EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: “SCARLET DRESS” PROGRESSIVE METALCORE DUO ON NEW ALBUM “ENDLESS”.
SICK AND SOUND presents an interview we had with SCARLET DRESS progressive metalcore duo lining up Michael Rodriguez and Sushant Vohra hailing from Albuquerque/San Francisco. Our editor-in-chief Alex is catching up with SUSHANT after the release of their brand new album ENDLESS out on February 28th, 2019. In this interview we are exploring their background, lyrical themes, plans for the future and discussing in detail their new record.
For the track by track review (Italian) we edited for ENDLESS, please check out: www.sickandsound.it/scarlet-dress-endless-un-viaggio-infinito-attraverso-lo-spazio-e-il-tempo-del-vissuto-umano.
- Hello Sushant and very welcome at SICK AND SOUND. Let’s touch base with your outfit and discuss how SCARLET DRESS project has been put together and what your influences are.
Thanks a lot. We have seen some really cool bands on Sick and Sound and are glad to be a part of the family. So, since it’s existence (from 2014) Scarlet Dress has been an online project where both Michael and me have been writing and recording music. Michael who joined the project in 2017 takes care of the lyrics and vocals and I build an instrumental foundation for him to play with. There is obviously tons of back and forth until we are both satisfied. Our influences include everything in and around metalcore, prog and alternative rock. Some of my current favorite bands are Oceans ate Alaska, Architects and Novelists.
- Being an international duo, what are the challenges you are experiencing across the geographical boundaries when writing and producing your own music?
It’s definitely challenging to share ideas online, write and record on our own and also decide overall directions on the internet. Even though we make sure that we do a facebook call every week, it’s hard to discuss musical ideas due to geographical distances between us. Over the years though, I would say that we have built up a dynamic and trust each other enough when it comes to writing and therefore working together has resulted in a strong friendship.
- We would love to know you any better, who are Michael and Sushant outside of your SCARLET DRESS outfit?
Michael is currently living and working in Albuquerque in New Mexico. Michael runs his own studio as well as streams all sorts of gaming content on Twitch. A lot of Michael’s inspiration comes from his family – his girlfriend and two beautiful daughters and I (Sushant) moved to San Francisco in 2018 after finishing my studies in India. I am an Industrial designer by the day and a guitarist by the night. Most of my inspiration comes from the culture and the environment I am surrounded by.
- SCARLET DRESS belongs to the progressive metalcore soundscape, touching on ambient and melodic variants. There is a balanced formula of heaviness and catchiness. How would you describe your music and what are your assets to create something outstanding?
Scarlet Dress works on a simple formula. We are recognizable enough because we take the best elements from metalcore, prog and ambient music and put them all together in an emotional structure. At the same time, we are different enough to have a unique sound and feel to our music. Our fans often have trouble describing what we sound like because not many metalcore bands incorporate soft/ambient melodies and layered soundscapes. One of our friend’s put it this way – “We sound like a culmination of your favorite musical moments from metalcore”.
- ENDLESS is your brand new album released on February 28th, 2019 and following up your previous singles and debut EP PROSE EDDA dating back to 2015. In terms of the writing process, what was different and new for this album as opposed to your previous materials and how has the sound evolved?
We spent a good amount of time finding our sound, building on Prose Edda and the Singles that we released. I think there were glimpses of this sound in our previous material but with Endless we wanted to deliver a complete package. A solid well rounded and an efficient album. We realized very early that it was going to be difficult to find a unique sound in the metalcore genre so we worked hard discussing ideas, throwing demos each other’s way. Sometimes Michael would hum a chorus that I can build on and sometimes I’ll send Michael a vocal melody that he can convert into something useful. Through this constant back and forth we feel that Endless really represents our idea of progressive metalcore. It celebrates ambience, it has heavy breakdowns and on top of everything it has a balance of technicality and catchiness. I think it’s just the first step to develop our unique sound which I guess will be a constant process.
- Let’s talk about the concept of an infinite reality as depicted in ENDLESS. What are the messages you wish to spread with this album and what main lyrical themes have you discussed?
I think the underlying message is that we are all a part of a bigger timeline. One of the ways to describe the lyrical content is through recognizing the underlying memories and life events. Michael sings about his girlfriend on “Limerence”. And on “Nucleus”, He talks about existing in a dark space, going insane and just being trapped. I wrote the lyrics for “Empty Breathing” and it talks about my mother and her suffering through cancer. All songs are very relatable and open to a broader interpretation and that is one of the themes in the album. Lastly, the name “Endless” just reinforces the fact that life goes on, contrary to the popular belief that life is short.
- The album hosts three guest appearances: Jordan Chase of Shreddy Krueger, Alan Rigdon of The Artificials and ex guitarists for ERRA and Josh Ford of The Luminary. Let’s discuss your experience with those musicians and the mindset behind these collaborations.
With guest artists I had a clear vision of the style I was after, not exactly the people. I remember listening to “Shreddy Krueger” on my way to work everyday and I thought to myself it’ll be so dope to have Jordan on our record. So, I tried to get in touch with Jordan from SK and told him I was a fan and if he’d be up for a collab. He was super humble throughout the process and I have had some great conversations with him about music and the scene. On “Empty Breathing”, Josh Ford sings the whole song. I found him through his covers on YouTube and I knew his voice was perfect for the song I was writing then. Josh really liked the song and was happy to help. He also plays for a band called “The Luminary”. Lastly, the guest solo part on “Connect” was a hard one to realize and I knew Alan Rigdon would be the right guy to approach. Alan wrote a lot of the music for older “Erra” and is now operating his own studio. He is a professional at his craft and I feel lucky to have him on the album.
- As fans of music, what is the most surprising thing you have seen a band do or what’s the most memorable concert you have been to?
I was at the Impericon festival in Germany in 2017 and Thy Art is Murder was absolutely killing it. It was time for the last song and CJ announced he isn’t a fan of big venues and would love it if everybody would come join him on stage. I think there were like a 1000+ people in the audience. Of course, there were guards but that was a wild moment. Everyone was finding a way to get on stage either through crowd surfing or getting help from friends. At the end there were approximately 300 people on stage along with the band grooving to their breakdowns. A moment to remember. I love it when bands find a way to connect to the audience and bridge the gap between a stage and crowd.
- What else do you have in store in 2019? Let’s share your upcoming projects ahead, any revelation or thing we haven’t discussed so far.
We are always thinking of bringing new stuff to the table but for what we can promise now is a new music video very very soon. We are just finalizing details. On the other end we have started writing new music but will be taking our time to truly make our next release count.
Thank you for your time and we wish all the best luck with the promotion of your record. We are thrilled for more music to be dropped by SCARLET DRESS and keep on supporting you into Europe and US!
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