For Denny and Kenny Scott, the accomplished songwriters and performers in L.A. five-piece Echo Jet, a good song is all about melody, an interesting, non-clichÈd lyric, and professional production. Those are qualities abundantly evident on the band’s self-titled debut recording, led by monster single “Wave.”
“Our writing has always been very melodic,” Denny notes. “We grew up on that kind of songwriting—bands like INXS, early U2 and Tears For Fears, who had that combination of cool guitar lines with cool melodies and interesting lyrics.”
Actually, Denny’s being too modest. Hook-laden rockers like the ones they mention did more than influence them. After years of slugging it out in the biz, the two brothers now count many heroes as peers—people like Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Jellyfish, Beck) and Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne). In fact, the two Navy brats, still in their teens at the time, decided to turn their musical hobby into a career after hanging out with radio hitmakers The Outfield.
“All the musicians we talked to would say, ‘Get good in the studio and get good at writing songs, most importantly. That’s what’s going to carry you,’” Denny recalls.
The Scotts’ opportunity to do both came sooner than they imagined, when a “rich kid” they knew built an elaborate home studio and invited them to come by. “Denny showed him our song, and next thing you know we were cutting vocals with a drum machine,” Kenny recalls.
So fresh out of high school, the pair moved from Florida to L.A., demo tape in hand, ready for their big shot. But, as Kenny notes, “we weren’t ready for it, man.” Admittedly “green” and struggling with an early label deal that had them fighting a “boy band” tag, Swirl 360, their first outfit, was marketed on its looks rather than their ample musical skills. “We refused to do any teeny bop magazines,” Kenny adds. “We said, ‘no way.’” (Rolling Stone, decidedly not a “teeny bop magazine,” awarded 3.5 stars to Swirl 360, saying “it´s been a while since McCartney-esque pop has gotten quite this explosive.”)
The two then turned to television and film, quietly placing songs on soundtracks right and left. “We were lucky in that our songs would land on someone’s desk,” Kenny says “And it made us feel good, because music supervisors definitely don’t use crappy songs. So we were able to pay the bills that way.”
Since their westward move, the two have been plying their craft on stages and in studios for the better part of a decade. But make no mistake, Echo Jet’s beefy lineup, fueled by the Scott’s battle-tested songs, make this their definitive moment in the Southern California sun.
While the Scotts are the band’s primary songwriters, they aren’t the entire band, as they’ll be the first to tell you. Though Kenny’s a capable drummer, actually starting out on the skins before switching to guitar, he gladly cedes the throne to Jon Hastings. Joey Clemente handles the bass, while Josh Dunahoo rounds out the band on lead guitar.
Ultimately, the band wants its moment in the sun to last long enough to require SPF 45. “We’d love to keep putting our records and writing good songs, touring year after year, and maintaining our fanbase,” Denny says. “Ultimately, I hope we make a mark and that when people remember us, they say, ‘Hey, that band was cool.’”
On the strength of its debut, Echo Jet’s chances seem good for just that.