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Scarlet is one of those bands that you can't ignore. Blasting forward with a maniacal attitude and sound to match, they have elbowed their way into a crowd that includes such intense and aggressive acts as Converge, Coalesce, and Today Is The Day. Having just wrapped up a sensational tour with The Black Dahlia Murder, Every Time I Die, and As I Lay Dying, it is only a matter of time until Scarlet hits the road again. And, according to lead singer Jon Spencer, the road is home for these modern day gypsies. So, keep your eyes out for their caravan rolling through a town near you. In the meantime, read on for more tidbits about your favorite new band.

METAL UPDATE: First, tell us a little bit about your local scene in Richmond, VA?

JON SPENCER: Right now it's turning into more of an indie rock scene. But for us and other similar groups as us, such as Lamb of God, we always get insane responses there.

MU: Is it predominantly a metal scene, hardcore scene, or a mix?

JS: I don't know that there a certain scene that's larger than another. In any city there are certain types of people who only listen to one type. I think a lot of the people who come out to see us are from each of those little pools. That's one thing that we've definitely told ourselves from the get go. We didn't want to cater to one demographic or another.

MU: How and when did the band get together originally?

JS: We were actually together for a couple of months in high school. Getting to this time around, we were basically a studio project for fun. A friend of mine gave a copy of our demo tracks to the president of Ferret. We were tired of being in school and decided lets travel and become modern-day gypsies.

MU: The band broke up for a short time in 2000 and eventually got back together. What happened?

JS: We didn't get back together until 2002. It's only two members form the original line up [Jon and guitarist Randy Vanderbilt]. It was just as much a surprise to us as anyone else. We were just five high school kids who got out of school and went to different colleges and didn't have the time or effort to put forth.

Scarlet mug shot

MU: So it wasn't a split over personal tastes?

JS: No. It was more of an apathy deal.

MU: The material is very similar pre and post breakup. Does that mean that it wasn't too difficult to pick up where you guys left off?

JS: The vibe - I hope that it's a little bit different. I feel a lot more confident and mature with the new stuff, but I can see a similar stylistic basis. We didn't expect anything to translate as well as it did. Songwriting for us - it seemed that the momentum never dropped at all. It was easy going and there was no hassle to it at all. The whole time we were broken up we were playing completely different kinds of music, but coming back to it, it wasn't difficult at all, which was kinda weird.

MU: Describe to me a little about the songwriting and lyric writing process.

JS: The majority of the time it is Randy, drummer Andreas and I. We write most of it as we record. For some reason it is easier for us. The general mood we want to get across does so better that way - when you do it spur of the moment. It's a relatively quick process.

MU: Where do you draw inspiration and influence for your lyrics?

JS: Anything that inspires me - the problems that I have everyday, either social or political or my own things that I think other people need to be exposed to. It's the impact that inspires me. In some ways it comes hand in hand, but if you look at the majority of bands that are doing this right now it's a lot more watered down and regurgitated now. I like impacting them in a way that makes them sit back and look at themselves. . . or in a way that at least enlightens someone.

MU: How has the response been for your most recent release 'Cult Classic'?

JS: I haven't really heard, since we left shortly after the record came out to tour. But every night I see more people singing along and coming out to see us.

MU: But are you getting people coming up to you at the merch tables each night and commenting on the album?

JS: People are actually taking to heart what we have to say and sort of trying to be better because of that - the response has definitely been awesome and encouraging.

Scarlet - Cult Classic cover

MU: You played Hellfest and the NJ Metalfest last year - how did those go?

JS: I think we had a better time at Hellfest because of the accommodations that night, because of the friends who were there with us, and we got more high there. At New Jersey we didn't like our time slot as much.

MU: How about your current tour with ETID, Black Dahlia and As I Lay Dying?

JS: We've got a week and half left. It's freaking awesome. Almost every night has been sold out and fluid. This is the first tour we've been out on where something tragic hasn't happened.

MU: So, do you think you guys would like to get back out with these guys in the future?

JS: If the opportunity presents itself, sure. But that stuff is always difficult to work out with everyone's scheduling. We're in San Diego right now and were enjoying California. It's freaking gorgeous.

MU: What's coming next with touring? You're going out next with Zao, Remembering Never, Twelve Tribes, right?

JS: Misery Signals will be on it half the time also. We have that for about seven weeks and when we get back from that I'm not exactly what we're doing.

MU: Any plans yet for your follow-up to 'Cult Classic'?

JS: We actually already have started writing it. We started a couple of weeks after finishing the recording. We could release a box set if we released everything we write. It's so soon to start talking to the label and figuring out when we can do it. Hopefully it will be released in a little over a year after this came out.

MU: Finally, is there anything about the band that I haven't asked you, which you think our readers would be interested in hearing about?

JS: Women love us.

MU: Is that because you guys have style - like you're metrosexuals, or something?

JS: It's nothing material. Some people have it, but some people don't. The issue is that the majority of the people who have it, obviously have it because we have girlfriends. We're not doing anything about it, though. But I can speak personally that I've had a larger amount of proposals than others.






Interview: Brian Ferry [ ]
Editor: Brant Wintersteen [ ]
Webmaster: Sean Jennings [ ]

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