Ryan Ensley (tiger!) of Shiloh talks new record, ‘Scum Pop’ and button-pushers
First off, hello Ryan!
We’ll start off with a warm-up question. Be honest. I’m not going to judge you. What’s the last song you listened to?
Last song that I listened to. . .I think it was called “Yet Again” off the new Grizzly Bear record. It just came out.
They have a really sort of vintage-y folky type sound. Would you say that influences Shiloh in any sort of way?
Yeah, sure. The new record is kind of—its like more rock ‘n roll-ish. It’s very orchestrated rock ‘n roll, pianos, and slide guitars, and distortion and harmonies.
Speaking of studio time, you guys were really heavy on Kickstarter, using it to get funds. Do you think that Kickstarter is the new wave in musicians raising money to get their band out and get their albums out and all that?
It’s definitely a new wave thing. It helps a lot. I don’t think we would have been at this point in the process of putting out this record if it wasn’t for Kickstarter.
How much did you guys raise?
$1200. Which wasn’t even enough, but it was a start. We should be making our first payment out of pocket today, but we’re all super broke and we’re gonna be like five days late.
Musician lifestyle, right?
We’re paying them on Friday.
I really want to ask this question. Musicians can be a liberal word, in my opinion. We have DJs now, and dubstep. Does it piss you off that dubstep and techno is the new thing and do you think that guitars are still relevant these days?
Yeah. I think the guitar is more relevant than ever because it has a competitor in, you know, button-pushers and shit. I just, I can’t handle it. I don’t like it all. I don’t like the button-pushers.
I like that you refer to them as “button-pushers.”
It’s just so lame. The whole boom, boom, boom, boom. (he imitates handling a drum machine) It just looks so lame. And it sounds horrible, dude. If it sounded good then I would maybe be okay with it, but it sounds bad. And it looks lame.
So you’re definitely an organic type of guy.
Yeah. I like guitars.
Okay, so going back to the new record, would you say it was harder to record this time around?
I don’t know if it was harder. It was different.
The very first demo we did on a digital 8 track with two microphones in Alex’s mom’s living room. So it was very simplistic. And the second one, we used my laptop. We used LogicPro and that was easy in some ways because we did it at our house. At the studio now, it’s great, but it’s also like you’re forcing yourself to be creative. When we recorded the first full-length, if we were ever in the mood, we could just start recording. But now it’s like, ‘okay, we have to go to the studio on this day.’ There’s this different kind of pressure.
So now it’s just a lot more calculated. Does that drain some of the creativity out of the process?
Kinda. There were times when it felt draining, like we were getting nothing done and we were wasting all our money and the money that people gave us. But there were other times when, there are certain sections on the record that wouldn’t sound the way that they would if it wasn’t for being there.
In the documentary, Alex said “Midwestern boys making Midwestern noise.” In your opinion, what is Midwestern noise?
Our form of Midwestern noise is just that we’re all from the Midwest and we grew up in a very industrial area. And once you’re there, you end up in between, you know, Chicago and 20 miles further south is cornfields. It’s just a weird place. So our kind of Midwestern noise is like scum pop.
There’s fuzzy guitars, but then there’s also beautiful ragtime pianos and we just started calling it scum pop.
It might catch on. You never know.
That’s what we’re hoping.
Is there anything else you want to add? Feel free to shamelessly promote! It’s all good.
Figure out a way to listen to our new record. We’re on Facebook, Bandcamp, shilohchicago.bandcamp.com. The record will be out in like, a month.
Awesome. I think we’re done here. Thank you for your time!