Skarlett Riot premiere the video for the new single Black Cloud at MetalTalk today. Vocalist Skarlett told MetalTalk how the single, taken from the third album Invicta, will “definitely” appear on the setlist on their upcoming November tour.
Interview: Steve Ritchie
Skarlett Riot released their third album, the superb Invicta, earlier this year, via Despotz Records. “The feedback has been super positive,” Skarlett told MetalTalk. “It has just been nice to be able to have released something after the lockdown as well because we’ve sat on it for so long.”
The band went in to record Invicta just as the lockdown was announced. “We got kicked out the studio, literally the day that we went in to record,” Skarlett says, “So we are just kind of happy to have the album out and be able to share some songs with people. Now we’re finally coming out of lockdown, and we have our first tour to promote the album next month, so we’re super excited.”
The tour begins in Birmingham on 16th November and that first night is going to be special. “It really is,” Skarlett says. “We’re putting the set together, and we have the rehearsals now. It’s nice to get back into rehearsing again and remembering what we do.”
That adrenaline rush on the first night will be memorable. “That’s going to be ten times anything has been in the past,” Skarlett says. “I think it makes you appreciate all the little things as well, to be able to stand on the stage and perform with everybody there with you.
“It’s something that you would probably take for granted when you’re constantly touring and gigging, and because it’s our first on tour, it’s going to be so special.”
The Skarlett Riot rehearsals have been perfect, and the band are well prepared, especially with Skarlett’s developed vocals on Invicta. “These are the first songs with more guttural vocals in. There are some screams, so we’re practising that because it’s quite new to us. The rehearsals have been going well, to be honest. It doesn’t feel like we’ve had two years off.
“The tour setlist has come together quite smoothly. We did put something out on Facebook the other day asking people what they want to hear. We do tend to listen to other people and ask what they want. So it could change slightly,”
The single Black Cloud, an excellent choice for a single, is one of my favourites on the album, a proper Heavy Metal song, with great verses and a super more prolonged chorus, which features the line ‘like a black cloud hanging over me.’ This probably describes the many people’s feelings over the last couple of years.
“Definitely,” says Skarlett. It is so easy for us to be consumed by darkness and negative energy, and it’s easy to sit there and fall deeper and deeper into this black hole. I think the message behind it is more of a positive message, to take the positives out of every negative situation, and I think that’s something that we’ve all learned to do. Just take every single little positive from day to day.”
The video is a special one-the band in an old building with peeling paint and great sidelights, but in the middle of the video, there is this big old table, a wine decanter, and bassist Tim Chambers and Skarlett singing to each other from either end. It must be fun to do these videos?
“We love it,” Skarlett says. “I can’t remember actually where it was, but it was a big old manor house that we got to hire out for the day, and they run ghost tours there. It has a staircase that is falling apart, and you can only walk down on the left-hand side for the first so many steps and then the right-hand side. So myself and the video guy counted as we’re going these steps to make sure we don’t fall through them. We said let’s do it for the art because it will look good on the video.”
Given the longer chorus on Black Cloud, which live is just going to a sing-along, fist-pumping moment, the song is a shoo-in for the setlist. “Yes, definitely,” Skarlett says. “It has that kind of that catchy, poppy chorus, but it still has the Metal vibes there with the screams and the guitar work.
“It’s definitely one of my favourites as well because I think it’s just got something for everyone in it.”
As Skarlett had developed her voice for this release, adding more screams and growls, it is something she had to keep working on, lockdown included. “I had to keep it activated and keep working it because voices are muscles, so once you stop using it, it doesn’t work very well.
“I must admit, during the lockdown, because obviously nothing was going on for nearly two years, it was tough to have that motivation to be singing every day. But about three months in, I was back on it again, and now I’m doing it pretty much every day.”
With the new single out, and the tour imminent, it is a time to be positive and look to a gig filled future as Heavy Metal is starting to get back out on the road after such a horrendous break.
The fans are so important – “Thank you for sticking with us”, Skarlett says, “and being patient during the lockdown. We hope you loved Invicta and we’re looking forward to seeing you on tour, finally, next month. Come say ‘hi’ – we will be at the merch stand afterwards.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Black Cloud can be ordered from https://despotz.ffm.to/blackcloud.