Interview with Scott McLaughlin of Unwritten Law & With Confidence
If you are from the inner/west of Sydney and collect music, chances are you've met Scott at the record store he works at, Beatdisc. He also plays in Unwritten Law and With Confidence. He's a good dude, and i'm stoked he took part in this series
If you were to introduce extraterrestrials to music using only five albums, what do you choose?
Dr Dre - 2001
Pantera - Cowboys From Hell
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
Unwritten Law - Black Album
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
How did playing for Unwritten Law/With Confidence come about?
I began as Tour manager on both accounts. In 2015 I was partnered with Unwritten Law for the Hits & Pits festival in Australia. I was a big fan and hesitated to take the role but knew the tales of legend that surrounded this band was worth the leap. A few days in after a very long night of drinking I finally admitted my fandom and pointed out some mistakes they were making in their songs. A few nights later I was up onstage and every following night playing the song “Shoulda known better”.
6 months later we were on tour in the US with a band called Fenix TX who share our Guitarist, Chris Lewis. A few minutes into our 3rd show of a 30 day tour in Arizona he fell and popped his arm out of its socket. As he lay there like a fallen soldier all eyes turned to me and I played my first show for Unwritten Law.
With Confidence is almost the same story.
I was Tour Managing them on an Australian tour in 2017. Two nights before we left for tour I received a video of the bass player/lead singer breaking his hand.
48 hours later we started the tour and I filled in on bass. About another 6 months passed and I was on tour with Unwritten Law in the US again when I got a call from the With Con camp saying they’d lost a guitarist and were booked to play the final Vans Warped Tour the following month.
The biggest crossover bucket list moment was playing main stage for Unwritten Law in their hometown of San Diego and an hour later closing the festival with With Confidence.
Other than touring and working at an indie Record Store (shout out to Beatdisc Records!), are you involved in music in any other way?
Between the bands and the shop that takes up the majority of my time but I’ll always put my hand up for musical activities. I do a lot of writing these days and some backseat producing.
How long have you been collecting records, and have you got your "white whale" or are you still searching?
I was an avid music collector for years, mostly cd’s/tapes/videos. it wasn’t until Beatdisc records switched to focusing on Vinyl in the mid 2000’s that my attention was drawn to this wonderful medium.
My dad had played me records growing up, Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, the Beatles etc but it never stuck because it wasn’t portable and I could never sit still long enough. But by my mid teens I connected the dots between Punk music and Vinyl and I am yet to come out of that rabbit hole. As for the “White Whale”, there’s one record I know Pete (owner of Beatdisc) and I hesitantly open every time we get it in case it’s an original press. NOFX’s the Decline original colour press.
One great thing about working in a record shop though is I know own many records I consider white whales that I didn’t even know existed until they come through the door.
Any bands or artists past or present you think deserve more attention?
I could go on for days here... A few top picks would be:
- Abandoned Pools: They put out a great album called Humanistic in 2001
- Eels: one of my favorite songwriters and one that is often written off too soon because of the success of the song “Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues”. Well worth a revisit and their last album “The Deconstruction” was one of the best albums I heard in 2018.
- The Lemon Twigs: I found these guys on late night television a few years back and I cannot get enough. Two home schooled brothers who write some of the most interesting songs since Pet Sounds. They just put out a new track and their videos are top notch.
Are you a variant/pressing collector, or just happy to have the album?
I hunt for certain pressings for sure. Most of my collection is filled with multiples of the same album. These days with the dollar being shot and being on an island at the bottom of the world, I have learned to let go of some vinyl dreams but if an album is important to me I will always be looking for the revered pressing.
What's 2020 got in store for you, assuming we are allowed to leave the house again?
I had a super busy start of the year before we were all sent to our respective homes. All of the touring plans I had are on hold until September at this stage but that may stretch even longer. Despite all of that both Unwritten Law and With Confidence will have albums to release at some point this year. Unwritten Law wrapped up recording our album just before our Australian Tour in February and then I came home to record With Confidence’s 3rd album while all the quarantines kicked in so we’ve been holed up and we finish later this week.
It’s a strange time in the world to be in music but these albums will be my first time writing and recording music in the studio with both of these bands so it’s a huge year for me and I’m sure we’ll spend a great deal of the year getting ready to release them to the world.