Scuba Cop


If you’ve ever experienced the fully tilted wonkiness of television show Pee Wee Herman, you might be interested to know that noise rocker Ely Morgan named his new musical project Scuba Cop after a certain character from that universe.

Also, if you enjoyed the show’s surreal scope, you’ll also enjoy the music – it’s noisy, hypnotic, and heavy, but it’s a ton of other things as well. This fully checks out when you consider Morgan’s diverse career: check out the blurb from the press release:

“Ely Morgan is a longtime musician now focusing on his noise rock project, Scuba Cop, named after PEE-WEE HERMAN’S favorite book. With previous bands (GSL’s Die Princess Die, Manta Ray, Goth Jock), Morgan has released multiple albums, been showcased at SXSW twice, and toured throughout the US and Europe. Outside of performing music, he has always played a central role in the local music scenes he’s been a part of, with video footage used in two different documentaries about Bikini Kill‘s Kathleen Hanna, taking part in two different published music books, and booking bands that included Elliott Smith and Fred Armisen. Now, Morgan presents his solo project, Scuba Cop, for those who like heavy music like Pixies, Unwound, Jesus and Mary Chain, Pissed Jeans, Metz, and Jesus Lizard.”

The description checks out – from what we’ve heard so far, Scuba Cop’s upcoming album Scuba Pop sounds like a punk record made in some sort of frenzied fugue state like Chat Pile or Body Void.. It comes out July 5th, and we actually got the chance to ask him a few questions, as well as help spread the noise with the last single before the record’s release.

“‘Cursed’ is the final track off of Scuba Pop. It is about the annoyance of waiting in lines. Whether it’s the Grocery Store, Gas Station, Dr. Office, Concert, Parking lot, airport, etc. I don’t care what it is, nothing is worth waiting in line for. It blows my mind how people will wait in a line like a flock of cattle because everyone else is doing it. Sometimes you have to wait in line and have no control, which is the worst. Maybe it’s my impatient personality, but nothing seems more soul crushing.”

Check it out below:

FB: Some of your most popular work comes from writing, booking and documenting Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna – how have these diverse experiences influenced Scuba Cop, if at all?

Ely: Back in the 90s I used my family’s camcorder to videotape shows. This was before everyone had a camera on their phone so footage of small shows was a bit rarer in documenting. Bikini Kill had a show at a record shop in my hometown of Fort Collins Colorado. It was pretty incredible, they were one of my favorite bands at the time. Long story short, years later when the Documentaries“The Punk Singer” and the Le Tigre “Who took the Bomb” came out they hit me up asking permission to use my footage. They even included me in the end credits which I was super honored. I even got a handwritten thank you letter from Kathleen written in crayon, which was really special. I think Bikini Kill influenced me on how hard they rock more than anything. They get a lot of credit for their Riot Girl values and such, but nobody seems to give them credit for just how much they literally rocked. The music and lyrics are just straight up bangers. Stoked to see they are getting the flowers they have always deserved and I just got her new book.

FB: What would you say are some of the biggest differences between Scuba Pop and the previous album?

Ely: The biggest difference was the writing material I was inspired by. Lots of life experiences, like dog attacks, agonizing and expensive dental procedures, landscaping, challenging myself in my professional real job life and just annoyances and observations of what myself and probably others have to deal with on a daily basis. This was all fuel for the creative vision I wanted to accomplish.

FB: Pete Lyman has a pretty stellar track record when it comes to popular music – what made him the right choice for mastering Scuba Pop?

Ely: I have known Pete Lyman forever, we were both in the Colorado Punk scene years ago. Now Pete is involved with all of the Heavy Hitters of the music industry. He is such a cool dude and I love that he still stands by his Punk Rock ethics. I feel honored that he will work on a Grammy Award winning album then take his time to work on my Scuba Cop albums.

FB: If we’re to believe the Bandcamp pre-order, apparently there’s some sci-fi on the record – would you consider yourself a sci-fi fan?

Ely: Of Course I like Star Wars and all that fun stuff. But I do think about Aliens and if there will ever be contact in our lifetime. I also think that humans will be the Aliens for some other species that have not discovered us yet. With the way technology is rapidly progressing it seems like it’s bound to happen either way it’s more like science non-fiction.


FB: How would you describe the recording sessions for the record? Did you record all of the tracks yourself?

Ely: I really enjoy the DIY aspect of creating things. I think that is a fun and enjoyable challenge. I recorded and mixed all the tracks myself at my home studio, I played all the instruments and sang. It’s amazing what you can do these days with a couple $100 mics, Les Paul, Marshall half stack and an older computer with a CD player. No time constraints, not rushed to do anything. Able to listen to mixes with various speakers and headphones. Can go in my car right away and listen to the mixes. I call my home studio System Overload, anybody familiar with Logic will get that joke.

FB: The record is divided between ‘good cop’ and ‘bad cop’ – how did you decide to put the ‘bad cop’ side first?

Ely: I mapped my record loosely on the Pixies “Trompe Le Monde”. Like TLM I wanted to start out with the more aggressive songs first and finish with the more catchy songs. I also wanted the sequencing for the vinyl to have side A be the “COP” side and side B be the “POP” side.

FB: You’ve played in bands like Goth Jock and Manta Ray in the past as well – was there any hesitation when it came to putting music out as a solo artist?

Ely: Actually the main band that I have been associated with was a band called Die Princess Die. We did a Lot of cool things like play SXSW, tour Europe, CMJ and put an album out on the legendary Gold Standard Labs. For Die Princess Die and Manta Ray I played bass, but always had guitars and guitar amps. I had bit of hesitation as a solo artist but I was up for the challenge. It really lets me scratch that creative itch in a massive way. Also I don’t have to compromise any ideas and it is 100% my vision. Since I am naturally a bass player I tend to focus on repetitive rhythms and hooks. Goth Jock is more of a creative experiment. I wanted to see if I could write an electronic instrumental album using my phone only. I played all the little keyboards and drum pads with an iPhone 6s and created the Goth Jock album.

FB: If you had to name your project after a different character or Pee Wee Herman reference, what would you choose?

Ely: I would call it “MR. BREAKFAST”. At the beginning of Pee Wee’s big adventure, it’s the name he gave his bacon, pancakes and eggs. I also read recently that Mr. Bungle got their name from a Pee Wee Herman reference, so keeping the spirit alive I guess!

(Pre-order the record here.)