One of Charlotte's Must-Hear Bands Going Into 2016 (Scott Lowder and the Vapers Interview)

It seems like every  time you turn on your radio a new style of music has knocked yesterday’s top genre out of dominance. Music is changing at a rapid pace; maybe that’s due to the fans always craving something new, tiring of the tunes that were released just a week earlier. I’m not a big fan a of a lot of the newer styles, but there is some stuff to like out there. A band from Charlotte, NC by the name of Scott Lowder and the Vapers has recently came to my attention; their sound is captivating, original and full of emotion as the lyrics tell stories that are worth listening to, unlike almost all of today’s top 40 hits.

If your ears are craving some new music then give this band a listen. The group is classified as alt country and rock, but while the group’s music flows out of the speakers and your mind absorbs all the sounds you are hearing, a feeling of nostalgia creeps into your brain. To me, these songs take me on a journey back to the mid-nineties when rock and alternative started to clash and create timeless music that never seems to get old. Of course, you can also hear hints of classic rock and even some pop mixed in as well, making this trio one of the more unique and creative in the area.

The chord progressions combined with the tight rhythm section make for a very catchy sound that is be hard to quit listening to, the lyrics, though, seem to be the main focus of the music. The first single from the outfit, titled “B (The Ghost of You),” is a very emotional track that holds a special place is in the heart of main songwriter/vocalist/guitarist Scott Lowder. When asked about the story behind the lyrics he had this to say:

“I had a really great friend named Annie in high school. She and I spent a lot of time together when I lived up in Pittsburgh. She was going through a tough time losing her grandfather and she used to wear his hat all the time. So we kind of had each other to get through some tough times. When I graduated, she and I lost touch. I found out that she had moved out to Utah to do some social work. After a little while out there, she was driving her motorcycle late and night and was hit head on by a tractor trailer and lost her life. This song was written as a tribute to her.”

I was able to do Q & A with the group via email, which you can check out below. All three members chimed in at times and provided some really cool stories, and insight, to what makes the band tick.

S16: You guys have a sound that kind of blends into a few different genres and stands out compared to most other groups in the Charlotte area. What would you say is the biggest influence to your style and sound?

Scott: I have quite a few influences, but I would say the biggest ones the influenced me in this set of songs would have to be Ryan Adams, Oasis, Elton John, Counting Crows, and Butch Walker.

Jason: It all comes back to a Steely Dan mentality for me. Not so much with rotating musicians aspect, but for sure with trying to use the studio as an “emotional laboratory” for creating really unique sounds and applying them to the pop format. I think I just dream of creating a 2015 version of “Home at Last” off of ‘Aja’.

Gavin: My biggest influence for the Vapers is probably Darren King from Mutemath. He’s a spectacular drummer that at times can be flashy, but overall he’s very tasteful and does everything he can to complement the band.

S16: Did you have a certain style in mind when you started the band?

Scott: When we began this band, I really wanted to make it a collaborative effort. To do that, we didn’t really force any style or genre into our writing process. We also utilized a lot of our extremely talented musician friends around the area to contribute to the album we’re working on as well.

Gavin: As a drummer, I try to approach this band like the drummers that have played for Damien Rice have. There’s also some ‘90s influence of how I play stylistically.

Jason:  Americana, but it’s already evolving away from that.

S16: Being from the Charlotte area, I’m sure you’ve seen some of the other talented musicians and bands that call the Queen City home. Do you have any favorite Charlotte based groups?

Scott: There are a few bands that I’ve worked with in my studio that are really great. I’d say my favorites are Cherbough Way and Voodoo Drifters.

Jason: Bless These Sounds Under the City are my spirit animal.

Gavin: My favorite band in the Charlotte area is Hectorina. Bless These Sounds Under the City are one of my favorites too. Both bands have members that are really professional and they are all around cool guys too.

S16: The songwriting process is different for every musician, how do the tunes for this band come about? Do you concentrate on the music first, then come back to the lyrics or vice versa? Is there a specific member that does most of the writing?

Scott: I do a lot of the primary songwriting. I usually have some sort of melody in my head first, and I write the chord progressions around that melody which sometimes makes for a lot of chord changes, haha. When I have a melody written, I’ll put lyrics to it. When I have a ‘shell’ of a song done, I’ll bring it to the guys for their thoughts and input. And we’ll decide together whether it is worth working on it further, or putting it on the shelf. I’ve written around 30 or 40 songs for this upcoming album. We’re still making decisions on what will make the final 10-12.

S16: Other than the single, “Drowning” is the only other original tune you guys have on your website and social media pages. When can we expect some more music to be released?

Scott: We plan on doing a proper release of a single in the next month or so for a song called ‘Overdue’. After that, we’ll be putting the final touches on the full length album, which will most likely be released in early 2016.

S16: What about any big shows coming up?

Scott: We’re playing at Rudi’s in Belmont, NC on Oct 3, The Actor’s Theatre in Charlotte on Oct 10 which is a Benefit concert with all proceeds going to aid domestic violence victims, and we’re doing a Halloween show on Oct 30 at Crown Station in Charlotte.

S16: Speaking of shows, what are some of your favorite venues you’ve played at, or would possibly like to play at one day?

Scott: I’m a huge fan of the Visulite, the Evening Muse, and we always have fun playing at Zoe’s in Gastonia, NC (our hometown). There are so many places I’d like to play, but Red Rocks, or really any bigger amphitheater would definitely work for me.

Jason: Red Rocks in Denver as well as the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles have always been two I’d want to play at. But I’d be happy to play the Orange Bowl and eat at the really good burrito place nearby.

If you live in are around the Charlotte area, and are a fan of really great music – it is in your best interest to check out Scott Lowder and the Vapers. With a unique sound containing elements of rock, alt country and soulful pop, this band has a sound that is hard not to like. Make sure to visit their social media pages to catch up on any new music and see when and where they’ll be playing at in the coming months.



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