Interview: Aryn Jonathan Black from ‘Scorpion Child’
Texan psychedelic hard rockers Scorpion Child have taken their conceptual artistry to the next level with new sophomore album ‘Acid Roulette.’ The 13-track chronicle tells the story of a man sentenced to life in prison for murder while his beloved wife lives out an affair with her wealthy lover. Desperate to mentally escape his anguish, he joins his fellow inmates for the drug-inducing game Acid Roulette. We caught up with the creator of this heartbreaking tale – frontman Aryn Jonathan Black, to discuss all the juice behind the music.
How would you describe your new album ‘Acid Roulette’?
It’s definitely the real launch point for this band. I think this is a good foundation musically, to have all these styles we’ve incorporated into the songs. We’ve just explored a lot of our interests deeper than we’ve been able to explore them in the past. It’s a real good blend of rock and it has a lot of ethereal parts, and different emotions. I mean it’s hard to describe it stylistically; people being inside it and trying to see the whole thing is something difficult for me.
What was it like to record the album live in the studio?
For the most part it was done live. A lot of the structural shaping and the conceptual part of the album happened in the studio. There was improvisation but there were a lot of parts we’d written for certain songs then maybe got added to other songs. It was really cool to see an album come to life that wasn’t rehearsed and demo-ed so many times before we went in there. It was more the kind of record we figured out we wanted to make because we weren’t as prepared as we were for the first record. The first record actually took way longer to make. I don’t know why but this one kind of happened in the right time and the right place – a perfect collection of songs. It kind of had a real good vibe.
‘Acid Roulette’ has a pretty unique cover! How does it relate to the concept of the album?
The concept of the album was kind of in purpose with the cover. To make it a little easier there’s different dimensions of the subject. You kind of have to know what the concept is to really absorb the cover but just to make it brief the cover has all the colours of the rainbow in it. It has a very positive, uplifting kind of fabric woven into a bleak, dark androgynous, beautiful character that is both female with a male cast-off masking it’s face. It has a lot to do with the deceit and lies, and the passion and excitement in the story of the record. It covers quite a bit of emotional realisty.
How does your latest single Woman in Black fit into the overall story?
Making the long story real short, it’s basically a chronicle of a man’s life being taken away from his wife and children who he loves, and to be put into prison. He has to come to terms with the fact he’s never going to see them again. I mean just imagine what you would experience there. Woman In Black is a piece of that story. In the grievance process of his loss he’s recalling the time he first laid eyes of his wife and how no other woman can compare to her beauty and who she was as a person. It’s so important to him and it just seems like such a defining moment in his life that he would never love another again the way he loved her. And the song describes her as the ‘woman in black.’ There are also other connotations involved that are deeper imbedded into the album concept.
Did it take long to compose?
You know it really just happened. It was actually far less difficult, much more organic that you could imagine it would. And I hope future records line up like the stars like this one did.
Do you have a favourite track on the album?
Yeah, Woman In Black might be one of them. Winter Side of Deranged is another very powerful track. I mean I love Reaper’s Danse – there’s a lot to choose from, and Survives is a band favourite. Yeah, it’s really hard to choose just one to tell you the truth.
Was there a certain place you got the majority of ideas for the album?
I take from dream sequences. There was a period of time when I was really stressed out and I was having a lot of really lucid dreams. I would remember them, write them down, and they all started to come together and had a story behind them. I kept ending up in the same place I left off, which never really happened before except when I was a really little kid. But once every twenty years in my life I get a strong pattern of lucid dreams where I need to pick up where I left off night after night. It was during the recording process that it really started coming together. That this was a bigger picture and I had been writing about it subconsciously was pretty fascinating. I mean it’s only stuff you would experience when you’re on a psychedelic journey. I don’t know if it’s always going to be that way but it sure was nice to have it happen.
How would you describe a Scorpion Child show?
A show is different from the record, that’s for sure. There’s more improv and motion going on. The songs are extended, if that makes sense. There are places where we have to stick to the song and then there are parts where we are able to dive into other beats and movements, so there’s an element of improvisation. But we’re not consistent to the record. It’s a really intense experience; it’s a very dark rock n’ roll hard-hitting train.
Where would you like to take Scorpion Child next in terms of artistic development?
I would love to continue to explore, I mean we could take any one of these songs and write a whole album around that style and vibe. It’s just really limitless what we can do. I don’t like to put too much limitation in where we can go with our music. We do have a wide range of interests. I like the fact that the band stays rock-based. Some people would consider us metal or psychedelic but rock is a good place to put electric, loud, moving music.
When do you hope to come to Australia?
I think we’re looking at Fall, which is the Springtime for you guys, I believe – early November, maybe early New Year!
Do you have a message for your Australian fans?
We just can’t wait to hug some koalas! And really bring our music over there. We haven’t had the opportunity to like so many of our peers. And we can’t wait!
‘Acid Roulette’ will be available everywhere Friday 10th of June.