PREMIERE: Sharks’ Teeth Announce “Broken Trust in Satan” LP, Share Title Track
New Orleans’ self-proclaimed “experimental soft rock” octet break the news via Q&A with ringleader Tyler Scurlock.
For a group whose Bandcamp page now lists seventy releases, it’s surprising how each of Sharks’ Teeth’s records and loose singles continue to be entirely distinct from each other, as well as from the punk-tinged output of band leader Tyler Scurlock’s previous discography with Sun Hotel and Keeping. But the secret to consistently releasing unique tracks, it seems, is to have a rotating and fluctuating cast of collaborators at hand every time you’re feeling creative.
The New Orleans collective, which started as a solo project for Scurlock, is announcing their latest album, Broken Trust in Satan, today, with the liner notes crediting the band as an eight-piece. While there’s still elements of the bedroom pop pioneered on their Emotional Reaction EP, that bedroom certainly sounds a lot fuller on each of the new LP’s eleven tracks, broadening Scurlock’s gospel-ambient visions for the project to orchestral new heights.
With the news of the new album, the group is sharing Broken Trust’s title track, a woozy, synth-driven number, which, like any item in the Scurlock canon, sounds like it was recorded in the apse of a cathedral. Stream the track below, and read on for a Q&A touching on the development of Sharks’ Teeth, Scurlock’s ties to Christianity, and a promise of a forthcoming twenty-five-track “occult/Marxist/polytheistic Christmas record.”
Broken Trust in Satan is out November 8 via Banana Tapes.
How would you describe Sharks’ Teeth to someone who’s never heard any of your music?
Some of my favorite phrases we’ve used over the years have been ones that don’t exactly point to a sound but still feel appropriate; “organic mutant pop,” “polytheistic multimedia,” or sometimes just “Christmas in space.” This record we are about to release feels like the culmination of all our jokes that we are becoming an “experimental soft rock” band—I think that’s the most effective description at the moment.
Sharks’ Teeth has been a vehicle for you to release everything from ambient synth music to straightforward synth-pop—what informs the direction your music takes?
A lot of the past releases have been driven by what gear is available to us, and more importantly what of that gear still functions. About fourteen months ago we put together the most hardwired studio we’ve had constant access to and since then it’s been more like all of us working on something and thinking, “Within this room where there are a lot of options, what feels right for this given song or album?”
There are eight other musicians credited on the album—how collaborative was the recording as compared with everything else you’ve made as Sharks’ Teeth?
This record and all the records since we built our studio have been highly collaborative, and more and more I end up playing less on each record. This dynamic kind of fell naturally into place over the last few years of making so much music together and consciously deciding what we are going to focus on getting better at. I’d like to focus on being a better songwriter, and though I’d also like to be a better pianist or guitarist, I am now surrounded by virtuosos who can bring the ideas I start to shape into a whole new and downright magically elevated world that I could never access.
Your music always seems to include themes of Christianity/spirituality, both lyrically and instrumentally—where does that influence come from?
I was raised in an extremely evangelical environment. When I was under those spells it was just a part of what music came out because I was being filled with worship songs and fundamentalist Christian imagery. When I got to college I studied religion where the study was more in the sense of “not talking about God, but talking about people who talk about God,” which is what I usually say when people ask what was going on there. I’ve gone through a lot of different feelings toward religion in many forms; angry at manipulative church leaders to empathetic towards lonely and vulnerable people whose religious beliefs can help them in real ways. Now where I think I’m heading more toward a nature-esque religious mindset and have been writing about those feelings a whole lot.
For a long time I mostly wrote about the damaging qualities of organized religious groups, but I’m just starting to write about a completely different side to what I think still falls in the religious ballpark. Communing with the collective unconscious, trusting intuitions, the power of symbols, psychosomatic strength, the inner black flame where creativity is born, I think there are so many ways for religion to function positively in peoples’ lives, given that it’s not caught up on some monotheistic idea that someone is wrong, or based on a system of rewards, punishment, and guilt. I’m still putting these thoughts together day by day, and all I know is there is some source, “religious” or otherwise, that I am thankful for and want to grow more through.
Who would you want the tenth member of Sharks’ Teeth to be?
The current arrangement of the most recent Sharks’ Teeth is a core group who do the majority of writing and recording surrounded by a larger group of talented artists who are often around our house for a session or a crawfish boil. Our next record, an occult/Marxist/polytheistic Christmas record of twenty-five original songs is going to have twenty people on it, many who just came by for a session or two but add amazing complements to whatever was being worked on that day.
As far as who I would like to see join us core Teeth, I’d without a doubt say Chris Rehm of Caddywhompus and Chinquapin and Community Records, who we’ve all known and loved for years. Chris’ partner Emily has been essential to Sharks’ Teeth material for over half a decade now, and I think we’re just about to officially coax him in…