An Interview With Scruffy Bear

By Amanda Kilfeather

Scruffy Bear are making noise in the north, with their ground rumbling riffs and earth-shattering vocals. Having already developed a unique style and well-established brand, their sound and name are well on the way to be spreading like wildfire. If you’ve heard them play live, you already know they’re ones to watch. If not then let us get you up to speed, with what they’re all about and what they’ve been up to.

First thing’s first, where did it all begin for Scruffy Bear?
We all met at uni in Manchester and started writing songs together. It was me (Georgy), Sass and a different drummer and guitarist originally with the plan to start a blues rock band. We did a couple of shows with our original lineup and it wasn’t until later on that we found Ryan and more recently Jack. Since Ryan and Jack joined the band we’ve really been able to define our sound and everything flows so much easier! It’s a lot of fun to work together.

Who would you say your top 4 influences are?
Something that has been a massive influence on us is the creativity and individuality of bands like Led Zeppelin and Rush. We’re always looking around for more influence and more modern bands, Sleepy Sun and Wolf People to name a couple have had a big influence on us.

Aside from these bands we all have our personal influences and personalities that has contributed to the sound of the band and how we approach songwriting – We’re all so different so when we get stuck in a rut one of us will pipe up and suggest a different approach that the rest of us hadn’t even thought of.

What’s the writing process like within the band? Do members tend to come to the group with the ideas, or is it more of an experimental/ spontaneous collaborative experience?
It can be very much both! Ideas for us come from loads of different places. We can be sitting in the front room together with an acoustic guitar or in a rehearsal room jamming and usually one of us who isn’t playing at the time is able to pick out the TINIEST little section and tell the rest of us to work on that.

For one of our newer soon-to-be-released-songs Sass came to us with a nice little bassline that he wanted to work on as an intro and a vibe in mind on how to approach it, and it turned into this huge song that’s so catchy and heavy with lots of twists and turns!

It’s super important to us that everyone of us not only likes the song but has a lot of fun playing it, it can take a little more time to get everything the way we want it but it’s satisfying when we can look back on what we’ve done and all feel that we’ve all been a massive part of it.

You’re last single, “I’m Doing Better” is MASSIVE, what’s the inspiration behind the lyrics?
I’m Doing Better was written as a song full of confusion and doubt. In this age where we’re constantly trying to get validation through Social Media, it’s so easy to constantly second guess yourself and question everything you do. Sometimes it’s just better to take the leap and try and love yourself.

At the start of this year you wrapped up a small tour, blessing a lucky handful of UK towns with your earth-rumbling sound, what was it like experiencing that for the first time?
It was incredible and we can’t believe the reaction we had going out to those places for the first time. We were expecting a run of shows with only a few people there and what we actually got was a total run of packed out shows, including the Rockmantic Festival in Carlisle, and the BEST Manchester headliner we’ve ever done to end the tour with a bang.

We’re pretty sad because that was supposed to be part one of the tour and May was supposed to be part two with another handful of shows. But just like every other band we’ve had to cancel all gigs in the next few months, better to be safe than sorry!

If you could support any current band/artist on tour, who would it be?
There’s so many artists that we’d love to support, but an absolute dream for all of us would either be Foo Fighters or Paramore. They’re both bands we’ve all loved since our early teens and have so much history, creativity and cultural impact.

It’s fair to say you lot kicked off 2020 with a bang pre-pandemic, what have you guys been up to during lockdown? What do you have in store for fans in over the coming months?
We originally had a tour planned for the start of May but like every other band we weren’t allowed to play! We had to change the plans up and actually did a series of livestreams with different themes, finishing with a pre-recorded “live-set” with Jack, which is the closest we could get to actually playing live. Luckily we have plans for later in the year which will be bigger than we’ve ever done before! One thing we already have announced is Call Of The Wild, which has been rescheduled to September and we’ll be playing with so many sick bands.

We also FINALLY have an EP in the works – the songs are written and ready to be recorded, which is a blessing because we’ve spent so long trying to define our sound and really portray what we want from music. Releasing singles is so fun and kept us busy but to take it up a level feels so good!

Besides that you’ll be seeing a lot from us this year from our blogs, videos and more.

What can you tell us about the NEW single?
Pebbles is about the constant battles of being in your early 20s. Just when you think the stars are aligned there’s ALWAYS another cloud to pull you down the rabbit hole and you’ve got to start all over again. Georgy wrote the chorus as being in a constant daydream about getting old, moving to the middle of the woods and living out your golden years. Which is quite sad, really.

Other than the subject matter it’s an all round banger, we’ve managed to put in all the twists and turns expected from a Scruffy Bear track and pack it into a lovely little single. It’s really the shortest song we’ve ever done but it’s a STATEMENT.

Scruffy Bear believe in carving their own path, which we think is clear to see in the power behind your tracks, and the self-sufficiency in all aspects of making it as a successful act – from designing your latest release artwork to maintaining a prominent online presence. For the artists starting out and wishing to make their name known in the industry, do you have any advice?
I think the main mistake people make when trying to develop a sound/style when starting a band is that they try to either copy people or write songs for the sole purpose of being popular rather than for creativity or self expression. It’s important to create something that is accessible but it screams volumes when fakery comes into the equation. Be yourself!

It’s also important to find the right people! If you’re in a heavy metal band there’s no point chasing your local indie club-night promoters. Find the people who you share a mutual interest with, but make sure you’re good at what you do, and be nice!

If you ever have a vision there is always a way to realise it! Don’t let a lack of finances / contacts / circumstance hold you back from what you want – even if it takes a little longer.

I already know you’re class (I’m not bias, I swear), but how would you describe yourself to first-time listeners?
x Big bad Rock with a little sensitivity x [Ryan]
Thumpin’ Pumpin’ tunes that will get you Jumpin’ [Sass]
We got the rock, we got the groove but we ain’t got no cheese [Georgy]
Like sex but for your ears [Jack]

Scruffy Bear’s brand new single, Pebbles, is out Monday 6th July.

Are you too now officially obsessed with Scruffy Bear after reading this? Why not like them on Facebook and join their fan group?
Keep up to date with the band via their Instagram and Band Website
To listen to more, and be prepared for the new track, follow on Spotify.

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