Monday, February 13, 2017

LIFE OF A POET ~ DS SCOTT

This week, my friends, we are flying into New Orleans to visit the poet/musician/composer, DS (David) Scott, who writes at Feral Thing. David has described his city as being “endearing to my eccentric nature.” Smiles. This young man is deeply involved in the music scene, so he is in the right spot on the planet for developing his career. Let’s stop by his studio and see what he’s up to today.






Sherry: David, will you tell us a little about your life in New Orleans?  A snapshot of the poet/composer at home?

DS: I spent a lot of time on the music scene around here, playing in bands until I got bored, and eventually built my own studio where I can write and record my own music. This gave me the opportunity to begin licensing my work to film companies, video game developers, and other multimedia projects around the world. I also have a solo music project called Nounverber where I release my own music, but I have put that aside as of late.





Sherry: Nounverber looks like a very happening site. (Kids, I urge you to explore. There are many samples of David's music on this site, as well as on Feral Thing.) David, you are also very talented with animation, special effects, and putting these videos together. They are amazing, and impressive. 

Did your creativity show itself as a child? What came first, music or writing?

DS : Music really is my main passion, but I considered myself a writer long before I wanted to be a musician. In elementary school, I would write stories in my notebook, just letting my imagination run wild, while entertaining myself. I loved to read, and this was a way of creating stories that catered specifically to my own interests.

Around this time, a few of my teachers noticed that I was slightly more creative with the written word than my academic counterparts, and they would encourage me to use that skill whenever possible. I don't think it really hit me until an assignment was given in sixth grade and my teacher followed up with "And I can't wait to see what David comes up with." That moment of recognition was a catalyst that made me want to pursue writing in some form or another, though shortly after this my love affair with music would begin, and eventually consume all of my time.

Writing then took the form of song lyrics, which were often written as poems and then mixed with a vocal melody. Then I developed an interest in more complex forms of instrumental music and the lyrics stopped. At that point, I felt that everything that could be said in words had already been covered by other musicians over time, so the only way to say something new was to not feature lyrics at all and let the music create the story.

Sherry: At nounverber you describe your music as experimental electronic jazz, which sounds very intriguing. Tell us about this, won’t you?

DS: A lot of the music that I write for myself has the complexity of jazz, but it is composed using instruments and sounds that most people would associate with electronic music. This juxtaposition is the result of living in New Orleans but having an interest in computers and the technology that is available to musicians today. I wrote a short album titled The Unjazz a while back that sounds like several musicians jamming in a room together, but it was all composed, performed, and recorded on a laptop.





Sherry: You are extremely talented, my friend. Let's take a look at one of your videos. 

DS: This is a music video for my single, titled "Receiver", on Swedish Columbia Records. 





Sherry: David, this is seriously cool! How does one go about having a song produced on a music label? That seems remarkable, in such a competitive industry.

DS: Thank you! My record label guy did the editing, and I gave him ideas. I supplied some of the footage (which was some Creative Commons thing we discovered on a video site.) I wrote all of the music, and yes, that is my voice going through a digital vocorder. The song needed a dark, robotic vocal track to complement all of the other digital things happening in it.

I met the head of the label through a mutual friend whom I collaborated with on his own album a few years ago. We were both on the soundtrack to a popular computer game in 2015, and decided to write some music together. His label guy (his name is Shelby Cinca) liked my music and wanted to work with me in some capacity. Then I was offered a chance to write a small soundtrack for another video game that was coming out, so we made it into an album with a video. The game has been put on hold indefinitely, so we are selling the album as a stand-alone piece of music.

Sherry: Innate talent, and wonderful connections, based on a shared love of music. A perfect combination. Would you give us a glimpse of your musical influences and loves?

DS: I grew up on rock music, then when I hit my teens I felt that punk rock was closer to what I was feeling as an outsider in school. I went through different periods of interest as time went on, feeling out different genres and bookmarking the ones that had the deepest impact on me. In the end, I found that anything can affect me in any style if the melody says something to me. I really do love music as a whole, except when it is created for the sole purpose of affixing a price tag to it in order for a marginally talented individual to become a household name.

Sherry: Oh so very well said. You are a true musician. Is there one person you would say has been a significant influence on you as a poet/composer? Someone who encouraged your gifts?

DS: After I stopped writing lyrics for a decade or so, there was an event that occurred in my life and I had a lot of emotions that I had to sort through. It
was difficult to examine them as they swam around in my head, so I decided to write something so that I could see them in front of me. Put them on paper, make them tangible, process them. It didn't start off as a poem or anything specific, but when I felt that I had put enough down on paper it resembled a poem more than anything. I wondered if I could do that again, and before long I had filled up a few pages. I have no idea what made me think that other people would be interested in reading them.




Sherry: Poets are often talented in more than one area. You are a fine example of this. You mentioned you have resumed writing again only recently, after a six year hiatus. I assume you were busy with your musical career during those years. What brought you back to poetry? What are the particular joys of poetry for you?

DS: After so long of not saying anything, you find that you have everything to say. Whether or not these things are important to other people makes no difference, since the act of writing and creating small collectives of ideas are the rewards themselves. However, when I come up with a line that feels like a gunshot and someone reads it and says "That line hit me right in the heart," that is an added perk. Knowing your aim is true enough to strike people the same way is gratuity.

Personally, I really enjoy poetry that comes from an unexpected angle and shines a new light in a corner that I didn't know was there. The artist Bob Ross had an amazing technique and I enjoyed watching him paint, but I would never want to own a Bob Ross painting. I know what a tree looks like. The thousandth mountain looks a lot like the first one. The last thing I want people to visualize is me writing in a black room with a light blue button down shirt and a giant afro, jotting down all the happy trees on yet another one of my mountains.


Sherry: I am cackling. I happen to be a tree-and-mountain kind of poet. But I adore the new eyes with which young people see and describe the world. On that note, let's take a look at one of your poems, my friend. Show me your trees!



V Or Bunny Ears Or…Some Awkward Exit


I find company where no children live; 
laughing with barren mothers, admiring 
the shadowy trees my left hand shapes 
of fingers stretched at less than perfect 
angles - a sad cigarette dangles - drinking 
what is left of the best blood around town. 
Chasing a spark that may have never been 
lit, I follow my senses through the faint 
smoke in the endless fountain of city air 
& waiting for me is an old vacant stool 
next to a Rottweiler named Zoey & 
her handler for the evening. We were all 
cool inside of the sudden pressure as the 
barometer struck midnight (may someone 
help us if our lungs are lulled to sleep). 
This all plays across my fuzzy pupils as I 
felt the drool seeping through my left sleeve 
& Zoey was resting on my sleeping arm now, 
abandoned by a man she never quite knew 
(clinging to another that she never would) 

& as humidity forced my sudden departure, 
I tied her leash to her chair, frowned a smile 
& said "Don't worry. Someone's gonna find 
a way to love you" & flashed a peace sign 
goodbye, my arm still warm from the release 
of her thick broken heart, elbow to wrist 
and every sensitive spot in between.





Sherry: Oh my goodness, I can see Zoey and my heart breaks for her. I love what you said to her, and hope someone does find and love her patient, disappointed heart. You have a gift for painting a scene so clearly the reader feels right inside the poem.

DS: This is a true story. It was at a bar in the French Quarter and we were celebrating someone's birthday, but the overall vibe was just kind of sullen. This guy put his dog on the stool next to me and went on talking to his friends down the bar. I sat there smoking and drinking and watching this animal as if I had just inherited it. You know how a dog's eyes can look like they are holding an infinite amount of sadness? I just felt so bad for her in this place where she didn't want to be, listening to voices she couldn't understand while people indulged in things she couldn't enjoy. She put her head down on the bar and her mouth was on my arm, so I just let her enjoy that human contact for what it was worth until I couldn't be there for her anymore.

Sherry: You gave her the kindness and companionship her oblivious owner seems incapable of. Sigh. I love that you were there for her until you couldn't be. Tell us another?


Release

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Sherry: I love it! Humorous and very wry.

DS: This is just something that I enjoy doing. I like to take a singular point and make a spectacle out of it. In the field of poetry, my all-time hero is ee cummings, whose manipulation of language and structure blew the roof off of post-modernism. I have never seen such complex ideas be forged from so few words. Now and then, I'll play with structure like it is a new thing that I have yet to grasp, though I am not so naive as to think that I am doing anything groundbreaking. Call it a tribute, call it a mockery, call it what you will. I'm no cummings, but I do enjoy making a mess of things.

Sherry: What are your hopes and dreams for the years ahead?

DS: I would like to compile all of the things I have written into a book. Maybe accompany it with an album of unreleased music. If only I could learn to paint, I could create my own album artwork as well and hit the trifecta in one single package. Maybe a crayon sketch would be suitable.

Sherry: I hope you do it all, kiddo! How did you find us at Poets United? Is there anything you’d like to say to us?

DS: Honestly, I have been lurking here for so long that I don't recall how or when I ran across the site. I enjoy the diversity of all the contributions to each prompt. I feel that I have learned a lot about how contemporary writers think, what channel they're tuned into, and what areas are getting too much or not enough attention. This is truly the pulse of what we do.

Sherry: Thank you, David, for this wonderful visit. I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes glimpse of a composer at work.

We hope you enjoyed this feature, friends. Do come back and see who we talk to next. (Hint: one of our wonderful staff members is sharing some breathtaking poems. You won't want to miss it!)


     

16 comments:

  1. I have never been first! Lol!

    I so agree with you Sherry, poets are often talented in many other ways. I think it's because words lend themselves to everything!

    D.S. I loved your music and you are very talented! I love to animate but have never really messed with video and it's too bad because with music/sound, they have it all.

    I love your poetry and your wit. I love to make people think or surprise them with my poetry and animated images. Your work made me think.

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  2. I was so fortunate to meet David during his 'writing years' on another writers' site a long time ago. I believed then that there was no finer writer of post post-modern poetry to be found in the blogosphere. And I stick by that opinion to this day. My only complaint about him is that he does not write enough for me to read. But I am grateful to have been there when he produced miracles of the written word on a daily basis and for the encouragement he gave me as a novice poet.

    Forgive me for gushing, my friend.. that's just how it is.

    Thank you, Sherry, for this amazing interview.

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  3. Thanks for the kind words, everyone...and thanks to Sherry for the chance to do this. I wish I had a better image to send...that picture looks like a screenshot from a convenience store security camera (which it might be). I'm working on music right now for a few things, but I hope to be writing with you all again very soon.

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  4. I love your appearances around the poetry world I have began to inhabit.. this is a wonderful interview, and I love the music you have.. I hope to see you around.

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  5. Sherry, thanks for the interesting interview. I don't think my path has crossed with DS Scott before, but hopefully it will in the future.

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  6. Just a note that Sherry is in the process of moving....and is offline for a little bit. She will be back very soon & catch up on comments. We wish her well with her moving & settling in at a new location.

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  7. Marvelous interview! David, I just gotta know: which 2015 video game?

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    1. The 2015 game was called Hotline Miami 2. I also co-wrote a song on another game called "Else Heart.Break" and I scored a friend's indie game called Paperthin. Currently, I am working on a compilation for a local radio station, another compilation for my record label, and until recently I wrote music for a wrestling show on TV.

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  8. How interesting and fun to meet David. He's bursting with creativity and what a nice person. Enjoyed the poetry! The music too. I'm amazed how some people are multitalented and good at everything they try. Daivid, you should give painting a try. I bet you'll do it well too.
    Excellent interview Sherry. Good luck with your move.

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  9. Well, my friends, I am finally hooked up but am still unpacking, sorting, recycling cardboard and generally keeping busy. It is great fun settling in and I went to the beach yesterday and today. I dont think I have stopped smiling since I got here! It feels so right - absolutely wonderful. I shall be back at my desk shortly.

    David, thanks for the wonderful examples of your many talents. Music has been one of my big loves. I think there is no more joyful path than the one music leads a musician on. Enjoy every minute!

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    1. Wonderful to hear, Sherry! Happy for you.

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  10. Such an interesting interview! Thanks for sharing your creative world with us David. Feeling enriched. Thank you Sherry.

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  11. music and poetry...what a lovely creative combination talent aalgamated.Good to meet you Mr Scott...Dear Sherry once again amazing and rewarding interview Thank you so much

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  12. Wow! I really want to follow David now! And no dog's eyes are warmer or sadder than a Rottweiler's, really. And his/your music is Fabulous. Thank you.

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  13. Now that was difFerent! What a delight it is to see all different aspects of creativity emerge from this interview. It was good meeting you David and thank you once again Sherry for another great "Life of a Poet".

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  14. For some reasonI missed seeing this when it was first posted a few days ago. Glad I found it now – what a fascinating interview! I very much enjoyed poems and music.

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