Wednesday, 14 October 2015
Scarlett Jane and a turkey....nooo..not me....
Spent Canadian Thanksgiving in Spences Bridge at The Packing House. Great turkey supper and a concert by the Canadian duo, Scarlett Jane.
The two Toronto country-pop sweethearts have been BFFs for the better part of a decade, after all, and have spent so much of the past 10 years joined at the hip through thick and thin that they now instinctively finish each other’s sentences like an old married couple. They’d even toured together extensively — pretty much the ultimate test of any close relationship — for years as solo performers so they could hang out as a pair as much as humanly possible before finally taking the obvious step and forming a band together in 2012 as solace from a couple of simultaneous, ugly breakups with their boyfriends of the time.
“It’s all the stuff that comes with marriage and no sex,” laughs Doire.
“We collaborate on all the writing and we sing together on every song, and why we call the project Scarlett Jane is because Scarlett Jane is one woman who epitomizes the both of us,” says Ramolo. “We are one voice, we are one head, we are one heart because we live life so closely together as friends. The first album was kind of like a therapy session for us to get through that period in our lives. We were even living together at the time.”
Scarlett Jane’s dark-shaded debut LP, Stranger, is very much a double-breakup album, then. And, as time goes on, it’s proving a highly successful one, at that.
Originally released in April of 2012, the record is enjoying renewed life this spring thanks to a remixed version re-released this past March with distribution through Warner Music Canada that has suddenly given Scarlett Jane’s harmonious women-done-wrong confectionary belated traction with such outlets as CBC Radio, iTunes and CMT. The duo currently has a bona fide radio hit in Quebec, in fact, with its French-language single “Mon Coeur Se Brise,” a reworked version of Stranger’s “Aching Heart.”
Scarlett Jane has a fortunate hook-up with former Tragically Hip manager (and Canadian Idol judge) Jake Gold last summer to thank for its recent ascent to “bubbling under” status. The ferociously hardworking band was doing fine on its own, of course — it managed to mount a well-received, 37-date tour of Europe at this time last year purely under its own, road-hardened power — but having a believer with big connections and big ideas in its corner has definitely given it a leg up towards that elusive “next level.”
“It was a transition for us because we did everything on our own — marketing, publicity, booking tours — but now, in that realm, we have to sort of take a back seat,” says Ramolo.
“Everything that Jake has suggested we do — including the remix of the record and the translation of the song — we’ve always been, like: ‘That’s a stupid idea. Why would we do that? Why would we remix the album when we can record a new one? Why re-record a song in French when we can write another one in French?’” laughs Doire, a Franco-Ontarian from Timmins who’s already released one Francophone album. “So we’ve kind of fought him along the way every time he proposed something like a couple of teenage girls. ‘This is ridiculous.’ But what’s been really exciting and great about Jake so far is he’s always right.”
After living with Stranger — which, both Ramolo and Doire stress, they were both completely happy with in the original form overseen by producer Stew Crookes (of One Hundred Dollars) before the new, more radio-friendly “shine” was applied — for two years, Scarlett Jane is itching to record some new songs.
They’d just returned from a meeting with an unnamed producer in New York at the time of this meeting, in fact, and promise several new songs in the set list for this Thursday’s gig at the Drake Underground.
“We’ve just relaunched the album so we’re gonna give that a life and breathe new life into it because everyone’s excited about it,” says Ramolo. “But, I mean, speaking to you completely as artists right now, we’re dying to put out new music right now. We’re dying to play new songs.”
In the meantime, Scarlett Jane will do what Scarlett Jane lives to do: hit the road as hard as humanly possible for the summer, further hardening the friendly bond behind it in the process.
“We get better and better at fighting. As far as what I want from a relationship, now that I’ve been working with you for a good few years, I’ve developed some really good communication skills. Watch out,” says Doire, adding with another laugh: “We’ve had some real movie-scene moments where it’s, like, ‘Is she gonna punch me in the face or are we gonna make out?’”
“It’s true. We demand honesty from each other in a way that you’ll only get with a lover if you’re lucky,” says Ramolo. “We own a life together, we own a business together . . . This is what we’ve created together and we’ve put so much into it that it matters, so when sh-- comes up we have to deal with it because it matters.”