After hearing the drum sticks clack and the opening riff of “Natural Romantic” by Andrew Scotchie and The River Rats, I fully expected to hear Bob Seger or even Mick Jagger start singing.
It immediately hits with a vintage rock and roll sound woven with a pop backbone, what with the repetitive high piano notes over its bouncing riff. Parts of the song have a very Exile on Main Street feel, or perhaps “Rock n’ Roll Never Forgets” by The Silver Bullet himself. But alas, Scotchie’s vocals sound nothing like either of these front men. But they are reminiscent of that of a Matt Shultz of Cage The Elephant, what with his higher registered pitch.
It’s a song one can imagine being in movies like Clueless, or maybe Road Trip, Accepted, and other “classic” youthful comedies. “Natural Romantic” fires on all classic rock and roll cylinders, but delivers in a way that could be fitting in any decade. Its anthemic sing-along style will undoubtedly have dance halls and clubs dancing when The River Rats play it live, and folks singing and bopping along while listening in their vehicles.
We had Andrew answer some questions for us regarding the single, and some random fun questions to see what else we could learn about him and the band.
Who: Andrew Scotchie & the River Rats
What: New Single “Natural Romantic.” Pre-Save now to be entered to win a free signed vinyl from the band!
Where: Everywhere you find music.
When: December 6th
About The Release: Natural Romantic is the 2nd single ahead of a 2020 EP. The tune showcases contemporary power pop and throwback capabilities of the band. With help of Matt Williams at the Eagle Room in Weaverville, NC, we were able to pay tribute to some roots, and still explore new dynamics in our brand of rock n roll. After almost 10 years of being a band, I’m proud to say tracks like this one are offering something surprising and fresh for the listener. It’s all about doing something new and developing your style. Growth is important.
As far as the lyrics go, the song finds a sweet spot between campy and sincere. I got sick of hearing the expression “hopeless romantic”. Most people who are dubbed that are simply born that way and just have a unique or natural response to the world and love around them. I think I had the hook and most of the lyrics in mind before I picked up the guitar to find the right chord progression. The lyrics are meant to celebrate genuinely loving people in a time where so many advances in communication have actually made it harder (at times) for people to be genuine with one another. The hook “Call me strange, call me frantic”, “I’m just another strange bird…a natural romantic,” was actually sparked from a conversation I had with our drummer Eliza where she used that phrase “strange bird” a few times to describe someone. We can all be “strange birds” when it comes to love / interacting with one another, so I hope the message of the song resonates with people or can be an anthem in times of convoluted communication.
What’s Next: So the day that we shot the photo for “Natural Romantic”, we were actually able to acquire some really fun video that compliments the song. With the photo, the goal was to capture that innocence/child like nature that people sometimes feel when we are in a new relationship or meet someone for the first time no matter their background or how different we are from one another. The kids you see in the photo had actually never met before. They were so cool and did so well with our direction. Given the 60’s/vintage vibes of the song, I felt it made sense to have my dads 1968 Mustang on the cover and in the video.
After we got the photo, our amazing videographer/photographer Tom Farr was game for my video concept and we let the cameras roll. It was a simple- instruct two kids who have never been on a date to go on a date and capture their natural responses. Haha. It was one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. They had their first date at a 50’s inspired drive-in type place in North Asheville called Nick’s Grill. Very fitting location. We will be releasing the video around Christmas. I don’t want to give away too much on the video but yeah, it’s going to be a fun treat for everyone.
We also have plans to get back in the studio soon to complete an EP we are working on titled “Everyone Everywhere”. It’s going to be quite the mix of sounds. Since releasing “Family Dynamo” in 2018, we have been consciously raising the bar in the studio, incorporating different influences and overall just pushing to give fans something new each time we release material. Tour dates all over US are in the works for the spring and we have our eyes set on several festivals.
If I Weren’t A Musician I’d Be: I’d be in mental health/working with those who have learning disabilities. So much of being a musician has taught me to pay close attention to people’s mental health, and I’ve always felt that if I weren’t addicted to performing, then I would want to be in mental health services. There are still a lot of people on the autism spectrum/in the arena of bi polar and schizophrenia that are not getting the support they need. And you would think in 2019, people with mental disorders would be accepted by society, but there are still so many social hurdles for them. We have to take care of each other. So many problems in our country stem from mental health issues. There are a couple organizations in Western NC that I would probably work for if I weren’t a musician.
Craziest/Funniest/Weirdest Band Story: Oh man. Haha. After several years, there are a few. Let’s go with (one of the) weirdest.
On Winter Out West 2019 tour, we were going through Idaho and had to pass through a place called Atomic City. Later we find out it was aptly named that because of a nuclear disaster (one of the only on US Soil that had fatalities) in which a reactor exploded. That was in 1961. Currently the town has a population of 26 people or so. When we were passing through, it was just eerie. Very ghost town-like and no real signs of life except for maybe a gas station and a diner. Old cars from the 50’s and it just looked like homes were abandoned. We had the bright idea of stopping at one of the only places to eat. Might have been called Lulus, I cant remember, but we walked in and the place was empty except for a very elderly woman in the kitchen staring off into space. After asking a few times if we could sit down, she said, “I’ll be right with you,” with a blank stare. We sat down and looked at the menu. The back of the menu had a picture of the woman in the kitchen creepily holding a giant kitchen knife and wearing a pretty sinister smile. She most likely had dementia or something and that is no laughing matter at all, but needless to say, we decided it probably wasn’t the best idea on tour to eat there and we left. As we pulled out of Atomic City, I promptly consulted Google to learn more about the town. Probably one of the creepiest ghost towns we have passed through.
No disrespect to any of the residents, but it just had a very odd vibe. This past summer when we returned to Idaho, we went through Atomic City at night, and only saw lights on in one building. Definitely one of those towns in the middle of nowhere USA that could easily be home to a secret government base or something of that nature.
Would You Rather Drink A Beer With Dan Auerbach or Matt Shultz: HMMMMM. Something tells me Dan would be more of a bourbon or whiskey man. That’s a tough one. I guess I would have to lean towards a drink with Matt Shultz. That guy is an incredible front man. I’m curious to know some of his rituals before he goes on stage and what he does to stay in good shape for a tour.
Something People Don’t Know About Me: I’m pretty open, but something a lot of our fans may not know is that before I was obsessed with music, I wanted to be a stuntman/stunt driver in movies. I grew up around a lot of dirt bikes/go carts and found a lot of creative ways to blow things up. Mom loved it. Haha. My brother and our friends had our own “Jackass” series in which we came up with different stunts/recreated stunts like those in the infamous TV series. I still to this day don’t know how I never broke a bone as a kid or lost a finger. This was before YouTube, so sadly a lot of the footage was lost, but the memories are still there- trust me.
I Define Musical Success As: Creative freedom, financial stability, giving back to those in need, surrounding yourself with genuine people and supporting the next generation of artists. That might be the simplest way I can define it.
Closing Words: As 2019 wraps up, on behalf of the band, I would like to say thank you to everyone everywhere that came to the shows, booked the band, bought merch, let us stay with them, and supported our message in anyway they could. We wouldn’t be on this journey without you. Excited to see what 2020 brings. Oh and since its that time of year again, I wanted to encourage folks to check out our holiday single “My First Christmas Without You” Not your typical holiday track. Enjoy!
Band Photo by Libby Gamble
Kids Photo by Tom Farr