Scantron is an energetic garage rock band from Philadelphia helmed by former Low Cut Connie guitarist James Everhart. The group released their terrific EP Electric City in February and was named Artist To Watch by WMMR this April. Electric City channels Everhart’s feelings about leaving Low Cut Connie and is available for streaming and download on their Bandcamp page. Everhart answered a few questions about Scantron’s new work and the pros of releasing music as EPs.
Flat Circle: How long did it take for Electric City to come together?
James Everhart: Electric City was written and recorded in a weekend. We took a while to release it because we wanted to make sure we could have it properly mixed by my old Low Cut Connie collaborator from Memphis, Adam Hill. Adam was raised in Arden Studios and studied recording under the great John Frye. We also had good friend, Charlie Stavish (Jenny Lewis and Ryan Adams engineer and producer) master the record. This naturally took time.
FC: The catchy opening of “White Linen Sheets” does not sound like a track that incorporates anxiety and pent-up feelings, yet the lyrics “I’m qualified to cry on my own time. Under white linen sheets there are no secrets left to keep,” reveal a very inward-looking song. How did that song come into being?
JE: That song is about guilt and insomnia. I don’t tend to write melancholic songs for Scantron – I write them in a bit of a playful, self-deprecating kind of way – I like to keep the energy high.
FC: Your single “The Information” starts with “I cannot look at my TV, although it’s sitting right in front of me. All these numbers on the screen. They’re always blinking, always blinking, always blinking.” Now that we are a couple of weeks into social distancing, do current events give any added weight to the song as television becomes the way to get some outside entertainment?
JE: I still don’t watch much TV. That song is more about information overloads and the amount of news sources and channels of information that lack credibility. I think this song is about how much I don’t like to pay attention to the news because I feel like it’s really hard to determine who is worth listening to these days. With that being said – I think it’s important to listen to each other rather than staring at the gadgets in your pocket. You can get a real picture of what the state of the world is just by talking to your friends and asking them about how their days are going.
FC: When you transitioned from Low Cut Connie to Scantron, did you have a vision for a different sound or did it just fall into place as you started recording?
JE: I only really wrote two songs that were used on Low Cut Connie’s ‘Dirty Pictures I’ and ‘Dirty Pictures II’ and both of them were originally Scantron songs anyway. Scantron and LCC are very similar bands in their song structures, however Scantron naturally takes a guitar-heavy direction. I am a big fan of a dirty, pure guitar tone. You will hear those in my recordings with LCC and you’ll hear even more in Scantron’s work. So, yes, because I am a guitar player, it did just fall into place like that.
FC: You have a few EPs and singles out. Are there any advantages to releasing multiple EPs instead of a full-length album?
JE: The advantage is that you can achieve a steady flow of releases and energy. I never liked being in between album cycles for more than a few months. Everything gets stale and repetitive. I have found, in my experience, that LP are way more expensive to produce as well and as the world has show, the music industry is a touch unstable. For this reason, I try to keep everything manageable and DIY.
FC: Electric City dropped in February. “The Information” came out in April and Scantron was named WMMR’s Artist To Watch for the same month. That built up a lot of momentum for the spring and summer, yet touring has come to a halt due to COVID-19. Were there any immediate plans for the band that were affected and how are you adjusting to this new normal?
JE: Our immediate plans are to write a ton of new material, practice our instruments, focus on our health, and pray this thing ends sooner than later. We miss everyone’s faces and we miss loud music. We miss the weightlessness we feel on stage singing together. The more we focus on doing our due diligence, the sooner we can all reunite. Once this is over, I look forward to everyone’s new-found appreciation for live music. Thanks for chatting with me!
For more information on Scantron, you can follow the band on Facebook. You can listen to their single, “White Linen Sheets” below: