Former Vaccines’ lead guitarist Freddie Cowan created Freddie & The Scenarios with the help of some of the best in Mexico City’s incredible music scene, whilst also reuniting with Vaccines’ original drummer Pete Robertson, recently more known for his production work with Beabadoobee, Nasty Cherry, Crawlers; The Vaccines’ keyboardist Tim Lanham, Laura Marling’s bassist Nick Pini, iconic Japanese guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei (Kill Bill), and producer Ethan Johns (Paul McCartney, Kings Of Leon, Ryan Adams) on percussion.
Freddie & The Scenarios is nothing short of a supergroup. On record and future live plans, the line-up is a musician’s dream, and the record vibes seamlessly across genres, creating its own form of indie, dream pop, world soul sounds that’s parts Beck, and Bach. Not totally, but you get the idea, all the songs were written by Freddie, and he conducts the band as though a full orchestra.
The album consists of twelve tracks of joy, pain and just about everything in between. Freddie’s guitar is flawless, and hopping for the first time onto vocals delivered with an earnestness that touches genuinely. Backed by a brass section and other musicians, Freddie describes working with Vaccine’s old drummer and other past and new friends as follows,
“Pete is such an incredible drummer. He’s phenomenal – calm and so conversational, he just speaks with the drums. In fact, all the musicians on this album were people I’d just unconsciously earmarked over the years. Ethan Johns, the producer, played percussion and he’s the best percussionist probably in the country. Then we went to Mexico and recorded the brass section with players there because we thought if we got a bunch of English brass players, it wouldn’t sound like what we’re looking for. It’s this certain sound. The same way there’s Mexican boxing, there’s a certain fire to it you can’t really replicate.”
And it was, indeed whilst living in a curious time in Mexico City in 2019, Freddie had several serendipitous encounters with some of the musicians living and working there, especially around the city’s Centro Historico neighbourhood - Diego Herrera from Mexico’s legendary Caifanes, who has become a mentor, resident string and brass arranger Dan Zlotnik, and Moises Garcia, the trumpet player for Mexican hero, Juan Gabriel, among many others. These encounters inspired ‘Answer Machine’, a celebration of creative freedom and collaboration, life, growth, and restoration.
The album was recorded in both Mexico City and Somerset and somehow captures both perfectly.
After the album’s release, The Scenarios will tour Mexico in April, with plans to bring the live show to the UK later this year. Freddie explains,
“I want to do a small amount of shows and do them really well and make it really, really interesting, the music business in the ‘60s and ‘70s was much more based around records and when people did play shows, they were amazing. So I only want to play a small amount of shows with the best people.”
‘Answer Machine’ is out now via Ivy RecRods.