Scratch Track

"We are family. We are brothers."

Scratch Track consists of Danny Mark who plays the saxophone, Jason Hamlin who sings and plays guitar, and D.J. Lee who beat boxes and sings. They are very different than any band on the scene. Their music is a blend of funk, hip hop, rock, and gospel. When you see their live show, you notice that the creativity that flows out of these guys are beyond words. Their sound is refreshing, their vocals are always on point, and the passion they all share makes you only want to keep pressing replay. I sat down with D.J. Lee and got to know him and Scratch Track a little bit better.

Q. Scratch Track formed in 2003. Since then, what has been your biggest struggle in the music industry?

A. Well from the beginning, people have always been super positive about Scratch Track and calling it “the coolest thing they’ve seen” or the “most unique thing they’ve ever seen and heard”. But because we’re so diverse and unique, many labels always shook their head saying, “It sounds great, but we don’t know what to do with it.” For a long time labels were obsessed with labeling everything and had to always stick with a formula. So, that was one of the biggest frustrations in our early days.

Q. When you guys are on stage, there is great chemistry between all of you. How did you meet?

A. The easiest story to tell is that we met in college down in Tennessee. We were both music majors and just became friends and started jamming out making music. We have great chemistry because we’ve been through SO much together and we hang out ALL of the time. I mean even when we’re not on a tour or working on band stuff, we find ourselves getting a hold of each other and hanging out. We are family. We are brothers.

Q. Where do you hope to see Scratch Track in the next five years?

A. Still touring, writing with other artists, writing for other artists, guest spots on other peoples records. Basically, still making music and having a bigger voice in the music industry. Also, hearing our songs more places and hopefully making new fans while keeping the old ones.

Q. You guys are in a van all of the time, traveling throughout different cities. What has been one of the best times while driving to your next stop?

A. Endless stories come to mind, but I can remember one time when we stopped at a rest area and Jason started small talking with an older gentleman who was traveling. By the time I came out of the bathroom, Jason had got his guitar out and this guy was playing it and singing right outside of our van. He was showing Jason some songs he had written. It was a fun moment and helped remind us that all of us musicians are on a similiar journey but just at different points of it.

Q. If you had to describe your sound in three words, what would they be?

A. Percussive. Melodic. Agrressive.

Q. D.J., you describe your sound as a mix between Marvin Gaye and Beck. What other artists are your major influences?

A. My Dad is a HUGE influence on me. He’s a professional singer, classically trained but he sings with such passion and energy. Also, Michael Jackson. He had so much control of his voice and would sing with such aggressiveness. His movements and his antics are imitated the most but his vocals were SO good. It was truly unreal. R.I.P. Mike.

Q. What is your target audience?

A. The world. We play a lot of colleges but we really feel like our music is for everyone. We feel like there’s something about what we do that can appeal to everyone. Whether it be the beatboxing, the guitar playing, the effects Jason uses on his guitar, the slide stuff he plays, the vocals, the harmonies,–whatever it is we have something that can appeal to almost every type of music listener and almost every age and social background.

Q. What has been your most memorable show you have played?

A. Again, so many shows come to mind. Probably the first time we played the House of Blues in Chicago. It was our first time playing rooms that big. We were YOUNG and new and were the band going on right before the headliner. We got up there and did our thing and EVERYBODY loved it. It was a great experience for sure.

Q. My final question I like to ask all of the bands I interview. If you were stranded on an island for the rest of your life and could only bring one of your songs to listen to, which one would it be and why?

A. Wow, that’s tough. I wanna say something from our newest CD because I’m so in love with all of those songs, but it would probably have to be a song from our E.P. “Interpretation of the Afterwards” called “Stick”. The chorus says, “I feel stuck in my humanity, there’s someplace I’d rather be, but for now, I’ll stick with being me. I think I lost my sanity, there’s someone I’d rather be, but for now, I’ll stick with being me”. The song’s happy and sad all at the same time. I look at it from two different ways. One,  It’s sad because you’re just gonna stay put and not grow and not change, etc. Two. It’s positive because with all those feelings and urges to be things that you are not, It’s great to stick with being who you are, no matter what.

Below is one of their new tracks called “Shaker.”

Listen here

The End.

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