I knew this guy, years ago, who was brown haired, brown eyed, and exuded such an intense energy that you hoped some would rub so you could cram for your final. We grew up in the same North Florida town. If it sounds like I had a crush on Scott Melker in high school, I didn’t. Honest. He and the others in his class were like Titans to us freshman who had yet to hit puberty. We watched them rule the halls of suburbia before Glee or High School Musical mass produced such qualities. My classmates hoped one day we could be as cool, that we could prove we were in the same species as his class, if ever reached that exalted status of being seniors.
Graduation loomed and we went our separate ways.
Scott went on to to finish an Ivy League degree which transformed into becoming a mashup and remix artist. Me, after a few more years of awkward teenage angst, on to state run universities for a PhD with interests in writing and the Middle East. Yet, decades later, we’re in the same tribe, this time not of dystopia, pimples and pep rallies, but of creativity. One I’m much happier to share.
He now takes the songs we love and turns them into songs you will love even more. Like any cool guy, he’s got a million nicknames, including Johnny Cashin’ Out, Skeetwood Mac, Booty Huxtable, Skeevie Tricks, A$AP Scotty, Holla Peño, Melkradamus, Melka Flocka Flame, Ricky Exit-Row-Zay, Lil’ Yung Melks.
I caught up with Scott a few days after the launch of his second longest mix, The Melker Project 2, to talk about his unusual journey into creating music.
Check out the samples of his work below and his advice for partying with co-workers (worth a read before the holidays!).
How would you describe your music words or less? It can really be described in 2 words – organized chaos.
Try to describe yourself in one sentence. Wasted Ivy League education.
How would your friends describe you in 20 words or less? Reliable, trustworthy, fun. Also insane, rebellious, ADHD, loud, sometimes obnoxious.
Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world? New York City, of course. That’s why I live there!
Did you have support for your decision to be creative? Yes – I am fortunate to have understanding parents and supportive family and friends. My parents didn’t flinch when I graduated from Penn and decided to pursue music. They have flown all over the world to hear me play.
Do you have a day job? The short answer is no. I have not had a boss in nearly a decade. However, I do work as a consultant for numerous businesses, doing various music related projects. I work with legitmix.com, which is a company that has revolutionized the remix industry – they allow DJs and producers to sell their remixes legally. It’s mind blowing. I also handle music programming for Flywheel, which is an international, upscale indoor cycling studio.
What’s your creative process? It really depends on the project. When I am doing a full-length mix like this, I try to identify a basic concept and create a skeleton of core songs and remixes that I want to use. However, as I build the project, most of the best parts are created on the fly. For me, inspiration comes at unexpected moments, and often from trial and error. I am also limited by access to a cappella versions of songs. Finding stripped down vocals is very difficult, so I can only work with what I can dig up.
For an individual remix, I usually know exactly what I want to do. For example, when I composed “Dirt Of Your Shoulders Vs. Born To Die,” I wanted to pair Lana Del Rey with an iconic Hip-Hop anthem, and I envisioned Jay-Z’s voice sounding perfect over her brooding vocals. The challenge was creating a beat that would enhance the samples and loops that I had chosen from Born To Die.
Do you mix a laptop/desktop or a studio? I have a home studio, and use both a laptop and desktop to create my music. I also still use turntables for a majority of my work, which is definitely rare these days. Most of my recording and remixing is done into Ableton Live.
Do you have any advice for other artists? Ask yourself this question – would you continue to pursue your art full time if you were not making money? If the answer is yes, then keep going. If not, find something to do that will turn that answer into a yes.
Where to find The Melker Project: