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Chief Scout is Trey Rosenkampff. The Suwanee, GA native has been playing music all of his life. Now, having forgone college, Trey has adopted the Chief Scout moniker and is embarking on the next step in his musical journey. Working alone and with songwriters like James Petralli, of White Denim, Trey has crafted songs that are fast and aggressive, wrapped in a comfortable psychedelic texture, all the while underscored with the twang and jangle of a songwriter born in the South.
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What is your earliest memory where you’re playing music? Did you grow up in a household where other people were learning instruments or did your interest not really take form until your teen years?
My parents weren’t musically “inclined” but I remember listening to music with my parents growing up; my dad was really into Springsteen and U2. I started taking guitar around 7 years old and after that all I listened to was The Allman Brothers and Neil Young and The Beatles. My dad used to drive me to play open mic nights all over Atlanta as soon as I could play a few songs. I’d go cover Allman Brothers or America or something and I’d be the only 10 year old there at the bar. So I was the only one playing instruments, but music has always been a large part of my life.
Your first EP as Chief Scout was an ambitious undertaking; heading to Austin to work with James Petralli of White Denim, recording nearly all the instrumentation yourself… What was the experience of working with James like? I understand you met him while you were involved with a project pre-Chief Scout?
I met James while I was opening up for White Denim with my first band, yeah. We got to hang with all the WD dudes on that tour and we hit it off, they are insanely talented players and great guys. James is someone who I hold in very high regard, we had more fun in those few weeks of recording than I’ve ever had in a studio. He’s as crazy as I am so it was fun to just have someone working with you to encourage you to try everything and anything. I would play some weird keyboard part or sing a random harmony in between takes and he would immediately pop his head in and say “hey, let’s track that real quick.” It ended up teaching me a lot about the direction in which I wanted to move and how to carry myself as a musician.
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The pace has picked up for you the past year, between your first SXSW showcases to shows alongside JEFF the Brotherhood, The Weeks, X Ambassadors, and more.. What are some of the more memorable moments from these last few months?
We went on the best tour EVER with our best buddies in Heyrocco and Concord America in January, there are more memories from that tour than I could even start to list off. SXSW was incredible — it was our first time playing it and we had a few special incidents including one that involved John (The drummer from Concord America), some MD 20/20s, a ditch, and the cops. You’re gonna have to ask him for the full story. Actually, ask the other ConAm dudes because John probably doesn’t remember any of it.
You’ll be releasing a follow up to your debut EP later this month.. Did you head back to Austin to work with James again or do things a bit differently? Comparatively, what are the differences you see in the two releases?
Actually the EP we’re releasing is a bit of a retrospective look at the first few years of Chief Scout. Two of the songs on the EP are from the Austin sessions, the other three were written and recorded in Athens. There’s a very big time gap between the two sessions and a variety of collaborators but there’s still the underlying factor that it’s all Chief Scout that ties it together. It was cool to be able to experiment that heavily to find the sound that I really wanted.
When the band isn’t out on the road, what’s occupying the time spent in Athens and where should we plan to hang out the next time we make it to town?
We like to do what everyone else in Athens does, namely drink too much and sleep on our friends’ couches. The coolest couches in town are at Ashlyn’s and The Grandmas’ House. You can’t go there but that’s where we hang. If you do go to Athens though you have to go to an infamous Rowdy Dowdy party, or if it’s 1:45 and you think you can cram a couple more bad decisions into your night, Church Bar is fun.
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You all just started a short run around the East Coast to promote the new EP, most notably closing it out with a show in Savannah with X Ambassadors and Dreamers. What are you most looking forward to about returning to Savannah?
It’s actually not a return — I’ve surprisingly never played in Savannah in the few years I’ve been touring. But I’ve heard great things about shows there. I’m most excited about the beach though! Plus apparently Hangfire is very generous with band beer, which for us is dangerous. Anticipate a very rowdy time if you come to that show.
The “Oh Shit” music video looked like it was a complete blast to film – what’s the story behind it?
The directors are from Dominar Films, it’s they’re a Athens-based production company we met through some mutual friends. They came up with the concept, we cast it very specifically, we shot it in 3 days, and then they took about a week and a half to edit it. They KILLED it for us, I was blown away when I first saw it. I mean the concept was ridiculous, it was so ambitious of them, but they completely pulled it off far and above expectations. The video itself follows the song surprisingly closely in meaning.
What’s the #1 thing the world needs to know about Chief Scout in 2015?
WE NEED PLACES TO STAY ON TOUR. THANKS.
CHIEF SCOUT SPRING 2015 TOUR DATES
5/4 • DC @ Rock N Roll Hotel w/ X Ambassadors
5/5 • Charlotte, NC @ Snug Harbor
5/6 • Asheville, NC @ Mothlight w/ X Ambassadors
5/7 • Savannah, GA @ Hangfire w/ A Ambassadors
5/9 • Rowdy Dowdy
CHIEF SCOUT – “OH SHIT” OFFICIAL VIDEO