Amy Day and Scott Walsh had a lot in common. Both were lifelong musicians who moved to San Diego’s Tierrasanta neighborhood within a few years of each other. They dove into San Diego’s rich local music scene, seeing local bands on Adams and University, cover bands in the Gaslamp, and national touring artists at venues like Soda Bar and the Belly Up.
In the Summer of 2014, as a natural extension of their musical friendship, Scott and Amy started playing music together — Scott on guitar, Amy on piano — and within a few months were writing original work. Soon after, Amy recruited friend and neighbor Ray Daniels on drums, Ray brought in friend Neal Hedegard on bass and guitar, and The Local was born.
The Local’s original indie rock is based in punk and folk, but draws influences from jazz and world beat. “Our goal is always to set our lyrics to rhythmically sophisticated music with rich vocal harmony,” says Amy. “Our influences are all over the map,” adds Scott. “We love Bob Dylan’s storytelling, Ian McKaye’s in-your-face social protest, The Smiths’ melodic guitar and basslines, The National’s unconventional time signatures, and the alt-country roots of Wilco and Ryan Adams. It shows in our songwriting process – Amy will propose a folky chord progression, I’ll speed it up with a punky strum pattern, Ray will layer in an afro-cuban drumbeat, and Neal will sneak a heavy metal riff into the bass line. And it gels into something all its own.”
As songwriters, The Local works hard to make their lyrics thoughtful and meaningful. “Amy jokes about writing a bouncy song without any meaning or message — like ‘ooooh Donna, I really like your hair,” Scott says, laughing. “But every time I write something like that she votes it down.”
The band, in fact, has a few more rules to keep their music out of shallow pop waters, including no saying “baby” in any song. “You have to really trust each other to write music together,” says Amy. “You have to let one another to try new things, but throwing “baby” into a song just isn’t allowed. We also have an absolute prohibition against forcing each other to participate in a nonconsensual classic rock cover. We have approximately 4,565 rules like this.”
Studio West Recording
Over the last few months, the band recorded several songs at Studio West with engineer and TRAC degree graduate Daniel Bourget. “We can’t say enough about how talented, meticulous and just seriously cool Daniel is,” Amy says. “We’re also in love with the gorgeous grand piano in Studio A, which makes a lot of appearances in our videos.”