh don’t tell the kids’.”
“There’s probably more chance of a big fat geezer riding around in a sleigh dropping presents off than there is of another geezer spreading the sea so he can walk down the middle”
“Oi that’s Moses”
“That’s Jesus bruv!”
“As if Moses spread the fucking sea”
“Moses split the red sea, Moses did that bruv”
Me: He is right
Sam: Ah ok ok I apologise, Moses, there’s more chance of Santa Clause delivering presents than there is Moses splitting the sea
“Nah you ain’t delivering presents in 24 hours”
“You ain’t splitting no sea man!”
“There we go they’re both as daft as each other”
Jack: What’s more likely, spread the sea or God did the sky?
“Jack, shut the fuck up”
“This is the weirdest interview I’ve ever done” I laugh
“But Sahera shall we actually talk about the gig and shit like that?”, which we go on to talk about. “So first of all how do you think the gig went?” they ask me, to which I (of course) reply “well I thought it was really fucking good, but I’m like an awkward Scruff fangirl so I would say that.” “Oi so’s Jack!” they laugh”, Jack responding “I’m like a fangirl on tour.” Set wise, the band tell me “it would have been better but about five songs in Omar put the kick pedal through the drum skin so we lost the kick pedal, it just died and we were sitting there like ‘what the fuck do we do’ so we just jammed which we never normally do.” “To be fair it ended up quite well though.”
A couple hours before this interview I had a quick chat with The Wholls (keep an eye out for that), and tell the band “When I interviewed The Wholls I was like ‘who are your favourite bands right now’ and they were like ‘The Scruff’” to which they respond “Yesss we love The Wholls man.” On bands The Scruff saw live at the festival,“tonight we saw BlackWaters for the first time and they are fucking insane man, I’d heard the buzz and thought they must be quite good to get this buzz and when I saw them I was like woahhh they’re so fucking good man.” I then tell them I’ve been to every BlackWaters London gig, the band asking “so why don’t you come to all of our gigs?” I genuinely would have done too, but their last scheduled gig in London was cancelled. “We didn’t cancel the gig, some promoter cancelled the gig, little dig at a promoter there you know who you are” they laugh. Two fingers to the promoter (whoever you are) also cause I was mad excited for that gig- The Scruff are one of those live bands where there’s that fun dance vibe, with a very bold quirky indie sound, full of enticing licks and riffs. They have a raucous feel good aura, and the talent behind the riffs and vocals to pull off a fantastic audience reaction.
So the band offer me Xanax and Charlie at this point, where I reply “I’ve never done drugs before” (100% true), to which Sam responds “good, good girl!”, laughing “neither has Jack, there are two women in this van who have never done drugs before *pauses* would either of you perhaps might be up for some drugs?” “No, we’re not encouraging people to do drugs, we’re not peer pressuring Sahera into drugs there’s no peer pressure here (but do some drugs, no pressure but do some drugs)” they laugh. “I tried to interview The Scruff and all they wanted to do was push drugs on me” they mimic; “In the back of a van, oi we sound like the seediest band” Adam exclaims. “Are you still recording? You are! Ohh you’re in trouble now Sam.” “You know my voice?” Sam asks, “can you like change the tone?… so this interview you’re doing with The Wholls is going real good” he laughs.
“To be fair there’s so many places you could be right now rather than sat in a van with us”
Me: Yeah but I think you guys are cool
“Yeah that’s a good answer man, definitely put that bit in your blog”
“Oi just to clarify to everyone on the blog, Jack Brown is still not a full member of The Scruff he has to wait until, what is it, January 2nd 2021 day after Sam’s birthday, and that is still up for dispute as well, if he fucks up in any way like he did tonight then…”
“Any guitarists out there hit us up, yeah just inbox us” they laugh “if you can do an A, a G and a C then they’re in, if you can do three chords and sing every now and then…”
Jack: oi you heard me sing last night it was good.
“Jack, Jack do your opera singing now for the camera”
For the pleasure of all my lovely readers I thought I’d attach Jack’s rather impressive opera singing below
“This isn’t really much of an interview it’s just chatting shit” they joke, “have you got any questions for us?”
Me: Yeah I have a lot of questions
“Go on then, hit us”
Me: So how did The Scruff come about?
Sam: Well originally when Adam and Omar were about, I’d say what 13/14, let’s say school times, they started a band called High On Kites, which is a sick name for a band by the way, and they played all through school, this that and the other blah blah blah and then they broke up, people went to university, and then a few years later obviously we met through various paths I can’t remember how-
Adam: Me and Omar saw Sam dancing at a party and we were like ‘he’ll definitely be a good bass player’ just because he was dancing well, and we were like ‘do you play bass?’ and he was like ‘I’ve never played an instrument in my life’ so we were like ‘buy a bass and we’ll start a band’ and six months later he just turned up and was like ‘I’ve bought a bass lads’ and that was it we didn’t have a choice
Me: Where’s the name from as well, The Scruff, it’s quite a cool name
Adam: Dunno if it was you Omar?
Omar: Yeah not to push the boat out but anything good that happens in the band is normally down to me so, there were a few other suggestions there was The Jeffries, Shit Finger…
Slight interval in the interview also, as we could hear The Sherlocks (or Shitlocks?) playing on stage, bearing in mind the artist car park was directly behind main stage. “Question for you” Adam asks, “what do you think about The Sherlocks? I mean you’ve not been vocal about how you feel about them on Facebook ever, ever before, so I feel like people are curious about how you feel about the band.” It’s funny because The Sherlocks made a comment recently about being pioneers of guitar music, which prompted me to write an article about the top 25 bands who are genuinely pioneering guitar rock. The Scruff, of course, feature on my list, which you lot can check out here. “It was rather scathing” Adam laughs about that article, “you did slate them.” “Fair play for giving it though” they laugh, fucking fair play indeed. So this is halfway through the interview, where there’s a dramatic cut off on my recording because the one and only legend that is Mr Carl Barât was hanging outside, and we all went off to meet him. He’s one of the nicest guys in the industry (despite admitting to being fucked when we first met and not remembering it), and even promised The Scruff he’d give their new track a listen and share it online. Such a fangirl moment for everyone, but what a valid reason for interrupting the interview. What a legend.
So back in the van (not dodgy at all), we got on with our interview
Me: Ok so what plans are there for the band?
Jack: We’ve got our single, then September/ October/ November we’re going on tour so we’re going round the country, got some Northern dates booked in so we’re gonna go round the country spread the word a bit. Adam, Adam- so we’ve got Her coming out then we’re going on tour ain’t we?
Jack: We’re just gonna fucking slam that song as far as we can go, get it out to as many people as we can. If people get it as much as we do, like we’ve had a lot of people watching the video, a lot of tears, like from people not even just mums but anyone, like everyone’s got a mum, everyone’s had a mum like people love it so if people get it as much as we do then…
Adam: I mean you can write songs all day about doing drugs and how fucking rock’n’roll you are like heavy nights out etc, but every now and then it’s nice to do something about like being nice to people, it’s not a bad thing like it’s cool to be nice to people, I don’t think people are just dicks all the time
Me: Ok tell me about the single
Omar: It’s called Her and it was written shortly after I lost my Mum at the beginning of the year, and it’s quite fucking hard hitting to be honest, it’s not really like anything we’ve done before
Jack: I don’t think many rock’n’roll bands expose themselves like we’ve done in this one, like people are quite happy to go out there and talk about drugs and hit it hard in loud and lairy songs but it’s nice like we put our heart into that, genuinely like completely into this song which I don’t think anyone does anymore like people are too quick to go ‘look how cool we are, we’re the best band in the world we’ll play loud we’ll play fast’
Adam: On the radio it needs to be two and a half minutes, chorus within the first ten seconds, smash smash smash, in and out, and everybody’s so fucking stuck to that mould they find it difficult to go beyond four minutes like, and sometimes you just have to
“We’ve laid ourselves so bare in this, and I think people get that”
Omar: I know it’s part of life but it’s fucking shit because they’re no longer there anymore
Me: Yeah it’s like hard to adjust to
“Fully, and we’ve all found it hard to adjust like you have these people around you 24/7 that you can talk to and confide in, and then when they’re gone life changes man, it fucking changes
Yeah but you could get lost in the amount of unsaid things couldn’t you like if you really sat down and thought about it, all the things you want to say and people don’t say them enough because they think ‘ah I’ll tell them tomorrow’ and then someday, one day, tomorrow doesn’t come and it’s like ‘fuck, all the things I should have said’
I think writing this song, it’s definitely made me, obviously I appreciated my mum before, but it’s definitely made me think like every second counts, everything you say like even when you go to walk out the door like when you leave your mum just saw ‘ah I love you’
Even if you’re having a little tiff with your mum over something really petty, it’s like hold on it’s not worth it like it’s really not worth it”
Me: So who are you listening to at the moment?
“Now, BlackWaters they were unreal, Judah Gayle they were unbelievable, Tom Grennan, HAUS, you know HAUS?”
Me: yeah yeah
“Oi bruv they are so sick! Ash from HAUS, honestly he’s one of the loveliest men, he’s fucking sick man”
Sam: Oi what’s the Beatles cover, about a chick? Er fucking hell, Eleanor Rigby, oi have you ever heard Ash from HAUS’ cover of Eleanor Rigby?
Me: Nah I don’t really like it when people cover The Beatles
Sam: No, Sahera, Sahera, Sahera. I’m throwing it out there
Adam: No don’t say it, don’t say it!
Sam: Ash from HAUS’ version is better, I’m throwing it out there. I prefer it, it’s better, oi put that on your fucking blog, oi put it down
(This is just Sam’s opinion by the way, the rest of the band and myself whole heartedly disagree)
“So,” the band conclude, “we’re listening to BlackWaters, we’re listening to HAUS, we’re listening to Grenners, we’re listening to The Wholls”
“Ok next! Oi we’re smashing this, look at us getting questions out. Go on”
Me: Who did you guys grow up listening to?
Jack: The Libertines man, and meeting Carl Barât ahhh that’s gotta be it
Sam: Oi Jack tell her the truth what you grew up listening to, Robbie Williams, Jack grew up listening to Robbie Williams, Jack listened to Robbie Williams, biggest fan of Robbie Williams
Jack: Have you ever sat down and listened to the actual tunes of Robbie Williams?
Me: I haven’t, no
Jack: Honestly if you listen to Robbie Williams’ songs they are sick
Sam: Shut the fuck up Jack, you like Robbie Williams
Jack: There’s nothing wrong with Robbie Williams
Sam: Fuck Robbie Williams man!
Jack: Oi influences though, obviously The Libertines
Me: Right ok, favourite band ever?
Omar: I’m going The Streets
Sam: Rage Against The Machine
Adam: Oi how did we not say DMA’s with bands we’re listening to, we love DMA’s
Adam: Has anyone claimed The Libertines ‘cause obviously I’ll take that
Jack: Mate I love The Libertines
Adam: Fuck off I’m older
Jack: You are old
So Adam gets me to guess his age, and I went with 33 to which he exclaims “aw rude I’m not that old! I’m 26 nah I’m 30, I’m not 33 you’ve just wasted three years of my life!” So Jack looks older than 23 right, “the beard makes you look older” I told him. “Oi, wait repeat that, repeat that cause I get stick for this all the time. Adam, Adam listen, Sahera I love you, I love you. Adam listen to this- why do I look older?” “Cause of the beard,” “yeahhh you’re the best I like that, I love this I look older cause I’ve got a beard” Jack laughs.
“I’m shaving my moustache tomorrow” Adam tells me- his moustache is sick by the way, look at that- “how do you get your moustache like that, like do you use gel?” I ask, his response simply being “nah it just grows like this after a while.”
Back to the music though, Jack goes to Adam “if you’ve gone Libertines then I’m gonna go Oasis, but we’re not allowed two of the same are we?”
Me: Right, next question. What’s your ideal venue to play, or festival?
Jack: Glastonbury. Why would you not want to headline Glastonbury, like surely everyone wants to headline Glastonbury? That’s the pinnacle, oi Adam headlining Glastonbury’s a pinnacle innit?
Adam: I’d rather headline Reading
Omar: Sahera what are your favourite venues like not festivals, what would you like to see us play at?
Me: My favourite venue is probably, small venue wise Brixton Windmill maybe?
“Oi what’s the one in Texas, Coachella? Nah, I’m going Coachella. Wait Austin City Limits, that’s it”
“So festivals, Glastonbury, Reading…”
Sam: Oi I wanna do something abroad like Glastonbury’s cool, Reading’s sick but what I’m saying is I wanna do something like, Tomorrowland’s a bit more dancey for us and it’s not really our thing, but I want to do like a European once, like Benicassim in Spain
Me: When I’m on my blog and describe you guys in a sentence, how would you describe your sound, like ‘The Scruff, a ___ band’?
Jack: *shouts* Adam, how would you describe our sound when you finished having a wee (Adam had nipped out by this point for a piss)
Adam: Erm that’s a really strange question, how would you describe our sound when you finished your wee
Adam: I think your (Jack) guitar are shades of DMA’s that’s the kind of stuff you’re influenced by, your (Sam) bass parts have got that kind of Streets hip hop edge without even realising that’s just engrained in you – Sam: I do love The fucking Streets– you’re a bit of an urban head, whereas I’m more retro indie Subways/ early Kings of Leon, I like Queens Of The Stone Age stuff like that, Libertines obviously, Babyshambles
Jack: Ah mate early Babyshambles it’s raw, it’s like raw but it’s not raw as in really really simple like you think it’s raw but you get like the little undertones and the licks and Sammy’s bass lines and like- you know what we’ll flip this, what do you think it’s reminiscent of?
“Ohhh pressure’s on… when you hear ‘The Scruff’ who do you think of?”
Me: Sound wise maybe like Libertines/ Oasis, it’s like Britpop/ post indie-rock punky
“I will give you that Sahera”
Adam: It is Britpop but it is quite punky though, like a bit punky with Britpop little riffs and licks
“I quite like to think we’d throw a modern twist in there as well, like we’re not like a dad band where it’s like all the oldies fucking came to sing. We’re not trying to be like that whole Britpop revival like ‘look at us, in our mod suits,’ we’re just trying to be- “oi I would rock a mod suit though”; mate I’d rock a mod suit all day long but we’re not trying to recreate anything, but if you get those influences through, like we said we love The Libertines, we love Oasis, like those sorts of bands, if that comes through that’s sick. We like turning up, giving it big, like if I make three mistakes in a show and the vibe’s real cool and everyone’s jumping about and everyone’s diving about I’m cool, but if we play the same show and I’ve made three/ four mistakes and it’s a bit like the crowd’s a bit dead they’re not really feeling it, I could play better and still feel like it was less of a show”
“Mate, we want to make people jump around to indie music again, not drum and bass, we want to make people jump around to indie again. It’s been ten years since the last wave of that whole group, you know Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines, that whole indie wave it’s been ten years. In the words of This Feeling, you’ve got to create a zone, and he’s nailed it, Mikey’s nailed it. If you create a zone like, granted you’ve got to have good tunes and you’ve got to play well, but if you create a zone then you’re in. Indie music’s on the way back round again, it’s coming, it’s coming”
Me: Ok one more question before we go see Carl, favourite album ever?
Adam: OK Computer, Radiohead
Sam: A Grand Don’t Come For Free, The Streets
Jack: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, The Beatles
At this point Omar’s disappeared to see Carl Barât, so until next time
The Scruff released Her today, the video premiering over at It’s All Indie. Honestly both the song and video are stunning, with a really raw emotional feel to them. I can honestly say The Scruff are the only band that can have me laughing shit loads at our interview recording one minute, then crying with emotion at their video the next. Big love for these lads and everything they’re doing. The band will be releasing tour dates soon, but for now you can catch them live at Nambucca on September 20th, and The Finsbury Pub on October 25th.