Interview with Travis Morse, rhythm guitarist for Scarlet Vice conducted backstage at the Whisky A Go Go and via Facebook. www.facebook.com/ScarletViceMusic
By Mike Ritchie for Xombiewoof Magazine
Warning: Interview Contains Strong Language
In June 2011, Travis Morse responded to an ad posted by Chris Blaze, currently playing for Scarlet Vice. The two hit it off and immediately started writing songs together as that version of the band started fading away. After a few years and ‘many’ attempts to find the right chemistry, Travis and Chris discovered Jake Murillo, playing bass for the band The Dirty Nixon during a show at the Chain Reaction in Anaheim, CA.
A few months later The Dirty Nixon broke up and Travis reached out to Jake. They showed him a couple of their songs with Jake immediately taking the role of writing bass lines and drum parts. He also started working with Travis on lyrics and melodies. Hungry for live shows, Jake stepped up and started singing lead vocals and had their friend Ron Chu fill-in on drums.
They put together four songs (which later became Razorblade, Poison, Whole Lot To Love and You're The One), learned a few covers and played their first show as Scarlet Vice at The Shanghai'd Room in Huntington Beach, CA, in June 2013. Since Ron was only helping out, the guys ran a few ads and a few days later got a call from India-Hollywood transplant Jimmy Lakhia. A week went by as Jimmy learned a handful of songs and the guys played their first show on July 4th, 2013.
On July 25th, 2014, Jake played his last show with Scarlet Vice at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood as he was heading down a different path then the rest of the band. Not even two weeks later, a friend introduced Travis to Dave Leon. They sent him their material and after a few auditions, they knew he was the guy. On August 16th 2014, Dave became the official singer of the band.
What influences did you have starting, what influences do you have now?
TM: I am, and always have been heavily influenced by Malcolm Young of ACDC, and Izzy Stradlin of Guns N Roses. Within the past year or so I have become really inspired by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
If you could put together a dream tour bill of 3-5 bands including yourself, who would it be?
TM: I'd definitely want to play with more of the Hollywood rock bands and help build the scene back up, but as far as a dream tour, of course everyone wants to play with the big name bands, but some names I would like to tour with are Junkyard, Dead Sara, Devil City Angels, Slash and Myles Kennedy.
Living/playing in Hollywood vs other cities, do you feel pressure to live up to the hype/past excesses of being a band from the birthplace of so many big names?
TM: Not at all, we just get really fucked up and go out there and do our thing, if people don't like it we will point out the door for them.
Since you've played The Whisky, a dream venue for many bands, is there a venue you consider a career goal to someday play?
TM: I want to play the rest of the clubs in Hollywood that we haven't played yet. I'd also like to get into the Observatory and The Glass House in Orange County.
Reading your history, after he joined it seemed like Jake did a lot within the band to help creatively and musically. What direction did he eventually take that differed from the group vision?
TM: Jake was an equal part of the writing process. Everything we did, we did as a band. We hung out, got in trouble, and created memories together which turned into songs. Dave filled that spot really quick, he brought a lot of material to the table, and fits in great, so the songs are still flowing. Jake was originally a drummer, it's in his blood, you can't take that away. He was also very into the glam scene, and it just so happened that a glam band was rolling around here looking for a drummer, at the same time we were considering a new singer. So far it's been working out for both of us. I would tell you to check them out, but I can't remember their name.
As far as lyrics, guitar parts, song ideas, structure, etc., could you briefly describe the band’s creative process?
TM: Lots of late nights and empty bottles. Chris will show me the raunchiest fuckin riffs you will ever hear, and it usually goes perfect with something I have written in my journal, even though we haven't shared them with each other before then. After that spark, it won't take us long to finish a song, we get together, and we’re all on the same page, and everything flows.
Besides being ‘new blood’ what does Dave bring to the band as a whole?
TM: Oh fuck, where do I start? Not only is he already coming in with a handful of songs. But he also has a huge stage presence and a commitment like no other. You’re going to see some good shit from us from now on. And according to all the women messaging our page, he’s one sexy motherfucker.
Musically speaking what are your bands goals/plans over the next year or two?
TM: Working on putting an EP together at the moment, then looking to go out of state a little bit and venture out.
Anything else you’d like to add or say?
TM: Yeah thanks to everyone who supports us and deals with our bullshit and "fuck you" to everyone who doubts us.
Photography by Mike Ritchie www.facebook.com/mike.ritchie.338 and Provided by Artist
Read more from the pit articles and reviews by Mike Ritchie on his web site www.coveringthescene.com