In 2011 former punk drummer Scott Gursky put down his sticks, and is currently the VP of design at the free social gaming app, Knozen. Recently Mashable took this muso-turned-startup-honcho on a trip to relive his musical past.
Originally developed as an app to rate colleagues, Knozen broadened its scope to allow users to play personality-based games via Facebook. Gursky joined the Knozen team after art director stints at social gaming giants Zynga and Arkadium, and has become an integral part of the team.
“Scott and I have been working together since the beginning; his experience in design and game design have been absolutely critical to the success of Knozen,” Kozen CEO Marc Cenedella told Mashable.
However, Gursky’s original gig was as drummer of Brooklyn-based punk band, Obits. During his time with the band they released two full-length albums on Seattle’s famous Sub Pop label, and even included an international tour. After five years with Obits, Gursky decided to settle down, and joined the world of interactive gaming. He hasn’t touched a drum kit since.
Mashable decided to take Gursky on a musical tour of New York to revisit his musical roots, and get him behind a drum kit for the first time in four years. After surprising him at his office in TriBeCa he told Mashable’s Corinne Bagish how similar playing in a band, and working at a startup is in terms of structure.
“With a band, you’re trying to grow your audience and make something that people love, and when you’re making an app, it’s pretty much the same thing. I’ve always just wanted to create things people love,” says Gursky.
Bagish took Gursky on an adventure that included a visit to Steve Maxwell Vintage and Custom Drums just off of Times Square, a drummer’ nirvana stocked with everything from the latest and greatest percussion equipment, to a number of rare and vintage drum kits.
After a bit or arm-twisting, Gursky took up the sticks for the first time in four years, pounded the skins for a good 15 minutes before calling it quits.
“I don’t have the duration or endurance. I can still play beats, but not for very long. It felt really, really rusty,” he told Bagish. However, the experience left him surprised at how much he still remembers, “…you almost don’t know what it’s going to feel like, but it was actually fun. I feel good; I feel a little more confident.”
They ended their musical meander at independent community station WFMU’s annual Record Fair in Brooklyn where he not only got to raid the bargain bins of the myriad of vendors, but also reflected on hearing his records being played on the station.
“It makes you think, ‘Okay, I’m hearing this now, so there must be 100 other times I’m not hearing it that other people are.’ It just completes a loop for you in a way, where it’s like, ‘This is why I do it, it’s so people can hear it and enjoy it and have fun,’” says Gursky.
In many ways, Scott Gursky’s experience playing in a band echoes that of the social gaming world – sure there is money to be made, but at the end of the day it’s about people enjoying the fruits of startups like Knozen’s labors – it’s about having fun.