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IllScarlett recently released their new album “1up,” with the hit single ‘Take it for granted.’ Their easy melodic beats make it obvious why this group has been charting mainstream success. They pulled up to the Iron Horse (a local bar) in an inconspicuous white van and greeted me warmly, in spite of the cold weather, and, together, we all headed into the warmth of the building.
As we all walked in, I clumsily tried to introduce myself as Huy Sam from Shave Magazine, despite my best efforts to appear to be smooth and cool. They seemed not to mind my nervousness, though, and regarded me with a laidback, friendly nonchalance that spoke loudly of their worry-free, care-free attitudes. They were clearly just a bunch of friends, hanging out and having fun. This interview seemed as if it was just another day for them.
As we walked through the large open room, I had mere moments to scope the place out and find a good spot to speak with the band. I wanted the location to be comfortable, not close or confined. Unfortunately, the main floor didn’t appear to have any spaces that matched my criteria; however, my production assistant (PA) told me to check out the second floor, thinking that perhaps I might find what I was looking for there. I was not to be disappointed.
I took the stairs up to the second floor slowly, hoping to find the perfect spot that would put everyone at ease. To my relief, I found a quaint little corner with an oak-like finish, characterized by a bright window. The light coming through it lit the small corner like a mini-spotlight and I instantly knew that this would be the ideal spot for the interview. I was sold and I hurriedly claimed the area by leaving my PA there while I went to invite IllScarlett to join me.
When we had all gotten settled in my chosen location, I timidly I placed the recorder on the table in front of me and introduced myself once more, saying, “My name is Huy Sam of Shave Magazine and this is …” I allowed my words to trail off while I quickly grabbed the recorder and pointed it towards the band members to allow them to introduce themselves. Picking up on what I meant to do, they smoothly replied with their names in turn, “this is Swave”, “Will”, “John” and “Alex” and, in tandem, they finish by saying, “and we are IllScarlett”.
Encouraged by their enthusiasm, I moved ahead with the interview, starting off with the easy question, “how did you guys meet?” It was Alex who first replied by telling me, “I met John and Swave in high school, and we were like 15, and then we met Will in about 2002”. Gaining confidence now, I thought back to some of the reading I had looked up on IllScarlett. Remembering that they had had some previous band members, I gently asked the band about the former affiliates such as Daniel Krolikowski, and Pat Kennedy. Jokingly the guys said that those people simply aren’t with the band anymore and that they went back to school and had, “given up the life of glory to pursue normal typical lives”.
IllScarlett’s rise to stardom started shortly after their participation in “The Vans Warped Tour”. After that breakout performance, they went on to play at many other venues both locally and internationally, touring through Canada, Japan, Germany, the U.S. and also throughout Europe. “Other than that we all still live at home!” added Will as the rest of the band laughed.
“I hear you guys worked with Matthew. Wilder, the guy who produced No Doubt’s album, Tragic Kingdom. How did his type of music influence you guys?” I continued, still laughing from the previous joke. Will stated that it was largely his project too. “He (Wilder) is a real Pop guy and likes it shiny and a bit polished. I mean, we are bunch of sloppy dudes.” At this comment, Alex and John smirked knowingly. Will then continued, “he just kind of made us sound like we knew what we were doing.”
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