KEXP Q&A: Scotty Smith of Fauna Shade

Interviews, Local Music
Jake Uitti
photo by Peter Dervin

This is a big summer for Fauna Shade. They have a new singles premiering, a showcase with KEXP, gigs at summer music festivals and features on Seattle radio stations. For singer Scotty Smith, it's the dream life. We got a chance to catch up with Smith during this whirlwind experience and ask him a few questions about his band.

When you think of your music, what images come to mind? And how does this play with the name of the group, Fauna Shade?

This is a good question because there is a connection between the name and my visual take on the sound, however this is a rather strange thing to explain so hold tight. Music leaves me dumbfounded, it's illogical how much it can affect me, even just placing two chords in sequence can give me a strong emotional sensation. The other thing I've found in life that has the ability to leave me as euphorically transfixed as music, is light. Sunlight does it best, strangely angled in the late or early hours of the day, bounced off a mirror or illuminating something in a new warm light. I can't look away, and it's that infatuation with light that gave fauna its "shade". I would like for our music to be the equivalent to a beam of light that found its way into your kitchen only to illuminate a crystal doorknob you've never seen as anything special before.And there’s a lot you’re bring your light to: KEXP’s Hood-to-Hood and Fisherman’s Village Music Festival, to name two. How do you prepare for a live show and what are the easiest and most difficult aspects of playing live?

Our live set is pretty well put together at this point because we've been smashing all over recently. We have a pre-show ritual of sacrificing a pot roast to Jack Black. The easiest part of a live set these days might just be playing, it's always fun and the rock and roll flows fine. The only unpleasant things about live performances are figuring out what to say between songs and how quickly playing goes by.

There seems to be a little influence of The Tallest Man on Earth and Modest Mouse in your music. What is it like to write together as a band?

I recently Shazamed The Tallest Man on Earth off of KEXP! The current line up of FS is slightly new, so we haven't written too much as a group, but there are a couple new tracks that we've started on and I couldn't be more giddy to hear them fully fleshed out. It's like we're doing a puzzle as a band and I have a slight glimpse of what the picture is, sadly the puzzle box sports no image to chase after, but the finished product is always so above and beyond my expectations.

So the band has undergone some changes lately?

It has. At it origins, the rhythm section was comprised of some childhood homeboys but as things progressed and we got busier the drummer had to leave to be a stay at home dad and Ryile the original bass player bounced to start his own group called Crater Lakes. The new crew has brought a sense of professionalism that I didn't see coming, with Richie Owen on drums and Derek Johnston on bass we are now tighter than ever and it's completely evident in our live set.

What excites you the most as you enter into the middle of 2015 as Fauna Shade?

I can't give you a straight answer. You're asking a kid who's dreams are coming true. Every aspect of this experience is the tops, we took a ferry to play a show the other day! I thought all the time I spent on music would equate to nothing and a bad job, that my dad was right. But now we take ferries and go to new cities and meet people because of music. Just to be in Fauna Shade is what I'm exited about. All in all, with good perspective, the summer of '15 very well could be the best summer of my life.

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