Q&A

Unwritten Law's Scott Russo Takes Us on His Mushroom-and-Tequila Disneyland Adventure

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It's been a long time since you guys came through Phoenix. What has the band been doing and more specifically you?

It's a long story, man. With the band, we don't tour much anymore unless it's what I call vacation touring. I'll go to like Japan, Australia, Europe or somewhere that is pretty dope, and then it's half work and half play.

I've been wanting to hit up Arizona, but we just don't venture out very often. It'll be nice to get back out there; [you guys] are always good to us.

I just finished recording an acoustic record. We were on Suburban Noize, but a lot of shit happened with [them]. They were suing each other, so I pulled my band out of the label, and I am now currently shopping for a label to have the record come out on.

It's been done for about four months. We're considering maybe even not using a label and just putting it out ourselves. I've been on, like, five major labels, so I'm kind of thinking now, "Do I really want to give anyone 50 percent?" Either way, we're just looking for the right fit, and if there is a label that comes at the right time and says the right thing.

We want it out by June, since it's already finished. So, my managers are just looking to see what the best fit for the record is.

It's an acoustic record, and it's actually a double EP. There is one record which is just me and a guitar, and doing acoustic songs. Then the other record is acoustic as well, but it has beats and it has been produced -- we kind of refurbished some old songs and changed chord progressions. So yeah, it's a double EP -- one for my satisfaction, and one for the fan's satisfaction.

That begins to answer my next question of you when you write your music do you write it directed toward your fans, or is it written for you and you hope the fans fall in line with it.

It's definitely the latter. I mean, I always hope the fans fall in line, but I've never created a piece of work to try and appease anyone other than myself.

I also produce a lot of other acts, and I ghostwrite for a lot of other acts. So, I do a lot of weird shit, but the point being that when I create a piece of music I have one general law and that is to be able to play it in front of my friends and my family without any disclaimers. I think with any artist, you have to create what you feel, and if it's received well then that is a blessing. Maybe that's the longevity of Unwritten Law, because I've never created the same piece two times in a row. It might be similar thoughts, but never the same thing.

I think one of the similar thoughts between Unwritten Law albums is the dark undertones. Whether it's suicide in "Teenage Suicide" or drug abuse and abortion in "Shoulda Known Better", it is openly discussed. Do you live out the songs that you write and get inspiration for those themes through personal experience?

I definitely don't make shit up. I think in the first two records I was learning how to write, and then I wrote the song "Cailin," and that was the first song that I really meant it when I wrote it. It's not my best song, but it was my first single, and it's the first song that really connected.

The first two records I was just writing stuff that sounded cool or rhymed, but since "Cailin", I've written everything from my soul and my heart. So yeah, the answer would be yes, all the songs are very tight-knitted to my life, for sure.

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When Caleb isn't writing about music for New Times, he turns to cheesy horror movies and Jim Beam to pass the time.
Contact: Caleb Haley