Already on his fourth pint, and sporting a mop of hair that wouldn’t be out of place in a 1980’s hair metal video, Scott Andrews looks every bit the rock star when we meet early one Sunday afternoon in a Cardiff pub.
With tales of a debauched night on the tiles, resulting in the loss of his phone, to explain why he’s been out of contact for the past day, Scott seems to be on fine form.
“I was in Metro’s last night and I’ve left my phone and jacket there. It’s becoming a weekly occurrence.”
Having been a permanent fixture on the South Wales music scene for over a decade, firstly with Midasuno and now Exit International, Scott knows a thing or two about causing chaos.
Before he gets into endless stories of smashing windows with pressure washers and band members offending legendry producers, I manage to settle Scott into a booth and find out about where it all began.
Hailing from Merthyr Tydfil, Scott’s love affair with the heavier end of music began at a young age.
“Matthew, who was Midasuno’s drummer, his brother used to make us mixtapes. He was a very influential figure. Things like Nirvana, the Chilli Peppers and The Cult. I wanted to be Duff from Guns n Roses but my dad bought me a guitar when I was eleven and my bass playing dreams were quashed!”
“I joined a covers band called Hot Rats and went on tour to Austria when I was 15. That’s where it all began really.”
Scott went on to form Midasuno in 1998, at the age of 16. All dyed black hair and eyeliner, the band were unlikely to blend in easily in the harsh post-industrial landscape of the South Wales Valleys.
“It’s a village mentality. If you haven’t got a rugby shirt on, you’re fucked!”
“I see guys in Merthyr now dressed like Russell Brand and I think you fucking bastard! I was wearing weird clothes and being a pain in your arse years ago but because some dude’s on the telly it’s ok to dress like that now.”
The band went on to build up a die-hard following in South Wales and further afield. But the big breakthrough, which always seemed to be on the horizon, always eluded them. After two record deals, an on-the-road diary written by Welsh author Rachel Trezise and a string of high profile shows; Midasuno split in 2007.
“We were gutted it didn’t take off. I always thought we could have been the British My Chemical Romance.” Says Scott, clearly still affected by the bands demise
“Towards the end we were writing very big, epic songs and I don’t think they quite got the recognition they deserved.
But Scott didn’t leave it too long before embarking on his next musical venture, Exit International, with local music producer Fudge Wilson.
Exit International, Scott Andrews far right
“I’m a massive Nirvana fan and we heard The Melvins, one of Kurt Cobain’s favourite bands, were playing in the Barfly. We decided to form a band to get the support slot. We got the gig but our slot got cancelled at the last minute. We’d had a lot of fun though so we decided to keep it going.
After a slot at Reading and Leeds this year and a new album on the way things are looking good for the band. But the chaotic nature of Scott’s former band doesn’t seem to have disappeared, as a recent encounter with legendry Pixies and Nirvana producer, Steve Albini goes to show.
“We sent some demos to Steve Albini as a joke really, but he got in touch and was interested in working with us. He rang our bassist a little too early in the morning though and he said ‘fuck off I’m sleeping!’ There goes our chance of working with Steve Albini.”
With Exit International’s debut in the works, and a tour in support of Monster Magnet, Scott also has a Christmas reunion show with his old band Midasuno to think about.
“Somebody told me one of our songs had been used on a trailer for district 13. I wanted to know if there was any money in it so I looked into it.”
“I didn’t tell the rest of the band as I was going to surprise them. They thought I was being underhand about it and we had a massive falling out. Anyway, we all got some money and the reunion came from that really.”
Despite the reunion, Scott doesn’t seem to have let anything slip with his current band. As I ask about their plans for the next year, Scott’s fiery ambition shows no signs of slowing up.
“I want to wind the UK press up into thinking we’re a hype band. You know you get those lists in NME in January. Bands for 2011. I want to be one those bands. You look back at those lists and you’ll be surprised how many of those bands turn into nothing. If we get the chance, we’ll do something with it. We’ll devastate people!”
A shortened version of this interview was originally published on the Guardian Cardiff website.