The Scarlet Opera don’t let gender define them. The five-member rock band spoke to Rolling Stone for the On Your Radar video series to discuss a special celebrity fan, dive into their recent released “That Kind of Woman,” and share their dream collaborations.
The Scarlet Opera first felt successful, bass player Daniel Zuker says, after selling out the West Hollywood rock club Troubadour, with no songs releases. Frontman Luka Bazulka says that Neil Patrick Harris happened to be a fan of their music and after a request, the band gave him a birthday shoutout during their set.
“On his birthday, he sent us videos of him dancing along to some of our songs, which is very sweet, in a party bus,” Bazulka adds.
In each writing session, Bazulka pens heartfelt lyrics, while the other members focus on tone and tempo. They also consider what the band will sound like during a live performance.
“It usually starts with the top line of lyrics and melody, and then the boys come in and flush out their parts,” Bazulka continues. “I’ll write these terribly sad lyrics and then if you really listen to them, it’s a bit heartbreaking, but because the music lifts it up and takes it and runs with it, it gives you hope.”
The Scarlet Opera released their EP Comedy in March, featuring “Riot,” “Big City Thing,” and “Alive,” which guitarist Chance Taylor, Zuker, and Bazulka shared as their favorite song to perform. The band typically concludes performances with “Alive,” which Bazulka calls a “big, bombastic goodbye.”
“This one girl, we did an opening thing for a tour — we were obviously the opener — and I was dripping sweat and I bowed, and I look at her and she’s just cracking this big yawn in my face. I was just continuously humbled,” Bazulka jokes.
The pop rock single “That Kind of Woman” dropped in July and Colin Kenrick, who plays the keys, says the song could be dedicated to your mother, a friend, or someone you respect.
“We are attempting to be a band beyond gender, where it doesn’t matter if you’re singing about a man or a woman or someone who does not identify as either because you can appreciate and love someone, whoever it is,” Kenrick says.
“I just think the idea is much more interesting of being a band who doesn’t necessarily fall within the lines of ‘well, your lead singer is queer, and he writes the songs and so he sings about men, that’s the rule, right?’” Kenrick says.
Wrapping up the interview, band members shared their dream collaborators, naming Andrew Watt, Jack Antonoff, Iggy Pop, Miley Cyrus, SZA, and Florence and the Machine.
“Also a great band to open for if you’re listening, Florence,” Kenrick says.