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Third time is a charm and wow do we have a great interview for you! Scarlet from the Synth-Pop group Scarlet Soho has kindly given us a cracker of an interview for your enjoyment. Hold onto your hats while we delve into the UK scene, pre-show rituals, massive shits in backstage toilets, and more...
1. What is your latest news? New releases, tours, arrests, social media regrets, etc?
Hi there! We have just set our new video free into the wild! It's called 'Two Steps From Heartache' and was mixed by electro whizz and all round nice guy James Yuill. It's the A-side of our new EP, which is the third and final installment of a trilogy of EPs we have released. We are also doing a couple of weeks of live shows in Czech Republic around the actual release date (19.09.14), and a Berlin show on 17.09.14, which should be nice.
2. How did you guys meet and what clicked to make the decision to work together?
James and I bumped into each other in the early hours of the morning at Reading Festival many years ago. He used to go out with a friend of a friend of mine and I knew he was looking for a bassist for his new project, so I nonchalantly offered my services. We hung out for the rest of the festival, getting to know each other and bouncing ideas around, and kicked the band off the following week. Everything fell into place pretty swiftly!
3. Do you have a pre-show ritual and how do you unwind when the show is over?
My pre-show ritual is chaos and attention to detail in equal measure. We spend a lot of time getting the gear and stage set-up just right. Directly before the show we'll listen to a bit of music in the dressing room, usually something danceable, and have bottle of wine (or two). James will do some stretches and vocal warmups, and drink lots of water. LOTS of water. I find that applying makeup over and over again for a couple of hours usually focuses the mind. And pissing. I have to piss a lot before I go on stage. Post-show we like to have ten minutes of undisturbed "Quiet Time" to bitch about anything that needs bitching about, pat ourselves on the back and generally decompress. I coil leads. It's my thing. After that, we take in whatever local booze and debauchery the venue/city has to offer!
4. Is James sneaking the eyeliner from Scarlet’s make-up bag or does he shop for his own? He has his own. But still f**king steals mine. 5. Of all the artists/bands you have shared a stage with, who were the nicest and who were the biggest assholes?
We've done a lot of shows with some very 'interesting' people! Often it's the smaller bands that are the biggest assholes. I think you're entitled to be a bit of a c**t if you've been on the scene for a while, but funnily enough that doesn't tend to be the case! Seeing some puffed-up band surrounded by management and hangers-on on their third live show just makes me cringe. Sharing a dressing room with other bands can be a bit of a bitch sometimes. We did a show with Razorlight when 'America' had just come out. Borrell arrived just in time to do a massive shit in the shared backstage toilet before he went onstage, rendering the entire area unusable for anyone else. Pretty clever really.
6. What's your thoughts on the current music scene? Who are the most overrated and underrated artists out there?
There's some good stuff out there at the moment! I'm not really into many bands to be honest, but there have been some really strong songs out recently - Grafton Primary have some great tracks, I really like the new Caribou stuff I have heard, new Zoot Woman is pretty cool. Overrated? God, most things I hear on the radio to be honest. Record sales being so low these days I have no idea what the rationale is for playlist on mainstream radio. I'm assuming if it rips off something else then it makes the grade.
7. What is Scarlet Soho’s greatest achievement so far and what was the lowest point (aside from this interview)?
Hahahaha! You gave 'Two Steps' 3/5?! Um... greatest achievement? That's tough - we've done so many things that I am proud of! We headlined a stage at Montreux Jazz Festival pretty early on, which was mindblowing, but I think you're only as great as the last thing you've done. So it's important to keep busy doing different things and playing to different audiences and releasing new songs. I have a terrible memory which thankfully tends to blot out anything especially bad! We try to take something positive out of everything we do (otherwise you'd quickly go mad) and I truly believe we've never done a show which we have got nothing out of, whether it was meeting someone brilliant or important or interesting, or selling a ton of merchandise, or just performing really well, there's always something to take from every show.There has of course been the odd occasion where you're balancing on one foot trying to pull your tights up and change your shoes in some shitty venue's toilets, struggling to avoid puddles of other peoples' piss, angry that the promoter didn't bother to push the show, and miles from home. But it's all part of life's rich tapestry innit, as long as you do your bit for the people that have paid to watch you, it all comes good.
8. The video for ‘Two Steps From Heartache’ is simple yet effective. The mime is creepy! Who came up with the concept (and who approved James' hairstyle!)?
I'm glad you like it! Scarlet Soho is solely James and myself, we came up with the video concept ourselves. We're not actors so we shy away from any kind of narrative where we have to act as anything other than ourselves. We are primarily a live act, so we like to have some live performance in our videos. James' hair is entirely his creation - I'm pretty happy to be in a band with a guy with a full head of hair to be honest, so he has carte blanche to do what the f**k he likes with it :) I took the bucket of water in the kisser in order to hold something over James for the next video. He doesn't know this yet. The pig's heart was my idea.
9. If you decided this wasn't your go and went on to form a black metal band, what is your band-name and what would you call your first album?
Vaginosis 'Uterine Appendage' (and I want it in that illegible metallers typeface).
10. For those who have never heard of you, what is the best reason you can give them to check you and your music out? What’s the best place to hit you up?
People should check us out because we're the only full-on energetic live electro act you will see. No laptops. No bullshit. Real life guitars and synths. Real life blood, sweat and dancing. You can find us in the usual places www.facebook.com/scarletsoho, www.scarletsoho.com and I'm @scarletsoho on Twitter (James is @jkscarletsoho) but the best place to hit us up is on the dancefloor!
Thanks Scarlet for an amazing and honest interview! Definitely a new-found appreciation for what you guys are doing. While it may not be The Rhino's cup of tea so much, it's quality and there will be many fans digging the sounds of Scarlet Soho. This sets the bar high for future victims of the Review Rhino 10 questions! We are proud to be able to take music lovers on a journey through the finer (and not so finer!) points of these artists and their work. Scarlet... we salute you!
With an interview under our belt, it's time to hit up victim number two. This time around we hooked up with Fighter #1 from Regdar And The Fighters. To say these guys are on the weird side is an understatement. Nerdy, computerized, dance-mat hopping rock. It's almost like we traveled to the end of the Earth to find these beings. We also couldn't count and sent 11 questions rather than 10 - yes counting can be tricky as was kindly pointed out in the interview. Asshat. Enjoy...
1. What is your latest news? New releases, breakups, arrests, social media regrets, etc?
A few months back we put out our latest pay-what-you-want digital EP To Slay Zombie Newton, which you can get on our website. Currently, we're working on our next EP to be titled Turbo Emo. Our goal is generally to have two releases per year, so the target date for that is sometime in the fall.
2. Do you expect (or have) admiring female fans playing your rather nerdy brand of electro rock?
Sort of? Some girls really relate to the weird, energetic nerd rock. Sometimes this is conveyed to me. However, being a socially-awkward nerd, I absolutely fail to capitalize on such admiration. We have a rotating cast of guest musicians for our live performances though, and a lot of them seem to do alright.
3. What's your poison before/after a show? Drugs, alcohol, Commodore 64, etc?
My preferred poison is public self-incrimination! Really though, it's pints and pints of coffee all day and then a beer or two at the show.
4. How did you manage to colossally stuff up your EP release show and not have a product ready? Who is to blame?
It was the LP release show actually. Our most recent full-length album arrived a few days after the show celebrating its release. The printer took longer than we'd anticipated. Ultimately, it's my responsibility to make sure these logistic things get done. The printers were cool though; they gave us an extra 10 or so copies gratis because of the delays. We'll probably go with them for our next full-length. We'll just make sure to get it printed farther ahead of time!
5. Of all the artists/bands you have shared a stage with, who were the nicest and who were the biggest assholes?The nicest band we've ever shared a stage with is probably the Phil Kegley band out of Madison, WI. Most of the bands we've shared the stage with are pretty cool, but those guys really went above and beyond. They spontaneously offered us crash space after the show and hung out with us sharing PBR until the wee hours of the morning. As to worst, we're gonna go with anyone who cancels. We've played a few shows where bands don't show, and we get an email the next day apologizing. That's always a real bummer. Unless you're in the hospital, bailing like that is about the worst thing you can do.
6. Hypothetically, you somehow manage to land a big record deal. What are your top three demands out on tour?
If I had a record deal, we would demand that somebody else handle all the logistics. That's pretty much it. If somebody else handles all the "businessy" parts of things so that we can focus on making music, that would be the best!
7. What's your thoughts on the current music scene? Who are the most overrated/underrated artists out there?
It is one of the best times ever to be a consumer of music. There are so few barriers to entry that anyone can make whatever kind of music they want. If you want to listen to something really esoteric - say, procedurally-generated nerd punk - it's eminently possible to get in touch with whoever is making that music and listen to them. It's also a great time to be a casual or hobbyist musician. You can create whatever you want and upload it to the Internet, and somebody will probably listen. It's tough to make a living at it. You have to be creative about it, but it's definitely worth the trade off. We've seen a ton of amazing bands breaking their backs to play incredibly creative and clever music for crowds of a dozen people. Those people are the most underrated musicians. As to who's most overrated? It's probably whoever writes "bro" country. That stuff is the worst.
8. As an artist, what is your greatest achievement so far and what was the lowest point (aside from this interview)?
We'll go with lowest point first. We were slated to play the second night in a 3-night battle of the bands in Chicago, IL. Six bands were to play each of the first two nights; then finalists would be selected to play the third night for a bunch of prizes. (Each night was weeks apart). A few days after the first night, the promoter emailed us all and said that the whole thing was canceled, but he gave us contact info for the venue to set up some alternate show. I figured, "well, the venue has an open night; let's do this thing!" I frantically emailed the other bands plus a few other bands in the area and got a show confirmed. Remember earlier when I said that cancelling shows for any reason less than a family/medical emergency is the worst thing you can do as a musician? Yeah. No one else showed up. It was Regdar, our merch guy, two bartenders, and a sound guy. That's the entirety of who showed up. We played half a set before the venue gave up and closed down at 10 PM. Turns out the reason the contest was cancelled was because only two bands had showed up the first night too. Our greatest achievement was probably getting complimented by Jim Steinman on our cover of "I Would Do Anything For Love (but I Won't Do That)".
9. Your live shows look interesting. How do you reproduce your nerd rock in a live setting? What's with the costuming?
The big idea with Regdar - specifically the computer parts - is that live music should have elements of unpredictability and chaos. I find the most insufferable shows to be the one where everything is meticulously quantized and sequenced. So for Regdar, we decided to build the chaos into the system. The computer portion of each song consists of 8 to 16 channels: 3 to 6 of drums and 4 to 10 of synthesizers. Each drum channel is randomly built at the start of the song and then loops indefinitely; most synth channels are a chord structure that arpeggiates randomly (though some are pre-sequenced loops). We then have a DDR pad with each button mapped to one of the channels (and a mode button to switch between channels 1-8 and 9-16). This results in the songs being fairly wildly different between performances. Also, since we're controlling the computer live from stage, we have a lot more flex room during a song. If we lose a beat or need to vamp for a few bars, we just adjust what I'm doing with my feet and move on. As for the costuming, we're big into the idea of "intentionality" with regards to how musicians dress. Wearing something that clearly isn't your day-to-day outfit demonstrates to the audience that you're there to put on a show. It's an event, not just some geeks playing music. You want to do every little thing you can do to make your show more of a fun experience for the audience.
10. If you played in a satanic black metal band, what is your band name and what would you title your first album?
Our black metal band would be called Bearsaw, and our first album would probably be called Nábrókarstafur - which are a kind of magical pants from Icelandic mythology. You literally skin your best friend from the waist down and make leather pants from his legs. Then you steal a coin from his widow and put it in the ... ahem "pouch" of the pants, whereupon they begin magically producing infinite money.
11. For those who have never heard of you, what is the best reason you can give them to check you and your music out? Whats the best place to hit you up?
If I can't convince you to listen to us with the phrase "branching path adventure sci-fi concept album with randomized drums", there's probably no swaying you. Check this band out at www.regdarandthefighters.com and show them a little love. Everyone needs love - even geeky mullet-ed costumed rockstars. The answer to the Black Metal question is rather disturbing, and we are now well versed on quantizing, sequencing, DDR's and whatever the hell else was in that answer. Entertaining to say the least. Thanks.
Welcome to the first installment of Review Rhino's Interviews!! 10 hard hitting questions designed to extract some honesty, some insight, and some humor! First up we have a young artist by the name of Edward Hartline who kindly offered to be our first victim... I mean interviewee. Edward hails from Alabama, USA and has been honing his craft since the age of 11. Now 18, he is a seasoned artist with a southern US tour and four independent releases under his belt. Enjoy the following look into Edward's world as a Folk/Americana artist. We certainly enjoyed his music so be sure to check him out!
1. What is your latest news? New releases, breakups, arrests, social media regrets etc?
I’ve got bronchitis, apparently. I’ve been taking meds nonstop for weeks. I’m looking at doing a new CD in the next year, with a band. I’ve been single since January, so if there are any women out there between 17 and 40 who want a song written about them, hit me up.
2. Do you buy your own eyeliner for shows or borrow it from a friend? I’ve been known to use my sister’s...
3. What's your poison before and after a show? Drugs, alcohol, underage groupies, pizza etc? I can’t eat before, but after a show I like to swing by Taco Bell and get a Cantina Bowl. They stop serving them at 11 pm, though, so I often have to go without. 4. Fool Proof is a great song - what is the inspiration and story behind it? Thanks! It’s actually a conversation between a sex worker and a man who’s trying to “reform” her, but doesn’t quite get it. Because the entire song is dialogue, it’s hard to follow without the back story. 5. Of all the artists/bands you have shared a stage with, who were the nicest and who were the biggest assholes? I’ve recently played two shows with Von Grey, a super cool group of sisters, and they’re some of the nicest and most talented people I’ve ever met. I won’t drop any names for the assholes, but I have had to reintroduce myself to a band that I almost went on tour with, and I had a guy from another band tell me that I had a lot of work ahead of me but I was on the right track, when he hadn’t even seen me play...
6. What's your thoughts on the current music scene in general and in particular your Americana genre? Who are the most overrated and underrated artists out there? The scene sucks and Americana in particular. It’s just a huge umbrella. A lot of people are falling under the genre because there isn’t a real genre out there for a lot of the indie artists (myself included). We have to get swept up under an inaccurate label if we want to survive. No comment on the second half just in case I meet a successful Americana artist in the near future that wants to work with me. 7. As an artist, what is your greatest achievement so far and what was the lowest point (aside from this interview)? Highest point: I’ve been able to share the stage with a few of my biggest influences, and they didn’t leave during my set. Lowest point: I’ve had a few tours that didn’t quite pan out as expected, and I had to let a few people down. 8. What drives you to be a successful artist? What made you want to take the hard road to rockstardom? I’ve been singing all my life, and now I’ve gotten to a point where people pay me to do my hobby. If I could get someone to fund my love for comics, I’d do that, too. 9. If you played in a black metal band, what is your band-name and what would you call your first album? King Smegma – Giant Fucking Gender Robots Vol. II 10. For those who have never heard of you, what is the best reason you can give them to check you and your music out? Whats the best place to hit you up? It can’t hurt to look me up. Worst case scenario is you think I suck. You can find my stuff at www.edwardhartline.net All links are there. Thanks Edward! Some definite gold. We did get a good laugh out of the Black Metal answer. It also sounds like he is up for some cougar action so get out to his shows foxy mama's. Those Von Grey sisters are very cute too. Nice to see a nerdy comic book side - knew he couldn't be as cool as he was letting on. Go check him out music lovers, you will not be disappointed.
Get ready for the hard questions coming direct from The Rhino! 10 of the best to dig deep into the life of the next unsuspecting artist/band. First up is a young Americana singer/songwriter, Edward Hartline. Coming as soon as he gets his shit together and posts those gold nuggets on back. Looking forward to it and to all you music lovers out there checking out a Review Rhino interview!
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