Mama loving, beer drinking, out on tour, and still having the time of their lives describes Artifas to a tee. Let’s go, brother, bottoms up!
Scottie Somerville (vocals), Cody Criswell (guitar), Mikey Miller (guitar), Anthony Mattox (bass), and Jared Wainscott (drums) make up a little band from Memphis, Tennessee that you’ll be hearing about sooner rather then later, Artifas. Riding high with some great touring news, Scottie gave a few minutes to National Rock Review to talk about that, possible new music, and the hazards of Bogart’s in Cincinnati, OH. After you get through with the interview, head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you thought or hit our Twitter page and use your 144 with grave import.
NRR: Thanks for taking some time out to answer some questions for National Rock Review. What’s been going on with the band, Artifas, so far in 2016?
Scottie Somerville: We have done a few one off shows in Tennessee and Michigan, but most of the new year we have spent preparing for this upcoming tour with our friends in The Veer Union, Bobaflex, and Bridge to Grace!
NRR: Recently, a guy from some band called NoMara was seen in an Artifas shirt. When other musicians like Kelly wear your merch, what’s that say to you?
Scottie Somerville: It shows the support and respect that artists have for each other. We do this first and foremost because we are fans of music, because it reaches the depths of who we are. We can never be too proud to appreciate the great art your peers and other artists around you are creating.
NRR: You are out or about to be with The Veer Union. How did that come about and are you guys stoked to be hitting the road?
Scottie Somerville: Yes, we are super stoked to be hitting the road with The Veer Union. Our management contacted us around the end of 2015 while we were out on the road with Theory of a Deadman and informed us we would be going out with The Veer Union. We were fans of these guys from when they released “Seasons” a few years ago, so we are really looking forward to touring with these guys!
NRR: How did the group come together and and what’s the skinny on the group’s moniker if there is a good story behind it?
Scottie Somerville: The group came together from years of playing in the scene together. Growing up in the West TN music scene, you learn quick who the ones who are ready to risk it all for their dream are and the ones that aren’t. I think Cody, Anthony, and I always knew we would join forces and conquer the world one day. Mikey and Jared both auditioned for the band about two years ago, and blew us away. Their heart and dedication was exactly what we were looking for.
NRR: We’ve recently lost a few big names in music starting with Scott Weiland and Lemmy to Bowie and Fry passing as well. Is longevity the dividing line between being a rock legend and a guy that lived way too fast? Did any of those very talented artists have any influence in your own careers or shared the stage with you at some point?
Scottie Somerville: I think rock legends are legends because of the effect their music has on the masses. Whether that line be longevity like David Bowie or short lived like Kurt Cobain, the music lives on forever. We never had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Lemmy or Bowie or Weiland, but I did get a chance to see Weiland sharing the stage with STP before he passed.
NRR: Tell me about Lovers Are Lunatics. How did that process happen and what does it mean for the band?
Scottie Somerville: It started when one of us shared a picture in one of their shirts. They shared it on their page and it just took off from there. Lover Are Lunatics is owned by Jacoby Shaddix from Papa Roach, who we are all huge fans of, and Jeffrey Henry. It definitely adds to the exposure of the band.
NRR: For a new fan listening to you music for the first time, is there one or two things that you’re really proud of and hope they hear it that way as well?
Scottie Somerville: Each track we poured all of our feelings and emotions into from start to finish. Everyone interprets songs differently. We hope that these songs tap into the fan’s raw emotions.
NRR: You were in the studio about this time last year. Any hints at some new tracks coming soon or are you guys going to wait until the end of the tour before you worry about new material?
Scottie Somerville: We definitely all have our own song ideas. Inhuman will be a year old in July so we are still focusing on it so it will definitely be after the 2016 year.
NRR: Is there a moment, that thinking back on it now, in the your career, either with prior stops or with the band now, that you can’t help but still feel a tad bit embarrassed about, makes you laugh about despite yourself, or just still makes you shake your head in disbelief? A Spinal Tap moment if you will, that you’d be willing to share with me?
Scottie Somerville: One night when we were out with Saint Asonia, we were playing at Bogarts in Cincinnati. This was a scene straight out of Spinal Tap! Every night during our song “Blood for Blood,” I would jump down in the crowd and get everyone jumping and moving around. Then I would make my way back to the stage and finish the song.
That night I got in deep and ended up having to make my way to the side entrance to backstage in order to get to the stage. This was no easy task, for me at least, (laughing). To get to the actual stage, there is a maze of hallways and stairs underground and through the green rooms. Needless to say… I got lost! I finally made a security guy lead me back to the stage. When I finally made it back I was beat and out of breathe and I could see the look of fear in my band members eyes as I made it back. All went well after that, but that’s a moment I’ll never forget.
NRR: Do the big US festivals like the Carolina Rebellion and say Rock on the Range hold a different feel to then that just makes them a bit more special for a band like you guys if you were to play them or any of the Loudest Month In Music shows? Or is there a different festival that you think would be a better fit for the band?
Scottie Somerville: I think these festivals would be huge for us, as well as a perfect fit. The fans the attend these festivals are the fans we are looking to gain. So keep an eye out for us, cause we will be showing up with guns blazing!
NRR: How does the group go through the writing process, is it all one person doing the lion’s share with help or is it a group effort from start to finish?
Scottie Somerville: All of us write individual ideas and snippets, and sometimes even whole songs. But the real magic happens when we bring these ideas together. We prefer to write together and bounce ideas back and forth between each other. We really work well together creatively.
NRR: Were there any big mma/UFC fans in the group before one of your songs was used as a walkout song and if so who do you guys follow?
Scottie Somerville: I don’t think any of us were just huge fans of UFC or mma. We all like it and really enjoy watching people beat the shit out of people.
NRR: Check out Daron Cruickshank, he’s a beloved son of Detroit. What is one or two of the biggest lessons you’ve earn learned by choice or had to learn the hard way for the band?
Scottie Somerville: Always get a contract and don’t pay for work that isn’t done. The biggest lesson to learn in this business in my opinion, how to manage your money, and to surround yourself and your business with people that you trust. We have been burned a lot, mostly in the early stages, but I’ve learned that the business and music will only go as far as the team that you have with you!
NRR: You are from a part of the country known for alcoholic alchemy. Is there a drink of choice for the band and if not I know a few people over at Coldcock Whiskey, (laughing)?
Scottie Somerville: Lagunitas. Try their beer… it WILL get you drunk!