Over the last two year, we had a pleasure to speak to many wonderful bands and artists. To interview some of them, we have been waiting several months (in one case, it has even been over a year and still counting!) but it is always worth the time. And sometimes all it takes is you listen to a song, you fall in love with it and you contact the band asking if they would be willing to talk to you and they say yes under 1 minute. We sat down with Table Scraps, right after their return from SXSW, the biggest music conference in the world, to discuss their influences, musical references and going on tour with Monster Magnet. We hope you will enjoy reading it as much as we did, talking to the band. Now we need to see them live. Another band added to our bucket list this year!
Official bio: Celebrated for their bruising and feedback-drenched live shows, as well as a knack for crafting the perfect nagging hook, Birmingham’s Table Scraps have gradually fought their way to the top of the garage rock pile by conquering stages and refusing to compromise. After self-releasing a clutch of praised 7’s and an LP, as well as holding their own alongside heavyweights such as Fat White Family, IDLES and Black Lips, the ‘Scraps soon found interest after plays on Radio 1 and BBC 6 Music started to rack up. However, they insisted on continuing to do things their own way: self-recording, creating their own nightmare worlds in homemade zines and shooting their own B-movie style videos. “Autonomy”, the band’s most recent LP, surfaced in February 2018 to widespread enthusiasm and was picked up for release in the US by the legendary Burger Records. A huge European tour with stoner legends Monster Magnet (at the insistence of fan Dave Wyndorf himself) quickly brought Table Scraps to a new legion of enthusiastic continental headbangers. Wyndorf, as well as Joe Talbot of IDLES and Grace Jones, are part of a growing swathe of those who realize that it’s only a matter of time before Table Scraps go on to bigger and better things.
“Dark and brilliant” (DIY Magazine),
“Check‘em out pronto” (Metal Hammer)
“Table Scraps are awesome!” (Dave Wyndorf, Classic Rock).
Scott Vincent Abbott – Guitar & Vox
Poppy Twist – Drums & Vox
TJ – Bass & Vox
Joe Talbot, the lead singer of IDLES said: “If you don’t know Table Scraps, you’re a fucking idiot!”. That’s the best recommendation we have ever heard! Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Indieterria.
Table Scraps: We are Table Scraps – a three piece garage doom band from Birmingham.
Your bands name is very unusual. By definition, table scraps are the leftovers nobody wants to touch. It is either something disgusting or something insignificant. Why did you decide to go with name like that?
Table Scraps: We’re very much inspired by the gross out tradition, which to us is as diverse as first wave punk to John Waters movies. Trash in all its glory! Disposable and throwaway is what we wanted when Scott chose Table Scraps. Particularly when there is such a modern tradition of agonizing over a band name that is deep, evocative and edgy. That whole thing bored us to the point of going the opposite way: there isn’t a less evocative word than “table” after all.
Table Scraps are being described as Idles meets Duran Duran with Mark E Smith on vocals and David Bowie/The Ramones influences. We very rarely agree with online classifications but this one seems to sum your music pretty well. Do you agree?
Table Scraps: Definitely not when it comes to Duran Duran and Scott’s vocals are far more rooted in the American vocal traditions of blues, rock’n’roll and 80s west coast punk as opposed to someone like the great MES, who is from a much more British evolution of post-punk. It is a genre we all love but don’t bear much similarity to for the most part. Idles and The Ramones are probably closer to our stable, particularly our attitudes towards what bands and songs should be like. There’s a lot of hard rock, metal, psych, garage and 60’s girl group influence that are really foundational to what Table Scraps do too. We love a bit of glam but it doesn’t pop up very often. That’s more of a London band extravagance.
“Autonomy” album cover
You are known for your specific approach to marketing. You are fiercely independent and if you can do something against the current tides or ideas, you will. Creating home made zines, recording in strange places, breaking stereotypes – you are masters of unconventional PR. Where do you take your ideas from?
Table Scraps: A lot of our approach is very much based on practicality. We are so detached from the UK’s music industry, which is almost exclusively in London, that there isn’t really any benefit to us playing by the rules. We’ve also been there and done that when it comes to “the right way” in our younger years and it only takes one peek behind the big label curtain to realise that it’s all a load of big budget tricks that rarely work anyway.
While so much has changed in the past ten years when it comes to income, streaming, artist discovery and so on, what doesn’t change is the fact that people want to see good bands live and people also like nice physical product. Like the majority of the population, we aren’t rich enough to buy every single LP we want so we only choose the ones that are special or different. It makes perfect sense that we would then use that in our own approach to putting our music out there. Most of our ideas come from boredom and frustration that no one else has done it already!
Let’s talk about your videos – apparently you make them yourselves. They show real directing skills and what’s really important to us, a deep understanding of pop culture. The video to “Electricity” feels like an intro to a Rob Zombie film, “Sick of Me” channels Spoke Jones, “Motorcycle (Straight to Hell)” contains references to several hit songs such as “I will walk 500 miles” by The Proclaimers and “Loser” by Beck. Our favourite video, “I’m a failure” is a very faithful homage to “Beavis and Butt-Head” (down to the same type of sofa and descriptions for each song shown on the telly) and MTV Oddities (The Brothers Grunt, Aexon Flux, or Maxxx). You are too young to remember those shows/songs from your experience – how do you know about them? Through Internet or research?
Table Scraps: Fortunately we are good looking enough to appear younger than we actually are as most of these references are not lost on us. Particularly as Poppy and TJ are children of the internet where suddenly the wealth of history and pop culture becomes an explosion of access instead of a straight line. We are collectors and obsessives so we naturally gravitate towards things that are high quality and know their references. Our dissatisfaction with bringing other people in to the creative process of Table Scraps is what drove us to make it all ourselves. That and it’s just too expensive to rely on a team of people to do everything for you.
Poppy bought her first DSLR at some point in 2014 and we began shooting videos with it immediately. We taught ourselves the whole process to the point that we make music videos for lots of other bands now which is a nice reminder of how far you can come if you just rely on yourself to do things the way you want rather than relying on other people to bring their interpretation to it and muddy your vision.
Your releases (especially your latest LP “Autonomy”) received a flood of rave reviews. DIY Magazine called you “Brilliant” and “Groundbreaking”, Louder than War claimed you defined “21st century rock and roll”, Clash Magazine described you as “A real punch” and BBC1 gave you 12 stars out of 10. Have you expected such praise?
Table Scraps: (laughing) We think there may be a small element of misquoting going on there but appreciate it all the same! We don’t expect such praise because we don’t seek it out but it is very encouraging to get and it does help to make things happen for us. It’s particularly nice when we don’t have someone greasing the wheels for us behind the scenes and it comes straight from us. The press and radio team we had for “Autonomy” were wonderful and took the time to understand what we were doing so they did an excellent job at getting it out to more people.
Table Scraps promo picture
You went on tour with the legendary Monster Magnet! How did it go? It must have been one-of-a-kind rock and roll journey!
Table Scraps: The tour with Monster Magnet was insane and a real eye opener for us, particularly as everything about it was so out of our comfort zone. We went, virtually overnight, from a small garage rock band mostly playing in 150 cap clubs to an audience mostly comprised of tasteful garage rock fans who got the references to playing in 2000 cap venues to what we feared might be quite a tough crowd in the stoner/metal bracket. We worried that we might not translate to the size of the rooms and that we would seem out of place with such a heavy band as Monster Magnet but Dave Wyndorf loved us, understood us and Magnet’s audience and insisted that we be there.
Clearly he saw it better than we did as we were kind of the perfect fit and we really rose to the challenge as opposed to a meat and potatoes metal band and we went down incredibly well. We got a lot louder and a lot more comfortable with our hard rock/psych influences there which was very freeing. People on the continent are a lot more accommodating and we had an absolute blast. It showed us that we didn’t need to be so protective and could genuinely kill it on a big stage.
We have to ask about SXSW, you have just returned from Texas. Tell us more about your trip. How many showcases you played? Did you have fun?
Table Scraps: As it is with most things we do, official selection for SXSW was 100% something we never expected to receive. It’s probably a Midlands thing but despite our confidence and commitment to Table Scraps, our expectations are usually extremely low. Like everything else we do, we had no industry backing or money other than that we had raised ourselves and it did represent quite a big risk when we need to be careful with what we spend our money on but there was no way we could turn it down.
Fortunately we really drew people towards us at the shows and we got to play to a lot of new people who were really excited by us. Like the Magnet tour it is very representative of another hard fought step forward. We played nine shows altogether (three in one day!) and got to play at Hotel Vegas twice which was a dream come true. You realize quite quickly that lots of bands you admire and have wanted to see for a long time genuinely see you as their equal and are just as complimentary about you as you are of them. It was a really wonderful and empowering week. Americans are so enthusiastic and sincere and it’s really cute.
There is a word on the streets that Table Scraps are working on new material to be released later this year. Are you planning another record or something else. What can you tell us without spoiling the surprise?
Table Scraps: We are always working on new material in our studio! We aren’t making any promises when it comes to a release date but the new material will genuinely be worth the wait. It’s most certainly indicative of our growing confidence and refusal to follow the crowd because it genuinely sounds like nothing else. It might be a bit of a curveball for some but it’s heavy, it’s fun and it’s got what I think are the best songs Scott has ever written on it. It’s all about the songs!
2019 has been a very busy year for you so far. What are your plans for the next couple of months? More gigs? Long-deserved holidays?
Table Scraps: Back to the studio to add some finishing touches to what we’ve been working away on for the previous twelve months and then lots of good stuff which is soon to be announced. Certainly lots more gigs. We’re playing for our friends in IDLES’ after-party following their third and final headline at HEAVEN on April 6th at The Garage in London. USA Nails are brilliant and are playing too and our friends Danny Nedelko from Heavy Lungs and Steve Lamacq are DJing too. We can’t wait. So proud of The IDLES!
It is our tradition to have a bit of fun with the last question. Let’s say you can compose the perfect rider for yourselves but it will be served to you on tour every night. What’s on the menu?
Table Scraps: (laughing) Whatever we want as long as there is double the amount of beer that was originally intended!
You can follow Table Scraps on their social medias:
You can also learn more about this excellent trio by reading some of the articles about them:
Come back soon as we are planning something really cool and we cannot wait to share it with you!
See ya later,