Year of the Locust – It’s
By Dave Schwartz
Year of the Locust is a small band that’s
getting bigger. Their last record, “Devolver,” which was
released in 2016, made a bit of noise but their new single,
“Sunrise,” is making more. I caught up with Awesome Ray Ray
(Raeshwan Greene) and Scotty Mac (Scot McGiveron) when they called
in from the road – Lincoln, Nebraska.
DB: Well, first of all
congratulations. You’ve got a new single out. I bet
you didn’t know that – Did you know that? (laughter)
SM: No, it’s funny, we’re very aware
that “Sunrise” is our new single out on YouTube and everything.
(Video Directed by Steve Sage Productions, Song Engineered and
Produced by Brian Bonds)
ARR: Yeah, we’re enjoying the wave
DB: (laughs) Well, take a moment and
tell me about the record and how it came together.
SM: Last year we were out on tour
with Saliva, Saving Abel and Tantric. One of the members of
Tantric was Brian Bonds, formerly of Florida Georgia Line.
We took a liking to him and all got to be good buddies. And
so he ended up producing some of the songs for us. And it
was a wild time in the Catskill Mountains in New York. So
here we are. We created something with everybody in the band
and we captured the last horrible thing that ever happened to
Awesome Ray Ray here. (laughter)
DB: Yeah, for anyone who’s seen the
video they know that it really tells a story. I was curious
how it all came about. It’s rather tragic to hear that it
might be more than a fabrication and actually have shreds of
reality to it.
SM: Yeah, it actually does.
What happened was I came up with a concept while we were doing
pre-production up in the Catskill Mountains. We had the
video scheduled and we wanted to tell the story of what really
happened. So we got together as a group and wrote the lyrics
out and I took a page out of my life, as the singer and we wrote a
video that was visually going to be completed. We had the
whole concept for it.
ARR: That’s how it came together
brother. “Sunrise” is the story of a man that had been
betrayed. We wrote it out and it ended up being really fun!
DB: I like that all of your videos
do have a storyline to them. It’s refreshing. There
are a lot of performance videos out there and sometimes that’s
very appropriate to the song. But other times the story
element really helps bring the song to life.
SM: I very much agree. If your
roots are in folk, honestly folk music is storytelling at its
best. We’re a rock band and so we’re kind of bringing that
to life our way. So you talk about experiences and it’s from
the heart and it’s all about what actually happened. That’s
the theme for us I guess – the truth, you know? Four chords
and the truth my brother.
DB: (laughs) I haven’t heard
that one in a while, that’s very good.
SM: That’s from my guitar player
(Tyler Hensley), the outlaw from West Virginia. Four chords
and the truth is all I ever wanted to create. That’s a quote
from him. He’s in the club and we’re on the bus outside the
club in (Lincoln) Nebraska. I think it’s a great way to look
at it. To just kind of get to the point, ya know?
DB: Well you do get to the heart of
the point with that one, definitely. I understand that the
song itself, “Sunrise” came together in about an hour.
That’s, well it would be easy to call it unexpected but it’s kind
of ridiculous actually.
ARR: Actually, believe it or not it
was less than an hour. It was more like 15-20 minutes max.
PH: This is Hellraiser (Peter Hellers),
the lead guitar player. The funny thing about that, we were
just about to wrap up - we had already been working for about 12
hours writing two other songs for this record - so Scotty comes in
from taking a couple of minutes outside to write some lyrics and
melodies and he just starts playing these chords. And I’m
like; wait a minute, what the hell was that? So about a half
hour later we had the frame work for “Sunrise”. When
everybody heard that it was like, yeah, we have to do this and we
have to do this right now because if we don’t, we’re going to lose
DB: You’re in Lincoln, Nebraska
tonight. Out on tour with Starset. How has the tour
SM: We’re about half way through the
tour. Honestly man, the tour has been amazing. The
Starset guys are awesome. We’re also out with Immersion, a
band from up-state New York. And Pallisades – those guys are
great too. This is a really attitude tour – New York, New
Jersey… It’s been a fantastic tour. We’ve really
enjoyed it, incredible bands and incredible sights to see.
We can’t say enough about it. These are absolute
professionals. We’re having a friggin' great time like we
DB: That’s really great to hear.
Your last record, “Devolver” got you out on bigger stages and
tours. That usually tends to mature a band. So talk a
little about “Sunrise” and the contrast between this record and
the “Devolver” album itself. Where do you feel you’ve
SM: I think we’ve grown in just
about every conceivable way. Everybody has contributed a lot
to these recent songs that are going to be going out this year as
singles. It’s really amazing what happens when you empower
people. Empowerment and gratitude are the two things that we
as a group really focus on. Gratitude in the fact that we’re
able to play music and exercise your soul and what you feel and
are able to do. Empowerment in the sense that all of feel
empowered to be here and create the best record we possibly can.
“Sunrise” is different from “Devolver” in the sense that it’s all
of us together shining and giving more of our own personal
experiences and personal styles away.
DB: That’s very cool to hear.
I’m guessing that this single is a bit of a teaser for some
upcoming record that you’re working on feverishly.
ARR: OK, somebody's paying
attention. Yeah, we got some surprises in the can. We
have some things on the horizon that are unique. This could
be a little different than something that you might normally see
from bands. There’s a lot of creativity and a couple other
pickles that truly capture who we are individually and captures
who we are together. I’ll hit on what Scotty said earlier –
being allowed to breathe and allowing what is inside of us to come
out. It’s absolutely amazing so yeah, we got some stuff in
the ass and it’s going to be amazing.
DB: We are going to be looking
forward to it and hoping for more in 2018. Talk to me about
your touring plans for this year.
SM: We finish up the Starset tour on
March 16th. Then we’re going to be on the road with a band
called Gears. And that’s going to be a whole lot of fun.
We haven’t decided how we’re going to end our summer but it should
be a hell of an active year. We’re really excited to be
where we are and where we’re going.
I want to thank Year of the Locust - Fred
Serrell, Tyler "The Outlaw" Hensley, Peter "Hellrazor" Hellers,
Awesome Ray Ray, and Scotty Mac for sharing a moment with us at
DaBelly. Check them out when they play your town and check
out their new video – “Sunrise.”