Skot Kremen has been a member of the electronic groups You Shriek, Model Behavior, Project Sphere and Provocateur. He has also composed an impressive collection of solo recordings which you can explore here. I sat down with Slot recently to talk about his earliest musical memories, how he began composing songs and the process of making his E.P. “Ukraine” and album “Eulogy”. 

What’s the first music you remember hearing as a child and what musical artist made the biggest impact on you when you were growing up? 

Growing up, my dad was really into opera and the first music that I remember hearing was Der Ring des Nibelungen by Wanger. It was great to grow up with alot of classical music in the house, because it gave me the idea of a narrative. My Mom used to listen to alot of stuff from the 60s and the 70s, so things like the Mommas and the Pappas, The Beatles, the Beach Boys and things like that. Pretty standard fare. But between those two influences, being so different, I learned a lot about arrangement and harmony both in a traditional context as well as a pop-sensible one.



When did you first start playing instruments? How did that turn into composing your own songs? 

I started playing instruments when I was about 7 years old. It started with piano lessons, which honestly was always a bit tedious. But as I started playing more, I found that I could come up with my own things on the piano. I’m glad that was where I started because I got a sense of how to compose in both the high and low registers.

Eventually, I moved toward electronic music. I was huge into FM synthesis, not only because it was big at the time, but also because it wasn’t sample based. I really liked that. Every sound I created was unique to me. Especially when I was young (around 14 or so), that just felt amazing. A lot of my early music sounded like a combination of Skinny Puppy and Kitaro. It was weird.

Later on, I started playing the drums. I wasn’t very good, but it was punk rock and you could sort of get away with it. I grew up in the New Brunswick area in New Jersey and punk rock is huge here. I got to play with people who now ended up being somewhat famous. During this time, I also sung in a bunch of bands that sounded a lot like Slowdive. During this time, I was trying to find my voice. It definitely wasn’t there yet.

Then, when I was going to college, I moved up to Boston, where I was in a ton of electronic bands and I Joined a band called You Shriek, we were somewhat well known in certain circles. In You Shriek, we each played electronic drums, keyboards and a stringed instrument. It seemed like the easiest one to learn would be bass and I fell in love with it instantly. But then, as I started playing bass and I noticed that my writing tended to start containing the instruments that I could play, but it did need guitar so I taught myself how to play guitar. With bass and piano, I took lessons so I can be pretty traditional at times. With guitar, I’m completely self-taught so my guitar playing definitely isn’t traditional.


What was the writing and recording process like for your latest E.P. “Ukraine”?  Any specific gear you used that really stood out in getting your sounds? 

The recording process for Ukraine happened really quickly as I’ve been really effected by what’s going on over there and I needed to get my emotions out musically. Lyrics don’t really come easily to be, but this time it just really flowed out of me. All of my family came from the region, so it’s definitely a hot subject for me.

In terms of gear, I used my two favorite guitars, I have a Rickenbacker 360 with stereo outs. It’s a great for lead sounds. The other one is a Jagmaster it’s a combo Jazzmaster / Jaguar Squier from Japan. It sounds chunky and fantastic. I played both of these guitars through a Roland JC-120, which has a fantastic built-in chorus and a Vox AC-15 which I’ve had since I was a kid.  The bass on this album is fretless Fender Jazz. There’s not much you have to do to it, it just sounds great. I have a Roland V-drum kit, with some drums that I sampled the hell out of. It’s a really fun kit to play.

In terms of the mixing, that all happened in the box recorded in Logic using all the Universal Audio plugins. I grew up mixing in studios with the actual gear that these are emulating. The UA SSL plugins sound as close to using an SSL G console as I could get without having a $100,000 mixing board in my studio.

How did the cover for you album “Eulogy” come about? 

So, my sister died in 2016. We were very close. She had cancer and because I didn’t want my parents to have to deal with any of the details of losing a daughter, I did everything from buying the coffin to identifying the body after death. Due to the nature of the business of someone dying, I didn’t have time to grieve. Since I’m Jewish, the funeral happened like two days later. I wrote my eulogy for the funeral and went to sit shiva. What that means is that you mourn and do nothing else for seven days. It was very hard for me to do. By the end of each day, I could hardly speak. So when I got home, instead of going to bed, I went into the studio every night and wrote a piece of music, completely stream of consciousness and I didn’t listen to it. That’s why each of the songs are labeled as days 1-7. It’s a sonic diary of what I was going through at the time. Even still it’s hard for me to listen to it all the way through.

The cover is a collection of pictures and photos that I took with my sister at different meaningful points when we were together. The idea behind the cover being split down the side shows how she’s in a place separate from me now. The blurry textures are photos that we took together in Paris and Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Ma.


If you could do a score for any film director who would it be and what would it be about? 

Aww man, if I could pick any director, I think that it’d have to be John Hughes. But it’d have to be closer to the some kind of wonderful side of him (not the sixteen candles side). Ideally, I’d love to see him do a reimagining of The Wizard of OZ that takes place in a middle class part of Illinois without the magic. God only knows what the music would be like. Lots of Ebow guitar and big sounding drums.. especially for the witch parts.

What’s next for you? Any upcoming releases, projects etc etc? 

I have a few songs done for my next solo EP, I just got a new guitar that I want to take out for a spin on some of these. I don’t know if it’ll work, but it’ll be interesting trying. I’ve also got a Milestar EP which I’m just finishing up, which is my electronic project. This EP, is all based on the internal workings of different types of mechanical watches. It’s very tick-tocky. There’s a place near where I live that has been trying to get me to do an electronic set of my milestar stuff. I’ve never played those songs in front of a crowd, so I guess that we’ll just see what happens as far as that goes..