On the Record with Scout Niblett | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

On the Record with Scout Niblett

"I feel like what I do is blues music in the psychology of it."

True blues: Scout Niblett
True blues: Scout Niblett

Scout Niblett doesn't need much. Over six albums, she's built an impressive sound with little more than a guitar, drums and her husky snarl. On her grungy, grave new album, It's Up to Emma, she continues a career-long exercise in minimalism — this time, by assuming production duties herself.

Was this the first time you took on all the production responsibilities on an album?

Yeah, I've done singles and stuff before, but this is the first time I've mixed everything myself. ... I went into the studio a bunch of times to try to do it and it just wasn't getting finished for whatever reason, so I just decided to do it at home.

Your albums are frequently described as spare and minimal, and It's Up to Emma is no exception. What is the attraction there?

I think there's something much more intense that draws you in when you hear something very simple or very minimal. I just think less is more a lot of the time. I think people tend to add things, arrangements and stuff, that dilute [the song]. ... I'm always wary of adding too much.

Would you agree with comparisons made between your music and blues in the traditional sense?

I feel like what I do is blues music in the psychology of it. Even if I'm not playing twelve-bar blues, I feel like it's more of an emotional thing. In that way, I think I am playing blues.

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