Durham’s anthemic pop rocker Scott Michael Cavagan has always had an ear for a fine melody. Road tested in heavy rock outfits (Dryll / Laconia), Cavagan’s input has tended to focus on creating the types of melodic earworms that get under your skin and won’t come out; Dryll’s ‘Mainframe’ or Laconia’s ‘Speak through silence’ provide sufficient historic evidence to prove this point.
Venturing out solo for the first time, whilst exploring his love of pop, Cavagan is putting his melody skills into further use with the release of Twenty First century Love; a debut album fully written and recorded by the man himself. Complete with an all-star cast (including members of The 1975, The Stranglers, Venom, Placebo, Ordinary Boys, ABC, Prefab Sprout), Twenty First is the sound of an artist going back to his past to search for his present.
“I’m really excited by the album” confirms Cavagan on a call sandwiched between dad duties “in the two bands I was previously with I never really wanted to go solo, and I was happy to stay in the alternative rock scene but as time progressed I started to think about my past and how I’d never really followed my own influences or created a record on my own terms.” Such influences would, as it happen, unearth some interesting influences; “this album started out as a bit of a tribute to Duran Duran if I’m honest, though that’s not necessarily the one I ended up with”.
Blending musical influences from across 80’s pop and British rock, Twenty First finds Cavagan in fine form, particularly on lead single ‘Hurts’, an electrified, pop-tastic, journey into 80s sounding rock and the sound Journey might make if they were remixed by an EDM super producer: “When I was writing the new materials, my main focus was to make something that sounded like the music which made me fall in love with music in the first place. I had this overwhelming urge to go back to those influences”.
Such influences were brought to life with the all-star cast, a collection of inspirations who helped to shape, rather than build, the music “Everything was written before the guests were on board and I play 90% of the instruments myself.” Pushed into a ‘favourite’ Cavagan is quick to respond “Baz Warne was always the one person I wanted to work with, I love his work with The Stranglers, as well as his earlier work, and when he agreed to drive up and record live with me that’s when I really understood what an amazing person he is as well as what a superb musician”. Warnes work, featuring on future single “21st century love”, is indeed superb and helps produce the stand out track on the album.
Taking to Head of Steam on May 10th for an album launch, Cavagan is both excited and reflective of his album and the next steps “when I was young nothing was ever good enough when it came to my music but now my happiest moments are when come up to me after a show and let me know that they enjoyed my music. Enjoying music is much more important than any of the nonsense which often accompanies it”.
“21st Century Love” releases May 10th on Sapien Records.