Interview with Rock Band The Spacing Effect: A ’90s Throwback of Originality

In a time when music is following a repetitive stylistic pattern of overproduced perfection, one band is daring to try something different. Gearing up to release their self-titled EP through Sony|Dark Star Records, Scotty Bussey and Aaron Cabral of NoCal seek to bring back a familiar ’90s vibe while offering something fresh with their latest rock music endeavor, The Spacing Effect. Managed by industry professional Max Wasa (read our interview here) of Liquid Music Group, The Spacing Effect will soon make their debut in the music scene with the help of legendary producer Max Norman mastering the finish product. Scotty and Aaron recently took time to speak with me about their upcoming record, as well as their influences and approach to creating something they hope will serve as a new, creative spin on ’80s and ’90s nostalgia.

L-R: Aaron Cabral and Scotty Bussey

PopHorror: Hi Scotty and Aaron! Thank you for taking time to speak with me. To familiarize the PopHorror people with your band, The Spacing Effect, what role do each of you fill?

Aaron Cabral: So, there’s two of us, and the roles are split pretty fifty fifty. In terms of writing music, producing and performing, the work is split pretty evenly. Now, where it deviates? I do pretty much all of the engineering and mixing for our songs.

Scotty Bussey: And I’ve started taking on more of an administrative role, I guess you could say, handling photos and promotional material.

PopHorror: How would you classify your music? What are your biggest influences?

Scotty Bussey: That’s a tough question. (laughs) I think I would say that we’re rock. But the influences that drove us were bands like Chevelle, Tool, Alice in Chains and Helmet. Bands that have a nice, deep drive with a good melodic tone, chorus and verse. That’s what we were aiming for when Aaron and I teamed up.

Aaron Cabral: I think when you listen to our music, you’ll hear our influences. It will be pretty obvious in a lot of cases. But musical influences, for me, is cross genre, because what’s important to me and what I personally enjoy listening to is a good groove and a good melody. That could be in a heavy metal song or that could be in an ’80s new wave synth song. So, influences come from everywhere. It’s all about the groove and the melody for me.

PopHorror: Definitely! I caught some clips available on your Instagram, and I thought I could hear a strong ’90s influence from bands like Incubus and Alice in Chains.

Scotty Bussey: (laughs) It’s funny, because when we were coming up with some of the tunes, I was thinking that we were coming off as modern grunge at first. But now, I wouldn’t pinpoint it as grunge exactly… but it definitely has a ’90s feel. So, it’s along those lines, for sure!

PopHorror: How old were you when you first picked up an instrument? What inspired this move?

Scotty Bussey: For me, speaking honestly, the band that really sparked my interest in music was Nirvana, specifically their song It Smells Like Teen Spirit. I know that song did a lot to inspire bands like Weezer, among many others, along the way. But I had to have a guitar at that point. It made me want to make noise. (laughs) I wanted to headbang! My mom had a friend who had a guitar that she never used. It was pink … (laughs) but I didn’t care. I just ran around, making that noise, not knowing what in the world I was doing. And it just grew from there. But that’s where it started, and it was Nirvana that lit that fire underneath me.

Aaron Cabral and Scotty Bussey

Aaron Cabral: The first instrument that I picked up learning was the piano when I was about 9 years-old. I don’t exactly remember what inspired it. I think it was my mom who got me into lessons; I think because we had a piano in the family. So, it just made sense to learn it! As far as getting into rock music and playing guitar, it definitely comes down to one moment when I was about 12 years-old. It was when I saw Motley Crue’s music video for Girls Girls Girls. I immediately knew that I wanted to play that type of music! That was a pretty big inspiration to begin playing the electric guitar.

PopHorror: Very cool! How long have you known each other? What lead to forming The Spacing Effect?

Aaron Cabral: I couple of years ago, I moved up to the Sacramento, California area. At the time, I was playing with bands in the San Francisco Bay area before deciding that the commute was getting to be a little bit too much. I decided that I should get into something a little more local. So, I went on a website, like people do these days, and that’s where I came across Scotty’s profile. Or maybe he came across mine. I don’t remember, exactly.

Scotty Bussey: I think I actually came across Aaron’s profile. I was searching for the same thing he was seeking out: anyone who had the same taste in music and wasn’t trying to do cover band material or play old classic rock tunes. I just needed something different. I came across Aaron online, and he had clips. The samples I heard featured that really low drop D accompanied with that Chevelle and Tool-esque feel, and that was what I was going for. I just wanted something different. So, I hit Aaron up on his email, we had a conversation, and that’s where it took off!

Aaron Cabral: Obviously, when Scotty and I became connected online, he had a lot of clips and samples of his work, and he sent them to me. Even though the recordings were pretty rough, I heard the songs in there. I could tell that he gets what I was going for. I knew from the beginning that starting a band is a really difficult thing to do. The original idea was to recruit more people… a bass player, a drummer, etc. But to get four or five people on the same page and the same schedule… it can take some time! And I wanted to get going on making some new music as soon as possible. So, rather than waiting to recruit more band members, I brought up the idea that we make this a recording project. Scotty and I would write, perform and record the songs, since we’re not intending to do live performances at this point. This way, we’ll have a catalog of music, which will probably enable us to find band members easier in the future. So, that’s how this whole idea of The Spacing Effect started! So far, it has been working. Writing songs have come quick to us, because Scotty and I are on the same page so much of the time, and our styles just mesh so well!

PopHorror: Do you foresee yourselves taking things to another level any time soon by adding new members to fill more roles?

Aaron Cabral: That’s a good question! At this point, we don’t know. We have found a formula that works. So, we want to continue on with that. We want to see how these songs are generally received first. If we get some real positive feedback, and it seems viable that we can take it to a live performance, then yes! Absolutely. We would go about searching for other members. Right now, we just want to see how this material does.

PopHorror: I’m aware that you’re about to release your debut self-titled EP. What inspired this compilation of tracks instrumentally and lyrically?

Scotty Bussey: Honestly, everything was just played by ear. Like anything, it just started with a guitar riff, and we developed them with words that are kind of up to interpretation. But each track started with finding a good groove and melody, sticking with the flow and finding something that keeps your attention.

Aaron Cabral: Our music is pretty guitar-based. So, a lot of these things start with a guitar riff, and we build it from there. The beauty of doing this stuff in your home studio is that you can experiment and see what works. So, our creative process involves stringing riffs together and throwing in some drums… we make demos of these songs and see if we have something. If we think we do, we go re-record the song for real. I’ve been playing music for most of my life, but I’ve never been a real lyricist. For all of the bands that I’ve played with in the past, the lyrics were handled by someone else. If I did write lyrics, it would be the hook or one line in the song. But, something changed within the last couple years. It’s like I finally have a little bit of something to say. So, lyrics have come a little bit easier for me, which has helped us finally put these songs out there.

Scotty Bussey

PopHorror: It sounds like things are coming together! What can people expect to hear in this upcoming record? What do you hope people get out of it?

Aaron Cabral: What I want people to hear is music that has a good groove and melody, of course. But something that’s also refreshing, in a way. A lot of the music of today sounds very similar.

Scotty Bussey: I might even say overly produced.

Aaron Cabral: And I can say that we wanted to change these songs up and strip them down a little bit. We wanted to make them a little more simple, something that sounds like they were recorded in a room and not just tracked over to perfection. So, we wanted to keep an element of looseness to it. We’re hoping it will be refreshing, especially to younger audiences.

PopHorror: I completely agree! There’s quite a bit of cookie-cutter stuff that’s produced nowadays with the intention of piggybacking off of what’s already selling to mainstream audiences. I understand why they do it, but creativity and originality takes a little bit of a hit when it comes to that.

Scotty Bussey: It’s funny, because we came across another band the other day that has a similar style as us. They had good riffs, a good verse, a good hook of a melody for the chorus and then right back into the original riffs. It was nice to hear a simple song that was so easy to follow, get in and get out. That’s what I found appealing about it. And I feel like it would be nice to hear more of that rather than the same bells and whistles we hear so much of today.

PopHorror: I couldn’t agree more! I’m also aware that acclaimed record producer Max Norman mastered this upcoming release. What was it like working with the man who mastered albums from rock legends such as Ozzy Osbourne and Megadeth?

Scotty Bussey: (laughs) Yes! Max Norman was the one who mastered our EP!

Aaron Cabral: Something for which we’re forever grateful!

Scotty Bussey: We exchanged a couple of emails, and he was very delightful and very friendly. Very professional! And once we got the finished product back, we were like, “Of course they sound amazing!”

Aaron Cabral: Prior to working with Max, we had the tracks mastered a couple of times, and we just weren’t totally satisfied with the final product. And our manager, Max Wasa, got us in touch with Max Norman. He did his thing, and when he sent the tracks back, he told us to let him know if we needed him to change or tweak anything. I’m listening back to these mastered tracks, and I’m thinking that this is perfect. (laughs) He nailed it!

PopHorror: That’s very exciting! Are there any other projects and developments you would like to mention?

Scott Bussey: We don’t necessarily have any specific upcoming projects, but my brother, Billy Bussey, is a professional stuntman. Him and Max Wasa have worked together many times. Billy and Kevin Kem, one of his stuntman friends, are filming and editing the music video for our song, “Killing Time.” We have a teaser for that coming out fairly soon. They’ve been working on that nonstop. We had a lot of fun shooting that video, and we can’t wait for people to see it! Other than that, we’re just working on new material, trying to nail that stuff down and seeing where we can go from here as far as getting it out all at once or one song at a time. So, we’re stilling working away on stuff!

Aaron Cabral: We’re already working on the next batch of material, which is what we’re mostly focused on.

PopHorror: Where and how far do you see yourself going with all of this?

Aaron Cabral: To be honest, this has all come together pretty quickly within the last several months. So, we’re taking this one day at a time. We were fortunate to get connected with Max Wasa’s music management company, Liquid Music Group, and Dark Star Records, which has all been very helpful in releasing our upcoming record. So, we just want to see how our music is received. We want to see if we have something. Now, this is not our full time job. We do have day jobs. I guess our goal would be to, one day, make music as our full time jobs, and do this for a living. Of course, we don’t know when or if this will happen. But it’s something always in the back of my mind with everything we’re doing right now for fun.

PopHorror: Personally, I think it’s important to come from a place of passion when creating. I feel like this will allow you to more thoroughly enjoy the journey, and things will unfold the way they’re meant to.

Aaron Cabral: I’ve had a career in the corporate world for many years. And, of course, I’ve always done music passionately as a hobby. One thing I’ve worried a little bit about is music becoming a job. No job is perfect. I wouldn’t want music, which is such a positive part of my life, to have negatives that come with it. (laughs) I feel like that was holding me back from trying to pursue music in this way for many years. Then I realized that was something I really needed to get over. You get one life and you should really pursue what you really want to do.

Artwork for The Spacing Effect

PopHorror: That is very true. Where and when can people check out your upcoming release?

Scotty Bussey: People will be able to see our album on the Dark Star Records’ website. They can also check us out across social media including Facebook and Instagram. We’re still working on a YouTube channel, and we’re developing a direct website for The Spacing Effect. We do have a special announcement that will be made Friday, June 14th and our material will be made more available to give people a taste of what our music is like. The record will hopefully then be officially released a couple of weeks later. So, everything’s going to take some time to get up and going. And, of course, we want to see what type of feedback we receive to determine how much more we want to pursue.

PopHorror: Based on what I’ve heard, I really dig your sound. Thank you for the your time, and I can’t wait to check the EP out in its entirety!

Having received a sneak preview of the teaser music video clip for Scotty and Aaron’s song, “Killing Time,” I can say for certain that The Spacing Effect continues to sound promising. As someone who misses the ’90s era of music, I find their samples to be an appealing reminiscence without losing a sense of originality in the process. Upon its official release, The Spacing Effect EP will be available on all major steaming services including iTunes, Pandora and Spotify as well as Sony|Dark Star Records official website found here.

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One comment

  1. The 90s is where it’s at! For what I’ve heard this is pretty slick 90s vibes with 2019 production