Every once in a while you come across a band that legitimately rocks. There’s no posing or jumping on the bandwagon. There’s something honest and visceral about the music. Something genuinely scary, too. Scott Vincent Abbot and Poppy Twist of Birmingham’s Table Scraps can be very scary. And they rock.
Table Scraps take that boy/girl rock duo thing and turn it into something deliriously heavy. It’s like King Diamond, Celtic Frost, and Black Sabbath all discovered 13th Floor Elevators, The Stooges, and Blue Cheer at the same time and performed some sort of backwoods incantation and from the flames erupted Table Scraps. Their new long player More Time For Strangers is a mix of Ty Segall garage grit, sheer punk vitriol, and something sinister just under the surface. The influences seem to run the gamut on their excellent debut. I asked Scott and Poppy about their music recently, as well as how Table Scraps came to be. Lucky for you and I they were happy to answer those questions.
J. Hubner: So tell me about Table Scraps. How did you two get together? Were you in bands together previously?
Scott: We were next door neighbours and both our previous bands had come to an end, so it just seemed like the right thing to do! We had so much in common and once we started playing loud it came together.
J. Hubner: Why did you go with a duo approach in Table Scraps as opposed to having a trio? Was there ever a time you considered adding a bass player to the mix? I don’t think it’s necessary, just curious.
Scott: I’d played in a few previous bands before where I carried the bass parts with my guitar, in the early days through necessity but then it kind of grew to be my ‘thing’, we instantly jumped at the opportunity to do a duo to avoid the lengthy arranging and logistics involved and keep it simple.
J. Hubner: You can hear some influences in your songs, but I think there’s something quite unique about the sound you two create. There’s an anger and desperation that you don’t hear in a lot of modern psych and garage bands. There seems to be some serious metal influence, as well as even some Occult vibes. Who or what informs the sound Table Scraps make? How would you two describe your music?
Scott: There’s a lot of angst, frustration, and in places, just plain hatred in there, which I can’t deny. There are horror themes, LaVeyan Satanism, revenge, it’s more Altamont than Woodstock I guess. But there’s humour too I’d hope!
Poppy: We are from the home of metal after all!
J. Hubner: Let’s talk about your debut record, ‘More Time For Strangers’. It was said that you two pretty much did everything yourselves, from the recording process to artwork and video creation. What made you two decide to go it alone as opposed to hitting a proper studio?
Scott: It feels great to have total creative control and not be on a time limit. I’ve rarely been happy with a recording in a professional studio, particularly on a budget. Also it feels great to be totally accountable and not have anyone to blame shortcomings on!
J. Hubner: Was the record recorded to tape or was it recorded digitally? It has that grainy tape quality to it like some of Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees records. There’s some great saturation going on with these tracks.
Scott: It was done on a £200 digital portastudio, with cheap microphones borrowed from the £8per hour, 14ft x 10ft rehearsal room it was recorded in. A few parts were recorded on cassette 4-track and transferred. The fact that we had the time make everything that went down on the tracks exactly as we wanted that keeps it from being overtly lo-fi.
J. Hubner: Scott, tell me about your guitar set up. How do you get the massive sound that you do?
Scott: A constantly evolving combination of guitar amps, pedals and signal splitters along with a great deal of volume and footwork!
J. Hubner: And Poppy, have you always played the drums standing up? What’s the reasoning for that? More of an aesthetic thing, so you’re both front and center when playing live? Or is it just more comfortable to play standing?
Poppy: The points you made are correct – as a drummer and vocalist I didn’t want to lose some of the visibility of having a second singer on stage. I always appreciate the almost-symmetrical aesthetic of pared down stand-up kits, and I feel I am able to drive songs with more vigour than if I were sitting down. To be honest, just imagining myself sitting down behind Scott seems pretty ridiculous!
J. Hubner: You’ve put the record out on coloured vinyl through your own label, Hell’s Teeth. Is this just part of the DIY approach you two have gone at this whole music thing with? Or was it just easier to do it this way? Are there other artists you plan on adding to the roster?
Poppy: The label operates simply as a channel for us to self-release as often and as quickly as we are able to manage. We write quickly and our excitement to put out new releases has overtaken the desire to wait for any other possibilities.
Scott: Never say never, it would be great to release other artists, but between carpentry and art school our time is already pretty full!
J. Hubner: I imagine a Table Scraps show is pretty damn loud. It is, isn’t it? How would you two describe a Table Scraps gig? Chaos? Annihilation? Ears bleeding?
Scott: It is pretty damn loud, and stuff usually gets knocked over. Both of us are so busy throughout the set, there’s rarely a let up, we’re completely spent by the end, it’s totally cathartic.
J. Hubner: Do you have any upcoming gigs? Any chance of you two crossing the pond and playing some shows in the US?
Poppy: Album sales would suggest we have a growing fanbase in the US, as well as stuff like Instagram allowing us to make some very cool friends. As soon as it becomes viable, we’re there.
J. Hubner: So what was the last record you bought that you absolutely loved?
Poppy: I am currently obsessed with the debut album from Western Plaza (Burger Records band from Amarillo, Texas). I bought it on cassette as soon as it was released.
Scott: Argh! Difficult. Probably the mint copy of Pussy Galore’s ‘Groovy Hate Fuck’ EP.
J. Hubner: What can we expect from Table Scraps for the rest of 2015? Where do you two want to be in a year from now?
Poppy: We are currently in the midst of planning an awesome video for Motorcycle (Straight to Hell), which means cracking out the eBay green screen and going to town with some fucked up, odd footage to flash behind our performance. I make few plans further afield than a couple of months and prefer to get carried away on the here-and-now. I think it’s healthier.
Scott: Album number two is written already and some songs are already getting into the live set. I’m psyched to get recording it!
And I’m psyched to hear it! Many thanks to Scott and Poppy for stopping by and talking it up. Now immediately head over to here and snag a copy of Table Scraps’ More Time For Strangers. You like vinyl? Good, because they have a killer blue/red splatter vinyl available, as well as a limited edition vinyl deluxe package that includes the vinyl, t-shirt, tote bag, cd, and a vial of blood! Okay, no blood. But still, get the record. It’s a truly killer album. And if you can, get out and see them live. Keep up with Table Scraps at their Facebook page.