The Scroll

The Scroll

 Montréal, Quebec, CAN
BandElectronicDream Pop

The Scroll are an eclectic neo-wave band from Montreal

Band Press

It Will Never Come, Lover – Bucketlist music reviews

The Scroll’s latest release is called It Will Never Come, Lover, and Jason describes it as something that would fit well in the Tech Noir club scene of The Terminator or Taffey’s Bar in Blade Runner. It starts with “Hybristophilia” (a paraphilia in which sexual arousal, facilitation, and attainment of orgasm are responsive to, and contingent upon, being with a partner known to have committed an outrage). The song starts with stabs from a distorted electric guitar joined by glitchy electronic sounds. A fast-paced synth bass riff sets the tempo of this silky yet edgy song. A saxophone (played by Katherine Paradis) slides in, while a super-compressed drum beat takes over the rhythm. The production on this song is very good; already I can hear a range of textures that fit well together, and everything is loud and clear. Jason’s voice is doused in reverberation as he sings delicate, breathy verses. Repeating, “I long to forget, I wanted to know,” Jason seems to be singing about curiosity killing the cat. The song takes a twist in the last few seconds, going into full club and house territory with a sample of the lyrics chopped up and thrown in, just the way a good DJ would do it.
“You Know Empathy, Right?” follows with a cheery and ambient mix that sounds like Tame Impala jamming with The Wailers. The song also features a ton of electronic, finely-tuned noise that slowly takes over the mix near the end. All I could think of was that this song sounds like a sunset. “How Can I Luv U Without Cheating On The 1 I Luv” kicks off with a steady drum beat and synth pad sounds that remind me of Tycho. A groovy bass line riffs under Jason’s falsetto, while a funky guitar strums somewhere in the distance. I’ve heard his shows are dance parties, and listening to this album makes me want to buy a standing desk. If you like ambiance and dance grooves, check this out.
“Debonair” is the fourth track on this album, and here we get something closer to deep house. Massive sub-bass frequencies shake the ground while electronic samples provide an industrial edge. Vocal layering builds onto this song’s repeating theme, which is closed by a funky guitar solo. “A Total Lack Of Respect For My Heart” begins with a bunch of acoustic guitar riffing, soon joined by a lovely duet consisting of Jason and Millie Rosado singing together. The second half of the song incorporates a sped-up… guitar solo (I think), while the percussion switches to a more tribal rhythm, giving this ending a frenetic, emotional overall feel. “Nefarious 極悪な” is next, and it reminds me a lot of Beck’s Midnight Vultures if that album had been made in the eighties. Samples of spoken Japanese are slipped into the mix, making me feel like I’m at an airport terminal on a trip somewhere far away.
This album has seventeen songs. I’ve listened to them all and they’re all great. If I could, I’d describe each one, but if I did that, this review would span a dozen pages. It Will Never Come, Lover is packed with great ideas, catchy melodies, funny song titles, awesome production, and tons of music. Jason seems to be onto something here, combining elements from various genres to create something new. One thing’s certain: I’ll be catching their next show.
FULL REVIEW HERE: http://www.bucketlistmusicreviews.com/the-scroll-it-will-never-come-lover/

Celebrating FREAK & FABULOUS’ Montreal’s INKED LADY 2015 – Bucketlist

Bucketlist is getting hot. I was invited to attend the Freak & Fabulous Inked Lady 2015 Showcase by the lovely organizer and burlesque dancer, Natasha Nebula on January 9th, held at Le Belmont. I said, “Sure, why not.” This is not something Bucketlist normally covers, but when I found out there was going to be free cupcakes, two live bands, snakes, fire, and Cabaret dancers I could not pass this opportunity up.

The main purpose of this show was to crown Montreal’s Inked Lady of 2015. The contest started last month, and the each contestant had to submit a sexy professional photo displaying their ink. The top three contestants whose photo received the most likes on Facebook had a chance to compete on this night for the judges.

My main purpose for going was to check out a band I’ve never heard of, or even listened to, prior to the show; The Scroll. The Scroll are an electro-pop/experimental group from Montreal and describe themselves as, “Merging delicate beauty with bombastic ugliness.” When I saw the vocalist, J Deeh, in his full leather outfit and tiara, I told myself this was going to be good. This band has four albums and eight digital EPs to this date. Have I been living under a rock? Clearly.

The Scroll started the party at 10:30pm on the dot and the first thing I noticed was Deeh’s absolutely gorgeous voice. Being an enormous New Wave fan, I immediately_MG_9166 thought Talk Talk. This dude sounds just like Mark Hollis. Backing him up was a keyboardist who looked like she belonged in a Robert Palmer video, a tough looking SICK Sax player, and a samples gal handling the computer. I was even more pleasantly surprised when an adorable, curvy, side pony-tailed lady came on stage to do back ups with her soft voice. Yep, I loved this band. They turned the smallish crowd into a bigger one and, before we knew it, there was a dance party happening. Perfect band to open an event like this up. By the end of their set they had a full band playing; drummer, bassist, two guitarists, and two back up vocalists. Check out their latest record, It Will Never Come Lover, here.

THE SCROLLYOU KNOW EMPATHY, RIGHT? (Album Review) – Silent Shout

The Scroll is a Montreal project headed by Jason Deeh Pitre that’s been around since 2012, and we’re excited to find out about them. They’ve just put out their fourth album It Will Never Come, Lover which seems doubtless one of the most ambitious endeavours of the year, at a massive seventeen tracks ranging from many styles. It’s tough to pick a highlight but the hooky chorus of slow electro-ballad “You Know Empathy, Right?” just won’t leave our heads. A blissful, noisy alternate-universe pop hit.
It Will Never Come, Lover is out now on Bandcamp.

Who Is Jason Deeh Pitre, Anyway? – Blanketfortforlife

By now, almost anyone reading this will have seen the remarkable duet between Grammy Award winning UK singer Seal and a street busker who had captured Seal’s imagination back in June. After Seal had taken in almost an hour of busker Jason Deeh Pitre’s singing, he joined him for a rousing rendition of “Stand By Me”. A video of it went viral, attracting millions of views, which has led to more work with Seal. The question most people have about the clip is who is this remarkable singer, blessed with a soaring tenor and lonesome falsetto, reminiscent of Roy Orbison and Del Shannon?

I first encountered Montreal musician Jason Deeh Pitre in December 2015, while directing a little indie documentary film called Last Thirteen. “Indie film” is perhaps too highfalutin a term for it, as it was a video project that was never screened commercially. However, it was a feature length film, and it needed music. The film itself documents one man’s emotional breakdown while wandering the streets of Seattle on a cold, rainy Christmas Eve, and it needed the right kind of music: sad, lonesome, wistful, and yearning. My partner on the film, an anonymous gentleman with a background in music who goes by the handle “Douche! the Monkey” online, came across Jason’s music first, and excitedly passed it on to me. The first tune I heard was Jason’s signature version of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”, and was utterly floored. Not only had Douche! found the perfect music for our film, he had seemingly discovered a legitimate and substantial musical talent. Not a “good singer”, but a musician with a vision and a sound. Jason very graciously offered us free run of his repertoire of songs, and it was his music that cemented our film. On the rare occasions when we do screen it, the first comment is almost always “who did the music to this movie?” Our most frequent review comment for the film is usually along the lines of “at least the music was good…”

The day after Seal’s appearance with Jason in the public square, an excited and star-struck Jason tweeted us the news, with a copy of the video. We re-tweeted his tweets, and wrote tweets of our own praising the video, hoping that we’d generate enough re-tweet action to get his moment noticed. When hours passed without our tweets getting the attention we felt they deserved, Douche! took matters into his own hands and tipped off media outlets, with CTV, the Canadian news network, being the first to react. By evening, CTV had run with the story and in the following few days, the clip of “Stand By Me” had been viewed well over a million times. News outlets around the world ran stories about Seal and “the busker” all week. Said Jason about the help from the mysterious Douche!, “I had a feeling that Douche was behind making the video viral, so I was grateful and a little tickled that I don’t even know who he is in real life. So when a person asks me how it all happened, I just say a monkey did it. Which is half true.”

Singing with Seal was the stuff dreams are made of, and Jason had been a Seal fan for years; the first compact disc he had ever bought was Seal’s debut album. He had been visibly nervous up to the moment he opened his mouth, but as he sung his first line of “Stand by Me”, he knew he sounded good, and the rest of the song just flowed. The comment section on YouTube had many comments from Seal fans who said that “the busker” had held his own.

Jason is not an egomaniac, nor does he come across as one. He is often soft-spoken and polite, and somewhat deferential. However, this should not be mistaken for false modesty. He knows he is good; after all, he has spent years honing his craft. He is proud of his work, particularly the work he has done with his band The Scroll. The duet, of course, was thrilling to Jason, but it raised a potential issue. He never really considered himself a solo singer, and he was worried that the video of his duet with Seal might convey the wrong image. Busking has been a summer gig he does for enjoyment; it is not the primary direction he takes with his music. As such, he looks at it as work. “Busking is hard for me because it’s like I have to play a role every day. I sing songs I don’t wanna sing and I project an image I don’t wanna show. When I’m onstage with The Scroll that’s the real me. When Seal met me while I was busking on the street, I wasn’t myself, but rather my ‘busking self’. So when the video went viral, it scared me that people would think I was just this street singer with this beautiful voice.”

When the video went viral, Jason wanted to make sure that anyone who was curious enough to check him out would find that he is no one-trick pony. So, the first thing he did was cover Seal’s “Bring It On” in his idiosyncratic, experimental fashion and create a startling video to go with it. Rather than showcase his soaring tenor, he wanted to show that there was more to him than a pretty voice. For Jason, being an auteur and bandleader takes precedence over being a singer.

Of course, being an indie bandleader is no easy thing these days, in an era where traditional means of promotion have broken down, and the new digital-era means of promotion rarely results in even chump change for a musician. While Jason was satisfied with the music he was making in The Scroll, the band was struggling. The band had started and stopped several times over since the late 00’s, experiencing a complete turnover in personnel. The band’s music is challenging; it is not simple hook-laden fare. As Jason puts it, “The problem with The Scroll is that not a lot of people ‘get’ or try to make the effort to ‘get’ us. Bands these days are not subtle. Everything has to be easy to understand right away. I make a huge effort to be on my own island, so it keeps us from being in a clique or a scene with other bands. This is both a good and bad thing.”

Jason also points out a weird rabbit-hole musicians find themselves in, in the social media age: his band is more internationally known than locally known. While this sounds impressive, it is a big problem on a very practical level. “We can’t just fly to Africa and play because a couple of people bought the albums there. We’re a 7-piece band, so we need to make sure it’s worth the trip” So while The Scroll had been slowly attracting attention from individuals in far-flung reaches of the globe, it didn’t necessarily translate into anything tangible, like more gigs.

However, despite the fact that the Seal duet was more about Jason than his band, it did give him an opportunity to get his name and voice heard, which he hopes will in turn bring the more curious around to hearing his work with the Scroll.

After the hullabaloo about the duet died down, Jason remained relatively quiet online. Seal went on to join a few other buskers by surprise that week, even inviting one, Poppy Waterman-Smith of the UK, to actually open his next show for him, which she did to warm response from the audience. These buskers were also excellent singers; one thing for sure is that Seal knows a good singer when he sees one. However, we wanted to see Jason with Seal again; he just has that certain mojo that we hoped would find a wider audience.

Seal and Jason kept up a sporadic contact via Twitter messaging. Seal was on tour, and Jason was stuck in Montreal, but they had planned to meet once again when the opportunity presented itself. As it turned out, Seal had a couple dates at the Avalon Ballroom in Niagara Falls scheduled, while the Scroll was playing in Toronto at around the same time. Hesitant to invite himself to Seal’s show, Jason just mentioned he’d be in the general area. Seal unhesitatingly invited him to soundcheck at the first Niagara Falls show. This involved some serious all-night driving, but that’s rock and roll, and thirty hours later after arriving in Niagara Falls, Jason got a call from one of Seal’s people telling him, “Seal would like you to play today’s show.”

Jason described the scene backstage. “We entered the concert venue. It’s like an opera house- very big. Members of Seal’s band were working on songs and fiddling around. I noticed that there was only two of them (a guitarist/singer and a programmer/dj/synth/singer). I remember wondering how they were going to emulate Seal’s albums as a three-piece. I was intrigued. I was then escorted backstage by security. The backstage area was pretty sweet; a lot of food and snacks. I took advantage of that. I was starting to get bored backstage, so I decided to sit and watch soundcheck.”

After almost an hour, Seal appeared onstage after a jog (Seal is very fitness-oriented), and got down to business. Jason said, “Seal and the two other members start sound-checking a few songs. They then went through various things and changes for tonight’s show. What struck me was how hands-on Seal is with his live shows. He has a relaxed focus that very professional. He’ll use the soundcheck as a practice as much as a sound mix thing.”

Then came time for Jason to come onstage. After working out what songs to do with guitarist Isaac Bolivar, they came up with a medley of “Wicked Game” and “Stand By Me”, and ran through it twice. They then spent time jamming together on some of Seal’s songs, many of which were already familiar to Jason. “Jamming with him at soundcheck, I realized how much of an artist Seal is. He likes to take chances and be uncomfortable. All the concert DVDs and the show I saw that he’s done were very precise and meticulous. Those backing bands recreated his album tracks very efficiently. Now, with just a two-member backup band for this tour, it takes a lot of improvising to do some tracks justice. So even though it’s risky and limiting, it’s also very exciting. I felt I could throw ideas at Seal and he’d listen. Of course, I didn’t have the balls to do that too much, so I was just happy to play a couple of songs in his show.

At 8:30PM, it was showtime, and the venue was sold out. Seal performed a killer set, with the crowd loving it. The plan was for Jason to join him for the encores. Said Jason of the experience of walking onstage at the Avalon Ballroom, “Most of the crowd knew our viral video, so they knew having me for the show was a rare one-off. I walked onstage to an amazing applause. I was pleasantly surprised. The vibe in the room was electric.”

Jason started playing “Wicked Game”, and the crowd was right there with them. “I started to get into it. Midway, Seal took over the vocals a little and then we harmonized. It sounded great. We even improvised a little. Then we started “Stand By Me” (our viral hit). The crowd went nuts and started singing along.”

After the show Seal walked over to Jason backstage and told him, “That was great! Perfect!” He then added softly, “Wasn’t that fun?” Jason agreed. They exchanged a big hug, and Jason thanked him for everything. However, Seal wasn’t done. He invited Jason to join him for the following night’s show as well. Jason hesitated for a moment, wondering if the memory might be better as a one-shot, but he was having so much fun, he couldn’t resist. So, on the following night, it was back to the Avalon Ballroom again. Jason didn’t soundcheck on the second night. “Last night was pretty much perfect, so why bother?”, Seal said. Jason took the time to walk down to look at Niagara Falls. “Almost on every block, people came up to me to say they loved me last night. It was really surreal and humbling”, he says.

Seal delivered a second barn-burner of a show, and Jason went backstage right before the encore. This time, Seal just brought him onstage and he talked about their meeting to the audience. As Jason puts it, “The crowd was electric like the night before, so when we kick into Chris Isaak, they go nuts. Then, we segued into “Stand By Me”. The crowd ate it up again. Great applause. Seal and I hugged and I ran offstage.”

Jason took the opportunity to use the restroom, but while he did he heard Seal yelling “Where’s J Deeh? J Deeh?” from the stage. He hastily finished his business and ran back to the stage, where Seal told him, “Somebody in the audience has requested we do Prince’s “Raspberry Beret”. Do you know the chords?” Jason didn’t really know the chords, but a mic was thrust into his hand and before he know it, they were performing the song. “I just sang falsetto at the chorus and did synth parts with my voice. Unfortunately, after the performance, I’d realized that I forgot to zip up my fly.” After the show, he and Seal cooled off backstage, talking and singing snippets of songs together. About half an hour later, Jason departed for the long drive back to Montreal. As icing on the cake, his shows with the Scroll have been well received in Toronto, so he embarked on his journey home exhausted but in the best possible spirits.

Jason should get the last word here, since it is all his story. “The experience was surreal, fun, and more than I had hoped. I know most of you are wondering how Seal is in person. Well this is gonna sound like bullshit but it’s true: from the couple of nights I’ve been around him, he’s exactly what I hoped he would be. He’s just a cool cat. He’s very personable but also has a mysteriousness that is intriguing. You sense that he’s an original. The dude is gracious and the ‘real thing’ in terms of being an artist. I’m very sensitive to people who are not sincere, and I don’t feel any jadedness and insincerity in Seal. Of course, this is only from the two nights I spent with him. But I’m very proud to be a Seal fan. He really appreciates his fans and people in general. Anyway, for those who you who are interested in watching my part of the show, check it out!”

To-do list, thursday, August 15 – Cult MTL

The Mascara & Popcorn International Short Film Festival starts today with their horror-burlesque-zombie Black Carpet event. Théâtre Ste-Catherine (264 Ste-Catherine W.), 7 p.m., $15. Followed by their opening party at Cabaret Underworld with the Scroll headlining.

Halloween is coming early (if you dig film) – Cult MTL

The Mascara & Popcorn International Short Film Festival kicks off tomorrow night... The event is followed by their opening party at Cabaret Underworld that will feature local band the Scroll, who have provided tunes for the fest’s trailers and marketing campaign. I had the opportunity to chat with the Scroll’s frontman and filmmaker Jason Deeh Pitre (J. Deeh)... “They can expect a seven-piece band playing some intense electro/shoegaze/indie-type music to get you dancing,” he says. “Lately, we’ve added a sax player and it really helps our sound...

By Kayla Marie Hillier

! The Scroll Swan Soliloquy of a Deehrelict – Exclaim!

When your sound is sporadic, a level of experimentation is available to you that many other musicians are unable to touch. Such is the charm of Montreal-based the Scroll’s Swan Soliloquy of a Deehrelict. From track to track, you never know what you’re going to get. Perhaps some harsh rock, maybe some electro industrial or even some pop dance beats. The Scroll don’t just touch on a variety of musical forms, they kick the shit out of them with songs ranging from wistful, to edgy, to utterly psychotic. In concept, the album capitalises on contrast, such as overshadowing harsh concepts of sadism and brutality with beautiful vocals and melodies. Such a diabolic sense of humour carries throughout with the likes of the ironically upbeat "Gramps Kept Me in the Cellar,” the grating noise-based "My Stress in Potty Training” and the reflectively sung "How Perfectly Goddamned Delightful It All Is Too Be Sure.” Unfortunately, the erratic nature of the album is reflected in the final mixing of some tracks, proving that sometimes too much autonomy can be damaging. While this year-old, two-disc album might be one step away from perfection, one step away is still damned close.

By Mike Adair