Forecastle X: Interview with Wax Fang’s Scott Carney

Wax Fang singer/songwriter/guitarist Scott Carney.

The 10th annual Forecastle Festival is imminent. And it will be massive.

Louisville’s own Wax Fang, currently consisting of Scott Carney and Jacob Heustis, are yet another awesome example of the consistently genre-defying rock amalgamations that seem to sprout from the banks of the Ohio like ridiculously entertaining three-eyed toads.

Swaying to and fro between a pensive sweetness harkening back to the more sentimental side of “It Still Moves”-era My Morning Jacket and unrelenting pop/rock-frenetics powered by Carney’s ever-bombastic vocals, Wax Fang’s relatively angst-free, smile-on-your-face jams are exceedingly refreshing in an age dominated by either the stripped-down or overly digitized.

Unafraid to pick you up gently, melt your face off and then tuck you right back in, Wax Fang are a total-package outfit who’ve found themselves with a justifiably fanatic following in Derby City, Lexington and parts well beyond.

LouisvilleKY.com continues its Forecastle X preview coverage today via an extended chat with Wax Fang’s Scott Carney. The singer/guitarist/songwriter talks “quadraphonic love affairs”, the power of the local music scene, forthcoming Wax Fang releases and much more ahead of the band’s Friday performance.

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We found out in early spring that My Morning Jacket would not only be headlining Forecastle X, but curating as well. Did you guys get to have any input in that process as well?

We had about as much say in the lineup as you yourself did. Which is to say, none. We’re not that special…yet.

Forecastle is a chance to introduce Louisville to a lot newcomers, both amongst the crowds and bands. What do you think this means for our city and what are your thoughts on serving as an ambassador of sorts for the hometown?

It means many things. It means that people get a chance to see how amazing our little city on the river is, as well as all of the fine folks who live here and all of the music that comes from it. It gives them an opportunity to eat at our restaurants, shop at our boutiques, and drink our delicious tap water. My only fear is that people might love it so much they start flocking here in droves the way they do to places like Portland, Oregon, in which case I might have to move. Across the river. To Jeffersonville. Psych! I’m more of a N’Albany kinda guy…

I don’t consider myself much of an ambassador, really, which is probably best for the festival and for the city. JK, MMJ… those guys are the real ambassadors. I’m more of a ninja assassin, appearing out of nowhere to ruffle your feathers, steal your heart and then disappear in a cloud of smoke. That’s how I roll.

How have you seen the local music scene change in recent years and where do you think we’re heading? What about the continued evolution of Forecastle?

We’ve been fortunate to have a long standing history of great music here in Louisville. Our current scene is far different than the scene that existed when I moved home from college some 7 1/2 years ago which was, in turn, far different from the one I was introduced to in high school, years before that. From what I know of the scene today, it is as eclectic as it has ever been. Take a look at the list of local acts playing this year’s festival and you’ll get a pretty good idea of how varied our music scene is. Better yet, get out and see them for yourself.

Forecastle has certainly come a long way. This is our 4th time playing it, for which we are very grateful. This year promises to be their best festival to date. I look forward to see what they might do next year.

Your 2008 album “La La Land” is awesome. When can we expect a follow-up and has your creative direction or sound changed noticeably over the past several years?

Why, thank you. We are releasing an EP called Mirror, Mirror on October 30 via Karate Body Records and our next proper album will be released early next year. As for how our creative direction might have changed over the years, well, you’ll just have to wait and see, now won’t you?

Other there any other artists or experiences that you would identify as particularly formative with regard to the Wax Fang sound?

Our music has always been primarily influenced by the experience of living life with reckless abandon, which I have just rediscovered after many years of being lame and listless. Artistically speaking, I would say the Wax Fang sound was born of a quadraphonic love affair for Brian Eno, Phil Spector, Iron Maiden and Phillip Glass.

What’s the creative/collaborative dynamic like between you and fellow member Jacob Heustis?

Remember the scene in The Deer Hunter where the prisoners are forced to play Russian Roulette for their lives? Now, imagine that scene set in outer space on the planet Tralfamadore ala Slaughterhouse Five. Now imagine using water guns instead of real ones. Now imagine that you are naked. It’s a lot like that.

Was there a particular moment when you first realized you had a bombastically powerful singing voice?

I once played drums in a band called Shopping when I lived in Pittsburgh. One winter… I think it was 2003… we recorded an album with Paul Oldham at his home studio in Shelbyville, which was, sadly, never released. Our keyboardist, Alex Braden, had asked me to sing backup on the bridge of a song he had written which I was reluctant to do, in part, because of the register it needed to be sung in and, also, because I was a heavy smoker at the time and didn’t think I would be physically able to do it. Anyhow, I gave it a shot and it turned out nicely. That moment opened a rather giant door for me. A few months later, I wrote and recorded a demo for the song “Majestic,” which I consider to be the first true Wax Fang song. I would’ve never done that had it not been for that experience. Thanks, Alex.

What other acts this weekend are you most excited about? Any that would be on a dream-list to tour with?

I am excited to see both MMJ and Dr. Dog, two great bands whom we’ve been very fortunate to open for in the past. Beach House is a personal favorite that I look forward to seeing again and would likely wet myself with delight were we to ever tour with them. Victoria LaGrand’s voice makes me melt like an ice cream sundae in the wake of a nuclear sunset. That is to say, instantly. I’m secretly in love with her. Well, not so secretly anymore… I’m also excited to see Atlas Sound, Neko Case, The Features, Lydia Burrell, Rachel Grimes, and King’s Daughter & Sons, to name a few…

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Forecastle X makes landfall in Louisville this coming weekend, July 13-15th and LouisvilleKY.com’s coverage will be continuing all week, and well into the next. Stayed clicked for additional interviews as we count down the days alongside live-blogging from ground-zero all weekend. And there’s much more festival information available on forecastlefest.com.

 

Additional festival coverage:

Forecastle X: Holly Weyler talks of Local Love and Killer Jams

Forecastle Festival preview: An interview with Kentucky’s Sleeper Agent is forthcoming

My Morning Jacket’s Two-Tone Tommy talks about curating Louisville’s Forecastle Festival, band members’ solo projects, Grammy nods and what’s next for MMJ.

 

Chris Ritter is a Louisville-native freelance writer, journalist and blogger enthusiastic about all things entertainment, media and technology.

More articles by me here

Chris Ritter <<<< twitter.com/CT_Smash <<<< ctsmash@gmail.com

 

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