Meet our newest writer, Olivia Hauck! She also writes for the amazing blog ‘Rock n Roll Boston’. Olivia recently sat down with indie pop sensations The New Collisions who discuss everything about how they met to Scott Guild’s Brian Wilson obsession.
All Photos by Michael Connors
The New Collisions will get you out of your seat and dancing like a maniac. The band’s playful, synth-y pop melds perfectly with silver-haired frontwoman Sarah Guild’s sexy and intimately intense vocals. Within the first five seconds of songs like “Parachutes on the Dance Floor” and “Ones to Wander,” it is impossible not to get hooked on their addictive music. Their fantastic sound translates into an energetic and commanding live performance, making a New Collisions show one worth attending.
Liv: How did you two meet, music related or otherwise?
Sarah: We met in college, at Marlboro in Vermont during some freshman orienation thing.
Scott: It’s a weird, weird place. The kind of college that if you get caught with pot, they give you a five-dollar fine. Originally, Sarah’s from Pennsylvania and I’m from Connecticut…two hot spots.
Liv: Were you studying music?
Sarah: We were going to school basically for general studies…I was looking to do something with herbology, or botany or something
Liv: Are you still involved in that?
Sarah: Well, I’m a massage therapist so I get to work with herbal essential oils.
Liv: Scott, what is your day job?
Scott: I work all over Boston…Banana Republic, Middle East, T.T. the Bears, I did some real estate stuff… I worked at Cheapo Records for, like, a day…
Liv: You happen to be married… when did you two decide you liked each other?
Sarah: It was about two months into our friendship, I think?
Scott: She had a boyfriend! And she dumped him! I was a nihilist at the time, so of course I was irresistible.
Sarah: And I was looking for a challenge!
Liv: How did you come to realize you wanted to play music together?
Scott: That was way down the line; we were already married. I sort of played, but I don’t even think I had a guitar when we met, did I?
Sarah: Oh, you did, you were playing Bob Dylan songs, playing like…”Earth Angel.”
Scott: I love that song “Earth Angel.”
Liv: When did you get the band together? And evolve into the genre you’re in now?
Scott: I was 23, and I had just finished my degree in Philsophy. We went over to England so I could do grad school at Oxford, and we soon realized we wanted to return to the States to do something musical. We re-located back to Connecticut, and both enrolled in grad schools there. We were immediately unhappy…without bashing Connecticut, it’s safe to say there is a very diminutive music scene. Although we were both in school, we realized more and more how much we liked doing music. Actually, we were doing folk music at the time – well, more ambient, weird, Sufjan Stevens-esque. We got really, really bored doing that after awhile.
Sarah: We played the coffee house circuit, but people would rather watch the TV than listen to us.
Scott: I eventually bought an electric guitar; we wanted to pursue a more upbeat, rock and roll sound. We holed up in our bedroom for days with a drum machine, just writing new stuff…and suddenly we had all new songs! I’m not even sure how it happened…so we put together a band around this, and never knew how much fun we’d have playing this dance pop rock music. It’s rock, but it’s melodic, it’s dance-able…
Liv: What are some musical influences for your “dance pop rock” sound?
Sarah: Missing Persons, Debbie Harry…
Scott: Our music at first though was a lot more like Arcade Fire, The National, and Interpol, but a little more sedate, a little more mopey. They’re all our favorite bands, but it’s not music you can dance to with your girlfriends (imitate dancing girls). As we developed and played more shows, we noticed people dancing to our music, so we started playing faster and faster-
Sarah: I think there is something we missed here, we had moved to Boston at this point!
Scott: Oh yeah, we had already moved up here while this was happening!
Liv: How did you decide on Boston?
Scott: Boston is just so sweet and inviting, we love this city.
Liv: The local music scene is incredible here, for a city of our size…
Scott: Yeah, the music scene in Boston welcomed us with open arms. The first show we played was at TT’s. We just showed up here, playing our music, and everyone was incredibly good to us. I don’t think we’ve had a single bad experience with the local music scene. Fans are so supportive.
Sarah: We’re not trying to be mainstream, per se, but we’re trying to reach as many people as possible with our music. We want to be attainable.
Scott: Our lyrics are meaningful, and the content is something a lot of people can relate to.
Liv: What’s the lyric writing process? What goes through your head? Do you simply sit down and say “Ok, today I’m writing a song” or does it just spontaneously come to you?
Scott: I’ll write the lyrics, just doodling whatever comes out, but since I can’t really sing it’s more like, “Uhn uhn uhn uhn dun dun dun dun” all on one or two notes. I’ll give the lyrics to Sarah-
Sarah: And I’ll be like, “Ok, this is good, keep that, move that line over here, change the chorus…” I’ll hear him strumming on the guitar and I’ll join him in his doodling, just humming melodies and working things out for hours.
Liv: Do you transcribe any of the music?
Scott: I don’t, ever. I play chords on my guitar, I hum the lyrics, and I just remember it, figuring out what works and how the lyrics go with what chords I’m playing…
Sarah: Scott’s really good at phrasing. There will always be the right number of words for what he’s playing.
Scott: But Sarah is more classically trained, so she can write things down. When she does keyboard parts she can notate it.
Liv: When it comes to your melodies, Sarah, do you write those down?
Sarah: No, I memorize them. I rarely write down my melodies.
Scott: Sometimes she sings a song differently a few times before we nail down what we like, we were in the studio earlier and she started singing one song like we’d never heard it before.
Sarah: I’m always improvising. I never really bolt down a melody.
Liv: What’s your favorite song to play live? What gets the adrenaline exploding through your body?
Scott: The two new songs we just did in the studio with Anthony J. Resta; he used to produce Duran Duran and Blondie. He’s unbelievable. We collaborated with him and Greg Hawkes of The Cars; Greg came in and layed down keyboard parts for these two songs.
Sarah: The two new ones are called “No Free Ride” and “Beautiful and Numb”. We love playing them live.
Scott: We have them as singles, which sound better than anything we’ve done so far, but we’re just waiting to release them. They’re going to be digitally released and on a 7 inch.
Liv: Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
Sarah: I want to be touring. We have to be.
Scott: This time next year I know we’ll be touring. That’s what we want. Badly.
Sarah: Our team, our entertainment lawyer, manager, and producer, sees us breaking into England and exploring that market. We have a lot of friends in South America who think our music would do well down there also.
Scott: The overall goal right now is just to keep building and building the fan base.
Liv: It seems you’ve been through the “getting started” process, done and finished with scrounging around at coffee houses…do you have any advice for musicians just starting out? Anything you did or didn’t do well, something you’d do again?
Scott: I think the two things that worked best for us was that you have to put on an energetic and crazy live show. That’s what gets people to remember you. That’s what gets people talking about you. I’ve seen bands starting out and they stand there stock still, nervously performing, and it doesn’t work. That’ll kill you. The other thing is that a band should meet every single fan and every single person interested in the band’s music.
Sarah: Just be open and friendly. I appreciate so much the people on the top tier still being down to earth and helpful.
Scott: I remember, once when I was working at the Middle East, I was the driver for Tom Morello. We ended up hanging out with him for like, two days. We had a blast, he was fantastic.
Liv: If there is any band or musican you would ideally love to collaborate with in any capacity, who would it be?
Scott: I’d love to do something with Brian Wilson.
Sarah: Scott is a Brian Wilson superfan. It’s borderline creepy.
Scott: Brian Wilson literally has changed my life.
Sarah: The way he produced music made me think about music differently…. but I would like to meet Debbie Harry.
Liv: Who wouldn’t? She’s a goddess.
Sarah: She’s so amazing, and she just has this edginess that isn’t pretentious. It’s all coming from who she is as a person and from her life experiences. She’s one of those inherently cool people.
Liv: Got any famous last words you’d like to leave us with? Better think of something witty and clever so we know that you’re cool.
Scott: I’m very appreciative of how quickly our band has progressed, and how many people have attached themselves to us, helping promote us and helping push us forward. We don’t have trust funds or rich parents, and everything we get to do is because we make it happen with the help of our friends and fans. Thank you!