Spiral Cell/Scott Uhl Interview

It seems that no matter what genre or lack there of Scott Uhl tackles, he seems to never disappoint.  From Glass Delirium and tattooed Strings, or maybe it’s with Ninety Percent 90’s, whatever it may be you ain’t heard shit til you check out SPIRAL CELL!!!!

I can start by saying I have been a fan since the days of Glass Delirium with Vince on vocals. Saw you guys more times than I can count.  What you are doing here with Spiral Cell is very different.  I really hear how much you have grown as an artist in those years in between. What do you think has been the single most important choice you have made along the way that has furthered your career musically?

As silly as it is, I think that doing so many cover bands helped me grow as a musician. Learning hundreds of songs of different genres definitely helped me grow. It especially helped develop my ear and rhythm. I was pretty efficient at learning songs on guitar, but learning to sing harmonies was what really pushed me. It took years to finally be able to sing harmonies at all, but once I was able to, it really helped develop my ear. I’ve always been into orchestrating and writing music on multiple instruments (guitar, acoustic, keys, bass, drums, strings, etc). Who would have thought that playing NSync covers would have helped me as a musician and therefore make Spiral Cell exist 🙂

Do you feel like it is easier to do this kind of a ‘One Man Band” than it is to get all the minds together in a typical multiple membered band?

There are pros and cons to it for sure. It’s amazing to be able to work on the music whenever I want and not have to rely on anyone else’s schedule. If I want to work on live lighting or writing a solo at 3am, I can do that. It’s also nice to be able to get attached to a piece of music, and not have to worry “will the singer like this?” At the same time, as a one-man-band, I don’t get that feeling of multiple musicians creating together as a whole. When everyone is right where they need to be to create something together… you don’t get that as a one man band. Nothing can take the place of playing in a full band, but being in charge of your own schedule and creativity is definitely a massive plus about this.

“Though Scott claims there’s an established storyline to the project, he’s not quite ready to tell all of it. But he encourages us to listen and see what it means to you as the listener.”

But can we now learn what the established storyline to the project is?  Or are you still not quite ready to divulge that?

I’m a huge fan of “leave it up to your interpretation.” The connection that YOU get to a song/movie/art/whatever is more valuable that what it means to me. You can connect it to your life experiences and it might be different than mine. Also, I feel that if I did ever reveal it, it wouldn’t live up to the hype HA! So I’ll keep it a mystery for now. Maybe some day. But I like mysteries as a listener, so I like leave mysteries as a creator as well. I’ll leave a little clue (because again, I love mysteries)… the album is a concept album from start to finish (although the first track can take place elsewhere in the timeline…. there is a hint in the song about that). Consonance, the song for the upcoming music video release, has a specific theme, and I mention the theme somewhere in this interview. Good luck 🙂

How did you come up with the atmosphere that you create at your live show?

I would have to go back to how the idea came together as a whole to answer this. I will probably ramble! The original idea that turned into Spiral Cell was that I was going to have an instrumental album. It was going to be soundtrack sounding, and contain very weird sounds. Live-Looping was always in my mind when creating this project. When I wanted to do a solo project, it seemed I had 3 options: 1) virtuoso player (which I’m not), 2) amazing singer who can capture a crowd with a voice and one instrument (which I’m definitely not), or 3) a looper who builds the layers of songs live. So it was an easy choice as far as those 3. Like I said, the project was originally supposed to just be instrumental, until there was one day on a Friday where I had the whole day off to just write music. No gigs, no teaching, just writing. I had the music and riffs for the song “Prologue” together and the story came together that day. I recorded myself as the character (I never planned to keep my voice for the dialogue, but it ended up working), and spent literally all day working on the sound design of the atmosphere, structuring the song, adding sound fx that fit with the story. After I had that, I knew that was the type of project I wanted: a story, with a “soundtrack” being performed live, minimal singing, and more focus on atmosphere and dialogue. From there, I started thinking of how could I perform it live and make it just as interesting. My drummer Pat (in Glass Delirium at the time) was showing me how to sync lights to our music. He sent me one video, and I was hooked. I knew that synced up lighting had to be a part of the live experience. So I watched hours and hours of demo videos on how to program lights, and which lights would work best for the show. I wanted to have a projector screen as well to project part of the story, but I wasn’t able to pull that off (or afford it) until about a year after the initial show/CD release. The masks worn at the show were put together literally the week of the show. I had no idea what I was going to do for stage attire for the show. It didn’t seem appropriate to wear my usual jeans and black t shirt for this show. Different masks for each part/act/scene of the story was always in the back of my mind, but now I only had a week to put it together. Fortunately, the album release was on November 2, 2016, so there were plenty of Halloween stores around. My incredible wife helped me out so much in putting them together. We went to stores to find more “blank masks” that we could design. Somehow we pulled it off that week, and it became apart of the theatrics of the show. So essentially, to answer the original question, I originally was just going to do an boring instrumental live-looping show… and then changed my mind and tried to find as many ways to “over-stimulate” the senses at a show. 

What can we expect from your new video with Noe DeLeon?

Noe has been AMAZING to work with. He is super talented at what he does, and I’m truly blessed that he decided to work with me on this project. This video will be more performance based with a small story involved. The last video (for Prologue) was much more story based with a little performance involved. Noe has a lot of passion into what does. He’s just as picky as me too with the editing haha! We both don’t have a problem spending literally an hour to get 2 seconds of footage to look right. 

How did you guys connect? Was it just because you are both in the local Denver/Colorado music scene?

I honestly cannot remember how or when I first met Noe initially. But I know that there were 3 steps that got us to work together for this video. First, I posted something promoting Spiral Cell on Facebook, and Noe left a comment saying that he would love to work on a video with me. Then, about a week or two later he released the Lola Black video and I was impressed with the quality. Then about 2-3 weeks later, I ran into him at the Denver Aquarium. I think it was during us trying to get out of a huge group of people that I mentioned to him “I liked that video man, I’d love to work with you on a Spiral Cell video.” And here we are!

I read in an interview that you did with Bolder Beat you said, “My goal as I was putting this together was to make something that viewers would at least pay attention to. Whether they like it or not, that’s not the point- as long as they pay attention. I’m a live performer, and I always love performing live. The studio recordings of it are necessary, but my main focus is putting on an intriguing live show. Since the first show, I said my goal was to get people to either say, ‘That was fucking amazing!’ or ‘What the fuck was that?!’ If I get one of those, I’m happy!”

From what I have seen and heard so far, you have made me say all of the above!

I have more questions about the music and the concept, but really I just kind of want to shut up and hear and see where this is all going to take me, like an awesome new ride with a totally killer soundtrack!

🙂 Thank you! I truly means the world to me that so many people have connected with this bizarre project!

Well as a note: I was listening to the full album as I was writing this, and to be quite honest, I’m at the end, ear buds still in and I was waiting for more…. So I think, I fucking Love It ALL!  And I hope you can put me on the guest list for the next show so I can also do a live show review!

Consider it done! Next show is Jan 27 at Hodi’s Half Note in Fort Collins. If you cannot make that one, let me know which one you can make.D

Thank you again so much for your time! I can’t wait for the new video!!!

The music video for “Consonance” comes out December 18th. Thank you again!

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