If you are lucky enough to experience the spoils Los Angeles has to offer, it can be quite charming––bright, friendly, perpetually chillax.
The sun always shines. There are beaches everywhere. The tacos are unfailingly delicious, and when you are watching a dwindling sunset dip over the Santa Monica Mountains, it’s hard to imagine that life can get much better. You feel a windless vibration in the air, a sense of boundless calm, something that powerhouse-duo Social House calls “positive vibes.”
Ever since their move from Pittsburgh, PA to Sherman Oaks, a mellow enclave in the torrid hills of Los Angeles’ valley, spreading these “vibes” has sort of been their M.O. Whether it is producing Ariana Grande’s empowering feminist anthems, embracing fans with hugs and awkward smiles, or helping save the earth one vegan meal at a time, Michael “Mikey” Foster and Charles “Scootie” Anderson’s approach to life is immensely likable. Instead of taking a surgical knife to the culture, Social House would much rather help their listeners build new neural pathways to feel happiness and optimism in a tumultuous time where negativity and nihilism seem to be the default position for many.
It’s steeped in an ethos that is incredibly amenable and untroubled, much like the kind of agreeable L.A. weather they find to be so motivating: “I feel like there’s something so energizing about West Coast sunshine and being outside,” Mikey shared with me, “No bashing or anything––but there’s a lot of music that kind of has a very down vibe, very chill vibe. We just want to add a little bit of light, a little bit of positivity.” While they feel that “all of it is very necessary,” the DAMN.s, the “This is America,”s––they want to provide the people sonic comfort food to combat our generation’s overwhelming feelings of anxiety: “You gotta have those moments where you just take a second a say, “You know what, I’m happy and all is ok.”
When it comes to producing, Mikey and Scootie have a very similar approach. The hunt for that right drum pattern or ambient layer leads them both on creative binges where they will do anything and everything except music––a quest for aesthetic gold so to speak. Sometimes, sketching might be the medium to find that perfect synth sound. On another day, the search for inspiration could involve clothing design. It’s so random and spectacular that it makes you think of them more as a new-age auteur than solely musicians. “It helps you express yourself through another means, and then when you come back to the music, you have a new perspective,” said Scootie of their artistic benders, “You feel refreshed and ready to tackle the studio again.”
The entertainment industry can definitely breed a type of conceit more revolting than a cockroach crawling up your arm. Despite its natural beauty and rich offerings, Los Angeles is a de facto capital of this kind of disgusting vanity, a reason why many never drop their anchor wholeheartedly in this schmoozy, smoggy city polluted with obnoxious misanthropes and wannabe actors. Perhaps we need more artists like Social House who lack the pretension that seems to ooze out of celebrity culture like fetid puss. Perhaps Mikey and Scootie are the coolest, most down-to-earth dudes I have ever had the pleasure of speaking with. Go check out my interview below where we talked about all-nighters at the studio, their musical process, and what being a vegan is really all about.
The Knockturnal: You’re both vegans. How has being vegan influenced your music and life?
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: I feel like it kind of made us live a little bit better for ourselves in a sense.
Michael “Mikey” Foster: Once you start taking care of your body, you start realizing everything else you don’t take care of.
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: Exactly.
The Knockturnal: Do your experiences in Pittsburgh play a role in your larger journey as artists?
Michael “Mikey” Foster: Absolutely. I think it all counts. It all adds up.
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: Everything up to now has built me.
Michael “Mikey” Foster: If you think about all the relationships you had, all the stuff you were taught from your peers, absorbed from school and those experiences, all those things carry weight we don’t even realize. Even Pittsburgh culture has affected us musically. A lot of Pittsburgh families are very family-oriented and very structured, and their main goals are to provide stability and a home for a family they really, really love––there’s that grounding for that. I know with a lot of other places, especially with New York, it’s about big dreams for personal goals, personal worth and values, and so it has a drive to it. But the family-orientation makes you love and cherish friendship. It’s those values from back home that you hear in our music.
The Knockturnal: Funny enough, my Dad grew up all around the city: in Carnarsie, Queens. Eventually, he decided to move out to California because he thought it would be a better place to raise a family, to settle down. You guys made that move as well. What about California attracted you, and what have your experiences been like on the West Coast? Do you miss home at all and those family-oriented values you spoke of earlier?
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: I feel like there are pieces that we miss.
Michael “Mikey” Foster: Personally, I love the weather and sunny days in LA. I feel like there’s something so energizing about West Coast sunshine and being outside. Say, I’m on a rooftop and working in that kind of environment, like, that’s beautiful. So it makes you stay in that place, and if I like that vibe, I can keep on working, working, working all day. But other places you get different life experiences––you get to go through your ups and downs.
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: Sometimes you need those rainy days. You start to miss those when every day is perfect.
The Knockturnal: You guys have such a positive energy. Your logo, your music, your overall aesthetic feels very West-Coast inspired. Are you trying to channel the natural warmth and friendliness of California in your music?
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: I feel like that comes from our optimism.
Michael “Mikey” Foster: It took a lot to get here. Now, all we kind of want to do is remember that worked really hard. So to enjoy it a little bit more during this time and help people have a little bit more fun, because, you know, nothing about today’s music––no bashing or anything––but there’s a lot of music that kind of has a very down vibe, very chill vibe. We just want to add a little bit of light, a little bit of positivity. There’s that balance: you might have those darker thoughts, but we also want to have those happy thoughts too. All of it is very necessary, but also, when you are having a good time with your friends, or need to feel good about yourself, you need music for that too. You gotta have those moments where you just take a second a say, “You know what, I’m happy and all is ok.”
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: Because that’s what going on literally when we are making our music. We are just having fun with our friends.
Michael “Mikey” Foster: If you think about it, we produce and write as well, so we work all day. Hopefully, people get to hear those good times we have and our drive to spread positivity in the music.
The Knockturnal: Where else do you look for inspiration, whether that’s film, art, or fashion?
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: Everything. I feel like we would be better classified as “creatives” rather than “artists” or “musicians.” We just, like, are throwing paint, you know, just throwing stuff, our experiences and lives at the wall.
Michael “Mikey” Foster: It’s almost, like, if you’re walking into an art gallery that was curated by a completely different company every week…our palettes are changing all the time. One day, we will be listening to Bob Marley, and the other, jazz, and maybe next week it’ll be symphony music. So it’s very eclectic, but you know, one of our best friends is Ariana [Grande], so we love pop too and are constantly dipping our toes in different sounds and feels.
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: You never know where you are going to pull that inspiration from.
Michael “Mikey” Foster: I’m sure you haven’t listened to one genre of music and that’s it. No one has one playlist.
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: Our generation has the freedom to be different, and that didn’t exist as much in the past. It’s nice that we can all intermingle and do whatever we want.
The Knockturnal: Social House was born on your guys’ indelible chemistry. Tell me about that exact moment when you both decided to join forces and become a powerhouse duo.
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: We were living in our “social house.” This was before we were called Social House.
The Knockturnal: Where was that at by the way?
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: It was in Sherman Oaks.
Michael “Mikey” Foster: It was a nice spot up in the hills with this view that was so crazy. We would wake up and go on the balcony. Like the studio was next to it, so we would get off and enjoy this insane view. I don’t know why that was important, but it was special.
The Knockturnal: Well, you can get inspiration from nature and its beauty. Maybe that’s why it felt so integral to your process.
Michael “Mikey” Foster: Totally. It was definitely inspiring.
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: I remember it was 11 or 12 o’clock. All of our friends had gone bowling or something, and we were sitting in the house and were like, “Yo, let’s just make a song that we like, that we want to hear.” We had just finished working with a bunch of other artists.
Michael “Mikey” Foster: We wanted to produce something we didn’t have to show anybody, to present to a label or anything. Let’s just make something we want to hear, right now.
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: So, we made our first song together and after that it was, like, we should do this. We both looked at each other and said: “We can’t show this to nobody because they are going to want to sell it.” And that lasted for about two, three hours. We showed our friend and said “Yo, listen to this.” and to our surprise, his eyes were big as hell. He was like, “Yo, we should be a group!”
Michael “Mikey” Foster: He walked over and brought a whiteboard out, a huge whiteboard. It had to be the biggest white board I’d ever seen in my life and wrote up all big on it “Social House.” It was actually the name of our wifi at the house, so like, it came naturally. In that moment, we just started working towards this idea and writing songs. Every time we come up with something, we put it on the list. It was something we wanted to keep for ourselves.
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: Ayyyy!
The Knockturnal: Run me through a typical session. Does the collaboration happen mostly in the studio?
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: It’s random as hell.
Michael “Mikey” Foster: Occasionally, we will sit down in a studio and be there to make a certain song. Or we will be outside and start humming something as a voice memo and build it from there together.
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: I’m gonna drop a gem: “Magic in the Hamptons” was recorded in a bedroom closet.
The Knockturnal: Are you serious? That’s crazy.
Michael “Mikey” Foster: Yeah, man. We have a house with a bunch of studios in it.
The Knockturnal: So you repurposed the closet to be a mini-studio?
Michael “Mikey” Foster: We have the bigger studios that are really built-out, and then we also have other production spaces. But we were, like, “Nah, we don’t need that right now. Let’s just make some stuff and have a good time. “Magic in The Hamptons” was made after a night’s work. We just wanted to make something fun even if it wasn’t going to be heard ever…but it doesn’t tell the whole story though. It doesn’t tell the rest of our ideas, so we are excited for our story to unfold and start lifting those layers back.
The Knockturnal: I’m hyped about your upcoming release. What should we expect?
Michael “Mikey” Foster: We happen to make things that don’t sound similar. But we don’t set out to make different types of sounds.
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: It’s different, but cohesive at the same time.
Michael “Mikey” Foster: We are aiming for an October release, but we will see what happens! We are so excited for our fans to hear our eclectic vibes.
The Knockturnal: That brings me to my next question. There’s many amazing things going on in music right now, especially in pop. But sometimes, I feel like a lot of what makes the Billboard 100 all sounds incredibly homogeneous. Do you guys ever feel a certain pressure to break the mold, to venture into new sonic territories?
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: I think both, honestly.
Michael “Mikey” Foster: Obviously, you don’t want to sound the same as everyone else. Say if I happen to be making a beat and I happen to play a note that I’m like, “oh, this is similar to this person. I might change that so I don’t want to be like anybody,” but I don’t set out to be different than anybody else, or this rapper, or this singer.
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: That’s exactly it. If you sound like someone else, that’s your starting point. You just have to experiment and find yourself. It’s a constant process, you know.
The Knockturnal: I know that producing, especially under deadlines, can be brutally stressful. How do you get through those creative blocks, those late-nighters that are just utterly soul-destroying?
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: We do everything, but music. Maybe like a month ago, we woke up and are sitting down, and I don’t know why, but we looked at each other and said, “Let’s just make some shirts.” So we bought sewing machines. We went to the store and bought fabric markers and paints and watched YouTube tutorials and just started creating. It helps you express yourself through another means, and then when you come back to the music, you have a new perspective. You feel refreshed and ready to tackle the studio again.
Michael “Mikey” Foster: Yeah. If you don’t know how it say it through music, say it somewhere else. Creativity always breeds creativity. Just seeing different things and doing something different with your hands, your motions, body, mind––it always changes you. I think it was Miguel that had an interview, and he was talking about his writing routine, and said something towards the extent of “there was some living to be done before I wrote more music.” I think that alone sort of sums it up.
Charles “Scootie” Anderson: You write from your experiences. That’s where the greatest music comes from.