YOUTH Radio: Interview with Bootleg Rascal

by Amy Karp

Bootleg Rascal, a very phunkyphresh band from Australia, was kind and cool enough to do an interview with me via email, seeing as we live on very opposite sides of the world. It is impossible to categorize the band as one thing or put them in any one genre box because their sound is one that mixes dub, reggae, rap, and alt quite effortlessly. After listening to one Bootleg Rascal song, you can't help but be captivated by their unique and ever-changing sound. The gang consists of Carlos Lara, lead singer, Scott Grills, bassist and keyboardist, Jimmy Young, lead guitarist, and Jack Gray, drummer. Formed in 2013, the band has already had an impressive career, opening up a nationwide tour for fellow Aussies, Sticky Fingers, releasing their EP, "Psychotica", in 2014, and preparing to release their first LP soon.

left to right: Scott, Jack, Jimmy & Carlos
1. First, I would love to know more about you. Tell me about yourselves (but the stuff that isn't on the bio from your website), who each of you are, where you come from, how you all met, fun facts about any of you, etc.

G’day! Jack, Scott, Carlos and Jim here. We’re a bunch of likeable lads, with many a diverse and flawless attributes (ladies). We’re originally from Sydney and the Gold Coast here in the land of OZ, spending most of our time now in Sydney in the studio. We all met in the dimly lit confines of one of the finer gentleman’s clubs here in Sydney in a place named Kings Cross. After finding mutual interests in the array of paraphernalia walking the club and after one long night on the booze, we decided to start the project, which is now Bootleg Rascal.

2. How did you come up with the name Bootleg Rascal?

The name Bootleg Rascal follows a mould, you might say. Starting with The Rolling Stones; they got their name from an aptly named song by Muddy Waters, ‘Rollin’ Stone.' Our mates from another Australian Band, Sticky Fingers, got their name from the Rolling Stones album ‘Sticky Fingers’ and the name Bootleg Rascal originates from the title of a Sticky Fingers song, ‘Bootleg Rascal,’ which is off their album Caress Your Soul. Wrap your mind around that? When the band started we were looking for a name and that was suggested to keep the trend rolling. We think it's pretty cool.

3. I am really interested in the creative process. The making of a song is something I have never really been able to really wrap my head around. Do you normally have lyrics first and then work out the instrumentals? And who does what during the creation of a song?

Yeah sure, we work collaboratively throughout the writing process, generally starting with an initial idea and massaging it into something a little nicer to listen to. With that being said, no two songs really have the same approach during the writing stage; some starting with lyrics or a melody and others with inspiration from whatever we are listening to at the time.

4. Also, are all of your songs really personal to you or do you ever make a song playing a character or just out of something random that you end up liking?

I think some songs are personal, some more than others but plenty of other inspiration comes from experiences be that good or bad, up or down.

5. What is next for you all? I know that you are touring right now in Australia. But are you playing any festivals this year or working on a new album perhaps?

Currently on another national tour of Australia to celebrate the release of our latest single ‘Coming Home,’ which is the second single from our upcoming debut full-length record which is set to be released September 15. We’ve been real busy in the studio working on the recordings for this album and really stoked with how it’s sounding so far.

 6. Your website says you have day jobs,so what is it that you do when you aren't out being Bootleg Rascal?

Currently the day jobs have taken a fair rest whilst we were on the latest tour of OZ, and even more so now, spending all of our time working on the album. Before this Jack was pumping gas at the local service station, Scott poured beers at the local pub, Carlos, we think, did a spot of money laundering and Jim sold used cars for a living.

7. I don't know about you guys but I think it's really awesome that I live in Charlotte, North Carolina and I was able to connect with you guys in Sydney, Australia through soundcloud/the internet. Have you had a lot of good experiences with gaining fans on Soundcloud and has the internet helped you to gain most of your fame?

Its pretty powerful the ol’ interweb. It definitely plays a big part in getting our music across to our listeners both nationally and internationally. Social media platforms help venture and guide the vessel that is our music to the people.  Also touring the country and meeting people constantly, playing our music live is the way to meet the people and share the good times.

8. How would you describe your sound? It is very unique and sometimes differs a lot from one song to another (in the best way).

It’s a mix of a lot of different things, which would come back to our personal inspirations and artists that we are into. We don’t really want to be pigeon-holed to a defined genre, however we like to keep the people guessing and keep pumping out tracks for people to enjoy. Whether it be mowing the lawn, taking the kids to swimming lesson or on the back end of a three-day bender with your best mates Trev and Ralphy, we’ll bring the music.

9. What artists are big influences to you? Do you listen to a lot of American music?

We are into a large variety of sounds, we love our classics like Zepplin  and Marley to name a couple. We draw a lot of inspiration from the Gorillaz, who we think are pretty rad. We listen to a lot of hip-hop as well like Snoop, Dre, Kendrick and Tupac.. can’t fault it. There’s a pretty open pallet which gets played in the tour van, which keeps it pretty real.

10. Have you all always wanted to be in a band?

I think its always been a dream, also beats digging holes or flipping burgers. It’s a disease, once you start playing to people you never want to stop and if we can make music that people are into, we ain’t gonna stop.

11. Take me through a typical day in the life of Bootleg Rascal. I’m interested in even the boring stuff(: For instance what were you doing before you started answering my long list of questions?

The day starts with a breakfast burrito for sure, generally prepared at Bootleg HQ (Jacks house). At the moment most of our time is spent in the studio working on the music for our upcoming debut album which has been a real good time. If we aren’t in the studio or back here art home in Sydney, we are most likely touring the country playing shows. Occasionally you’ll find us running muck in the city, catching shows and slamming tequila.

12. How do you get ready and excited before you go on stage? Do you have any rituals that you have to do or something like that?

By the time it comes to walking on stage, we are pumped already. Generally we share a bubble bath back at the hotel with a few bottles of bubbly and a handful of international supermodels. Doing this before shows ensures moral is at an all time high when we walk on stage.

Follow them on Spotify, Sound Cloud, and listen to "Psychotica" and their newest single, Coming Home, below

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