American rock duo ’68 (featuring Josh Scogin ex-The Chariot/Norma Jean) released their forthcoming album Two Parts Viper on Friday 2 June. They are heading to Australia this July with their first show at Adelaide’s Enigma Bar with national tour supports Grenadiers on Thursday, 20 July.
We chatted to vocalist Josh Scogin about the new album Two Parts Viper.
Upside: With the single ‘This Life Is Old, New, Borrowed and Blue’, you mentioned it almost didn’t make the album because it was a past version of yourself. What’s changed throughout the new album compared to your old self when this song was written?
Josh: Well, I still enjoy making aggressive and stressful music but I don’t ever want ’68 to be mistaken for a hardcore band, because we are not. I enjoy listening to hardcore, when it is done right, but with ’68 I like exploring a grungier, blues-ier side.
Upside: Did the man in your dream that came to you and inspired the name of this album ever describe what ‘Two Parts Viper’ means or did you have your own explanation of what it means to you?
Josh: A little bit of both. In the dream I took it as a negative thing at first. Thinking two parts of a three part pie, but he then explained that LIFE is more complicated than a three part pie, it is closer to a thousand part pie or even infinity Parts….then making sure at least two parts are “like a Viper” sort of makes it more of a positive thing. The dream itself happened in Australia, Brisbane to be exact.
Upside: ‘Two Parts Viper’ was written over a 7-month period, what made you choose to write the album in such intermittent periods and how did it affect the writing process?
Josh: I didn’t really choose to do it like this, it was chosen for me. We were on tour nonstop last year. We would have one week off here and a week and a half off there. So we just had to pop in and record what we could whenever the free time was available. So that process took about seven months. It definitely effected the songs. Everything has an effect on the song though. Everything.
Upside: Where does Two Parts Viper vary in comparison to ‘In Humour And Sadness’?
Josh: I think it varies in every way possible. I’m a different person now than I was three years ago. We have three years of touring under our belt. Three years more knowledge of guitar pedals and effects. Three years of inspirations, three years of wins, three years of losses etc etc. It is all variables to shift and shake the songs into a different standing.
Upside: You’re coming back to Australia and playing some intimate club shows, does a ‘68 show match the energy of your previous stage performances in Chariot or Norma Jean, or do you have to be a bit more careful now that you’re holding an instrument?
Josh: Freedom is freedom. If you have freedom in your art then it might portray itself differently but the roots are all the same and “holding an instrument” isn’t really top priority.
Upside: We’re seeing more 2-piece bands appear in the alternative music scene, any preference why you made this decision for ‘68?
Josh: I did it to give me something different and fresh from what I was comfortable with. I have done 5 piece bands my whole life so I wanted something new, something to stir the pot of my comfort zone. I enjoy the journey.
Upside: From playing with full bands previously in your career, what do you think the main difference is when performing as a duo with fewer instrumentals and how do you enjoy playing the guitar compared to your previous sole-vocal performances?
Josh: pros and cons to both really. You have more control when you are playing guitar and singing. But less responsibility when you are just a vocalist. Both a wonderful and both have drawbacks, I guess it depends on how you look at it.
Tickets $30 + BF on sale Friday 5 May @ 9am
’68 AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES:
THURSDAY 20 JULY – ENIGMA BAR, ADELAIDE 18+
FRIDAY 21 JULY – NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB, MELBOURNE 18+
SATURDAY 22 JULY – THE BASEMENT, CANBERRA 18+
SUNDAY 23 JULY – OXFORD ART, SYDNEY 18+
MONDAY 24 JULY – SMALL BALLROOM, NEWCASTLE 18+
WEDNESDAY 26 JULY – CROWBAR, BRISBANE 18+