Pop: The turn of the space cowboys

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Scott 4's influences can best be described as eclectic. But as

Tim Perry reports, it is their country flavour which is getting them noticed in London

"I'd hate to see country becoming this season's easy listening," says Scott Blixen, vocalist for the - let's just call them eclectic for now - Scott 4. Indeed, as the Nineties progress, more and more musicians seem to be citing country as an influence as well as a style to name-drop. "We're not in any way purist about any musical genre," Blixen continues. "There's an obvious country influence but not enough to put us in a box. We listen to bluegrass and American hardcore back to back. One minute, it's Bill Monroe on the deck, then it's Minor Threat. Both are really exciting experimental musical forms. Nashville has lost the will to experiment and by being over here, hopefully we can input our tastes, which include electronic, and old-school hip-hop, and do more interesting things with it."

Scott 4 got together in 1995 after Blixen had just come out of hospital. "I came out of really bad times, and that was reflected in our music. With my love of country music it really suited us to take those emotions on board." Since then, these north Londoners have played a handful of gigs around the capital, released a hard-to-find mini album and are already at the stage of headlining the Borderline.

With his mythological lyrical style, Blixen has been reckoned to live on a planet close to the one where Beck dwells. Vocals apart though, a better reference point could be to see him as a horizontal equivalent of the screaming, scorching Geraldine Fibbers who can also effortlessly combine classical, Teutonic, hardcore and hillbilly influences on one album.

Despite the name, the core of the band numbers just three (Ed Tilly drums, John Moody plays guitar) but there's heaps of "associate members". The one that stands out on stage is avuncular Les Hill with his vintage Emmons pedal steel. "We found him through the ads in Loot," laughs Blixen. "It would be great if we could help open people's horizons to sounds like that."

Also in the mix is an orchestral flute: "It highlights the topsy-turvy, ragbag attitude of the band. We started life as a very quiet, folkie band in the storytelling tradition, and the idea was that there was nothing we couldn't add to it without that formula. Next week, we're recording with strings and brass and after that it might be synths or whatever. It's all a means to an end, a method of getting the sound that you can hear in your head." The term "space cowboy" comes to mind, in the most respectful way of course.

Scott 4 continue to gig around London in the run up to the release of their "Ancient & Modern" single (Satellite) on 10 November and an as yet untitled album in late January. The next live show is on 27 Oct at the Water Rats, Grays Inn Rd, WC1 (0171-837 7269)

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