In October 2021, Rick West and Scotty Malcom delivered an outpour of eclectic, cohesive energy with their new album “Rick & Scotty’s Secret Color’‘. Rich in polyphonic texture and the use of shakers, blues guitars, and groovy bass riffs, this album has a distinctly elevated sense of DIY creativity.
Following the duo’s previous release of “Rick & Scotty’s Mind Melt Tape”, in April 2021, which was fully recorded on cassette tapes, this record was the first digitally created project Rick West had ever made. Secret Color, like the Mind Melt Tape, was recorded here in Nashville in Rick West’s home studio.
The album art is an alluring reflection of the audible imagery of this record. The painting was created by Nico Haag, an artist Rick found on Instagram, and he was immediately inspired by his work. Rick found his artistry to be a fitting for the tone of the record, and the art was a perfect fit for a world these songs could live in.
The album cover to fits the ambience both visibly and audibly. The cow in the cover is reminiscent of a song by the late Daniel Johnston, which is a clear sonic inspiration throughout the record.
“Rick & Scotty’s Secret Color” is a novel record combining the vigor of surf rock and underground indie, and the clarity of talent on this record is undeniable.
The album has a sonic combination of Daniel Johnston, surf rock, and the occasional Mario kart sounding electronic work. Then the album takes a turn when we hear “Stones”, which sounds like an actual song by The Rolling Stones. What was the process of making the song, and where did the inspiration come from?
Stones is definitely one of my favorites on the record! When Scotty showed me the progression initially, we just felt right off the bat that it had a Rolling Stones vibe to it, so we decided to be intentional with the influence of style, instrumentation, and especially the vocals on this one. Scotty really tapped into the one lead vocal take that is on the song, wearing sunglasses and talk singing the verses, to screaming at the top of his lungs in the choruses. I think we really tapped into something special on this one. We titled it “Stones” to pay clear respect to the stones, as well as the concept of “rolling those stones away” or leaving your burdens behind that hold you down.
There is a ton of audible imagery in all of your songs, but especially with “Harmony”. How do you come up with the ideas for all of these sounds? What is the story behind creating this song and adding it to the record?
“Harmony” was definitely the oddball of the record, and I love the way that it breaks up the rock and roll aspects of the rest of the album, as well as where it lays right in the middle of it all. It’s like the checkpoint in a video game that lets you know you’re getting close to the end (the answer). This was actually a track that Scotty made for a Harmony class project at Berklee, thus the title ‘Harmony.’ When he jokingly showed it to me, I immediately knew it had to be on the album.
Covering early 2000’s songs performed by women seems to be an endearing habit of yours. Often when performing live you cover the Fergie hit, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, and on this record we hear your cover of “Suddenly I See” by KT Tunstall. Why are your renditions of these covers just so fitting?
I love rearranging covers rather than keeping them close to the original. A band I had in high school was full of cover songs that I would rewrite to spice up, so I’ve always enjoyed doing that. It’s exciting to put an alternative spin on 2000s pop hits especially. The “Suddenly I See” cover seemed to fit the concept of the record quite well too, so I’m glad that was the cover we ended up sitting on after thinking through options for a cover.
What is the story of the album’s conception, and what is your secret color?
The album concept was based mostly around the idea of always searching for something that is right in front of you. The “secret color” isn’t really even a color, it’s an idea of something that doesn’t even truly exist. We always seem to want answers to questions we already know, and there’s a beauty in finding that.
If I had to pick a secret color it would probably be blue, which isn’t even my favorite color, but I like how obvious it is, which ties in with the theme of the record.
LISTEN TO “RICK & SCOTTY’S SECRET COLOR” ON SPOTIFY HERE
“Rick & Scotty’s Secret Color” release date: 10.22.21
Image Credits: Adam Alonzo