COM Exclusive: Cal Scruby Interview and BTS Video of Michael Bay

Cal Scruby in 2015 – Photo by Jeremy Deputat

In May of 2014, Cal Scruby signed with Riveting Entertainment, a multi-award winning production company looking for expansion into music management. Shortly after signing, Cal moved to Los Angeles to embark on an entirely new journey fully dedicated to music. Fast-forward a year and 5 months, Cal releases his first project under the label Riveting Music.  House in the Hills, an eight track EP, was released on September 4, 2015.  The EP contains features from Trevor Jackson, Sevyn Streeter and Chris Brown, who appears on the projects lead track “Aint Shit Changed.”  The EP is Cal’s first purchasable project centering mostly around his new life in Los Angeles, while still showcasing his ingenuity and extraordinary lyricism.

“I really can’t describe how it feels…I can’t imagine anything will ever compare to performing in Ohio.”

Cal returned to Columbus, OH on October 15th to perform in front of a packed crowd at Park-Street Saloon.  The growth of Cal as an artist and performer was evident throughout the entire performance. Although he rocked the black “O-H” baseball jersey, Scruby led the show like a point guard with confidence and swagger, knowing the audience was there to see him.  All of his confidence is rightfully deserved, as he is making great strides in the music industry.  This past Saturday, Cal opened for Kendrick Lamar in front of a sold-out crowd back in Columbus at LC Pavilion.  Two days later, he dropped the official music video to “Michael Bay“, the second song off of House in the Hills EP.  Cal’s just getting better and better with everything new he releases. He’s making moves and picking up steam, so it was a pleasure getting the chance to talk with him after his concert at Park-Street Saloon.

How does it feel coming back home to Ohio to perform, specifically Cincinnati and Columbus? 

I really can’t describe how it feels.  I try to always put on for those two cities in particular because they’ve had such a profound impact on who I’ve become, so it’s rewarding to feel the love come back around.  Traveling and performing in other states is cool because it reminds me that my music is reaching people all over the country, but I can’t imagine anything will ever compare to performing in Ohio.

Walk me through a day in the life of Cal Scruby, clearly things have changed since you have moved to Los Angeles?

It depends on the day, you would either think my life is really interesting or really boring.  I don’t know how the fuck it happened, but I’m a morning person now, so I get up and make breakfast (eggs and a smoothie and too much bacon).  If I’m trying to be a healthy person, I go for a run with my dog.  If not, I just sit there and eat all the bacon.  If I’m in LA, I’ll trade emails and phone calls with people for a few hours and then hit the office around 6pm to write and listen to music for a good 12 hours. I sleep there a lot, but I don’t sleep a lot there.  Some days we have video shoots and studio sessions and cool shit, but other than that, I just make music and watch all my TV shows.

If you never got convinced by your buddies to pursue music, where would you be right now?

Dead, figuratively.  Maybe literally.  I don’t know, really.  I have a degree, so I’d probably be working in a cubicle somewhere, laughing at shitty jokes my boss tells me and wishing the dude in the cubicle next to me didn’t breathe so damn loud.

Cal performs with DJ Kev the Goon at Ubahn Festival in Cincinnati, OH on October 16, 2015 - Photo by Lexie Alley
Cal performs with DJ Kev the Goon at Ubahn Festival in Cincinnati, OH on October 16, 2015 – Photo by Lexie Alley

How do you feel you have progressed as an artist from Best Foot Forward, Boy Genius, SCRUBBY to House in the Hills, your first purchasable project?

I think it’s pretty clear. Best Foot Forward was really me not knowing what the fuck I was doing, so I just rapped on other peoples’ beats.  Boy Genius was me rapping mostly on other peoples’ beats, but kind of knowing how to create complete songs with concepts and hooks and shit.  SCRUBBY was me and Dreamer clicking and him understanding what kind of project I wanted to make.  It had a cohesive theme and the whole project kind of followed this storyline.  But the biggest difference between all that shit and House In The Hills is that I didn’t rush it like I did with the other projects.   It still possesses all the qualities of the other projects, but sonically it’s consistent.  I’m just getting better, that’s all that really matters to me.

I know you like to work solo but working with Chris, Trevor, Gladiator, etc. has definitely added a different dimension to your sound.  Is there anyone in particular you want to work with in the future?

I want to work with all my favorite artists.  Right now, I’m all about working  with my favorite producers — Khaled, Internz, Jukebox, Bongo… those guys.

Hip-Hop is at an interesting place right now.  Most of the best hip-hop records, in my opinion, aren’t radio singles — Drake, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, etc.  Ain’t Shit Changed has had some radio play in Columbus, Cincinnati and LA, so are you striving to get on the radio?

Hell yeah I want radio play, but that’s not how I determine if a song is successful or not.  I don’t make songs for the purpose of getting radio play – if I did, I wouldn’t put the word “shit” in the title of my song, and I wouldn’t curse so fucking much.

Does having a ghostwriter matter? Obviously it was what started the Meek/Drake beef.  

I mean, you can write collaboratively and still be a dope artist.  I read a quote from CyHi about how Kanye works with other artists.  Essentially, he said if you’re trying to make music that changes an entire culture, you have to gain different perspectives while creating that music.  I agree with that wholeheartedly, but you still gotta be able to create something dope on your own.

Who’s your hollywood ‘bae’ right now and will you try to meet her/work with her?

I have a big crush on Niykee Heaton’s manager.  I wanna be a cheeseball and make her arts and crafts.  But it’d be wrong of me to leave out Sarah Hyland from Modern Family.  Alright and Keke Palmer.  Brenda Song.

What was your favorite memory as an undergrad at Ohio State?

I was an undergrad when I opened for Cole.  No one really knew who I was until that day.  I replaced Big KRIT for that particular show, and I remember during my first song, right when I came out, this big girl in the front row goes “You ain’t KRIT!”  Me and my friends say that shit all the time now.

Behind-the-Scenes of the Official Music Video “Michael Bay”
Connect with Cal Scruby: Twitter // Facebook // Soundcloud 
Ryan Welage

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