Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

Resident Scout “Heal Me” (Influenza)

Published in Blog, Culture Bully. Tags: , , .

Resident Scout Greatest Sympathies

Each new generation of musician is left to build off of the work already put forward by artists from decades gone by. And as widespread as it is to come across modern musicians who grew up long after their particular genre of focus has peaked, it’s still interesting to dive into their music and see how they translate the sounds from the past, producing something familiar that still retains a personalized and unique touch. In Nashville‘s Resident Scout this pattern is continued: a young act building on music from yesteryear. There’s a slight twist here, however, as rather than focusing the guitar-based rock project on metal, or punk, or some relative of early-80′s college rock that helped shape so many of today’s artists, Resident Scout takes an unusual approach in jumping directly into mid-90′s alt-rock. Before you shudder, “I lived through it the first time and it wasn’t that good then,” please, hold your ridicule.

Nashville’s Deli noted Resident Scout to be “like Foo Fighters meets Cold War Kids” and the act became one of the highest voted on Amp Magazine‘s recent “Unsigned Band Contest.” Still, the alt-rock stigma lurks… I know… but here’s the kicker: the songs recorded on Resident Scout’s debut release were entirely done so by a (then) 17 year old, Hobey Kuhn, in a home-studio that he and his twin brother built together. Sure, Kurt Cobain died before he was in kindergarten, but that doesn’t mean that his interpretation of the music that rode grunge’s coattails is any less valid or rewarding than the original wave was.

While the Cold War Kids’ reference is a bit misguided, the similarities to the Foo Fighters’ sound might not be too far off; Kuhn himself acknowledges a bit of lyrical inspiration from Grohl & co. in one of his finer tracks, “Heal Me.” Personally, with that track, I hear Silverchair, but if you lived through the era yourself, you’re likely to hear similarities to whatever it was that deeply resonated with you during those years. In this installment in the Influenza series, Kuhn breaks down “Heal Me,” touching on the song’s privative recording method as well as his lyrical inspiration. If you didn’t roll your eyes at the alt-rock reference, unfortunately, you might do so here; three words: High School Musical. Again though, give the guy a chance: if you do and you listen with open ears, hopefully you’ll be confronted with a piece of music just as solid as the majority of the bands who plagued the airwaves during the original era. My Greatest Sympathies is available as a free download over at Resident Scout’s MySpace page.

“Heal Me” was actually one of the first songs I ever wrote; in eighth grade to be exact. I remember I used to have this crush on this girl and, well, you know how that can be. Anyways, I was flipping through the channels on the television one night and I came across the premiere for High School Musical—before it got big—and I watched a bit of it, not because I found it or interesting or anything, but because I thought Vanessa Hudgens was really cute! But by the end of the show, I drew parallels between my crush and this girl, and once it was over I started writing the song for Vanessa Hudgens. Maybe I felt too embarrassed to write a song for my actual crush, so instead I aimed it at her. But regardless, “Heal Me” was written for Vanessa Hudgens.

I just basically threw in all these clichéd lyrics about love and things because I felt like that’s what really described how I felt, just like this young, premature love, and I had no other way to describe it other than through these clichés. The lyrics were changed constantly; I was never quite satisfied with them. I felt like people were going to call me out though, because Dave Grohl had this song called “Friend of a Friend,” and I felt like the line “I’m sick of being treated like a friend of a friend” kind of points to that. So I was kind of afraid people would call me out (haha). Luckily, nobody did.

I recorded an endless number of demo versions of this song and it wasn’t until 2010, as a senior in high school, when I finally recorded a decent version of it. The whole album I recently completed, My Greatest Sympathies, was done in the recording studio my twin brother, Andrew, built over the summer. I started every song by making the drum track first with the drum plugin from Logic Express, then recording the bass with a direct-in unit, then guitar with the same direct-in, and lastly, the vocals. The solo you hear was actually recorded in 2008 with a USB microphone and an acoustic guitar—I just used a plugin to distort it. I couldn’t replicate the sound or the energy of the solo again when I re-entered the studio to record the album, so I figure I would just leave it in (haha).

[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]