While there has been an exodus of musicians from San Diego in recent years — including Anya Marina, Barbara Nesbitt, the Album Leaf, John Miller, Kim Divine — musicians are also relocating to San Diego.
Transplant Chris Biggin is the 27-year-old front man of London-based indie-rock quartet This Life Scandal. While his bandmates have remained in England, with plans to come to the U.S. as work dictates, Biggin and his wife are now downtown residents.
This Life Scandal was formed in October 2008 and released its debut, The Great Bank Robbery, in February this year. The title track and the song “Cambridge Drive” were included in the British film comedy Holy Water. “Cambridge Drive” will also be included in the upcoming movie 13 Hours, starring Harry Potter nemesis Tom Felton.
Though his band is experiencing success at home and many musicians would give their right arm to have their band located in London, Biggin sees things differently. “The brutal truth is it’s a bit dead there now,” he said. “London is hard. It’s totally saturated with artists, but there is very little audience...just a revolving door of young bands who end up doing all the promoting the club should be doing.”
Biggin had visited San Diego several times, dipping his toes in the local music scene last summer with a pair of impromptu gigs at Christopher Dale’s Handlery Hotel Pool Party and Lestat’s. He liked what he found, considering the latter his favorite local venue, so far. “The intimacy of that place is awesome, and they have always been welcoming. The sound there is great, and you feel you’re up close and personal. I love that.
“You can set up and make noise anywhere,” he remarked. “But I believe the music scene here in San Diego is much more the scene This Life Scandal want to be in. I’ve been to gigs and have been wowed by the talent.” He mentions singer-songwriters Erin McLaughlin and Barry Scott (who he heard at the Stage and Lestat’s, respectively) as two artists who have impressed him. “I’m still exploring all the venues and possibilities here,” he said. “But I haven’t been disappointed yet.”
Biggin notes another reason for being pleased with his relocation Stateside. “Moving from the gray, rainy days of London to the sun and sea of Southern California has been magnificent, but the food is also outrageously brilliant. I’ve been bringing Tapatio [hot sauce] in my suitcase back to London from the U.S. for a long time, so just having it on the table when ordering food has been a dream,” he laughed.