First Look: Scarlet Fantastic – Beyond Pluto
Scarlet Fantastic have always been on the more eclectic side of the spectrum when it comes to music. Hailing from the time when alternative was post-modern and originality was cool, Scarlet Fantastic have kept that coolness solidly intact with their new video and song titled “Beyond Pluto”. The vocals of Maggie K de Monde are as crisp and vivid as ever as they can still pierce through the solid music of Rick P Jones with that deep vibrato that we all love and remember.
I simply love it, not only when an artist can show you HOW they continue to be relevant, but show you how easy it is for them to do so. That is the mark of a true artist.
About Scarlet Fantastic
SCARLET FANTASTIC, The Real, the Surreal & the Fantastic – this was what we always used to say.
Scarlet Fantastic comprised myself & Rick P Jones, or Lovelady & Captain Pleasure,as we liked to be known at the time. Our influences were many & diverse ranging from Sister Sledge to Baudelaire the French poet. We were inspired by many things, dreams ,films, forests, nightclubbing, We loved Bowie & T Rex & Grace Jones.
Times were hard in Birmingham in the ’80s, the outlook seemed pretty bleak, so as a means of survival & escapism we threw ourselves into the hedonistic nightclubbing scene that was thriving at the time and dressed up in the most exotic gladrags we could lay our hands on. Most of our friends were musicians or designers & so it was never a problem creating our glam & cartoon like Star child outfits.
We were very fond of our slogans. I remember in 1986 writing a manifesto & calling it the “anti depression act” . We designed t shirts with slogans using our Phoenix arising from the Ashes logo which we’d nicked & reinvented from a strip joint in Handsworth B’ham. Some of our favourite statements were “The New charge” “Resistance Rocker””Deconstruct the bad vibes” “Energy breeds energy”.
The music came straight from our hearts, it told stories of how we saw our lives at that point in time. We were very passionate about what we were doing, we really believed we were Resistance Rockers. Nature & the magic of the Earth was always a huge source of inspiration & although we lingered in the shadows & disco balls of B’ham nightclubs we would also go for long walks in the wet & rainy forests of Shropshire. “Follow that Star” was written after returning from a hike in Mortimer forest. We believed in destiny but also believed in being in control of our own destiny “Destiny is like a great white horse, you grab it by the reigns & steer it in the direction you want to go” (Film Star Kiss) We believed in being connected (to the universe) -this is where the inspiration for “Plug Me In to The Central Love Line” came from.
No Memory was the first Scarlet Fantastic song we ever wrote. It was a cold & rainy February & we were feeling the gloom. I was dreaming about fast motorbikes & deserts. We’d been reading Baudelaire’s Spleen describing a desolate & depressing February & Rick had programmed a really catchy bass line & so we ended up writing “No Memory” a positive & anthemic song, primarily about freedom & good times. We used our blue sky memories ,picturing the sun on one side of the sky & the moon on the other ,hence “the sun in our hair, the moon in our eyes” The whole album is pretty cosmic, we were always watching sunsets & sunrises, we were obsessive! One of our favourite books was St Exupery’s Little Prince. We felt very inspired during this whole period. No Memory seems to have struck a chord with people & that has made me gladder than I could have ever imagined. For me, songwriting is about empathy & to know that some people just “get it” is the best accolade/reward I could ever have!
Scarlet Fantastic came about after we disbanded our previous band Swans Way. We had enjoyed working with Robert Shaw in SW- he was a huge influence on Rick & myself, we learned many brilliant things from Rob.
We decided we wanted to do something entirely different to what we had done before, I quit playing drums & sang instead & Rick ditched the double bass for an electric guitar.
We sent out some of our early demos to Radio One & were asked to come in a do a session & then someone from the Tube (tv show) heard us on the radio & asked us to go up to Newcastle to shoot a video for No Memory.
People began to take notice & Jack Steven our dear friend and manager at the time introduced us to Pete Waterman who described No Memory as the dog’s bollocks! Pete asked us to go in & record the song at his studios in the Borough which we did & then we were offered a deal by Arista whom we eventually signed to & we recorded this whole album at Pete’s on studio downtime. We did all night sessions and that’s why we called the album 24 hrs, we were at it day & night. It took the best part of 6 months to record & the first single No Memory was released in autumn 87. I remember it was in the charts in Oct 87 because it was mine & Rick’s birthday that month.
It’s amazing how No Memory has repeatedly resurfaced over the years & how it became a club classic for the rave generation & Ibiza etc. I’m absolutely over the moon that the album is being released again & I hope everyone will enjoy hearing it as much as we enjoyed creating it, all those many years ago! I am still passionate about music, I have never stopped songwriting, singing, recording & performing. I have just finished a new album, a collaboration with Martin Watkins, another labour of love of which I’m very proud. We are called Maggie and Martin & the album title is Union. Watch this space……….
“From the beginning to the end, this message we’ll send , Starchildren of the world unite, we’re gonna be electric”