Picture this: a band with only a bassist and a drummer. No lead singer, no guitarist, just the rhythm section. Hard to imagine? When Josh Montag and Jake Johnston were left in this predicament after The Morning After disbanded in 2011, they were forced to get creative. To continue to make music, they obviously were in need of some more members. After struggling to find the right fit, Montag came up with a brilliant idea. How about we bring in different singers to feature on our songs? And in that moment, Scattered Melodies was born.
Two years later, their ingenuity became a reality. They released A Collective Agreement in summer of 2013. “Most of the artists were people we were already friends with so that made it easy to collaborate and come up with an album's worth of songs,” said Montag. Taking a chance on something innovative and “winging” it, they had no clue how successful the idea would be. Needless to say, it worked.
Once word got out of what Scattered Melodies was doing, the calls started rolling in. There was a buzz within the Phoenix music scene, and instead of having to initiate collaborations, artists were coming to them. The duo quickly began writing for their new album in August of 2013. Due to the ease of finding talent to work with, the band had an easier time creating a general theme and message.
Joining the duo on Modern Repair are musicians of all genres including reggae soul singer Ruca, funky folk musician M.R. Mal, and members of several local bands like The Hourglass Cats, Treasurefruit and Pride Through Strife. Working with so many different artists took a lot of time and effort, but Montag said the extra work was “worth every minute of it.” Getting to team up with so many people was inspirational for the group, and it’s reflected on the album. “Every collaboration happens a different way, which keeps things fresh and exciting for us.”
In order to keep the theme of Modern Repair throughout the entire record, Montag would ask the singers two questions: What are some things you see that are wrong or corrupt in our country/world? And what would you like to see done to try and change those things? “Everyone was super passionate about this idea and they all brought inspiring and realistic ideas to the table,” Montag said.
The album’s first single, “Every Race at the Finish Line” delves into the recent riots and racial issues plaguing the country. The premise for the song came to Montag late one night when he was pondering the current state of racism. The lyrics describe stereotypes and judgments due to looks; something we have all encountered in our lives. Montag chose this song to introduce the record because he felt it was a good way to say, “This album is going to talk about some real shit so we might as well start right off the bat with something that everyone can relate to.”
Modern Repair also touches upon greed with the opening track “Sunset Choir”, the corruption of our governmental system in “Research and Destroy” and the impact of the press in “The Media’s Shelf Life” among other worldly issues. Each song has it’s own unique sound but focuses on a powerful message. “We hope that our new record reflects a positive and conscience message on what we can all do to make the world a better and happier place for everyone,” said Montag.
Modern Repair will be available on iTunes starting September 18th. You can also catch Scattered Melodies with featured artists live at the 4th Annual Sidepony Express Music Festival in Bisbee, Arizona this November.