We cannot lie. We will always hold a special place in our hearts for bands hailing from the dirty Jerz (New Jersey), aka our home state. So, we are excited to share a very fun conversation we had recently with Scott Hermo Jr. of Boyscott, a "metamorphic" rock music project led by the NJ native.
Scott truly epitomizes friendliness! Throughout our conversation, we quickly forgot we were talking to one of our favorite musical artists. Instead, we felt like our discussion embodied the feeling of conversing with a new friend. We left this interview smiling and we hope you will too after reading it.
Michelle Du: *merges calls* Okay, so I think we’re all here now..?
Caitlyn Park: Hi!!
Scott Hermo Jr.: Caitlyn? Are you there??
C: Yes! I’m here!
S: We figured it out! This is pretty nuts, talking 3 ways this is insane. How do these things work?
C: Oh, I wish I knew.
~Other introductory greetings and such~
Okay, interview time.
C: Can you give an introduction about Boyscott and about yourself individually as well? What genre of music would you say Boyscott falls under?
S: Okay, okay, I think I can do this! *laughs* So I am Scott Hermo Jr., that is my name, and I actually just turned 25 last week.
C: Aw, happy belated birthday!
S: Thanks, yeah it feels weird to be that old. But, it’s cool, it’s whatever. I’m from Montclair, NJ but we started Boyscott down in Nashville, TN in 2015. I was going to school down there and I had already written a majority of the songs that were on that album, but I was just really self-conscious; I didn’t even think I was making an album.
I was kinda just making songs and too scared to show them to people. But then after playing in a couple other projects, I met a really great crew of people in Memphis that gave me the confidence to focus and try to make something out of what I was working on.
Since then, it has just been a project of my songs and any of my friends who are around and are able to come play shows and commit to it for however long.
So my role...I guess this is mainly my project. Now we have some members that are full-time in it and are helping on this next album. So far, it’s been my creative thing. I play guitar and sing in the project. As far as genre, that’s a tough one, because I like all sorts of genres. On that album we have, I feel like there are a lot of songs that fit into different genres. So what I’ve been calling my music as kind of a joke, is "metamorphic" rock. It takes different shapes and has come from all different influences to create its own thing, which I wouldn’t say that my music is totally its own thing, I have a lot of inspirations from other artists.
Um, I don’t know if there’s anything I missed there...does that all kind of sound like a normal response…?
C: Yes! I didn’t realize that it was originally your own individual project. Are members of the band rotating throughout?
S: Yeah, so when we recorded the album we hadn’t really thought about playing shows. We didn’t even think about having a band, we just wanted to make this album. It was me and my buddy, John, who plays drums on the whole album. I had a lot of the parts written and then he would take the parts and figure out what he wanted to do with it. But since then, John has moved on and now we have a totally new crew of people. Right now, we have 4 people who are solid in the band and we have another friend from Memphis who comes up to do the bigger tours.
Bringing in new people to the project makes it more fun; I learn a lot from them and I learn more about the songs since we are constantly rehearsing and reteaching and relearning the songs. Playing with new people I think helps everyone grow, and it’s been wonderful.
M: That’s awesome that you can get new perspectives on your songs from each person who gets involved.
S: Thanks! It’s also been stressful *laughs* but yeah, overall good!
M: What’s the significance of the name ‘Boyscott’?
S: *laughs* So that was really kind of random. I think originally I was kind of playing off of the word ‘Boy Scout’. I did Boy Scouts in high school and I’m actually an Eagle Scout now.
M: I was a Girl Scout through high school too!
S: Oh really? Yeah it’s cool, especially in New Jersey. Every other weekend we would go camping in the woods in upstate NY or stuff like that. So I absolutely loved it. But yeah, I think it was a play on that. It’s funny because it’s been so long and when we made it, we really did not think anyone would be listening to these songs, like I can’t express that more. I didn’t know I’d have to answer that question *laughs*
C: Building off of that, your project seems super fun & the whole vibe of it seems laid-back. This might be a challenge, but what 3 words would you use to describe your band dynamic overall.
S: Wow, that’s a great question, hmm...that’s tough.
I guess I try to keep things not pretentious and fun and I think the word ‘friendly,’ which is kind of weird but going on the road and meeting a lot of different bands, there are a lot of bands that are a bit standoffish and I never want to be like that.
I think on stage we really try to include everyone and make sure everyone is comfortable. We just want to have fun with everyone and not be ‘too cool’ or anything, you know what I mean? So I would say ‘lame’, ‘friendly’, and ‘fun’.
C: You epitomize friendliness!
S: Aw cool thanks! I hope so. We’ve been playing a lot more shows now that have been going really well and everyone who comes up to us is so nice and comforting. It hasn’t always been this way and I think that maybe it’s because we have changed a little bit. We used to play shows and be really nervous and not really say anything and just be kinda awkward for us, and probably for everyone else. Luckily the music helped fill it all in but now that we’ve grown, I feel like we’ve been having a lot more fun so I think everyone else starts to have more fun too. It’s been really great meeting all these people who have found our music and becoming friends with them. It’s weird, it’s like you’re friends for a night.
M: That is a perfect segue into our next question. I saw y’all live with Pinegrove in DC a few weeks ago and you gave off a super comfortable and fun stage presence.
S: Oh, thanks! We were actually really nervous for that show. We have never played a big show like that before, it was wild.
M: It was amazing.
S: Yes, ohmygosh Pinegrove was amazing too.
**pause for a 3-way fangirl moment about Pinegrove**
M: Not sure if you picked up on it, but our name Camp Cadmium was inspired by Pinegrove’s song Cadmium.
S: Oh cool. I actually saw your name and wondered if that was a reference. That song is amazing. I remember before Cardinal came out, there was a YouTube video of them playing Cadmium live and I would listen to it every single day for a whole month.
C: That’s so cool, and now you’ve gone on tour with them!
S: Yeah, I’m a diehard Pinegrove fan. We were on the upper balcony thing and we could see it all perfectly, it was the best thing ever.
M: What was most memorable about touring with them (Pinegrove)?
S: I think just the crowd and the responses from the crowd. It was magical; every single person in that room was singing every single lyric. And to be able to share the stage with them, being such amazing musicians and people, I don’t think it has even hit us yet just how incredible that experience was and how much fun it was.
C: I’m still jealous Michelle got to see you and Pinegrove live...I’m just waiting on my opportunity. But I wanted to ask, how has collaboration in general played a role in your band’s journey so far?
S: It’s been huge because I started out just writing those songs by myself and I had outlines for most of them but then I met John and our buddy Tiger, who both play in this band Super Low, wonderful band and people out of Memphis. Bringing the songs to them and seeing their reactions and their ideas, or really just fleshing it out with them, was amazing. It made song-writing and recording 10x easier and 10x quicker. The demos I had prior just didn’t have the same energy.
Since releasing that album, we have played with so many people, I think we’ve had at least 20 people in the band, who have made the dynamics of the songs a lot better and a lot more interesting, I think, especially for the live setting.
I think the collaboration part has brought us to where we are now; our live performances have grown so much just because other people are involved and are helping me grow it.
M: So we’re huge fans of Goose Bumps, what’s your favorite song off of your album?
S: I really like Embarrassingly Enough, Lake House, Nova Scotia 500. Nova Scotia 500 might be my favorite song...but I also really like Embarrassingly Enough. I’m kind of thinking also from a perspective of playing them live.
C: Yeah, Nova Scotia 500 reminds me of a very specific memory of my roommate and I. There’s a slope on Cornell’s campus and before it gets freezing cold and there’s a bunch of snow, we used to go on there, bring our speaker, and blast it while having a picnic.
S: No way!
C: Yeah! So that song holds a very special place in my heart.
S: Wow, thank you so much! I’m so glad! Cornell actually holds a very special place in my heart too, with the band. We had our first really good touring show at Cornell back in the winter of 2016. It was our first time touring and we were so young and so inexperienced and so excited and eager.
C: What do you want listeners to get from your music?
S: I just hope they can enjoy it in their own way. I feel like we all listen to music in different times, in different ways. I’m still kind of in shock that people are listening, so I’m so so glad to hear that people are and that they’re enjoying it. I hope it takes people someplace comforting.
M: You touched on this a bit earlier when you mentioned that you’re working on a new album. What are your future goals for Boyscott, either short term or long term?
S: So we have two more shows in the next week and a half, and then we’re taking a break and we don’t have anything booked. We are just trying to finish the new album. On top of that, we’re also trying to go forward with ‘leveling up’ in a way. We’ve been playing some nicer venues and we’re with a record label now.
My goal is for us to be able to do this and sustain ourselves so we can keep doing it without having to worry about side jobs and stuff. But, I also want to still make it an indie thing, like still in the DIY atmosphere.
My dream is to have the music take us out West, which might actually come true soon. We have an opportunity in February but I think we’re going to wait a little longer just to make sure the album’s done.
C: Do you have a timeline for the album, or are you not able to say?
S: I’m hoping to finish it by the end of winter and to have it out by, hopefully, the end of spring or early summer.
C: And now for some quick, fun questions: What was the first concert you went to? What was the last concert you went to?
S: I’m trying to remember what was the first concert I went to...I was really lucky, in Montclair there was a really lovely theatre called the Wellmont Theatre that was a typical big venue that had a lot of big bands come through. I know I saw Modest Mouse when I was pretty young and I remember that one being pretty life-changing. I don’t know if I remember the first one though. I need to figure this out because I’ve been asked this before and I just totally botch it. I’d like to say Modest Mouse because that’s a cooler answer but it was honestly probably something like the Red Hot Chili Peppers or something that I don’t even want to say *laughs*.
The last one...we’ve just been playing so many shows that those are mainly the shows that we go to, which is lucky because we’ve been playing with such wonderful bands. I think the last show that we went to for fun was in Brooklyn and we saw our friend who plays in the band Marblemouf and we saw one of our favorite bands in NY called Bueno. It was such a wonderful show in this really nice apartment in Brooklyn that had a basement that was air-conditioned, it was amazing.
M: If you were a candle, what scent would you be? How many wicks would you have?
S: *laughs* Actually speaking of candles, I just had a lot of fun with candles on my birthday. I melted the bottom of each one and stuck them together, and there were probably, like 20 wicks.
So I would say I would be a Happy Birthday candle with 20 wicks that is mutated into one.
There’s not much of a scent in those candles, but the scent is usually the cake beneath them. And they’re colorful!
C: You can even get the super fun ones with the different colored flames.
S: Yeah, there’s been a lot of progress in Happy Birthday technology.
C: What band do you think you could beat in a game of Twister?
S: Oh man, for one thing we would beat the shit out of Pinegrove, I know that much. But, what band would we really be able to beat? I haven’t played Twister in a while, that’s a hard game. Wow, I need to get Twister! Let’s see, we could definitely beat our friends in the band Super Low. I don’t know if they’re a very flexible bunch.
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