Lido Beach‘s Scott Waldman sits down with us at Cognoscenti Coffee in Culver City, CA to discuss his peppy new single “You Fell Hard,” his mini 10 year anniversary tour for Fake Hellos, Real Goodbyes, and his experience being an artist who manages artists.
So to start off, there was an excited fan who leaked your comeback single, “You Fell Hard.” Now, that the secret is out, what inspired the song’s lyrics and instrumentation? It’s a bit poppier punk than past Lido Beach tracks.
Scott Waldman: It’s the only happy song I’ve ever done. Unfortunately, it was inspired by something negative that ended up being turned into something positive. I used to manage someone, they shall be nameless, and we co-wrote some songs together over Skype. I flew to an undisclosed location to record those songs, recorded them, came back, still haven’t heard from the guy, still don’t have the songs, nothing. It’s pretty shitty. But Curtis Douglas, a producer I manage, came to the rescue and showed me this song that he had. He did the majority of the work, and I made it about the girl to my left, Kelli. *gestures to Kelli sitting on a bench* Usually when I did songs with The City Drive, I played the bass. And with Lido Beach, pretty much I sometimes did the all the bass, all the guitars. Sometimes other people help out. I just sang on this and approached recording vocals differently. And, yeah, it’s definitely more poppy punk. It’s a happy song. And people are responding well to it, so I’m grateful. I mean, yeah it got leaked, but it’s a small leak because I’m not Paramore. But it was still released by someone else. So I’m just rolling with it.
I mean, someone was very excited about the song. So you’ve impacted them enough that they felt the need to share it with to rest of the world.
Scott: Yeah, let’s leave it at that. The positive thing is that the response has been good, is available for purchase on all the digital service providers. It was just heard a little bit sooner.
Alright, and to kind of get into that notion of songwriting over Skype, I’ve never really heard of people doing that. I mean, I guess it could be a thing nowadays.
Scott: Remember The Postal Service?
Scott: I mean, that was pre-Skype, but they succeeded in it. Traditionally speaking, like in The City Drive, Danny [Smith] wrote the songs, and I wrote the bass lines. In Lido Beach, I’ve been the primary writer. I wanted to try something different. Because I’ve been managing and seeing how things worked, I thought, “Maybe I could just collaborate with some people that I respect,” and I tried, and failed. But on this one, Curtis Douglas, again, a god in the vocal booth, a god of talent. I’m in awe of him. He’s amazing.
Scott: I have given at least three to him now, and I’ll do another one. Special shout out to Curtis Douglas, you’re the fucking man. *Heather laughs*
Interview over! I’m kidding! *laughs
Scott: Sure! That’s what you need! It’s your interview! I’ll get home earlier. *laughs*
If you had an unlimited amount of money what kind of music video would you want to do want for “You Fell Hard?”
Scott: Have you ever seen “Buddy Holly” by Weezer?
Scott: Something like that, like, a big budget throw back-y video that has heart and is goofy. It’s shot really well, and actually, that video was shot on a Windows 95 disc when they had discs. *laughs* So I would want something that has a monumental impact like that.
How would you say the recording process for the single was different from your previous ones?
Scott: Well, I usually do all the instruments but the drums, or I’ll do guitar and vocals. This time, I got in there and there were guitars and bass recorded with replacement drums in place. So I just sang. I’ve never done it that way before, and we attacked the vocals in a way that was definitely challenging, but I think it worked well. I’ve recorded with many, many different people, and I think that this is the best vocal production I’ve ever been a part of. We were attacking word by word, line by line. Usually what I’ve done is called “a full pass,” where you do the song straight through a few times, listen, and go “Alright! Well, this is about 85% done, we need to attack the other 15%, fix that, and then add harmonies.” This one was two days of work. Not full days, because you can’t sing for a full day. If you sing for a few hours, you shouldn’t sing for too much more. You could do irreparable damage. But anyway, I’m so happy with how the vocals came out, and I realized why I went through the vocal boot camp.
It’s almost like a sign that everything was gonna go well if the recording process went really well.
Scott: Yeah! The response has been good! It’s kind of like the word, “leak.” Yes, it was leaked, but it’s on a small scale. I mean, what’s crazy is like, on Soundcloud, it’s had around eight hundred something from just people sharing it. And there are some major artists that have songs that premiere on Billboard that have less in that amount of time. But, does it have [The] Chainsmokers numbers? No. It’s under four figures, hopefully, they’ll be above that too. I have a song available for 99 cents, less than a fraction of your cup of coffee.
And kind of going based off of that, maybe the reason why people have been giving that good response is that they were waiting for another song for so long.
Scott: I just want to clarify that it was me, my producer Curtis, an assistant engineer Austin on that song. Lido Beach, yes, I’ve played with many people, but Lido Beach has always been me wanting full time committed people and having trouble with that. So when I re-branded, or re-oomphed, re-launched, or whatever, I was like, “Fuck it, I can do it myself.”
I mean, sometimes it feels like you do everything better and quicker yourself than with a group of people.
And sometimes, you still need the help.
Scott: Everyone needs help. I don’t think you can ever do everything completely alone, but think about all the bands that you love and how many of them have the same members? It’s not too often. I mean, All Time Low is an example because they’re in that Hopeless [Records]/Fueled By Ramen scene, they’re one of those bands that I really admire that they did that. But, not even Green Day, because they had a different drummer in the beginning! It’s really hard. Nirvana, no. Weezer, no. The Beatles had Pete Best. It’s rare. It’s really rare. So Lido Beach is Scott Waldman. That has never changed, and that never will change, even if I stop and come back, it couldn’t be me. And that’s not me putting myself on a grand scale, that’s just a fact. Just like Dashboard Confessional could never not be known without Chris Carrabba.
And kind of going on that idea about how difficult it is to find these bands that still have the same members.
Scott: Yeah! Tell me some.
Well, Simple Plan and All Time Low are definitely the first to come to mind.
Scott: Simple Plan is one of them too! And Simple Plan has played the Warped Tour more than anyone!
Scott: And they’re great!
Scott: It is! It’s fact, and it’s fun. They’ve done it more than anyone, and I remember seeing Reset. I’m old, I’m 37. *laughs* It’s rare for there to be a band like Simple Plan or All Time Low, that has that. But even Simple Plan I would argue, they did the Warped Rewind cruise without their bassist.
Would you say that with the more members that you have, the more ideas and personalities sometimes make it harder when it comes to success?
Scott: Yes. Everything. First of all, it’s hard to have a sustainable income when people aren’t buying music, sorry it is. It’s a fact. The money is going quickly as people get older. I mean, I’m 37, I told this to my wife, if stuff happens to Lido Beach, I don’t wanna be on the road for more than two, three months a year. I don’t! I wanna have a successful marriage, I wanna have kids, I wanna be a father, and I don’t think it’s possible for me to be a good father or husband if I’m on the road for ten months a year. Touring is a young man’s game. If you’re Metallica, you can afford to pay people on days off. You can afford to pick the machines and the crew. You can do a ten-day tour, and play for three nights, and pay everyone for those seven other days. But not everyone’s Metallica. Not everyone’s The Rolling Stones. Not everyone is Aerosmith.
Of course not.
Scott: A lot of people think that there’s so much money in this, and even bands like All Time Low don’t have as much money as you think. They do well. But even with Simple Plan, they haven’t had a huge hit in America in a really long time. I mean, they’re great and they’ve been around longer, and they have a lot of great songs, but in terms of relevance, they’re not Imagine Dragons. It’s fucking hard.
Now kind of staying on the topic of touring, with Lido Beach, you did a little reunion tour.
Scott: Yes, three shows.
Yeah! And the most well-known music cities!
Scott: I’m glad you knew that. But yes, three cities. I played an acoustic show in Nashville, which was a lot of fun. I got a few buddies to play a show at The Knitting Factory in New York and headline, so that was a lot of fun. And, in Los Angeles, at The Satellite, which used to be called Spaceland, and that was fun! But honestly, I would say that my favorite one was New York, my second favorite was Nashville, my third favorite was L.A.
Any specific reasons why?
Scott: Yeah, of course! I’d say the Nashville one was a lot of fun unexpectedly because I haven’t played an acoustic show by myself in such a long time. It was such a cool dynamic, and I approached it differently than I have in the past. The New York show, I’m from New York, and I like playing in New York more than anywhere. Even though I live in L.A. and I love L.A., the crowds just aren’t as fun here. They’re not. The kids here, everyone’s dad owns a share of CAA (Creative Artists Agency), or everyone’s dad knows Tom Cruise. And yes, you can have good shows in L.A., but this one was, honestly, a bit underwhelming. It wasn’t a ginormous turnout, there were people there, and I’m grateful when one person pays, but the New York show was fucking exceptional. The Nashville show was just exceptional. and the L.A. show was just good. It’s a more jaded audience, and I mean, yes all of these shows were over the holiday season, so there are people that always look for excuses to not to go, or whatever. I just wasn’t so stoked on that. Hopefully, the next L.A. show, whenever that is, will be better. I think it will. The New York show was just good vibes all night. My mom was there, a bunch of my friends were there, so that was cool. Playing in New York is always a real event because it’s like a homecoming show for me. I lived there from 1981 to 1999. So it’s cool coming home.
And what made you decide to do a reunion tour?
Scott: It wasn’t even really a tour. It was more like three one-offs in the three major cities. But I guess it could be classified a tour in a way. It was the ten year anniversary of Fake Hellos, Real Goodbyes. That’s this year. It’s the ten year anniversary of starting the recording of it and starting Lido Beach. I took a hiatus from it, and I honestly thought that it wasn’t going to be done. *laughs* But I was like, “Why the fuck hasn’t this been done? Lido Beach is me. These are songs I love and songs I’ve written.” I mean, there are people with tattoos. Literally. Plural. I was the minister for a girl, Kelli can attest to this, who has my signature and the lyrics “lost and gone astray.” There’s another girl named Victoria, who has Fake Hellos, Real Goodbyes on her feet. There are some die-hards, and I’m like, “Why the fuck not? I love these songs, someone or more people love ’em too, why not do it?”
Scott: And I don’t have any delusions of grandeur where I think we’re gonna be bigger than The Beatles. But I might as well play shows, the shows also help pay for my flight home. There’s just so many pros and not too many cons.
Yeah, I mean if there’s gonna be, the die-hards, like you said, that are going to want to support you, then why not?
Scott: There are some die-hards. Some, I would say more die-hards in New York, which is weird because I’m here in L.A.! But Nashville was cool because it was really different and I reminded me of why I love playing acoustically.
I can imagine!
Scott: Well, first of all, it’s a different place socio-politically, everything. I stayed with a client, Dylan Ander, who I love. Stayed with him, played with him. Because I had so much fun at that show, I’m playing an acoustic show in Cupertino on August 26th. Which is actually a venue where, speaking of being a minister, was the first time I was a minister at a wedding for two people who met at one of my shows. And we’re playing that venue for the first time.
How cool! Do you think in regards to the L.A. scene that it’s a little bit over-saturated?
Scott: Every scene is over-saturated. I mean, first of all, there hasn’t been a real scene in L.A. since like hair metal, but every scene has been over-saturated because everyone with an iPhone can have a song. I don’t know, I haven’t seen any community. It’s funny, I left Long Island, then Long Island got cool. I left Michigan, and then Jack White got huge. So it’s like wherever I leave, there’s a scene that pops up. So as soon as I move from L.A. it’s gonna be awesome here. *laughs*
We’ll have to thank you if/when that happens. *laughs*
Scott: You’re welcome! *laughs*
So you’ve previously been in other bands. One of which you were a bassist. Would you care to share some stories of your past band experience?
Scott: Absolutely. I moved to Los Angeles on September 3rd, 2003. Shortly after, there’s a now-defunct band called The City Drive, and the singer, Danny, was looking for new people. I auditioned for them and for another band, we combined, and a year and three months into moving here I signed with Columbia Records. And this is pre-social media, so people didn’t believe me, but it happened. It was amazing, but unfortunately, there were personality conflicts and after our LP and EP were released, I quit on tour. I have no regrets about that, and I would do it exactly the same way. We played a ten-year reunion show that I orchestrated where we did something different. We played the album back to front instead of front to back like what a lot of bands do. I thought it would be creative, and I’ve never heard of anyone ever doing that. So that was my idea. But, yeah, with The City Drive, I would honestly say there was way more bad about it than good. But I guess the biggest bullet point in my life, professionally, is that I had a major label deal, and so, I’m grateful. Lido Beach has been the most creatively fulfilling. Green Light Theory, I’m really close to two of the members still and reacquainted with the other one, but I would say that was my least good band. Sorry, but it was. But it was still a fun experience. All three bands had fans, and all three bands did cool shit. I also even dabbled in a 90s two-piece cover group with Drew [Holliday] from Green Light Theory. Life, it’s a mother fucker.
Especially in music. *laughs* Entertainment in general I guess.
Scott: I would argue that law and advertising are worse. *laughs* But yeah, entertainment’s hard because you’re dealing with creative personalities, impulsive people, and sociopathic narcissists.
*laughs* Los Angeles, the definition!
Scott: I agree with it! My wife says it’s all the transplants, and I say it’s plenty of that plus the people live here too. But, there are good and bad people everywhere, and I fell in love with an L.A. girl.
L.A. brought the goodness!
Scott: Ah, no. New York brought the goodness because her parents are from New York. But L.A. supplied the goodness. *laughs*
That’s a great way to describe it! And, apart from playing music, you also own your own management company. What sparked your interest in working for the other side of music?
Scott: Well, every band I’ve been in, even when we’ve had representation, I’ve been the neurotic planner wanting to be proactive. That was me.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
Scott: Tell that to a bunch of bandmates and other people, but there’s a right and a wrong way to do it. I agree with you, if there isn’t someone doing it, nothing will get done. I don’t care if you’re better than The Beatles, nothing will happen, so you need at least one to be the serious one. It’d be nice if everyone was proactive, but I’ve never seen that in any band ever. I was working in a law firm for five and a half years, and one of my former guitar students was asking me for advice. I didn’t even know she wrote songs or performed so I was extremely proud and stoked. I said, “I’m not going to be like Simon Cowell,” even though Simon Cowell was usually right, “I will tell you what I think, but I won’t be a dick about it.” And she said, “No, listen. Everyone’s blowing smoke up my ass, so tell me the truth.” So I told her, I gave her a lot of notes, then the next show after that was packed. Like packed, packed. It was cool! We were talking and I was just like, “Well I’m pretty much doing what a manager would do. If you want me to be your manager, I’ll be here.” She said, “Yes,” then less than a week or two later I quit working for her, which is fine, I wish her well. And then I quit the law firm and I’ve been full time for three plus years now. So I’m still a new manager!
Scott: It is cool!
I mean, we need more people like you.
Scott: We need more people like you who like people like me.
Yes, and also people that aren’t, like you said, blowing smoke up your butt.
Scott: I think too many people do that, and I would rather be let down with the truth than built up with bullshit. When you lie, you have to literally keep up with your lie all the time and it does no one a service. I mean, you can be deliberate in how you deliver the truth because everyone is different. I could deliver you a truth, and I could deliver your boyfriend the same exact truth, and you might be like, “Yeah, that’s fucking great!” and he might be like “What a dick!” *laughs* So, you really don’t know. You have to navigate people well and it’s impossible. We’re not politicians. I’m not doing this to kiss your fucking ass. I’m doing this because you want me to help you as an artist. I get a percentage of your income, so if I get 15%, earn your fucking 85%. I work for you, but trust that I’m going to try to operate within your best interest at heart. And I’m not always gonna be right, but when I’m wrong, I say I’m sorry, and I try to fix it. A lot of artists say they want the truth, but they really don’t.
I definitely agree. We’re all afraid of the truth even when we ask for it. So what are some major differences between managing the artists and being the artist? Apart from the obvious? Playing, and singing.
Scott: Well, that might not be obvious to everyone. But it’s weird because I’m an artist who manages artists. I mean you’re interviewing me more for me being an artist than me being behind the scenes.
I just wanna know everything about you!
Scott: No, no, no! I love how detailed this is! *laughs* Managing artists is being a doctor, lawyer, therapist nag, nag, nag, nag, nag, nag, and you’re furthering someone else’s art. Just being an artist, I think it’s way easier. I mean it’s stressful, they’re all stressful, but I’m talking to potential representation for Lido Beach. I don’t want to manage Lido Beach. I want somebody else to be objective because it’s impossible to be objective on your own stuff. I want what I do for others, for me.
That’s what we all want right?
Scott: No, it’s not what we all want. A lot of people say they want to do music, and they don’t. There’s an idiom that says, “A lot of musicians expect full-time results while putting in part-time effort.” And that’s fucking bullshit! If you wanna do this, really do it. Because even if you’re amazing, you might not succeed. So really want it, show that you want it, and earn it.
Put in 1,000%, instead of a hundred.
Scott: Do 10,000% instead of a hundred! Don’t lay on your deathbed and say, “I didn’t give it my all.” That would suck.
Do you have any tips for independent artists who are looking to receive press?
Scott: Yeah, have quality content. Without quality content, what’s the point? Record your songs well, write good songs, workshop, show them to people, get opinions of people you trust, and really believe in it. You also need to realize that if you spend, let’s just say a thousand dollars on a song, which is cheap, be prepared to spend at least two thousand dollars marketing it. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Yeah, because it’s not gonna go anywhere.
Scott: It won’t. I mean, if it does, good for you, but you need to be your own machine. I’m very fortunate that you’ve covered bands I’ve worked with, and I’m very grateful to you for sitting down with me for this interview.
Scott: You’re welcome!
Now getting back on topic. You also have your own podcast called Waldman’s Words.
Scott: Yeah! And I don’t just dabble in it. I have my show on Idobi Radio. It’s badass, and we’re a hundred episodes in. It’s amazing!
Scott: Thank you. And I’ll have you on too!
Oh geez! *laughs* If you could choose three artists to go your own personal world tour with, who would they be and what would you name your tour?
Scott: I would want to open for the bands so I wouldn’t be able to name the tour. But I would want to tour with Green Day. I’d want to tour with Weezer. And can I just pick a band that is just not even around?
Whatever your little heart desires!
Scott: Oh man! My heart’s fucking big Heather. I’d love tour with the Beatles though. The best live band I’ve ever seen is Silverchair, and my favorite band that exists now is Jimmy Eat World. But I’m going to satisfy my boyish heart and say The Beatles, Weezer, and Green Day. Yeah, those three bands. And it would totally be called whatever the fuck they’d want to call it, and I would go on the tour with them. *laughs*
The Whatever The Fuck They’d Want To Call It Tour 2019.
Scott: Oh man next year. If you can make that happen. If you can make The Beatles come back and bring Lido Beach on tour.
I mean, there is this thing called “holograms” now. *laughs*
Scott: There is! But I wouldn’t be as excited about that though. I mean, I would pretend, but I would know the truth. I wouldn’t sleep soundly lying to myself. *laughs*
Life is a lie.
Scott: Unfortunately a lot of it is because most people aren’t honest.
Scott: It just got fucking real!
I know! Who are your musical influences?
Scott: The three bands I said that I’d tour with for sure. The Beatles are bar none for me. I’d say in eighth grade I learned Green Day, Weezer, and Nirvana songs. Silverchair, Jimmy Eat World, Superdrag, Incubus, Kara’s Flowers who turned into Maroon 5. I really love Maroon 5’s earlier stuff, but Kara’s Flowers still has my heart. I love Reel Big Fish. I love Less Than Jake. I love The Descendants. I love Blink-182. I love Far. I love IAMDYNAMITE, they’re newer. I love I Fight Dragons. I’m influenced in some way by everything I listen to whether it’s not to do it or to do it. I guess I identify with really, really, strong melodies. That’s what I gravitate to.
What do you hope your audience takes away from your music? You kind of already saw that with your die-hard Lido Beach fans.
Scott: Honestly, whatever they take away from it I’m fine with, as long as it’s positive. I could write a song about this cup of water, and if it reminds you of your dead aunt that you love, great. You never know the author’s intention, I just want people to be positive and proactive and fulfilled. I don’t want anything that I do to espouse hate whatsoever. I don’t want anyone associated with my stuff to be a fucking Trump supporter. I don’t care, I’ll go on record and say that. I don’t want anyone to listen to my stuff and want to hold a tiki torch at a fucking rally in Virginia. I don’t want anyone to protest a gay funeral. I don’t want Westboro Baptist Church. I want positivity. I want people to connect with my stuff that are using it to make their lives better. Whether they’re shitty lives or whether they’re awesome lives, I want to be positive. And this positive song is different because I’ve been told that my one of my song is about my dead dad, which is awful. But, I channeled it in a positive way and I’ve helped people during a dark time. That’s the greatest feeling I’ve ever had, cause that’s something that I created in pain, turned it into a positive manifestation. That’s what I want.
That’s the beautiful thing about music. There are so many different interpretations of it, and 99.9% of the time we hope they’re positive.
Scott: Yeah that is the beautiful thing, hopefully. I’m very pessimistic, but I’m gaining more optimism lately. That’s what I want. I want people to listen to songs of artists that I manage or songs that I’m affiliated with in some way and hear something really good from it.
And last question, apart from riding the high tides of your comeback single,
Scott: Let’s say low to moderate tides. *laughs*
Some tides. *laughs*
Scott: Some tides! I’ll take it!
What other big plans should we expect from you in the very near future?
Scott: I have two other sessions booked. One is to record an acoustic version of the song “My Oh My.” Which is technically my biggest hit because it was in Super Bowl 2013. I’d say it’s the song that we have a small fanbase from, but is definitely Lido Beach’s most beloved song. It’s the song that people sing the loudest at our shows. So I’m gonna do an acoustic interpretation. Actually, I’m recording it with a guy named Chris Fudurich, who, coincidentally, I used to manage. He did The City Dive’s album, Always Moving, Never Stopping, and he did Real Hellos, Fake Goodbyes, we co-produced it together. He’s a gear dude, and he’s brilliant, and he’s gonna record an acoustic version of “My Oh My” with me. Not sure when it’s gonna be released yet. I’m also recording “Scar,” which I had recorded in 2007 with Danny Balistocky who did the Social Climbing EP. “Scar” is the oldest song I play, I wrote it in 2000 when I was 19. So I’m doing a newer, better, full band version where it’s gonna be slightly different. So, those are the plans.
It’s like a fine wine.
Scott: It ages or it tastes like shit. *laughs*
*laughs* Well, I think it’s going to age well.
Scott: I appreciate that, I hope it does. Music is 1,000,000% subjective, so if you like it, that’s one extra person who likes it.
About Cognoscenti Coffee:
Modern meets comfort with a hint of retro inside (and outside) Culver City’s Cognoscenti Coffee. Don’t let its small exterior fool you, because once you step inside you will be welcomed by a slew of cute bistro tables, industrial benches, and colorful chairs. But wait, there’s more! Veer to the right and catch a breath of fresh air in their somewhat secluded patio area. Whether you’re meeting with your bestie or having a writer’s meeting, you will easily be able to find a space to fit however many people in your party.
Now let’s get to the good stuff! Cognoscenti’s beverage menu is comprised of the classics along with fun seasonal recipes in the mix. My drink of choice, the surprisingly refreshing Turmeric Latte. I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into, but I’m very glad that my day to be adventurous was an enjoyable one with its perfect ratio of milk to spice. Hungry? Check out their selection of huge (and I mean huge) pastries to fill you up for breakfast or to hold you over until your group dinner in one of the Downtown Culver restaurants.