Interview: Skarlett (Skarlett Riot) “I Have To Dude Out And Become One Of The Lads”

Skarlett Riot having been making a lot of noise recently with their new album Regenerate winning a considerable amount of critical acclaim.  More importantly the people who buy music, the fans, love it too.  Olivia Tansley had a good chinwag with singer Skarlett.  Up for discussion was the band’s new heavy direction, playing with siblings and the art of a good frape.

Your new album is heavier than your previous work, is there any particular reason for the transition?

“I think it was a natural progression, to be honest. I think from our Tear Me Down album, if you compare it to that, it has got noticeably a lot heavier but I think we’ve just matured as a band together and I think just playing together loads and loads has just made it more naturally more experimental so we’ve kind of thought ‘let’s challenge ourselves and see what comes out’ and it’s become heavier because we’ve thought ‘let’s get something heavier written and faster, and now everyone’s quite good at what they do and they can play… yeah, I think it’s definitely a natural progression, but it seems to work.”

Well, we like it. So, are you going to stay down this path, or were you just experimenting?

“I think we’re going to remain down this path now. I mean, with Sentience, that was the heavier EP and it seemed to set a foundation and as soon as we started writing the album, to was kind of like a follow on from Sentience- just even heavier. So, I’m excited to see where the next level goes with our music, for sure.”

Despite the heavier sound, your vocals are still clean. Have you been tempted to go down the scream route?

“I’ve kind of done it on purpose; keeping it clean ‘cause everyone’s expecting that I’m going to put some screams in because everything else has gone heavier and lots of bands are doing it as well. But I thought, ‘no. Let’s keep it interesting’ because people are listening out for it in the music, and I like to keep my vocals clean to keep it a little different as opposed to what’s out at the minute. I have a joke with the lads. They have all their Asking Alexandria music, and me putting my Katy Perry vocals over the top.”

Is there a running theme throughout the album that connects each song?

“Yeah, Regenerate was written as an uplifting message to the fans to never give up and we kind of had a bit of a rough patch around a couple of years ago as a band. We didn’t know what direction to go in and we were all kind of feeling sorry for ourselves and we had a changeover of management so we wrote Regenerate as a brand new beginning for us, so we wanted it to be like a message to the fans to say ‘no matter what position you’re in in life, it’s never too late to change direction and start new and make things positive again”

Do you have a personal favourite song from the album?

“I’d say Break and Warrior; they’re definitely my favourites to play live.”

Do you know if the boys have a favourite song?

“I think we all have different favourites, you know, because we’re all into different styles of music as well. Affliction, I think is one of the guys’ favourites, but that’s not in the set tonight actually. And Break, because it’s just really heavy and we always start on it live so they all kind of go all out and it’s thrashy. Wears them out as soon as they get on stage.”

You’ve been on a few tours now, do you enjoy touring?

“I love it, yeah. I mean, like I was saying to you earlier, this is the longest run we’ve done yet. So a lot of them have just kind of been four shows and even with two days off, or three on a weekend and three the next weekend, so this is the most hard coring schedule we’ve got so I’m excited to challenge myself.”

Do you and your band members play tour tricks on each other?

“We tend to have an ongoing banter more than anything, and if you leave your phone around they check what password you’ve got without you knowing and the next thing you know you’ve written a status about all sorts of things that people are commenting on on Facebook. The worst thing for me is that some people actually think it’s me and they actually don’t think it’s a joke and I’m like ‘I didn’t actually write that’. I’ve had someone come to me on the street before and they’ve said ‘oh, I hear you like cucumbers’ and then winked at me and I was like ‘no I actually don’t, it was just a joke’.”

Currently you’re on tour with Santa Cruz, what kind of thing are you expecting in terms of friendships?

“To be honest, since we’ve got here those guys had finished around checking already and so we haven’t had chance to meet them properly yet. They all seem really nice on first meet; it would be really cool to hang out with them. We’ve got so long on tour with them, it would be nice to make friends and keep in touch with them. We’re heading into Germany with them as well, so I’m sure there will be plenty of time for a bit of banter.”

And you’ve just come back from supporting Toseland on a previous tour. Had you met them before the tour?

“No, not before the tour. Bu, I’ll tell you what- they were the nicest guys we’ve ever met. We didn’t expect it at all, with James Toseland being a super biker champion and done all this stuff before. Like, people were turning up who didn’t even like rock music just to meet him and have a photo with him and they didn’t care. They just wanted him. So, it was really nice because they were really welcoming, and let us share the dressing room and anything we needed; they were there. It’s nice when you have a tour like that because you make friends straight away and it’s just warming and welcoming and you can be really relaxed with each other.”

Did you come back from the tour with crazy motorcycling tips?

“Actually, he didn’t even mention it. He didn’t mention it at all, with his bike stuff. I was trying to read a little bit up on him beforehand, so I didn’t embarrass myself because I didn’t have a clue anything about him before the tour. So I read up on him like, ‘is he still doing it or has he retired?’ but he’s actually retired now. But, no, he didn’t mention his biking at all. In fact, he was quite interested in the music side- asking me questions about our tour and our experiences so that was nice.”

Obviously, on the tours, you share a tour bus with three men. Is that gross?

“It can be. I suppose, in a way, I have to dude out and become one of lads. You can’t be too ‘girly’ when you’re on tour with a bunch of guys. Dan and Luke are brothers, and I’ve known them guys since school, so we’re quite close and we’ve known each other years and years. Yeah, it can be gross. I mean, they stink.”

How often do you get to talk to your families when you’re away on tour?

“Well, it’s never normally too bad. On this run, we’re in Grimsby and Sheffield on, which is quite close to home so we’re going back home to our own beds on Wednesday night. So, that’ll be nice, I get to see my cats. But yeah, I get see my Mum and dad and they’re going to those shows so that’ll be nice, but I know as soon as those shows are finished we’re going to Glasgow, Bournemouth, Swansea. So we’re not going back home then. I think that’ll be the longest I’m away from home; it’ll be a good 10 days. So, we’ll see how I cope.”

As you mentioned, Danny and Luke are brothers. Do they get on well? Especially when you’re on tour.

“They do. I mean, obviously brothers are brothers and they have their little bickers and their little moments but I think that makes it easier in the band because there’s no hard feelings if you do say something that hurts someone’s feelings. They’ve forgotten about it and wiped it under an hour later because that’s what brothers do, you know, and so it makes it easier because any problem you’ve got; have it out in the open and then an hour later they’ve forgotten about it and they’re out for a burger”.

Your boyfriend is Danny. You’ve been together for how long now?

“12 years in February.”

What is the key to a successful relationship when you’re so busy with the band?

“I guess because we’re in the band together, it makes it less difficult in a way. Because some people are like ‘how do you cope when you’re on tour because you’re in each other’s pockets?’ but to be fair, a lot of the time I’m off doing other things away from the guys. I’m warming my voice up, doing my makeup or chilling and not being able to talk and not being able to anything that they boys are doing because I’m a singer and I can’t even eat the foods that they have. So I’m separated from them quite a bit. But yeah, I’d say because we share quiet a lot of the same passions and goals, it makes it a lot easier because we both understand where we both want to go. Obviously, it’s a lot harder when you’re in  a relationship with someone who’s going away all the time on the tours and you’ve got to understand that’s their passion and that’s what they want to do. I think that’s the section that’s hard. Having the same kind of goals and aims.”

Obviously, you and Danny are together, and Danny is Luke’s brother. Do you ever feel like Martin gets feeling a bit left out?

“Actually, no, because he’s been in the band for about three years now but he joins in with the band banter. I’d actually say I’m the one that gets picked on a lot, being I’m short and I always get those kinds of comments because I’m small and female. So I think the guys definitely dude out sometimes, and I just leave them to it and I go and chill. No, I definitely say he’s one of us now. We’ve bullied him into it.”

Who would you say is The Boss of the band?

“See, I like to think me, but what the lads would say I’m not sure. I’m sure they would all say themselves, but I’m going to go with me as you’re interviewing me.”

As you mentioned earlier, you and the boys frape each other a lot. Who would you say is the funniest?

“I would say Martin. He seems to be the King of Frapes. He’s always on it. As soon as you’re away, he’s got your phone. You’ve got no second to think, whereas Luke’s a little bit too slow with it. See, he’ll grab your phone but then he’ll still be figuring out how to unlock it by the time you get back, and he still can’t unlock it. I’m like, ‘you need to be quicker than that, mate.”

Do you have any New Years’ resolutions?

“Actually, I haven’t had time to think about it with this tour coming up. All I’ve been thinking is the tour. What I need to pack I’ve been packing my case for about a week. I don’t know. To be as successful as I can with the band, I’d say, and be happy. Life’s too short; everyone should live it to the full and make sure you smile.”

And make sure you have a better password on your phone?

“Yeah, that’s a good one. Keep changing my password every week.”

Yeah, that sounds like a good one. I don’t even have a password on my phone. I should probably think about it.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t leave it around. Luke’s already been through.”

I’ll have to check my coat.

Review by:Olivia Tansley

Photos by: Gary Trueman

Skarlett Riot – Facebook