Track By Track: Scooter Island

New York collective detail their debut EP...

Matt FX is a New York muso with a great deal on his plate. Official music supervisor for the Comedy Central smash show Broad City (executive produced by Amy Poehler of Parks and Recreation fame) as well as the American remake of SKINS (now sadly defunct) the 23 year-old is also finding time to put together an upcoming movie soundtrack (he can't say too much, but 'people in the UK will love it more than anywhere else in the world').

Oh, and not to mention, via his 'Scooter Island' collective, this utterly kickass EP; a gloriously sunny set of electronica-infused, African-inflected pop.

Brilliantly, he's an ex-choirboy, and a highly-trained classical musician to boot. "That means I'm not going to suffer fools," he says of his recording process. "Transfer [the classical skill set] to pop, I can tell when something's wrong." The upshot is a beautifully executed, never-dull suite of deft summer-party bangers, defined pretty aptly by the man himself as 'rooftop music'. I'm curious if he's ever lived in this country; given that for the next seven months or so all our rooftop spaces will stubbornly remain forlorn and moldering wastelands. "Hey, I went to Glasgow Uni for two months, before dropping out," he reveals. "I do miss the chicken pakoras though."

But what about the fact it's being released now, in the 'fall'? 'Rather than dwell on the unhappi-ness,' he replies, 'I'd rather make music to get you out of that. To that end we've been joking about the second release… If this EP is summer, maybe the second could be fall. But maybe do it under a different name; make Scooter Island a place that's always sunny.'

Here's Matt FX's track-by-track rundown of the Scooter Island EP.

‘Snap Out Of It…' was the first song we officially made as Scooter Island. I had that beat kicking around and the rapper on the track S'natra came to my house one day. We had a couple of beats knocking around that I had, a couple from Broad City that didn't make it into the show. Just listen-ing to them, as well as with Breezy which I already had, we started saying 'is there a release here?'. A compliation, an EP, or an LP. Then it starting snapping into place, and he wrote his first verse right there and then. It was the genesis of the project, so deserved to be first-place on the record.

‘#NOTYOURS…’ is a track I wrote with my girlfriend, who is one of the vocalists on the tune. That's one thing that's cool about it; all the females who sing on the record are on that track together. There's a few tracks you haven't heard yet, but on all those tracks they sort of form a Power Rang-ers/Spice Girls sort of team here. Then Jungle Pussy (the queen) comes on to rap at the end. She crushed the verse, totally crushed it.

‘Breezy’… I've had for years. I never really released it, it was on a couple of blogs as a Mad FX song. The drums were different. It nailed the vibe years before I realised that was the vibe I wanted. So we had to give it new life on the record.

‘We Could Smoke…' was the first song Synead and I wrote together. I like to think it's playing coy personified. It's not a song about smoking weed, as such. It's about inviting them over, but not really inviting them over. Lyrically it's a booty call, but a nervous, coy booty call. I always like that kind of vibe from a song.

‘Like We Always Dreamed Of…' is the final piece of our EP, and exists sort of in a more traditional three movement form – if anything I think it's a subconscious tribute to my childhood spent playing classical piano.

I actually wrote the first movement by myself, in just one afternoon – I'd brought a bunch of instru-ments into the studio we'd been mixing the tracks out of and just sort of played a note here and there until things started to make sense. It's actually the only thing on the entire EP that was written 'in-studio'. The last movement, with the vocals was actually written by a friend, who I think you'll be hearing a lot more about soon.

Narratively, I'd like to think the track is about walking out to a local park, sitting down on a bench, and just chilling; watching the summer pass – maybe even before falling asleep?

Yeah. So imagine this – falling asleep on a park bench and then waking up suddenly, in a little din-ghy boat, somewhere out in the tropics?!

That's kind of where the second movement takes you – down a river, alongside the forest – with the birds, and the crickets and cicadas, waves lapping against the sides of the boat. What would you do? You just float, right? Float, and float, until you happen upon some ancient temple, hidden treasure?

– – –

Scooter Island's debut EP is out now – iTunes // Spotify

Words: Andy Hill

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