The Nighthawk Experience is more than a musical endeavour. It is a brand new animated musical journey. Created by Scott McDonald-Bull, the music falls into many genres, but it all follows the story of two characters. We sat down with the man behind the experience (SMB) to talk about the project, their latest EP Current Lies and much more!
OSR: Why this EP and why now?
SMB: The EP Current Lies was written over the course over a year and then I went into the studio early last year. I have been working on The Nighthawk Experience now for almost a year and a half. Making a project like this has always been my dream, combining my passions for music and creating a story through animation. I have been making music for a long time and I feel like I have finally made it to the project I have always wanted to work on and put out.
OSR: Who came up with the background story for Current Lies?
SMB: That was me. I write all the stories and scripts for the videos but I did not do the animation part of the process, (that was a guy named Eduardo Essien he goes by the persona slugslum). I use the character Kage (pronounced Kah-gay) to illustrate the idea of nihilism. Kage’s world has nothing of value to offer him and he believes there is no point in even trying to change it. Kage will appear more in the future for sure.
OSR: Tell us about your creative process?
SMB: The musical creative process for me always starts with a guitar part or riff. The time it takes to piece an entire song together depends, some songs are fast and get done within an hour or so when it comes to the structure and then some are slow and take days, weeks or even months. Lyrics always take the longest, I am a very slow lyric writer and I always chop and change words. I find that ‘Less is more’ when it comes down to lyrics.
OSR: You have releases planned for 2021, will this be a follow-on from the current releases or a new story?
SMB: It will be a follow on from the Current Lies EP but the story takes a few turns and the characters Kage and Yume find themselves in some very strange and intense situations. The videos go between fully animated videos to then lyric videos. The lyrics are sometimes all you need, sitting back and listening to the music is very important to fully understand what is going on. There is a few different messages and ideas going so it does take a few listens to grasp the concepts.
OSR: Do you create your own animated videos?
SMB: Sort of, I write all the stories and scripts, however, I have had different animators take part in this project. It is quite a long and intense process of getting the animation looking like what I envisioned but it is a lot of fun. I am currently looking for an animator now so if anyone is reading this hit me up!
OSR: How do you advertise your music?
SMB: Social media advertising is probably one of the biggest, I do Facebook, Instagram and YouTube advertising. I also try and get in touch with as much music press as I can, as we all know it is very difficult to get your music heard and exposed out in the world with such a massive supply of music.
The animation provides me with a point of difference in marketing but that was not done for marketing or advertising purposes at all originally. I have not done any live shows yet so I have to try to advertise The Nighthawk Experience more in the digital world.
OSR: Do you enjoy recording and production?
SMB: I certainly do! Love the whole process of it, after all, I am in this for the music. I love everything about it recording, mixing and mastering. I personally enjoy recording with other people as they hear things in the music I cannot and so they provide different ideas which can immensely improve it. I really want to go back to the studio and record more music. I have a lot more songs but I have been so busy with releases and other parts of The Nighthawk Experience that I have not had enough time to really focus on them. Plus, I currently do not have the budget (laughs).
OSR: What sets your music apart from everything on the scene right now?
SMB: Well let me tell ya, (laughs), my music is all over the show. I cannot sit still musically, I have so much music I like from rock, metal, alternative, electronica and different types of pop. My music combines a lot of those influences together with rock and metal influences to then electronica and modern pop sounds. My music has lots of melody and layers to it, the lyrics tackle very intense subjects both in the literal and metaphoric sense. An obvious one though would be the animation, that provides a bit more of a difference and takes the music in a different direction.
OSR: With so many releases planned, are you going to tour once the threat of COVID-19 is gone?
SMB: I would love to tour but I do not have a band. I am in the process of releasing material this year and the middle of next year. I would like to form a band but The Nighthawk Experience is very much a solo effort, maybe one day if I can find the right people to play with me. In regards to touring, it is quite expensive putting on shows and travelling so I would want some interest first from people.
OSR: What is your favourite part about being a musician and your least favourite?
SMB: I love being able to express myself with my opinions, emotions and overthinking. I am lucky that I have an outlet to dump all of it in. The Nighthawk Experience is very involved for me with the music and animation and I am always thinking about the future. I do love it but I do stress and worry about it a bit (laughs). I work a full-time job on top of it so I don’t always get the time to invest as much as I want in it. Plus it is very expensive!
From the studio, animation and then the marketing. This is all self-funded, I do not anyone backing me financially on this project. I suppose if you count some birthday and Christmas money from family then I have had a few handouts but nothing massive (laughs). I was not able to get a “small loan of a million dollars” from anyone (laughs), that would be nice! It all comes out of my pocket, hopefully, one day because I am a bit of dreamer I can commit to this full time and then I would tour and make lots of content for The Nighthawk Experience. Sadly at the end of the day money and time are always the biggest obstacles, I am aiming for some funding and some loans for the future.