A couple of questions with Kenny Scott of Swirl 360
ALSO: Swirl 360 was featured in our The Best Albums You've (Probably) Never Heard feature.
Bullz-Eye: For those folks who are just learning about Ask Anybody now, can you give a nutshell of your career prior to its release?
Kenny Scott: Before the Ask Anybody album, Denny and I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. All we did was surf every day. I can't believe we got through college. We started playing in a band around town called Fools of Faith and put out a couple of EPs; the response was great, and we built a pretty good fan base. We went to SXSW in Austin, TX, in 1996 and met the manager of Hanson. We gave him the demos, and by the end of the year, he had moved us to LA and we were showcasing for labels. Columbia and Mercury offered us deals; we went with Mercury, and the execs at Columbia were pissed. So they went out and found Evan and Jaron. (Laughs) Anyway, we started recording the album in New York in January of 1998 and ended up finishing the vocals in LA. The album came out that summer. “Hey Now Now” became a top 20 hit. It was all sex, no drugs, and lots of alcohol.
BE: Do you recall any anecdotes from the recording of the album?
KS: Watching Roger Manning from Jellyfish coming up with backgrounds on the song “Rewind.” Unbelievable. It was like a Queen meets Brian Wilson explosion. A lot of it was never used, but it was awesome to hear. He is super talented. We were so lucky, because we got to work with so many amazing people, like Roger Manning, Ken Stringfellow from the Posies, Mark Hudson, Sean Pelton, Zac Alford (the drummer of the B-52s), and David Bowie. They all had so many great stories. Plus, when you admire and respect someone like that, it is so easy to connect with them musically. Because you love what they have done in their own careers, when they are adding to yours, it just makes it even more special.
BE: Did you expect the record to have a better commercial reception than it did?
KS: Everyone thought it was a 10x platinum album. We worked hard on that record, and Denny and I knew that it was a strong debut. I think about the movie “Field of Dreams,” when Moonlight Graham says, "It was like being this close to your dream and then having it pass you by like a stranger in a crowd.” No one expected Universal to screw it up for a lot people. So many friends and artists got lost. The New York offices looked like a ghost town when the Universal/Polygram merger was done. It was very sad that Universal did not care about anyone from Polygram.
BE: Are you pleased to find that it still maintains enough of a following to make its way into this piece?
KS: It's amazing. We were excited when you approached us. Thanks to all the fans for keeping it in their collection!
BE: What are you doing now?
KS: Currently, Denny and I are living in Los Angeles, and we just finished an album with a new label called the Machine. We have a new band and will release the album in May. It was produced by Arnold Lanni (Our Lady Peace, Simple Plan, and Finger Eleven). Basically, we are having to start all over again, but it's a new year and we are so excited about this new project. The label has been so great and are basically letting us do what we want. We have had a few record deals since then that have not panned out. Like, our overseas release, California Blur, that came and went. Now, with this new deal, we are so excited to go back to radio with a new single worldwide.
Check out Swirl 360's official site for more info.