What was the inspiration/is there a story behind your track?
I really wanted to write a song that summed up a sort of confusion I had at the time I wrote it with regard to relationships, attraction and monogamy. What I’m kind of doing in this song is contemplating whether humans are, by nature, meant to be monogamous. I think that monogamy is a sacrifice that we make because a romantic connection between two people can be so special and so rewarding.
But just because we choose to commit ourselves to someone else doesn’t mean that the basic human instincts that exist in all of us just switch off and we only have eyes for that one person. Often if we experience a wandering eye while in a relationship, it is coupled with a feeling of guilt and shame because we believe that we are doing our partner wrong by having these thoughts.
However, in this song I am being unapologetic about it because I believe that’s just the nature of human attraction. Just like the lead character in ‘The Scarlet Letter’, who was forced to brand her clothing with a red letter ‘A’ to show that she was an adulterer, I am wearing this shame as part of my costume.
How did you approach writing this song?
It was really one of those organic songwriting experiences! I was in work in the RDS and I just started singing “I’ve got a wicked confession to make, I want you to know”. I really liked the melody, so I ran to the bathroom and recorded it into my phone, and just kind of “La la la’d” the rest of the melody. When I got home, I started trying to put it to music and figure out what the “confession” was that I was singing about.
Usually I’m pretty meticulous with songwriting and will go through various edits but really this song (lyrics and melody) hasn’t changed from the first time I wrote it. It’s interesting because I’m telling a story and a lot of the lines have a lot of weight behind them, however with this song it just flowed out of me naturally. I probably wrote the entire song in less than an hour.
Do you have a favourite line/section of the song?
“We’ve all got the capacity to lose sight of what’s real and true.” – In Scarlet A, I sing of feeling ashamed, confused and overwhelmed by my lustful thoughts. However, in the chorus I sort of end up telling myself that this is a completely natural and normal way to be. It’s one of the side effects of being human and being able to love.
I also believe that in the modern world there is a lot of fascination with superficial things, to the point where these things become more important than reality. In this line I’m saying that we can all get distracted by something bright and shiny; we can all lose sight of what really matters in this world.
Can you describe your sound in three words?
Artificial authentic pop.
How do you feel your sound has developed from studying at BIMM?
I’ve gone through such a stylistic upheaval since I started at BIMM. The songs I wrote when I just started were acoustic-pop, and came across as quite immature. I then started writing with a band in second year, and my sound developed a rock vibe with influences stemming from pop, dance, funk and theatre. I always really wanted to make electronic-dance music, but because I had no experience in electronic production, I was quite scared of it.
Being at BIMM allowed me to meet people like Tenderhook (who produced Scarlet A) and Porridge (who I’m working with now). Collaborating with my peers has really pushed me to become a better artist and to explore the things that I’ve always thought were impossible.
What’s the best thing about studying at BIMM?
As I said before, it’s the people you meet. Obviously the lecturers are great and BIMM bring in great guest speakers and everything, but it’s really being around so many student musicians who are all working towards similar goals while trying to learn in the process. If you go into BIMM with an open mind and try to meet and collaborate with as many like-minded people as possible, that’s where I believe the true benefits come from.
Sometimes that can mean going to the End of Term gigs and being in ‘super-networker mode’, which can be kinda daunting, but at the end of the day BIMM is like a miniature version of the music industry and that’s what we need to do sometimes in this industry.