A Guitar, A Keyboard, and A Computer in a Bedroom: A Conversation With The Score

Where Do You Run [EP] - The Score

Every so often, there comes a song that instantly captures the attention of everyone within earshot; a song so powerfully catchy and mesmerizing, that it holds its audience hostage from start to finish; a song that one cannot help but listen to on repeat. After leaving New York for Los Angeles and risking everything in the process, Eddie Anthony and Edan Dover, who together comprise musical duo The Score, made that song.

Oh my love, let me be your fire
We’re a thousand miles up and I’m ’bout to get higher
Feel my heart beating out my chest
You’re the only prayer I need to make me feel blessed

Oh My Love - The ScoreWith its explosive entrance, constant drive and no-frills positive attitude, “Oh My Love” is easy to fall in love with – in fact, many already have! Released independently to SoundCloud in early 2015, “Oh My Love” quickly accumulated over 1.8 million streams, enjoying massive success in the UK where it achieved the coveted #1 spot on the Spotify UK Viral Chart and the #4 spot on the iTunes UK pop charts. The song’s popularity and mass appeal thrust Eddie and Edan, who had already been making music together for quite some time, into a much-welcomed spotlight: The success of “Oh My Love” led to The Score signing with Republic Records and landing a major advertisement placement in the UK.

In short, the past few months have been a whirlwind of adventure for Eddie and Edan – but the real adventure is only just beginning. With little notice, The Score last week released Where Do You Run, a debut EP that joins “Oh My Love” with three more infectiously catchy and memorable hits in the making – “Where Do You Run,” “Something New,” and “Livin Right.” The EP serves as confirmation that The Score are by no means a one-and-done kind of band, and that they may, in fact, end up as one of the biggest indie pop acts of 2016.

There’s a long road ahead of them, but the future looks nothing but bright for The Score. Atwood Magazine met with Eddie and Edan last week, just days before their EP release, to dig deeper into the indie pop duo as individuals and learn all that we could about this hot artist on the rise!

Watch: “Oh My Love” – The Score

A CONVERSATION WITH THE SCORE

Atwood Magazine: Eddie and Edan, welcome back to New York! What does it feel like to be back in this city?

Eddie: It’s cool, it feels good!

Edan: Yeah, it feels great to be back in New York, having come full circle in the past year. Being in New York now, we’re in a very different place from where we were a year ago.

Where were you a year ago?

Eddie: A year ago, we had just left New York to go to LA.

Edan: Yeah, literally a year ago from now!

Eddie: We were doing well in New York – like, we were playing Rockwood all the time, packing the main room and stuff, but we really wanted to step it up a notch and really try to make it, and everything was out in LA. So we just packed up, like “We’re doing it!”

Did you know folks out there?

Eddie: All of our music friends, like a lot of other writers and producers, had all moved to LA. There was a mass exodus in the past three years, and we were one of the last ones on that train. I’m from Orange County over there, so it was nice to be closer to home, but we didn’t have a set plan, really; we were just like, “If we want to make it, we gotta go over,” because there was no one here in the pop world.

Edan: If you paint the picture of where we were a year ago: We hadn’t written “Oh My Love” yet.

Eddie: Yeah, if you had told a year ago, “You’re going to be signed to the biggest label in the world, and you’re going to be on the radio soon,” we’d have been like, “That’s cool, that’s funny.”

Edan: We were like, grinding in my bedroom – basically – in my Upper East Side apartment –

Eddie: – wow, that… –

Edan: – not… We were just hustling [laughs] in my bedroom. We were working really hard all the time, we had just released two EPs independently and we got a little bit of traction from those – you know, little things like in-store play from Abercrombie and Hollister.

Eddie: We were a finalist, or second-place for the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

Edan: Little things here and there, but we were just like, “Okay, I guess we’re going to move to LA,” and it was really a leap of faith for us; we didn’t realize that all of this – what’s happened in the past year – would actually happen.

'Oh My Love' may be the song that introduced the world to The Score, but it is by no means your first song. You have quite the repertoire - it's like a whole different band beforehand.

Edan: Yeah, and I think that happens a lot, because artists need to go through that critical development time. People don’t realize – like, a lot of artists are marketed in a way like they came out of nowhere; like they just picked up a guitar and started writing hit songs, and that’s not how it works at all. For most people – maybe not everyone – but for most people, there’s a long period of artist development, of grinding the pavement and really figuring out who they are and honing their craft.

Eddie: Yeah, we’re trying to still find our sound. For us, I don’t think the songwriting has changed very much; we’ve been writing for so long together. I don’t think it was the songwriting part as much as it was finding the sound that worked –  like, a combination of songwriting that made us stick out. On “Oh My Love,” it kind of clicked: The songwriting was there, the production and the sound was kind of sonically ‘different,’ so I think that’s what set us apart from the rest of the EPs.

Listen: “Say Something (A Great Big World Ft. Christina Aguilera Cover)” – The Score

Eddie: Everything that makes us now is the result of all the work we put in back then. That’s the great thing about going to LA – we worked so hard in New York, like writing in the apartment and playing shows – where we are now is a culmination of all that work. It’s nothing to be ashamed of; we’re not this ‘packaged’ pop group who came out of nowhere. Everyone has a past, and I don’t think it’s a big deal to say, “We were an acoustic pop band before.”

You gained a lot of popularity from your covers; 'Say Something' was your most streamed song before 'Oh My Love.'

Edan: Yeah, YouTube was good for us. There was a period of time when we were just doing covers. We called them “Score Sundays,” and we tried to do them every two weeks or so. We put a lot of time and effort into them and we got our initial audience through YouTube. It was a great way to build that first audience base.

Eddie: We weren’t touring, so we needed a way to get a base.

Edan: And it was great. The practice, I think, of dissecting all of these hits songs and recreating them in our own voice – it’s very educational. Not only the process of recording and producing everything, but also learning from the great songs and the songwriters who wrote these great songs. If you recreate them, you internalize the melodies and chord progressions a little better. I think that was also a good education for us.

What makes The Score different?

Edan: For us, it’s about the songwriting; we’re originally producers and songwriters, so first and foremost that’s in our DNA.

Eddie: I think we try to make every song a single. With our EP and the album, we’re not trying to write ‘album cuts’ – as messed up as that sounds – but we’re trying to write every song like it could potentially be on the radio.

Edan: Not because radio is the endgame, but because writing universally anthemic, relatable choruses and melodies that just – we want people to feel uplifted; we want people to listen to the songs and feel better. It’s like almost therapy – that’s what we try to do with our music.

Why the name 'The Score' - what do you want people to think of when they hear your name?

Edan: We like the association of the score to music, like a music score… There’s a bunch of different ways – you could do the music score, there’s sports – like, everybody wants to know the score of the game –

Eddie: Hashtag winning!

Edan: When we came across that name, it just seemed to fit so well, so we stuck with it.

Eddie: And it was the one name that we were going through that we didn’t absolutely hate – so like, this is cool.

Edan: Like, “E-Squared” was definitely one that had to be cut [laughs].

Eddie: It was just bad – we had a show coming up, and that name sounded pretty good so we used that.

The Score © Steven Taylor

The Score is Eddie Anthony (left) and Edan Dover (right) // © Steven Taylor

You're signed to Republic Records alongside a number of other acts who gained their initial momentum and ascent independently through streaming music. What does this signing mean to you?

Eddie: This signing kind of means everything to us – it’s the pinnacle of everything we’ve worked so hard for. We had choices between any label we wanted, but I think Republic shared our mentality of wanting to win and going hard – it’s a very New York mentality – and I think at the end of the day, even though we’re in LA, the mentality we still have is very New York, and Republic totally got that.

You still have your personal band email on your website. Does that go to you guys, and do you check it often?

Edan: Yeah – we get all the emails and we check it every day!

Are you planning to keep it up there?

Edan: I mean, after this interview, maybe not [laughs]… Yeah, management has been hounding us about making a special management email and putting that up instead, so maybe it’ll change to a management email, but for now we’re getting all the emails.

How has that been for you? Have you received anything really special that stood out?

Eddie: A lot of weddings. A lot of couples are using “Oh My Love” for their wedding song, so we get a lot of requests like, “Hey, can we use your song in our wedding video or at our wedding?” so that’s cool to see a song we wrote in Edan’s apartment being the basis for someone’s marriage.

Onto the music: Is there any structure to how you write your songs?
The Score

Edan: Yeah – I mean, our roles are kind of different. Eddie’s a songwriter songwriter: He picks up a guitar and starts writing lyric and melody, whereas I am a jazz-trained pianist and producer; I’m very techy and stuff. Usually he’ll come to me with an idea of some kind of melody – like in “Oh My Love,” he came to me with the chorus melody – and then we start building the track. We build the actual record as we’re writing it because we have that producer/songwriter vibe, so usually what you hear on our final records is how it sounded from the very beginning. There is no demo, and then it’s re-recorded. It goes straight from demo to record.

What was the hardest song for you to write off of your EP?

Eddie: I think “Livin Right” wasn’t the hardest song to write, but it was the hardest song to record and produce – to create. When I brought it to Edan, it was just the verse and chorus on the acoustic guitar, but it was so stripped that we didn’t know where to take it to make it our sound, sonically. Out of those four songs, that might have been the most difficult one to nail down.

Edan: I think that song has a little bit of an ’80s electronic influence and we don’t really usually do that with our songs. We had to push the production in that direction to really do justice to the song. When we finally figured it out, it worked – it sounded great.

Usually what you hear on our final records is how it sounded from the very beginning.

How long did 'Oh My Love' take?

Edan: It was quick. The song was written in a day or two, and within a week the production was done.

Eddie: Probably within four or five days, the song was the rough version of what it is.

What role does repetition play in your music?

Edan: Oh, we love repetition!

Eddie: I think what separates us from a lot of other bands is that we’re so song-driven – like, a lot of bands are huge fans of other bands, and their palettes are very eclectic, and ours still are, but I think we’re really big fans of songwriters, like the Ryan Tedders and the Max Martins and all that –

Edan: When we look at records we like, we look up who produced them and who wrote them, you know?

Eddie: So repetition, for us, is everything because anything in pop music that’s a big song repeats like crazy. That’s like, the Max Martin rule number one.

Edan: When we write, our method of writing is the path of least resistance. We’ve learned that, to get the creative flow going and to get into a rhythm while you’re writing, you need to make sure you don’t think too much, if that makes any sense. It’s good to think outside the box and whatnot, and get creative – but you don’t want to get too analytical to the point where you’re stalling yourself out, because once you fall down that pit of despair while writing, it’s hard to get out of that writer’s block. So you’ve got to create this creative rhythm and keep going with it. The best way to do that is to just let it flow and not be too critical of yourself. Repetition is always a place we go, because it just works: People want to hear a verse sung the same way the second time as the first time, they want to hear that hook multiple times. We love to do that – we’re not scared of repetition at all. Now, there is such a thing as too much repetition, but we’d rather be too repetitive, and then figure out afterwards how to make it less repetitive, than vice versa.

What has been your biggest challenge to overcome so far?

Where Do You Run [EP] - The ScoreEddie: It’s not really the biggest challenge, but because these records are so production-heavy now, we’re just having to translate that into our live set. Our home has been pretty much a studio, so now is the first time that we get to venture out to start touring and playing out. I think right now, trying to match our live set to our recordings is probably the toughest thing.

Edan: Yeah, we’re not a traditional band in the sense that we’re a bunch of dudes who jammed in a garage and figured out how we’re going to plays these songs, and write them together live. A guitar, a keyboard, and a computer in a bedroom: That’s how music is created today, and that’s how we make our music. So then we have to play this live – and we’re no strangers to performing live, but it does take a second how to replicate these massive productions in a live setting.

Eddie: Our older acoustic pop songs – those are really easy to do live. Now, we’re working with samples and different pads and stuff to match the record.

A guitar, a keyboard, and a computer in a bedroom: That’s how music is created today.

You were saying earlier that you look to songwriters as your influences. For you as musicians, what are your goals?

Eddie: I think the goals of our songs are to have a universal appeal. It’s been crazy seeing “Oh My Love” take off in the UK with the response there, in a whole different I’ve never been to. Hopefully it translates well here. I think we’re just trying to write songs, like what Edan said earlier, that are uplifting and universal, and that are just big songs! We want to be like Ryan Tedder; we want to be like those guys.

Edan: So, I used to study jazz piano. I would hole myself up in a practice room for five hours a day, practicing, and yeah – within my little community of the Jazz Department at NYU, they would care, but if I showed my friends what I was up to – like, the music I was writing or playing at the time, they really could not relate to it. It was hard for them to tap into. With pop songwriting, we tap into a world that so many more people relate with, and we can touch so many more people. For Eddie and me, that’s what we crave – being able to make that connection. So we want write those songs that make that connection with as many people as possible.

If your music is universally understood, what are those themes that you want people to be getting out of it?

Edan: With “Oh My Love,” we were coming from a place where we had just started this new adventure. We just had moved to LA, we packed up all of our bags, we left our friends and family back behind, and we were taking this risk, so I think we wanted to instill confidence in ourselves. We wanted to write a song – a melody and a lyric – that was, I guess, a reassurance for ourselves that we’re going to do this; we may have taken a risk, but we’re going to achieve what we set out here to achieve. That’s one of the feelings that we want to spread to people.

Eddie: It’s funny – people comment about “Oh My Love” that there are all these religious undertones, or it’s about a relationship, etc.; it’s cool to see people pull different things from a song that wasn’t necessarily written for religious things – it’s just the way it came out. There’s a universality-slash-ambiguity to some of the songs, which is really cool; people get to pull their own interpretation from them.

We wanted to write a song – a melody and a lyric – that was a reassurance for ourselves that we’re going to do this; I think we wanted to instill confidence in ourselves.

'The song 'Catching Fire' is not on the EP, but it contains some very deep lyrics: 'I am always aiming too high / Staring too long makes you blind / You got my wings catching fire.'

Eddie: It was a song about a relationship where you just know you’re going to go down, but we kind of wanted to have it be a little coy and play up the whole ‘Icarus’ thing, and so that’s why there are a lot of references to literally catching fire – like, you’re flying too high and aiming too high – kind of the whole Icarus story, but instead of a father/son aspect, having it be with a relationship. That was the basis for that song – it was fun to do; the turnaround was pretty quick on that song.

Listen: “Catching Fire” – The Score

'Livin Right' has this darkness-to-light theme to it - 'Heaven can wait, we’re staying here; spending tonight like there’s nothing to fear. Heaven can wait as long as you’re near – living it right like there’s nothing to fear' What do these words mean to you?

Eddie: “Livin Right” was about guy that finds a girl who was kind of messed up in something before, and he wants her to know that this is going to be ‘living right’ – like with this new relationship, everything’s going to be fine. “Living it right like there’s nothing to fear” –  just take a chance.

The second song most folks will hear of yours will be “Where Do You Run” – what does that song mean to you?

Edan: I love that song.

Eddie: “Where Do You Run” is probably our favorite from the EP. It’s really fun to play live.

Edan: It’s the one song that – I guess it is uplifting, but in a less obvious way. What’s cool about it is that it’s not specific to a kind of relationship – like a romantic relationship; it could be about any kind of relationship – father/son, friends, sister/brother. It’s just about being that support for somebody when they need you; when they’re in a bad place. “Who do you run to? Where do you run?”

Eddie: When you’re at your lowest… Like, one of the lyrics is, “Where do you run when you’re screaming out? Where do you run when no one can hear you?” When you’re at your lowest, where do you run and who do you turn to?

Edan: It’s that point of vulnerability.

Eddie: And you’re just saying in the song that you’ll be that person to whoever’s feeling low. It could be anything.

Edan: We haven’t started the music video for that, but  I think we can already envision it; it’s just one of those really big sounding, emotional, epic kind of songs. We love it!

‘Where Do You Run’ is is about being that support for somebody when they need you – when they’re in a bad place.

What is the most important lyric to you?

Edan: “Where Do You Run.” That song has a depth to it that I can really connect with.

Since you're the producer as well, what's the biggest moment out of the production that affects you?

Edan: Dude, there are so many little things that get me excited! We can go song-by-song. “Livin Right” – I love the ’80s toms on “Livin Right” and how in each of the verses, another element introduces itself and it plays a critical part in the production. It’s not just like we threw everything at a canvas and it all stuck: Each instrument plays a role. Then there’s little things, like the bend of the bass synth into the second chorus – little surprises here and there that we throw that get me super excited every time I listen. On “Where Do You Run,” the bridge is our favorite part. It’s just so epic – we have this huge choir thing come in, and this rapid guitar lead that’s played… For me, when I listen to “Where Do You Run,” I’m just waiting until the bridge. I love everything up to the bridge, but that’s my favorite part.

Eddie: Lyrically, I like this thing on “Livin Right” – “The faith that you need when you’re running out / I’ll be devout,” I think that’s a really cool lyric.

Edan: Oh shit – yeah, I like that lyric too!

Eddie: I don’t know, for some reason – I didn’t realize it – but a lot of the stuff I was writing had all these religious undertones. I have no idea why, but it’s just a cool lyric – it sticks out.

Edan: What are the exact words for that?

Eddie: “I’ll be the sun, light break in your clouds / The truth when you’re feeling doubt / The faith that you need when you’re running out / I’ll be devout”

Edan: “Running out / I’ll be devout.” When I heard him – he came to me with that, and I was like, “That’s genius.” So awesome.

Did you have a religious upbringing?

Eddie: Yeah, but I’m not super religious by any means. On certain songs, it came out more than others – I don’t know why, I wasn’t necessarily thinking about that stuff.

If you were to write a song that wasn't about relationships, what would it be about?

Eddie: That’s tough, because we usually tend to write about stuff that we know.

It says a lot that that's what your focus has been as a songwriter.

Edan: There’s so many other things you could do – a song about proving people writing; a song about being a champion…

But is that The Score?

Edan: I guess not – I mean, who knows where our songwriting will take us in the future.

Eddie: I’m trying to think of kind of like, U2? I don’t want to say, like, ‘political stuff,’ but a lot of their album – like on The Joshua Tree, they had “With Or Without You,” but then they had “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and stuff like that. I don’t know – maybe something about current, relevant events with the world; I don’t know.

Mitch and The Score

Mitch and The Score

Do you believe, as artists, that you have a social responsibility that goes beyond delivering music?

Eddie: Yeah, I think that music gives you a platform to reach out to people in other ways aside from the music. Bands like Coldplay, and things like the Global Citizen Festival – I think anyone with a platform, whether it’s music or film, etc. – if you are lucky and blessed enough to have a platform to do what you love and have a mass audience, I think you have a responsibility to use that for the betterment of everyone else.

And that's just starting for you guys.

Edan: Yeah, I mean as the platform grows and we get bigger and our influence gets bigger, we’re excited to make a positive change in any way we can. That’s something we’ll definitely explore once people actually hear about us! [laughs] In the UK we’re doing well, but in the US, we’ve got a mountain to climb. We’re confident – we’ve got a great team at Republic, so we’re super excited about what’s ahead.

What are you most looking forward to over the next year?

Eddie: I’m looking forward to hearing the song on the radio over here. I think that’ll be a very surreal, “Whoa!” moment, and then seeing it climb… I think we’re both excited for what we think “Oh My Love” is going to do – the doors it will open for our other music; for opportunities for us, as songwriters, to write for other people; I think there’s a whole bunch of stuff down the road that we’re excited for, but “Oh My Love” is definitely the kick-starter.

And it has been the entire time; you've been riding this for a little while.

Edan: It didn’t really get popular until July, so it’s actually very new. We released it in February, but I’d say the biggest thing was that we got a very large sync.

Eddie: The ASDA…

Edan: There was a very popular commercial in the UK that used the song very prominently throughout all these different versions of the commercials on radio and TV… That was the spark for all this, so it’s all been pretty recent!

Are you sick of it yet?

Eddie: No, I don’t think we’ve totally realized it yet.

Edan: Apparently everybody in the UK knows the song! I meet people who are visiting from London, and we’ll get to talking and we’ll be like, “Oh yeah, we have that song that’s ‘Oh My Love,'” and they’ll be like, “What!?” Or, “The song in the ASDA advertisement” if they don’t recognize the song by name, and they can literally sing the song back to me! They know the song – the lyrics and everything!

That's such a surreal experience.

Eddie: It’s funny when on Twitter, too. I’ll check our Twitter every morning, and like, today people were tweeting, “So happy to hear The Score on BBC One today.” It’s really cool to be seeing something that we did in his apartment to progress from getting a couple good blog posts, to an advertisement, and now it’s on BBC One, which is arguably one of the biggest stations in the world. It’s kind of cool to see that transpire and evolve. We’re stoked – we’re not tired of it yet.

Listen: “Don’t Wanna Wake Up” – The Score

If there were any song from your backlog that you could either reproduce or really get people's ears around today... Can you think of a song you would want to bring back?

Edan: There’s a song that we play live that we live, “Almost.” We’ve never been able to figure out how to produce it correctly, so we never recorded it. “This Beating Heart” is a great song that a lot of people like… I always liked “Dancing Shoes,” although it’s a little more mellow…

Eddie: “Don’t Wanna Wake Up,” everyone loved, but I don’t think it’s really for us right now. It’s just so poppy – like Train could do it, and that would be cool.

Edan: I’d say “This Beating Heart” – if we could reproduce “This Beating Heart”… Back then, when we produced, we were producing things a certain way and we didn’t have as much experience as we have now. That would be a cool experiment – to jump in and try redoing that song today, and to take all the new influences and the new things that we do, and bring them into that song. It would definitely come out pretty cool.

Listen: “This Beating Heart” – The Score

What are you most excited for at the end of this year?

Eddie: So we start going to radio here in the US in September, and that’s a big landmark for us… I don’t know; we’re just doing the radio tour for all of October and a bunch of one-offs in November. I think this whole end of the year is going to be kind of fun to ride for us, building “Oh My Love” up, and then once the album comes out, it’s going to be a whole other… We’re excited. I don’t know if there’s one thing necessarily.

Any last words for your fans out there?

Edan: We need a name for our fans.

Eddie: Oh yeah, that was on Twitter also.

Edan: You know how “beliebers” are for Justin Bieber? We’re trying to figure out ours; the only one we could think of is really inappropriate, so we need… like, Scorers? Scorelords? Any suggestions!

What's the inappropriate one?

Edan: Score whores. [laughs] We don’t have a really big social media following – we’re growing – but people have been asking, like, “You need a name for your fandom!” We’ll have to do a competition.

Eddie: A DJ in the UK did a remix of “Oh My Love” and it’s number eleven or ten on The Hype Machine right now, so that’s kind of cool.

Listen: “Oh My Love (Kat Krazy Remix)” – The Score

We’ve come to a point of maturity in our songwriting and our sound.

Edan: Yep, that’s great. I guess to the fans, it would just be… This has been an amazing journey, and we’re really excited to share this new music with them. This EP, four songs, is going to be, like, really – we’ve come to a point of maturity in our songwriting and our sound that, if our fans loved all the stuff we did before, we think they’re really going to love what’s around the corner!

Eddie: And we’re excited to get out to everyone else and make new fans! We’re so small, and I think this song is going to be very big, so it’s going to be exciting to see all the new people who get to know who we are.

We'll grow the scoreboard!

The Score: Yes – absolutely!

Where Do You Run

An EP by The Score

Learn more about The Score online at www.thescoreofficial.com

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Got a question for Eddie and Edan? Email them at thescore@thescoreofficial.com

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com