Searching for creative inspiration during COVID-19, Keith Harry, bassist for the local band Andrew Scotchie & the River Rats, came up with an idea: Instead of wallowing in the blues, why not cover another local band’s song and invite that group to do the same with a River Rats’ tune?
The end result is a pair of two new locally produced music videos by Andrew Scotchie & the River Rats and The Get Right Band.
Xpress recently spoke with Harry and his band’s frontman, Andrew Scotchie, as well as Silas Durocher, singer and guitarist of The Get Right Band. Below is the group interview, followed by both bands’ video premieres.
Xpress: Keith, how did you go about selecting The Get Right Band for this project?
Keith Harry: The Get Right Band was the perfect choice to collaborate with because both bands have the power trio presence but with our own flavors. At the time the idea was pitched, both bands had just released new records — Get Right Band’s Itchy Soul and the River Rats’ Everyone Everywhere — so we wanted to cross-promote each other’s works. It also just felt like we would each create unique and genuine takes on each other’s music, and I think that’s exactly the end result of this project. Plus, there was a lot of familiarity with each other prior to this collaboration, since we’ve played shows together, worked together in music in other fashions and are friendly outside of the realm of music.
How did each band go about selecting their cover?
Silas Durocher: I do such a better job singing a cover if I can get behind the lyrics, so ultimately it’s really the lyrics of “Fear Mongers” that drew me in. And we all loved how moody and spacious the song was; that makes it malleable in a way and gives us more opportunity to put our own spin on it. Anytime we take on a cover song, we’re always looking to put a lot of our own spin on it, to put a lot of The Get Right Band style into it. Otherwise, why bother?
Andrew Scotchie: The Rats and I took ample time to really dig into The Get Right Band’s new album Itchy Soul. We listened to it on the road, at home, and we talked about our favorite tracks until we agreed we could do a special rendition of “Nothin’ on the FM.” The arrangement of the track really allowed each member to shine. It [also] pushed us to incorporate different genres, and the subject matter of the lyrics enabled us to produce a really cathartic music video with Tom Farr. This is definitely a cover that fans can expect us to perform live in the near future. The throwback lyrics that romanticize the days when radio reigned supreme and genuine songwriting made the charts more often really resonated with me, since I grew up discovering many of my favorite artists/songwriters on FM stations.
How important was this project for lifting your creative spirits during COVID-19?
Harry: With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the world and live event possibilities, we wanted to find a way to engage with and uplift the community in a different way. To me, collaboration and cooperation is what makes the world go round in the best way. In these times, we all need to prop each other up and spread as much of the cooperative and kind spirit as we can. Doing the collaboration with The Get Right Band not only gave us the chance to spread that spirit, but it gave us a chance to intersect our circles and bring people together in times when we can’t always gather. It was also a great creative boost and band bonding experience because we got to do something that we’ve never done before, and we pushed ourselves to stretch our imagination and think about our musical approach in a new way.
Durocher: We get so much joy and satisfaction from our live shows. It’s the ultimate sharing of energy between us and an audience, and that’s a huge part of what drives us. Obviously, COVID put a massive dent in the live show experience, so it’s that much more important for us to find ways to stay creative, to connect with fans and other musicians, and to stay connected with each other — to keep having fun with each other. The song trade with the River Rats was a perfect way to do that. And hopefully, these songs will be as fun for the fans to listen to as they were for us to make.
Scotchie: Diversifying, sharpening your craft and showing support for others in the entertainment industry is so crucial these days. Now more than ever, we must engage in projects that best serve our mental health and spread unity. This project helped each band expand their sound, allowed us to work together toward a unique goal and show support for a music scene that has been a vital part of our growth. Hopefully, this collaboration will serve as a reminder that even in the darkest times, the power of music and community will always help us push through.