Trenton natives Pipé Scuttleworth and Drew Pompa have been music savvy since early childhood, when their mom would plunk them down in front of MTV to keep them entertained while she did housework.
“Watching Til Tuesday, Dire Straits, Robert Palmer, Oingo Boingo, Prince and the like will do magical things to a child,” Scuttleworth said.
The brothers’ infatuation with music led them to pick up instruments at yard sales, then invest in turntables, drum machines and more. The duo’s love for music eventually led them to start their own record label, We Are All Machines, in 2012, in an effort to have complete control over the production, distribution and art of their projects.
Together, Scuttleworth and Pompa are The Siege, a duo that Scuttleworth describes as “experimental dance music with elements of rock, pop, shoegaze and world.”
The Siege is the brothers’ first musical project as a duo, and they released their concept album, “Conditions,” themselves through WAAM.
If you take a listen to any of the songs on “Conditions,” it’s obvious that The Siege is influenced by electronic music. Scuttleworth counts numerous everyday items—including street art, cityscapes and science—as major influences as well.
“Regret, loneliness, isolation and rage were recurring themes and we had family and friends serving in the military, so it just seemed relevant to explore those issues that kept arising in the media and in our lives… Creating the theme, we found, gave us focus,” Scuttleworth said.
Releasing “Conditions” on their own label was important to both Scuttleworth and Pompa, in order to preserve the authenticity of everything from the music itself to the album’s cover art.
“We are no bull***t. We don’t tolerate it, we don’t dish it, we know when we see it, and we try like hell to avoid it,” Scuttleworth said.
With that kind of strong willed attitude, it’s no surprise the brothers plan to keep doing what they love, no matter how they’re received by the public.
“We aren’t going anywhere,” Scuttleworth said. “Whether people get into (us) or not, we have to make music. It’s our mental exercise and meditation. Our course, we hope people dig it, but we simply have to make music. No alternative.”
The duo’s dedication to their craft is something aspiring musicians might want to take note of. For those who are interested in making music into a career, Scuttleworth suggests listening to music critically and buying an instrument, for starters.
“It doesn’t matter what. Buy drums, an old sampler, a laptop, a beat up acoustic guitar, or an old trumpet. Just get it, and play it with all of your heart, until your fingers are bloody and your eyes go crossed,” Scuttleworth said.
The ultimate goal of WAAM is simple—to put out great music and, eventually, have the records fund themselves.
“Everything above and beyond those initial goals would be the proverbial icing on the cake,” Scuttleworth said. “We say that now, but we will always push the boundaries that we’ve established once we’ve met our most immediate goals.”
You can catch Scuttleworth and Pompa perform at Detroit’s Rhino Bar on Sunday, May 26. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and is part of Bailout Production’s three day pop-up bar event.