“We like to be daring” – An Interview With Skarlett Riot
After spending a few years as a covers band, Skarlett Riot became Skarlett Riot in 2010. Since then they’ve been a whirlwind of activity, releasing two EPs and their debut album Tear Me Down, steadily building a following, and even garnering daytime airplay on Radio One. The band are back with their new EP We Are The Brave, and we caught up with lead singer and guitarist Skarlett who told us all about it.
Despite only forming in 2010 you’ve found yourselves doing some pretty high profile tours and festivals, I think it’s fair to say it’s all been a bit manic in the world of Skarlett Riot. What have been the highlights so far?
Yeah, its been amazing! Releasing our very first album in 2013 Tear Me Down was a big step forward for us. The reaction from that was brilliant and we went on to play Download festival, Leeds, Reading, Bloodstock & tour with Heaven’s Basement.
The band’s sound has changed a lot since the early EPs. What was it that triggered that change, and where you worried that your fanbase would react negatively to you doing something different?
I think as we have matured as people, our music has matured too. We all have different influences within the band, and we put them altogether to form our ‘sound’. We like to be daring, and keep all our CDs different from each other musically, and try new things. It’s always nerve racking to release a CD and think people may love or hate it, but the fans that have followed us from the start seem to love the progression, and we’ve made a lot of new ones recently who seem to love what we’re doing.
You still have heavy elements, but We Are The Brave overall picks up where Tear Me Down left off. Do feel like you’ve found your sound now, or can we expect some surprises when album number two arrives?
I feel We Are The Brave is heavier than Tear Me Down. Tear Me Down is a lot more pop rock and easy listening, whereas We Are The Brave has a lot more aggression and power within the tracks and lyrics. We are constantly writing new material and we don’t stick to any guidelines; we just write what comes out. So we will always have the surprise element to new tracks, although I think we are becoming a lot more comfortable with our sound and we know to work to our strengths.
I can’t resist writing choruses which are catchy. I listen to a lot of American rock and commercial music, and I think that shows in my melodies within Skarlett Riot. I aim to make sure people are singing along and tapping their feet by the end of it, it’s gotta stick in your head or I’m not satisfied!
Skarlett Riot always sound uplifting and energetic musically, but lyrically what influences you?
Life experiences and relationships mostly. A lot of the We Are The Brave EP was written about living life to the full, not wasting any time, not letting people pull you down, and rising above negativity to come back even stronger. There’s a lot of positive energy within this EP which is what I like most about it.
The EP has some amazing artwork from Helen Hebenton at Uncanny Designs, was she someone the band chose? Also can you tell me more about the decision to go for a Lion? Please say it’s because your big fans of The Chronicles of Narnia.
Yeah we’ve worked with Helen previously and dig what she does and her style worked perfectly for what we were after. Ha ha, the decision for a lion was more Helen’s idea, we wanted the ‘brave’ symbolism to cut through in the artwork, so we thought an animal would fit with this perfectly. But we do love Chronicles of Narnia too, so its a win win situation on choosing a lion!
Faded Memory got a lot of support from Radio One. What did that kind of exposure do for the band, and did you feel any pressure to achieve that kind of thing again when it came to writing new material?
It helped us amazingly. It’s always great to write on your CV too! We gained a lot of new fans from it, and current fans were as hyped as us that Radio One supported the track. We are always sending our new music over to Radio One so hopefully they will support us again in the future. Faded Memory was radio friendly and commercial so it fit nicely on Radio One, but I’d like to think our new single Rising would work nicely on there too.
While I realise you’ve worked hard to get to this point, would you say that with getting high profile tours, the radio support and so on, does it cause you to work harder at maintaining that profile, or do you worry you’ll become complacent?
Yeah definitely, I mean everyone will obviously expect more, the more exposure you get. But sometimes even though you get the support from big radio stations and get lucky landing a tour, you still have to fill the gaps and go back and do intimate venues and your own tours to build the fanbase and hype, which is what we are concentrating on doing at the moment.
Skarlett Riot’s new EP We Are The Brave is released February 16th, and is available to pre-order at skarlettriot.bigcartel.com
Catch the band live on the following dates:
February 20th – Nottingham Rescue Rooms (supporting Gus G)
February 21st – Manchester O2 Academy 3 (supporting Gus G)
February 22nd – Southampton Joiners (supporting Gus G)
March 20th – Sheffield Corporation
March 21st – Glasgow Audio
March 22nd – Newcastle Cluny 2