Scarlet Opera’s debut EP “Comedy” – the stomping rock, rapturous pop, and operatic chants – ushers the rebellious dreamers and romantics into a theatrical pageantry of life. It’s like the frisson of hitting the piñata.
Members Introduction: Fun facts
Luka Bazulka [lyricist/frontman]: Favorite musical is Into the Woods; Go-to karaoke song is Skyfall by Adele; His second career choice is to sing backup for Daniel
Justin Siegal [drums]: Favorite musical is Wicked
Colin Kenrick [keyboard]: Favorite musical is also Wicked; Go-to karaoke song is “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness (only do songs that are “way out of my range as a lower tenor”)
Chance Taylor [guitar]: Favorite musical is Spring Awakening
Daniel Zuker [bass] Go-to karaoke song is singing “All Star” by Smash Mouth over “Imagine” by John Lennon
Titling the EP “Comedy”: What’s beneath the uplifting tunes?
“What’s underneath all this witty banter and the one-liners is something so aggressively human,” said Luka. Juxtaposing the campy, flamboyant music with an undertone of yearning in the lyrics, Luka wrote about what it means to be a struggling artist for all the bandmates – having day jobs (Luke was flipping burgers at a restaurant) and being signed to Republic, as well as having day jobs and being independent. When making the EP, Luka also pulled a lot of stories from his childhood in Pennsylvania to the journey to Los Angeles: “I think a lot of the struggles that you hear about vary from identity and trying to make it in this world, whatever that means. It’s not necessarily just music, but make it in love, make it in romance, make it in a lot of different things.” To Colin, part of the comedy is when “reality coming up against our expectations.” The irony is in the definition of an artist’s success where there is a never-ending milestone awaited to be accomplished, and the reality is to keep moving forward even when you’ve reached “success.”
Theatricality runs in their blood.
When the band started making music, they weren’t set up to be just one thing, especially with the diverse soundscape and background of each member. Colin said they started out with a “mishegoss space”: “I’m a singer-songwriter; Justin has done everything from jazz to pop music; Luka grew up with Celine Dion and Britney Spears; Chance can play anything except for the kazoo.” After they got into the studio and worked with David Steward, their producer, they narrowed in on this glamorous rock that brought them the most joy. “The theatricality was always part of our performance from the first show, so I think we ended up leaning into that,” said Luka.
The band name wasn’t delusional and grand enough.
Originally formed as Perta in 2016, The Scarlet Opera was reborn in 2022, taking their shift in music themes and trajectories into account. It’s their music that informed the name change – “Parliament Funkadelic meets Adele” was the kind of music they used to make. Luka thought the old band name wasn’t “delusional and grand enough” as the new band’s message aims to “lift people up from the trenches and make them feel glamorous.” Simply put, Colin said, “there [the old band name] wasn’t enough drama, and it was hard for people to spell it, so we made it easy.”
New process, bold choices.
Working on this EP under Republic Records as The Scarlet Opera means adapting to a new process that forces them to make bold choices. This was their first time making music in a professional setting and working with a producer, as opposed to having the luxury of time writing in the basement as before, where they would wait on an idea when they got stuck. They only had three weeks to finish the EP, but fortunately, they usually didn’t have to table ideas with David (producer). “I think it was sort of a kismet with David Steward. We ended up finding a lot of inspiration from each other,” said Luka.
Writing with the live show in mind.
“We see ourselves as entertainers, like a live band, more than recording artists,” said Colin. When writing, they think about what the song will translate to in a live show. “The ideas are already happening while we’re recording it for how we’re going to play it,” said Luka. He exemplified the process by talking about recording the harmonized chants of home home home in “Alive”: “stacking those vocals and having them sing them (home home home) in the recording booth knowing that live, that’s so exciting.” Colin also expressed how connecting with people live is immensely crucial to them: “We all love the recording process, but without getting together, the five of us, and connecting with the audience right up close, it doesn’t feel as important.”
“Alive” is a rallying call to the band.
“Alive” wasn’t chosen for the band to perform on Jame Corden’s show for no reason. It is a beloved song by fans and by the band.
The writing process
It started with David sitting at the piano and playing the idea with Luka one-on-one. “It started really slow like the beginning does, but as it developed, he just kept playing different parts. It ended up gaining momentum, and the song revealed what it wanted to be – to pick itself up and start running,” said Luka. Lyrically, Luka thought about the ideology of life – making choices – and the difference between giving up and giving in. “There were certain specific things that we ended up taking out so we could make it a little bit more accessible. So everybody could kind of fill in the blanks as to what their memories are worth having on,” said Luka.
What “Alive” means to the band
Life keeps rolling, so keep the party alive – “Alive”
That is a phrase that the bandmates say to each other a lot, and “Alive” has become a love song for the band. “We were able to get to a global pandemic and come up the other side, a stronger band, not only musically, but as friends, as communicators, as collaborators, said Colin. In a way, they have adopted “Alive” as a rallying call for them. “It’s hard enough in this business to make it on your own and get yourself out of bed every morning. The fact that five of us can do this with our lives, schedules, work, families, it’s kind of remarkable,” said Colin.
The ideal setup for fans to listen to “Comedy.”
Luka: Civic Theater in Allentown
Growing up in Pennsylvania, Luka has dreamed of playing in the Civic Theater in Allentown one day. “I always felt very at home there, and I’m big on going to the places where the songs are from originally. It would be ideal just to have a bunch of people in there on that stage,” said Luka.
Colin: A big old circus
“Honestly, I don’t even care if anybody’s listening. So often music becomes the background noise in your life, so if we could provide a space for people to have a good time like that works for me,” said Colin.
On April 3rd, The Scarlet Opera will kick off their West Coast Tour in Sacramento, followed by Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Santa Ana, and Los Angeles. Here are some exclusive pre-concert insights for the fans.
Pre-Concert Sneak Peak: Songs the band are most excited to perform live
Colin and Luka: “Riot”
The song is flamboyant, electric, and like no other. “We usually open the show with that, and I love it because it’s like talking to a big audience,” said Luka. “It’s loud,” said Colin.
Justin and Chance: “Alive”
The song is also Justin’s favorite to record and perform. “We tend to end the shows with it, and it has this great climactic moment that I think people really respond to, so I always feed off that personally,” said Justin.
"We want our shows to be a big tent where anybody can come to. We want them to sit there screaming these ridiculous, fun, bombastic songs, and that’s the world we have to create and the stories we have to tell.” – Colin.
Pre-Concert Insights: Favorite songs to record
Justin: “Alive” and “Riot”
“Alive” has a clear vision that inspired Justin as he heard the piano, vocal, and acoustic style demo before they started recording. He also had fun playing with the marching snares in “Riot”: “There were a lot of percussion. I played eight different parts all at the same time over it, and it’s the feel of a 20-person marching band.”
“It feels like the best representation of us from what we can do from a soft balad to the more rocky stuff. It’s a journey much like the band was but in a sneak peak way,” said Colin.
Chance: “Covered In Roses” (unreleased)
Luka: “Giovanni” (unreleased)
It’s a song that the band is working into their live shows, so you might get a chance to hear them live on tour. Giovanni is a book written by James Baldwin, and Luka was reading it while he was in love. “I found a lot of parallels, and I wrote this love song to Giovanni. I think it’s one of my favorite lyrical songs, and it’s also very thrashy, dramatic, and has a lot of Scarlet Opera in it,” said Luka.
“Even if it's a small little room, we’ll make it feel like a stadium.” – Luka.
Band’s Favorite Moments: The family dynamic
Colin shared his family dynamic moment when he struggled to nail one of the parts of “Alive,” which was his favorite and worst time recording the EP. Colin felt defeated after multiple failed takes in the studio: “I feel like a fraud, a failure, and having my very vulnerable moment of ‘why can’t I do this,” and all of them are like, dude, don’t even worry about it. This is music. This is the process, and we’re going to get it.” Colin felt grateful to have people close to him and support him at his lowest moments. “I think I had felt a shift within all of us that we had found what we had been looking for in the seven years that we’ve been together,” said Luka. As they were wrapping up for the last day of recording, Luka said his favorite moment is to take a step back and look at what they had just done, which is this masterpiece that is out everywhere – “Comedy.”
Listen to “Comedy” HERE
Purchase their West Coast Tour tickets HERE