Scarlet Penta (C) Joseph Voncken

Scarlet Penta

Musical Discoveries: Could you tell us about musical background?

Scarlet Penta: Gladly! Almost 24 years ago I was born in a small European country called the Netherlands in a family that already brought forth several talented artists and musicians such as the Reno Brothers, a musical duo consisting out of my own father and his nephew. They recorded on theCNR and Big Lift record labels. Because of that I was surrounded with music in my childhood already but I believe I was thirteen when I found out that I inherited the talent for singing as well.

What was it all like in the beginning?

It started with school talent shows, karaoke nights and singing competitions and slowly the dream of becoming a singer was born but I also found out the road towards becoming a singer wasn't all that easy and fair. I had a few hard smacks in the face that broke down the little self-confidence I already had in my own abilities at that time and at one point I even wondered if I should just give up.

For example I entered a TV talent show called So You Wanna Be a Popstar once and I was literally told I didnít belong in the music world and I was better off sitting behind a sewing machine as I was about to start an education in the fashion branch at the time. That really got to me and decided I was done with talent shows and singing competitions or better, singing in general and actually didn't do much in the following two years until a friend dragged me to a concert.

The musician performing managed to inspire me SO much with his stage energy the music in my blood started to boil! I remember coming out and thinking I need to get myself on track so that one day I can perform in a filled venue like that! Shortly after that I became active in the music scene again and eventually ended up in my very first band called Galanor.

  Scarlet Penta

And what about your musical training?

In all honesty I never had much musical training except for a few vocal lessons. The reason why is actually quite embracing! I was fifteen when my parents allowed my take lessons but soon after my lessons started I got caught smoking. My parents then gave me the choice to quit smoking or they would not pay for my singing lessons anymore.

Being the rebellious teenager that I was I said I wasn't going to quit smoking and well, my singing lessons also ended there. Looking back at it now I wish I had not been so stubborn because knowledge is power! Towards the end of 2011 I did start in [Complete Vocal Technique] CVT vocal lessons but most of what I do I learned from listening to others and practicing hard myself.

How were your selected for your part with Galanor?

In August 2010, shortly after the concert mentioned before I crossed paths with Joost Maglev at a birthday party of a common friend. At the time I didn't know much about him except that he was in a band called Galanor and that he sometimes organized karaoke evenings at conventions. I remember asking him how things with his band were and he replied to me with, "It's funny that you ask, we just happen to be looking for a new singer." He then asked me if I wanted to drop by and audition and we agreed on date for me to do audition.

Provided with their songs and lyrics, I dropped by a few weeks later and did the audition and, well, I wasn't even in the train on my way back home when I received a text message stating that apparently I had impressed everyone, that Joop (band leader) was wondering where the hell Joost had been hiding me all this time and that I could now officially consider myself the new singer for Galanor. I guess you could say my Galanor adventure started there!

And how did it go?

Every Sunday I travelled almost three hours to Amersfoort where we would rehearse for a couple of hours in the evening and then I would travel all the way back again. As of October 2010 we started performing with me as the new vocalist in the underground band scene. I remember I was very nervous because we had not been rehearsing for that long with me as a new band member yet and aside from that I had not performed in over two years!

But the more performances we did, the more comfortable I started to feel with being on stage. Still, no matter how often we would perform the first track on the list I would always be nervous because you never know what kind of crowd you would have or how they would react. As soon as I noticed the crowd got into us I would get into it as well and go loose as we would say in it. The only time I had problems with a crowd was a memorial gig for a young man who had sadly passed away a couple of years ago. The young man in question had always been a big fan of a friend band of us and so band asked if we wanted to be their starting program to which we agreed. I remember the atmosphere being just weird. We were neither the band they were expecting nor made the same type of music so it was very hard to keep the crowd interested. Other than that I think the crowd was enthusiastic when we performed!

But yeah, the more we rehearsals and performances we had, the closer we became as a band. To me Galanor became my second family and its members became my close friends. That is why it broke my heart immensely when I found out the band was going to break up. Even though the break up had nothing to do with me it felt so unfair because it was not even a half year ago since I joined the band. I mean we still had several performances planned including a UK mini tour and were about to start on recording our album but with the band breaking up those things never happened anymore except for two last goodbye gigs.

It's been more than a year since Galanor stopped but I now look at the experience as a warm memory. In my time with Galanor I was able to develop myself and my future plans and I am thankful I got the chance to work with all of the talented musicians Galanor counted.

Scarlet Penta

Would you say that you have an onstage persona?

In the beginning with Galanor I was still developing as an artist on stage. I wasn't aware of having an onstage persona but later on when I became more comfortable with performing I found out I did have an onstage persona. when I went on stage I became Scarlet Penta and every square centimeter of the stage belonged to me. I took great pride in doing my best to look fabulous before entering the stage and when I got onstage I interacted with both my fellow band members as with the crowd and I felt that I was standing exactly where I was supposed to be standing. Nothing is like standing on stage and perform for a crowd or at least that is how I feel about it. I think on stage I am a lot bolder than people would expect me to be in real life haha!

So how did you and Joost decide to form a new group and begin working together on the new project?

Well, it might be a bit weird to say but after the band broke up I became quite depressed for a while since the band had become a main focus in my life. Joost who also had a hard time with it contacted me a few weeks after and said he had an offer for me. Instead of cancelling on the album recording we originally planned for Galanor he asked me how I thought about recording a mini album together with new material Joost and I had been working on. You could say that the plan was to record the album to put me on my own feet and then go each our own way again. This softened the pain a lot and I told Joost I would gladly accept his offer.

We eventually decided to use one older track Joost had written before I got into Galanor ("Summers ~episode II~") and three new tracks we originally created for Galanor ("Face in the Crowd," "That One Special Person" and "When I Return"). I should mention that "When I Return" was created by Joost, Galanor's former bandleader Joop de Rooij and me.

For months we worked hard and with the help of very talented people such as Sebas Honing, George Van Olffen and Peter Vink we brought Specialty out on July the first 2011. Over the months we worked together on Specialty Joost did not only become my mentor and music partner in crime, he also became an important and close friend. So yeah we decided we would like to continue to work together music wise since the journey towards Specialty had been so enjoyable! We have a very similar view and taste in music and I can say we really feel each other on creating music. Even though many people consider what I am doing now as Scarlet Penta my solo project, Joost is a very important factor to it as well. In addition to producing, he is also the musical mastermind behind our music!

Tell us more about about the making of Specialty and how it was received by your fans?

Scarlet Penta  

Hmmm, to go a bit more into detail we did all the recording at Joost's place. He has the luxury of having his own studio and according equipment in his home! We decided to do the vocal recordings on the last weekend of April [2011] so I travelled to Zeist and stayed over to do my recording parts. We usually work like that because Joost lives about two and a half hours away from me so we just take out a weekend so we can both work hard on music and relax as well.

Usually we end up a recording day with me cooking for us and combined with a movie evening before starting fresh on music the next day again! After the recordings were done the other important things had to be done as well such as a photo shoot for promo purposes, launching a tidy website and starting a pre-sale. Originally we planned the release of Specialty for the last week of June but due to problems with production company we actually had to delay it to July. Luckily Specialty was received amazingly well by fans, friends and other musicians so that made up for a lot of the stress we had with the company in question!

What can you tell us about the pressing?

It is indeed true that we did a limited edition of 100 jewel box copies and there are two reasons on why we did that. First of all every musician knows that bringing out your own album as an independent musician is everything but cheap. Especially if you are a perfectionist like Joost and myself, everything has to be right you know! The second reason why we chose for a limited edition was that every sold album was donated to the Japanese red cross tsunami fund since that unfortunate disaster happened when we were in the process of recording and both Joost and myself have many friends and close acquaintances in Japan. We eventually managed to sell as good as everything and the only copies left are the ones for personal use so we were able to collect a decent amount of money to donate!

But for the people still interested, we also made a deal with CD Baby who distributes our music on every music platform available so people can still buy Specialty through their favorite music platform online!

Let's move onto your new recording Gaps.

Gaps, our upcoming full length album, took quite a while and a lot of people were involved so I would say there is a lot to tell about the making of it. After Joost and I decided to continue working together we figured the next step was creating a full album with at least ten tracks. We both agreed the previous four songs from Spspecialty had to go on it and we would have to create six new tracks on top of that.

On July 2nd Joost and I went to a concert of a common loved band and this inspired me so much that only hours after arriving home again the next day I thought out a new track which later got the title "Dead End." I remember not being able to sleep so I ended up composing a keyboard melody and recorded this with my own vocals with the cheapest mp3 player I had lying around.

First thing the next the morning I mailed everything to Joost and explained my vision for the track to him, I must have sound like a mad woman on ADHD but I was so excited I felt like this track was going to rock! And as expected when Joost worked his magic it would become the track I had in my head.

Other tracks such as "Gaps" and "Pacifica" were originally created in Joost's older work and we figured those were perfect to use as well with some adjustments. "Save Me" was a track Joost had created melody wise many years ago but stacked away and when he asked me if I could do something with it I found it quite a challenge because it was such a long song but I managed to write the lyrics and we both ended up being happy with the result.

"Rival" and "Phantom" are the last two new tracks on the album. I remember when Joost first send me a little part of "Phantom" over the mail I actually had to cry because I was so touched!

How would you compare the recording sessions to your prior work?

  Scarlet Penta (c) Joseph Voncken

The recording of Gaps itself occured over various weekends because not all tracks were done at the same time. Every time we had a few tracks ready we scheduled a recording weekend and did our thing. If I have to compare the new tracks of Gaps to Specialty I think we improved a lot. We created more versatile tracks approachable for a larger crowd, I trained both my voice and articulation to become better and also the recordings itself were done differently.

Another great thing is that our tracks are now copyrighted under BUMA which feels great as well. Beside Joost playing in the bass for all tracks, various instruments several tracks and did all the backing vocals we also had Sebas Honing playing in the amazing guitar parts again and Nik Reitsma supporting us on drums.

When all the tracks were finished Peter Vink went over the mixing and mastering of all tracks again and the end result was delivered me about a month ago. We also worked with graphic designer Saskia Heetebrij who is responsible for the visual aspect of Gaps and did a great job on that! Right now GapsGAPS is in production and will release on August so we're waiting in excitement!

Are there plans to tour in support of the new album?

Yes and no. We are making plans for a concert to promote Gaps later this year but not right now. The reason is that even though we work with amazingly talented musicians they are support members with their own bands. We are still missing two members to officially complete our "family" and as soon as we find a good match solid plans can be made to give a concert.

Right now we are promoting through the biggest medium in the world: the internet. By uploading part of our tracks, having social media and spread the news we make people known with our music but I canít deny that there is nothing like actually performing to promote your album!

The most amazing thing would to get signed of course but as long as we aren't we have to support ourselves and rely on the internet, connections and gigs in the near future. Still. I'm hoping to see an increase of fan base after the release of Gaps because in the end the best thing about being a musician is knowing your music brings happiness to other people!

As an extremely attractive young woman in the music industry today, how important do you think "image" is to your success?

Wow, I'm considered an extremely attractive young woman? You're making me blush, but thank you for your compliment! To answer your question, up to a certain degree I think my image is very important and part of the magic! People love going to a concert to enjoy music but at the same time look at someone interesting on stage, wouldn't you agree?

And of course if you are connected to both my official facebook page as well as my private facebook, you have access to a lot of photos and are able to see the many versatile sides of me but as Scarlet Penta the rock bitch comes out and I guess I swing more to that look as well as I feel very comfortable in it and it connects to the sound of my music. I am a musician but I enjoy taking pictures. Pictures to me are memories and the most important thing someone can give me is a memory!

What do you see as some of the most important facets of the internet on music these days?

I definitely see see YouTube and Facebook as the two biggest social media to get picked up music wise these days. I myself am very active on Facebook and find it ideal to have a band page on there! Since Joost and I are also planning on a video clip soon YouTube will also become important for us. Actually, I think it's fantastic how important the internet became for the music business these days since you can reach so many people!

At this time, are there any YouTube or other links to video for readers who won't be able to see you perform on stage?

Unfortunately no videos yet; we're working on that. But you can visit my Facebook page right here. My page is connected to bandpage so you are able to listen to the full tracks of Specialty there and you can listen to samples of Gaps there as well.

Aside from music, what else rocks your world these days?

As a musician I am supposed to say, "There is nothing else but music," right? I would be lying if I said that so I will tell you about the other things that I like to spend time on aside from writing lyrics and creating music. As I mentioned already I like photography and blogging every now and then. I'm interested in fashion,shopping, make-up and styling--hey, I'm still a girl!--and meeting friends is also something that makes me happy. I enjoy cooking, good food and one of my newest found hobbies is baking cakes!! Like seriously, it's getting out of control to the point where people are telling me to open up a bakery shop hahahaha! And lastly I am also a notorious Stitch (Lilo and Stitch) collector!

Have you thought about taking your craft into other fields: musicals, other genres, collaborations?

Like most musicians it's my dream to become a major recording artist. Being able to live of your greatest passion is someone everyone wants so after August the 1st I will only work harder toward that goal! As for other passions, I will tell you a secret. I originally wanted to become a musical star but I didnít have the finances for the education and by the time I did I was "too old" to be accepted to the education.

Musicals will always be a guilty pleasure for me but I think my future really belongs on stage as a female vocalist. I am however open to collaborations with other artists' whatís more fun than to work with other creative minds? As the matter of fact, I have planned a collaboration with another musician but for now that will still remain a little secret. I do intend to keep working with Joost though as I said before he is my music partner in crime and without him I would not have been able to come out with such beautiful tracks!

Is there anything else that you would like to tell our visitors?

I hope that I was able to spark your interest and encourage you to check out my Facebook page and or official website! And lastly to other beginning musicians reading: no matter how many times you get blown off never give up. If music is in your blood, you won't ever escape it so you better give into it follow your dreams!

.: more Scarlet Penta:.
at FaceBook | at Soundcloud
album review: Gap (2012)

interview and HTML © Russell W Elliot 2012
red dress photos © Joseph Voncken 2012 :: exclusive to Musical Discoveries
Last updated 01 July 2012

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