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Vitae & The Pale Horse

Artists on Trial: Scott Chaffin

(Photo by Chad Cogdill)

Recently, we caught up with Scott Chaffin, the manic musical mind behind Chocolate Velvet, Vitae & the Pale Horse, and The Black Bullet Promise. He also writes and edits for another awesome local music blog called Kill Your TV KC. Here are his thoughts on one of his latest musical releases (Humans by Chocolate Velvet), a Beefheart-Beethoven marble sandwich, and mistake-free art.

The Deli
: Gun to your head, 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?

Scott Chaffin: It's trashy bedroom pop and indie funk played by a man raised on classic rock, new wave, early hip-hop, and old-school punk.

The Deli
: Let’s talk about what you have coming up. What can we expect?

Scott: Humans is my newest album which is part of a bigger work unofficially titled The Monster Trilogy. It is the final installment of the three LPs. The first two installments, Vampires and Zombies, were released this year as well. Each album was written around a concept/story and each hopefully expresses some social or existential relevance. The basic sound of the LPs revolves around a genre of music I refer to as trash pop. Trash pop, for me, is the culmination of decades of music ingested and then regurgitated through DIY standards and passion. I can use pieces of hip-hop, classical, classic rock, punk... whatever fits the song, and then remodel it as trash pop. A few close fans have expressed that The Monster Trilogy is my finest songwriting to date. It certainly is the songwriting I'm currently most proud of. A listener will hopefully experience real moments of unfiltered emotion colliding into deeply personal and weirdly one-of-a-kind songwriting.

The Deli: What does "supporting local music" mean to you?

Scott: Seeking out the talented musicians in the area in which you live and downloading their music, going to their shows, and buying their merch. I complained and whined about the community of local musicians for a long time because I really felt that the community was either nonexistent or grossly elitist. Then I had an epiphany; if I really felt that there was no community then I should help create a community. If I really felt that the community was elitist then I had to help bring the smaller, talented projects to the forefront. So, I muscled my way into Kill Your TV and declared myself the unofficial music editor. Now, I spend my time seeking out local bands on Bandcamp and other Internet sites (I prefer Bandcamp), contacting them in an attempt to implore them to help me form a more inclusive and definable Kansas City music community. It won't hurt the more known local acts to embrace the smaller ones. We need Kansas City audiences to get even more interested in ALL KC music and really pour their support into their favorite bands and take chances seeking out new local bands.

The Deli: Who are your favorite "local" musicians right now?

Scott: Oobergeek, The ACB's, Grenadina, Ddean Cassidy, Merriweather, Kitten Tits, Dolls on Fire, Deco Auto, Elsa Rae, Man Bear, Calvary Kevlar Calvary, Let's Talk, Sports, The Quivers, Molly Picture Club... I'm sure I left someone out! After really delving into the local music scene I have found that KC could really be the next "it" town. What would it take? All of these great local musicians elevating each other! Showing the world we have a real community that values good music over precious egos.

The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?

Scott: Tom Waits, Guards, Hospitality, Monster Rally, Harlem, feel alright, The Roots, Beach House, Mayon, Service:Fair, Radiator Hospital, and I LOVE Karen Dalton (weeps a bit when he types her name).

The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?

Scott: I don't think of that to be honest. I have recently come to the realization that each and every performance is my ultimate fantasy. I put every part of myself into my music and performances. Wherever I'm playing I hope that the audience will be able to feel all the raw emotion that I feel. That the audience will experience the rush of energy and want their brains to explode into a thousand pieces exactly like my brain is exploding playing the music! If that answer doesn't suffice then I would say an all day FREE KC local music festival featuring bands hand-picked by me!

The Deli: Would you rather spend the rest of your life on stage or in the recording studio?

Scott: Recording studio. I prefer to be where music is made. The stage, IMO, is where music is interpreted and sold through performance. I love performing but I almost never see it as creating music. When music is performed, people remember the spectacle. When music is recorded, it's archived and distributed for the interpretation of the listener. Therefore, I see recording as a purer form of the ultimate message because of its portability and unfiltered construction.

The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?

Scott: Bob Dylan. Johnny Rotten. Captain Beefheart. Beethoven.

Each one was an innovator, a poet, and they were all most likely deeply understood. Dylan did it with words. Johnny Rotten did it with attitude. Beefheart did it with imagery. Beethoven did it with emotion.

The Deli: All right, give us the rundown. Where all on this big crazy web can you be found?

: Chocolate Velvet: www.chocolatevelvet.bandcamp.com
Vitae & The Pale Horse: www.vitaeandthepalehorse.bandcamp.com
The Black Bullet Promise: www.theblackbulletpromise.bandcamp.com
And you can read my reviews/stories and listen to compilations of my favorite KC artists at www.killyourtvkc.com.

The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?

Scott: Buy a guitar and make your own music and post it online for free! Send it to Kill Your TV KC! Don't think about HOW it should sound! Make it sound the way you feel! There are no mistakes in art. Just be yourself and as long as you don't hurt anyone, be exactly as weird as you feel! You only have one life: use it.

Scott's a busy guy. He recently released Moan with Chocolate Velvet, an EP of unreleased songs from The Monster Trilogy. His newest project, Slum Party, will be making its debut on Saturday, December 15 at the Kill Your TV Awards show at Club 906 in Liberty.

--Zach Hodson

Zach is a lifetime Kansas City resident who plays multiple instruments and sings in Dolls on Fire and Drew Black and Dirty Electric, as well as contributing to many other Kansas City music, art, and comedy projects.  He is very fond of edamame, treats his cat Wiley better than he treats himself, and doesn't want to see pictures of your newborn child (seriously, it looks like a potato).

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Kill Your TV local music compilation



A new KC music compilation has been released by Kill Your TV, a new local music and art blog. Features artists including The ACBs, Deco Auto, Molly Picture Club, Dolls on Fire, and Vitae and the Pale Horse. Check it out here!


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