• Mon, Mar 30, 2020

Soak In Newer Things: From Perth and New York

Apr 18, 01:29pm

Between Perth and New York, several phones occurred thus resulting to the birth of the inevitable for two friends. But for the duo Avi and Ruz from Scratch, the logical evolution would be performing live in their now respective hometowns. 

To talk about Scratch, it’s quite crucial to know the duo that forms the crux of its sound – Ruzbeh Irani (Ruz) and Avinash Lalwani (Avi). A series of events during school led to the early introduction and the union, early on, had no intentions concerning music. This was two decades before they even released their first studio effort on music platforms. It was not until 10th grade, five years after the two became friends, that Avi and Ruz performed together for the first time. Nothing really evolved out of the initial association as the two chose quite the opposite ends of the geographical hemispheres to continue with their academics. Ruz moved to Australia and Avi had the great American dream.


The duo – in their respective ‘scenes’ – joined a few bands to explore their own musical know-hows but would eventually find comfort in each other and the compatibility that was first observed many years ago. Ruz, the self-taught guitarist, and Avi, the drummer, continued to indulge in phone-calls brainstorming ideas related to music. It was only a matter of time for the two to compose originals together. ‘Scratch’, the name and its existence occurred, over one of those idea-sharing phone-calls.


The band has released three originals so far: Soak, Newer things and I Don’t Mind.


Quite naturally, a limited discography must ensure shades of versatility, if not pretentious display of diversity. And Avi and Ruz certainly manage to provide a precise idea of the duo’s consumption of music throughout the years. The songs, three of them, reflect Avi and Ruz’s different and important experiences that resulted into the beginning of what looks like a slow and gradual effort to increase their studio efforts. Early 90s grunge, Led Zeppelin and Tool feature in the duo’s list of influences and one quick glimpse into Scratch’s universe and the obvious effect can be noticed.  


How the two musicians managed to collaborate despite zero physical meetings remains yet another reminder of the role of technology and social media in evolution of music itself. “We used an online music collaboration platform called splice (www.splice.com) to record this album. It was a game changer for us. Splice enables musicians to record, comment and maintain versions of your tracks regardless of where you live. With Splice, we jammed, wrote, re-wrote and recorded both rough and final versions of each song. For free! We were lucky that the technology became available at around the same time that we were ready to undertake this project. Splice made what could have been a very tedious project, a fairly straightforward one. In addition to Splice, we use WhatsApp to communicate, and also maintained a google drive of ideas and riffs for future songs. Soak was mixed by an engineer in New York whereas Newer Things was mixed in Perth and the songs were mastered by London-based legendary mastering engineer Stuart Hawkes,” elaborates the vocalist.


The first single ‘Soak’ welcomes you to the riff driven world of Soak, dominated by necessarily heavy drum patterns, and clean vocals. The single contains all the essential elements to find itself in the latest volume of the legendary modern rock album cassettes that became a sensation in the mid-2000s in India. ‘Newer Things’, released two months ago, sounds like the duo’s tribute to every sonic influences that helped them craft their sound. The vocals have a good ol’ grunge vibe to it, the classic rock riffs and, simply, the production behind the single stays consistent to the outcome of ‘Soak’. If ‘Soak’ and ‘Newer Things’ lie on the opposite ends of Scratch’s sonic spectrum, then the latest single ‘I Don’t Mind’ succeeds to find the median. An alternative rock composition at its glorious best, the song drives through a constant emotion thanks to the neatly arranged variables like clean guitar tones, no nonsense vocal efforts and a rather simplistic approach to the complementing lyrics that speak about lack of regrets.


The entire credit does not go to technology, of course, for the duo’s studio efforts so far. The personal obstacles and neatly executed plans had a crucial role to play in the inception of these three songs. “If you pick your continents wisely, long distance collaborations can be easy! Perth and New York have a 12 hour time difference; so I would work when Ruz was asleep, and he’d be ready to take over while I slept.” said the singer.


Speaking about live show efforts, the duo adds,”At inception, we were solely focused on writing material and putting something out, no matter the geographical limitations. We didn’t know how we would tackle doing live shows. But at this juncture, playing live in our home countries is definitely on Scratch’s bucket list. We’re itching to play these songs live, and loud! So the focus for the 2nd half of 2018 and into 2019 is to do shows across the States, Australia and India.”



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