Year of the Locust is a straight-up hard rock band hailing from the Northeast. As the frontman, Scotty, puts it: “…unique personalities from New York and Washington DC and West Virginia.” The band consists of members Scot McGiveron (Scotty Mac) on lead vocals and guitar, Fred Serrell (Freddy) on bass, Peter Hellers (Pete) on guitar, Raeshwan Greene (RayRay) on drums, and Tyler Hensley on guitar and as a tech. The band is currently on tour promoting their new album “Devolver”.
Having members from several different areas, it’s safe to say that Year of the Locust’s sound and influences are diverse. After connecting with Scotty about what it’s like to be from New York, of which Scotty speaks of fondly stating “It’s [Long Island] such a hotbed for so much different music and that’s why I say that because not really being a one dimensional person I can go fit in just about anywhere.” Tim asked the band to describe their music. Scotty responded, “If like Aaron lewis and Brent Smith, they had a cousin and they grew up on the south shore of Long Island New York fist pumping.” When asked individually about influences as musicians, the answers “…pretty much run the gamut” as put by the guitarist, Pete. Pete also mentioned classics such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix amongst his influences alongside other talented musicians such as Mark Tremonti, most famously the guitarist of the band Creed, and John Petrucci of the band Dream Theater. The drummer, Freddy, cited greats such as Stone Temple Pilots and Metallica as both personal and band influences, despite the fact that Scotty Mac isn’t such a fan. He declined to get into that however, saying “I don’t want to be set upon the funeral pyre of rock and roll and burned to a crisp.” Other band influences were listed as Aaron Lewis of the band Staind, and Brent Smith of the band Shinedown.
Scotty did have his own influences to contribute, mentioning Papa Roach and their newest album. Tim remarked that “…they came back really strong.” About Papa Roach, Scotty said they had “…a really varied type of sound covering a lot of ground. I actually wanna make a point to go see who produced that last album…”Scotty has been getting interested in the production process and says he’s been watching documentaries on accomplished producers such as Rick Ruben, who has produced tons of artists all the way from Adele to The Mars Volta, and Ross Robinson, an established metal producer who has also worked with the likes of Tech N9ne and The Blood Brothers. Their own record, Devolver, was produced by Jim Sabella, the producer of Public Enemy’s famous record “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back”, and mastered by Don Zientra, who has worked with many greats in the scene such as Fugazi, Minor Threat, and Bad Brains.
Year of the Locust is currently working with producer Brian Bonds of the country duo Florida Georgia Line. The band speaks quite fondly of him, especially frontman Scotty. He said, “He became good friends with us during last spring’s Come Clean tour. We maintained a relationship with him over time and he went up to the cabin with us…” The cabin he’s speaking of is the cabin in the Catskills of New York where “Devolver” was recorded. Scotty talked about working with Bonds on the song “Summarize” and recalled how amazing it was to see his production process in action. His fascination for the art of production is obvious by his reason for being so interested: “You just kind of become a vessel for group musicians and you kind of orchestrate it. But in this zen, hands off kind of way.”
Year of the Locust is currently on tour with Starset, Palisades, and Grabbitz – a DJ. When asked about the tour, the band commented on how relieved they were to be coming into warmer weather soon, as well as the trials of being on the road for so long. Scotty joked about what it’s like taking turns driving the bus with the rest of the members: “So we have the night crew drivers, we got the day drivers, we got the swingers like myself. Not swinging in the kind of way you’re thinking but, swing shift you feel me?” The band set out on a 7 week U.S. tour with four dates in California. When asked if the band had ever been to California, Freddy responded stating “…I think Texas and North Dakota are as far west as we’ve been. I’ve heard the girls in California are real pretty.” Naturally, the topic of In n Out came up as the conversation moved to things about California. Scotty said he “…actually made a poll on Facebook before this tour to find out what the place to visit for burgers was to out west and In n Out and one that begins with an h, [The Habit] I forget who the runner up was but In n Out was by large number one.” Tim urged the band to order animal style fries and burgers while they’re here. After all, did you even go to In n Out if you didn’t order animal style fries?
As time goes on it’s important for musicians to remain ever-evolving. An artist was brought up that has a lot of controversy surrounding him currently – Post Malone. There is a video of Post performing Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” at a live show and given Scotty’s dislike for the band, Tim inquired about the band’s knowledge of his music. Scotty was confident in his statements that Year of the Locust is unique with diverse influences and stated, “We’re gonna keep taking chances and keep going into the unknown as a group and I feel like that’s what’s gonna separate us ultimately.”
Pete: Hey what’s going on this is Pete, Scotty and Freddy from Year of the Locust.
Tim: What’s up guys
Scotty: Not much man, eating a corndog in Kansas how you doing?
Tim: Man that corn dog sounds good right now!
Pete: Haha right?
Scotty: It’s surprisingly dry, much like the view out here. Very repetitive.
Tim: Alright guys so, what’s going on? Tell me about your guys’ band.
Scotty: Oh good, the band is 5 unique personalities from New York and Washington DC and West Virginia. We got me, Scotty Mac. I’m the singer. Diva. Pain in the Ass. You got our bass player Freddy, The whip-cracker. Kicks ass. Takes names. Keeps in line. We got Peter. Hellraiser. Guitar player. Movie quote-speaker. Marvel character guru. Comic book extraordinaire. Graphic artist. We got Tyler from West Virginia; well he’s from West Virginia so he’s sleeping. And we got awesome Ray Ray from D.C. providing the beats. And the uh, color to our palette..
Tim: So my family is from New York so I get it, ya know what I mean?
Scotty:Yeah no doubt.
Tim: But for the other guys, is it hard for them to understand the New Yorker in you?
Scotty: Yeah, absolutely. Because sometimes Tyler will be telling a story from West Virginia and I’m like, ‘Yo get to the point.’ And he’s like ‘Man if you’d just listen I would get there.’
Tim: That’s so how I am man! Like can you just get to the fucking point, I mean shit!
Scotty: Is this going somewhere, because I have an appointment with a toilet in 20 minutes, so hurry up. And I think for Ray it’s easy because Arlington/D.C. is really urban so when we hit New York City traffic with him he’s just like ‘Man it feels just like home.’
Tim: How would you describe your guys’ music?
Scotty: If like Aaron lewis and Brent Smith, they had a cousin and they grew up on the south shore of Long Island New York fist pumping.
Tim: That’s pretty awesome. Are you guys sports fans?
Pete: A couple of us are, I think myself and Ray might be the bigger sports fans out of the rest of the band. And oddly enough we’re big hockey fans more than anything else.
Scotty: I never got a sports fan before I just got the kind that oscillates and has three speeds.
Freddy: The only sport I play is drinking.
Pete: Yeah and Freddy pretty much wins at that one every single night.
Tim: Ah is he a party guy or what?
Pete: Well we’re kind of all party guys in one form or another.
Tim: Ha, nice. So are you guys on tour?
Scotty: Yeah dude we’re on tour with Starset and Palisades and Grabbitz who’s a DJ. We’ve been out for a few weeks,we’ve been following the cold front across. Now it’s warm where we have been. Where we just were is now warm, but we’re still freezing our asses off out here. We’ve still got Vancouver, Seattle, California, down in Texas a few more weeks. It’s weird you spend a lot of time on the road, and a lot of time with people, and you all develop this unique balance and everyone plays to their strengths you know? So we have the night crew drivers, we got the day drivers, we got the swingers like myself. Not swinging in the kind of way you’re thinking but, swing shift you feel me?
Tim: I feel you. How long have you guys been in this group? This unit right here.
Freddy: With the current lineup, it’s really only been over a year when we added Tyler.
Scotty: Yeah the band’s only about 3 and a half years old and the current lineup is just over a year together. So we just went to the studio and we did pre-production in the Catskills in upstate New York with our producer Brian Bonds. He became good friends with us during last spring’s Come Clean tour. We maintained a relationship with him over time and he went up to the cabin with us and we got to get these new personalities that we’ve added to the band in the last year together on some music. We’re really excited and we just released a video and a single called “Sunrise” that can be seen on Facebook and on Youtube. It can be purchased on iTunes.. And we’re of course on every social media platform possible. We’re on snapchat @yotlofficial it’s kind of unique thing. A little nugget for people on snapchat. So that’s what we’re up to, we’re really proud of the new song and the new video. I think that’s what you asked right?
Tim: Yes, sir! So what dates will you be in California?
Pete: I believe the first week of march. Or the last couple days of February.
Tim: Almost a week huh? You’ll be here soon!
Freddy: Yeah. We have a day off after Seattle. On the second we’re in Sacramento at the Ace of Spades. On the third we’re at the UC theater in Berkeley. The fourth we’re at Soma in San Diego. And then on Tuesday the sixth we’re gonna be at The Regent in L.A..
Tim: Have you guys been to California? Is there anyone in the band that hasn’t?
Freddy: No, we haven’t as a band. We haven’t played California yet. On the most recent tour we’ve gone as far as St. Petersburg Florida. We’ve been to Dallas Texas. We’ve been out to North Dakota. But I think Texas and North Dakota are as far west as we’ve been. I’ve heard the girls in California are real pretty.
Tim: Yeah, but cunts man.
Tim: But They’re cunts so.
Pete: That sounds like new york!
Tim: Very similar!
Scotty: Tyler and Ray won’t be ready. They’re gonna say, ‘Hey darlin’, how you doin?’ and the girls will be like, ‘What, what are you talking about?’ You gotta give them some wild shit they won’t expect.
Tim: So the weather here is like 65 right now, it’s chilly as fuck.
Pete: Oh thank god.
Tim: I mean to me it’s cold as shit!
Scotty: Dude it’s 22 right now where we’re at right now so I mean.. Deal with that.
Pete: Yeah I think that’s what we’re looking forward to most about getting to California is just the heat.
Scotty: Yeah you wanna feel how we feel right now, just go to your local In n Out Burger and visit the freezer and you’ll know what’s up out here.
Tim: You guys gonna get some In n Out when you come out?
Scotty: Hell yeah man. I actually made a poll on Facebook before this tour to find out what the place to visit for burgers was to out west and In n Out and one that begins with an h, I forget who the runner up was but In n Out was by large number one.
Tim: Yeah In n Out is an awesome place. If I could give you a suggestion, if you’re a really hungry dude that needs to get full, 4×4 animal style with animal style fries.
Freddy: 4×4 animal style with fries, that’s what’s up. That’s what we’re gonna do when we get there.
Tim: The animal style is not on the menu, you have to ask for it. So it’s an off the menu deal.
Freddy: Yeah so one of these real hip LA kinda things, right?
Tim: Yeah you gotta be real cool to know this so I’m letting you guys in the club.
So who are your guys’ influences?
Pete: Our influences actually pretty much run the gamut and they’re different for just about everybody. Myself personally as a guitar player, I get a lot of blues and classic rock influences. Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, a lot of Mark Tremonti, a little bit of John Petrucci from Dream Theater. But band wise, Freddy what do you think?
Freddy: Band wise it’s all sorts of stuff. Growing up it was all everything my older sister listened to so all you would hear is 80’s bands. And then progress through the 90’s you get into all the grunge. You got Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden was huge. Scotty hates them, but Metallica was a big influence to me too. He’s like one of the only people in the world I know that doesn’t like Metallica.
Scotty: I will proudly adorn that truth. I’m not saying that Kirk isn’t a good guy and that they didn’t make some good songs. But anyway, I don’t want to be set upon the funeral pyre of rock and roll and burned to a crisp. But for me I’m a big fan of that wind up sound from the late 90’s early 2000’s and following up a lot of darker hip hop from the 90’s for me. And my influences constantly change. These days what are we all listening to?
Pete: Well I mean most of the stuff I’m listening to lately is a lot of Nothing More, a lot of Shinedown, Breaking Benjamin.
Scotty: Yeah i’ve been liking what Papa Roach has been putting out a lot.
Tim: Yeah that was surprising to see them come back like that. That was hard. They came back really strong!
Scotty: Yeah with a really varied type of sound covering a lot of ground. I actually wanna make a point to go see who produced that last album because it’s really an amazing grab bag you know? Lately I’ve been really getting into producers and their process. I’ve been listening to a lot of documentaries and interviews of Rick Rubin and Ross Robinson and things of that nature. Delving deeper. When we did the first single “Summarize” for the new upcoming release this year, I was working with Brian Bonds of Florida Georgia Line. Him revealing his production process and really getting into that behind the scenes music of what went on to create records. So you kind of try to mimic that within yourself and try to figure out what that is.
Tim: And i’m interested in that too, man. Because it’s like watching them put together a puzzle. You know what I mean? Like putting together a puzzle backwards.
Scotty: Yeah that’s a really good analogy man, Ross Robinson has a great interview on Youtube. Just put ‘Ross Robinson how to make a metal record.’ It’s like two and a half hours of him talking about some classic metal records through the last twenty years. Doing all the Korn records and working with Slipknot and working with so many huge fans. It’s so fascinating the way that he talks about music production. You just kind of become a vessel for group musicians and you kind of orchestrate it. But in this zen, hands off kind of way.
Tim: You guys mentioned Metallica, I saw this video earlier today. It was Post Malone doing Nothing Else Matters by Metallica. It was like, holy shit that’s pretty fucking cool!
Scotty: Yeah it’s crazy man I just listened to a podcast with him and Joe Rogan and he was talking about how he moved to Colorado. And we’re in colorado, right? We’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy! So maybe we’ll swing by his crib and do some snowboarding. I heard he’s out here.
Tim: Yeah right now I really respect what he’s doing. I like his sound and it’s’ not just one dimensional. And i think that’s where music is headed. It can’t be one dimensional anymore you know?
Scotty: Yeah everyone is pinpointing and focusing on one genre and I think that’s ultimately what’s gonna set us apart is that we’re all so different. Our musical backgrounds are so different and finding a way to make it work is what makes our songs so varied and go from country to metal and back to rock and we’re proud of that. We’re gonna stick with that and we’re not gonna try to fit through a small funnel any time soon. We’re gonna keep taking chances and keep going into the unknown as a group and I feel like that’s what’s gonna separate us ultimately.
Tim: Well I have one last question. I wanna say thank you guys for everything.
Scotty: You’re welcome! If this is pertaining to the scandal where I took one of the store space suits and ran through Detroit with it, I don’t wanna comment on that okay?
Tim: Alright, my question is, you guys are from New York are you Italian? Are there any italians in the band?
All: *guido accent* Listen, fugget about it”! How yu doin? Welcome to New York this is what I’m doin’. What are yu gettin’ at? What are yu tryin’ ta say?
Tim: Well like you guys said fist pump, Jersey Shore, they kind of made our race look bad right?
Scotty: What that really means is that there’s such a hotbed in suburban Long Island for such a spread of music that it really varies from one end of the spectrum so far, you know? You’re gonna listen to EDM, you’re gonna listen to hip hop, you’re gonna find metal, black metal, hardcore there. It’s such a hotbed for so much different music and that’s why I say that because not really being a one dimensional person I can go fit in just about anywhere. It might be a club in the Hamptons or it might be a metal show. So that’s kind of what I mean.
Tim: Haha yeah, I was joking about the race thing, I’m Italian that’s why. And my last thing, I know I said the previous thing is the last one but this is the real last one. You said there’s someone in here that does impressions?
Pete: *peter griffin voice* ‘Yeah uh jesus, how you doin, this is Peter Griffin. We’re rocking out with Year of the Locust.’ *stewie voice* ‘And don’t forget me fat man! *normal voice* I have a few other voices but i kinda need to be drunk to let those voices come out.
We have fun, especially when we do sound checks or line checks if we’re really feeling ourselves i’ll bust out a couple impressions.
Tim: Do you ever just be one person through the whole day? Like one of your impressions?
Pete: I’ve actually never tried that but I was talking with one of the guys from Palisades, I believe Aaron, that does impressions that has actually created characters and done that. I haven’t done that yet but I’m gonna have to experiment with that.
Tim: I have a radio show right, and I had one of my guys like 3 years ago who was my impressions guy, and for two weeks he was just this one racist redneck guy. He just kept being him! Dropping the n-bomb, he’s a black guy too, and that’s who he was for two whole weeks!
Pete: That’s insane
Freddy: I’ve been enjoying lately convincing people that i’m from a borrow outside of Sydney [Australia] and I’m here in America working on my accent to audition for movies in California. And I’ll do that once I hit a certain point in the night. When my shits disappear. You know, my gives?
Pete: When all his fucks are spent!
Scotty: I’m outta here, I’m gonna go drive the bus.
Tim: Alright, Year of the Locust. Thank you guys man. You guys are awesome.
Pete: You’re very welcome man, thank you.