I kinda woke up in a haze on Saturday. I had just moved into my friends place for the weekend and due to the rain the prior day actually had a full nights rest. I guess I had so much sleep drunkenness that I completely blanked on the time of my interview with Chief Scout. Much to my surprise, his manager asked to move on later in the day thus saving me. I made it to The Side Bar and texted Jon that I had arrived. There was more people in that tiny little patio than I had seen all week. There was a showcase, Athens in Austin and Dana Swimmer was playing. Jon told me that their bass player wasn’t able to make it and Trey aka Chief Scout jumped on board. If ever the phrase first impressions mean everything rings true this couldn’t be a better example. He immediately sparked me as a musician that cares more about the music than anything.
Trey Rosenkampff took on the moniker of Chief Scout and hasn’t looked back. He’s only 20 years old but has the creative soul of a person beyond his years. I had the privilege to stand and talk with him about his career, influences, and his goals. He’s incredibly humble and it was really an honor to meet with him.
Chief Scout: We can go wherever you want.
Punchland: Let’s go to the moon.
Let’s go to the f-king moon.
It’s slightly quieter here than it is over there.
I’ve noticed there’s a lot of bass going around. We drove down 8th last night and there was literally a hip hop and death metal showcase and it was like (imitates death metal screaming) as we were driving by, it was terrifying.
(Laughs) You were like “what did I get myself into.”
It was too much bass. We were like two blocks from the show and we were like how was there this much bass going on. Yea, exactly it was terrifying.
I was telling them I have this thing called synesthesia.
Which by the way I wanna interview you. That’s amazing. I have been interested in Synesthesia for the longest time.
We’ll talk after.
I’ll pull out my phone and I’ll talk to you about it.
So the best way to attempt to describe it to people is go to a concert and stand by a speaker and feel the vibrations-
-but imagine different sensations like feeling liquid.
I wish- I try so hard to do that. I wish I could associate sounds with other things. That’s so cool.
(laughs) I read that you delayed college, do you regret that? Or do you think about doing it in the future?
Forgo college is just a term out there in the public so my parents are at ease. You know what I mean.
I’ve had a very supportive family my whole life. I’ve known I wanted to be a professional musician. I knew I didn’t really wanna study anything in school so when it came down to that I just decided that I just wanted to play music. My parents were really supportive of that. I live in Athens, Georgia-
-I wanna live there.
It’s not as romantic as it seems?
Yea, I mean it’s great. It’s a super cool town. I love living there. I got the whole social experience. As far as career experience as a musician, I started to gather that on my own without going to school. I might go one day because I’m very interested in a lot of things, but at this point I’m wanna focus on what I’m doing.
You have the rest of your life.
Yea, exactly. I can go back whenever I want.
You’ll be 55, “time to go to school.”
Yeah, exactly. I love history and literature. I would love to study some of that eventually. Right now I thought it would be best to put all my energies into touring and recording and writing instead of trying to balance that with studying and doing tests and stuff.
Do you feel that with your stuff, history and literature influence your writing at all?
I would say so. I write about whatever’s on my mind at the time. It’s not anything too deep. You don’t wanna think about it. It’s just like I’m interested in something, reading something or learning about something I like to write about it and relate it to what’s going on with me. So I think that influences me. I try to draw as much of myself which I think my interests in history and literature are all a part of that. Everything, I’m very interested in a lot of things. I try to bring as much of that into my writing.
For sure. Now what are your challenges as a growing artist and your ambitions since you’ve decided to fully immerse yourself in your career?
My one goal is just to live a sustainable life as a musician. I just wanna play for people that appreciate the music and be able to live off that. I realize that the music industry is weird it’s hard to make money in the music industry nowadays. Especially right now being at SXSW it’s really inspiring to see a lot of genuinely good bands and people that genuinely like music. So to me it’s like if I can be good enough that people like me and are willing to spend money on me and I can live off that. I will be as happy as I can possibly be. I just want to make a living making music that other people can relate to and get down with.
I was talking to a friend about how when you’re a “nobody” you make the music you want to and go through this inner conflict of what’s going to sell and what’s not going to sell. Then you create something that does sell, get picked up by a record company, and you lose your identity but gain a lot of fans. Finally you’ve gained your freedom and decide to go back to your roots and risk losing the fans. Do you feel that could be a possibility?
I don’t know. I’m constantly influenced by the people that I play with like the two guys Jack and John that play bass and drums with me now. They’re phenomenal! I like to only play music with people that I really trust. You know? I’m constantly drawing influence from them and other people all the while trying to stay as true to myself as possible. I want to reach that level where I can be real where other people can relate to where I can make sense and be super versatile with thing that go on in my life. There is a universal thread that ties everyone together and I wanna hit that.
Music is universal! Growing up in Athens, how do you think that influenced the creation of you?
I actually grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta though I visited all the time.
Even then Atlanta is still a big music scene.
Yea, yea I played in a couple bands in Atlanta. I got to see the scene and got to meet some people. Moving to Athens totally different scene which is weird since it’s only about an hour away. To me it’s just inspiring to see other people doing exactly what I wanna do. Staying true to themselves, making the music but not necessarily just listening to something and trying to replicate it instead putting your spin on things. Which I think Athens and Atlanta are super influential places where people are listening to things and putting their spin on it. So to me it’s just reinforced my thought process for making music: stay true to you, draw influence from what you love but really make music you wanna make. Tie in homages to what you really love without making the replication of what’s going on right now or has in the past.