We introduced you to The Score recently, a duo from the US whose song, ‘Oh My Love’ was adopted by UK retail giant, ASDA, for an ad spot. We got to see their performance at London’s Borderline Venue last week, and spoke to them beforehand.
EP: Tell us The Score!
TS: We met 4 years ago in New York, which is like London, but 3000 miles on the other coast…
We were writing for other people, we were both on the songwriting circuit in New York before we met…trying to write for other pop artists.
EP: So had you heard of each other before you met?
TS: No! We were like little guppies in this, we were like 22, 23 or whatever, doing producing and so on, and we met through a mutual friend and decided to do a session together, we tried to write songs for other people, we had some success – we wrote for Kat Graham, who’s an actress from The Vampire Diaries…
…it was awesome, but it didn’t feel super gratifying. It was awesome seeing a song we wrote, but having someone else do it – we’re like, man! So we were writing songs that didn’t really sound like radio songs, so we thought it was a shame to keep doing it for other people….
EP: Yeah cos when you write for other people it becomes their song, no-one thinks of the person who writes the song…
TS: Unfortunately! There’s still money in it, but…
EP: It’s sad! You’re still getting the royalties, but you’re not the face on the record!
EP: So what’s your music all about then?
TS: Our sound has been changing, while we’ve been working out who we are, and we’ve really struck a chord with ‘Oh My Love’…
EP: It’s got a really nice sound! So – ‘Oh My Love’ has been featured over here by ASDA – how did that come about?
TS: We put it on Soundcloud in February – we got some buzz off it, none of it was substantial, but some people reached out – funnily enough most of the buzz was from the UK, and then we have two managers who are really great at hustling, and somehow the song ended up in the hands of the CEO of ASDA, which was really good, who passed it onto the marketing department, who happened to be doing a 50th anniversary campaign – they thought the song would fit – even before the commercial was created – they thought the song would work – and so we were in the fortunate spot to have that happen.
EP: I was talking to some guys in the line earlier, and they’re older guys and I asked how they’d heard of you, and they said the ASDA ad – and we were saying about how it’s the way to go now, to get your music into ads and so on, insidiously, without people even realising.
TS: Commercials are the new frontier for launching bands. For instance The Lumineers had a big thing in America, and that got them to where they are. Like Ex-Ambassador is the newest one, they’ve got an ad with Jeep, and that caused the song to take off in the charts. I think this is the new way to launch bands.
EP: One of the guys I was talking to earlier said you sound like American Authors, and he wanted to know if you were familiar with them?
TS: We’ve written with James Shelley, and Zac Barnett, the lead singer, we’re friends.
EP: Oh there you go! Cool! So – you’ve had a million hits on YouTube with ‘Oh My Love’ and 10 million plus streams on Soundcloud – how does all that feel?
TS: Is it that many! It feels really surreal, we’re on Twitter all the time, we try to keep up with our fans, and it’s good to see the BBC1 bot or whatever saying “Now Playing Oh My Love” then see the same thing on BBC2 – to have all these really influential stations in the UK playing our music, it hasn’t sunk in! I guess we’re not really out here – so we’re not feeling it – but we’ve just seen the line out the door (waiting for the show) so I guess we have to accept it! It’s funny to think a song that’s from an ad has gone to the radio – don’t think all songs can do that! There has to be a lot of factors, and the song has to connect – so to see a song that we wrote, in an apartment in LA, just take off and be all over the radio here, that’s very surreal.
EP: You’ve signed to Republic Records – are you going to be able to maintain creative control over your work? You’ve presented yourselves as the full package to them – do you even make your own videos?
TS: The one for ‘Oh My Love’ we did ourselves.
EP: So are you going to be able to keep your own creative integrity?
TS: Yeah it depends on who’s in your team, if they understand and trust you, Eddie and I we are part of the whole creative process from end to end – we write and produce our own stuff…
EP: At least now you don’t have to also do the admin stuff…
TS: Yeah! It’s been great to have a bigger team, and I think we’re working with people who understand that they don’t have to do so much work with us. And that’s part of the reason we signed with them (Republic Records) because they didn’t want to put a leash on us, they just wanted to help us along towards what we want to do…
EP: “If you love someone…set them free…”
TS: haha! Absolutely!
EP: Once you try to put someone in a box then their whole creativity is squashed – so it’s great that they’re allowing you to stick your arms and legs out where you need them to stick out…
TS: Yeah! They’re great, they’re supportive, they’ve done wonderful things with James Bay, which is one of the reasons why we signed with Republic.
EP: So what’s your take on the current state of the music industry?
TS: It’s obviously an exciting time, because of technology people are listening to more and different kinds of music than they ever have before, they’re not forced to listen to just what the mass media is feeding them, so you’ve got this mash up of all different types of genres coming together to form music you’ve never heard before. So from a creative perspective, that’s very exciting – but the downside is that we’re trying to figure out as an industry how we’re going to properly monetize. And right now, streaming is the future, and how the legislation is currently set up, the status quo is wayyy too low. The writers don’t make enough money for instance.
EP: It’s all skewed the wrong way isn’t it! There’s still someone *up there* who’s doing nothing, who’s still getting all the money, creaming it all off…
TS: It’s weird, they’re all about, “What about the music user” how they need to hear their music and so on, and that’s all true, but it’s hard to fight for that when music writers can’t make a living.
EP: Yeah! You can’t live on hugs alone, can you? It’s all very well to suffer for your art – but you do need to eat…
EP: So any advice for those wanting to get into music?
TS: I think every profession says “don’t do it” but we say definitely do it – and the most important thing is to believe in yourself. Keep bettering yourself. Take criticism with a grain of salt, at the end of the day, if you really believe in something, stick to your guns!
Thing about it, before ‘Oh My Love’ was taken up by ASDA, it still had a million plays on Soundcloud, and it was top five or top 10 in the Indie section – and people were still saying no. And once the ASDA thing happenend – everyone needs a launching point. It’s funny, the same people who said no, five minutes later are like, “you know, you’re totally rad”. Also – try and learn how to do everything yourselves if possible. Don’t depend on others to do things for you, because it’s hard to find people who are as passionate as you are – if they don’t understand your vision of what you want to do, you’re better off doing it all yourselves.
EP: You could go into music management [TS: *groan*] Okay not management, but because you know every aspect of the business…
TS: It’d be really cool to go into artist development…
EP: Okay that’s a better term! OKAY – top three songs and who are artists we should look out for?
TS: We’re listening to all of James Bay right now, The Weeknd’s new album is really good, Kodaline – they’re sooo good. Their first album was buzzing a little bit, they’re awesome.
EP: If you could do it all again, what would you do differently, if anything, and why?
TS: Dunno what we’d do differently – because everything we’ve done has really led us to this point – every song we’ve written has been for a reason and led us to the songs we’re writing now, if we didn’t write the not so good songs, even the mediocre songs, they’ve all contributed to the sound we’ve got now. We wouldn’t have been ready a couple of years go for what we’ve got now. We’re still learning a lot – but at least the core of it, we know we can go sit down in the studio and write great songs.
EP: One last question! What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview but no-one ever does?
TS: What our favourite kind of junk food is?
EP: What’s your favourite kind of junk food?
TS: We had Gummi Bears today, we’re obsessed with Nutella…
EP: Have you ever had Haribo sushi? You make it like regular sushi but instead of putting the veg and fish or whatever inside you put Haribo inside…
TS: I’ve made Haribo burgers…I really like peach rings and red vine licorice…NOT chocolate! Just candy.
EP: Thank you so much for talking to us!
‘Oh My Love’ is available on iTunes, as well as their EP, ‘Where Do You Run’.