Having already succeeded by snagging one of the coolest band names in music, Scully is following up by putting out a new track, touring with La Luz, and preparing to record a full-length. Made up of Burgers Rana from Death By Audio stalwarts the Numerators and Caroline Partamian, Courtney Gray, and Lauren Stern from Oakland band The Splinters, Scully makes music that combines surf gnar, scuzzy garage rock, pop group vocal harmonies and darker psych undertones. “Don’t Want That” comes out as a split with La Luz as part of the Less Artists More Condos 7-inch Series, which has previously featured bands such as Ty Segall, Jeff the Brotherhood, and Colleen Green and benefits the Ariel Panero Memorial Fund at VH1’s Save the Music nonprofit. “Don’t Want That” is recorded much cleaner than earlier releases, mixing singsong vocal melodies with a catchy drum beat and shreddy gnar guitar. Scully is a New York band, but their sound is west coast enough to be at home alongside anyone at Hardly Art or Burger Records. We caught up to them to talk origin stories, Gillian Anderson memories, and BBQ ambitions.
The La Luz b/w Scully split, LAMC No. 16, will be out August 25 on Famous Class.
What are your feelings about Scully of Gillian-Anderson-and-the-aliens fame? What’s your favorite X-Files episode or favorite Scully moment?
Caroline Partamian: She’s super hot and she’s a punk. Also I love the Teliko episode with the needles getting shoved up the person’s nose and the shapeshifting dude who attacks people’s pituitary glands. So scary.
Burgers Rana: I love the one where all these girl clones get separated and go all over and they’re all named Eve, and when they all get together they combine forces to become more evil.
Courtney Gray: I think my favorite one is the Tithonus episode about this photographer who is actually 150 years old and somehow escapes death. Death was at his door but the nurse who was attending to him at the time died so he ended up living forever, and then he became this police photographer who can prematurely sense when someone is going to die, so he shows up to the scene of the crime way before the police even get there. Scully ends up catching onto it and basically she gets photographed and thinks she’s going to die but the photographer finally has a moment where he realizes it’s his turn to die. It’s also really cool because in all the photos you see the person through his lens – everything’s in color and the person who dies is in black and white. That’s a great episode because Scully is a non-believer at the beginning of X-Files who thinks everything can be explained by science and she doesn’t believe Mulder and his supernatural stuff, but in this season she’s really starting to BELIEVE. Mulder is not in this episode because he is on suspension and she takes on Mulder’s role and starts transitioning into BELIEVING in the supernatural.
BR: Every time Mulder is not in an episode, Scully becomes the Mulder of the episode.
CG: She’s also stubborn in this episode and we like her because she’s stubborn and independent..
How did you meet / form? How long have you been playing together?
CP: Courtney, Lauren and I were all in a band together in Oakland called the Splinters with our best friend Ashley (who still lives out West). We actually first met Burgers on Myspace because his band The Numerators contacted us about playing a show when they were touring through San Francisco but we couldn’t do it for whatever reason.
Lauren Stern: We met Burgers in person for the first time in a parking lot behind an Ethiopian restaurant after a SXSW show in 2009. Then we all moved to New York in waves a year later. The Splinters and The Numerators played a show together at Party Expo when that place was still around.
CP: Burgers asked me to play bass in the Numerators when his brother Sammi was still living in New York, but Sammi has since moved back with his big dog Bill to Austin, TX. Lauren and Burgers played in a band King Prom together. Courtney was about to move to Ethiopia from San Francisco and have a totally different life but last minute decided to join us in New York, so we all got together and formed Scully.
You’re currently recording a full-length, what has that process been like? Who’s recording it (or is it self-recorded)? What are your goals for it?
LS: We’re recording this Fall.
CG: We’ve been focusing on writing a lot and recording with various people to really nail our ideal sound recorded.
BR: Our goals are to be like Pinky and the Brain. We’re trying to take over the world.
CP: I’ll quote you on that.
CG: and you can quote me saying don’t quote him on that.
CP: We really want our recordings to represent us and the variety of our sounds and be full and heavy. And for folks to really recognize the variety because calling every band ‘garage’ is such a lazy way of describing bands.
CG: We want it to have a genuine rough sound and encapsulate the different kinds of sounds we try to achieve as a band. We don’t want to be pigeonholed into one thing.
BR: We want the songs to be something you can play at a beach party
LS: …or when you’re getting stoned by yourself in your bedroom…
BR: …or you’re having a BBQ…
LS: really you think people will play us in a BBQ?
BR: I think people will play us at a BBQ.
LS: I just want it to be like if someone puts a Scully song on a mixtape, they’re always excited about getting to that one song…
BR: “oh! Bowie’s on…next song is Scully!”
LS: I love it when someone gives you a mixtape and it has this unexpected song on it that you’ve never heard before and you can’t wait to get through the mix to get back to that song
There’s a very surfy vibe to the new track and you’re about to tour with West Coasters La Luz. Are any of you from the West Coast? Are west coast sounds a conscious influence?
CP: All 4 of us are all born in SoCal.
CG: Burgers’ upbringing was very west coasty even though he moved to Texas right after he was born.
BR: …Yea I had a lot of family on the west coast so we kept going back and forth and most of the music I was listening to was coming out of California.
CG: We definitely intentionally have a west coast vibe in our music.
CP: …because we think about home a lot.
LS: It’s more subconscious.
BR: Subconsciously our sound comes from the west coast but New York has made us dirtier.
CP: The trash smells really bad here.
This track is appearing on the Ariel Panero Memorial Fund / Less Artists More Condos compilation. Did you have a relationship with LAMC // have any of the bands y’all were in prior to Scully played LAMC show…
CP: I knew Ariel when he was still around and Cyrus [Panero’s partner at Famous Class] was one of the first friends I made when I moved to New York. I lived right down the street from Death by Audio when I first moved here so I was there multiple times a week and met some amazing people and Cyrus out of that.
BR: I didn’t know Ariel but Cyrus has been #1 dude.
CG: We gravitated towards each other due to common musical tastes and people.
CP: We’ve played shows with a lot of LAMC bands. Numerators played with Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall. The Splinters went on tour with JEFF the Brotherhood and played with Colleen Green’s band The Have Mercies when she lived in Oakland. They’re so good. Scully played with Wand earlier this year and we’re playing with APTBS this Fall. We love all the LAMC bands. Cyrus has such great taste in music so we’re super honored he would choose us for the series.
BR: good thing we begged and pleaded…
LS: I’m a huge fan of the series. I own almost all of the 7 inches and I also think the values he’s put behind the label are so important. Not only does it honor someone who was really integral to the music community but also proceeds to VH1’s Save the Music, which helps kids’ music programming in schools.
CP: and the whole idea behind collaboration is really integral to the way we aim to function as a band in Scully.
Scully tour dates with La Luz:
26 Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts
27 Boston, MA – Middle East Upstairs
29 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
31 Montreal, QC – Bar Le Ritz