Scarlet Chaser on returning to music and getting older (but not necessarily wiser)

Scarlet Chaser on returning to music and getting older (but not necessarily wiser)

Words by Darby-Perrin Larner

After more than a decade off, punk-rockers Scarlet Chaser are marking their return with a ballsy new single.

The indefinite hiatus stretched from some time in 2005 until now. With an album, Vision Vision 2020, due later this year, the lead single ‘…Until Daylight’ promises to be something of a cage-rattler.

“It’s titled ‘dot dot dot Until Daylight’ but the song’s actually called ‘Fuck Until Daylight’, it’s very dirty,” Scarlet Chaser lead vocalist Tim Shaw admits. “It’s the type of song you don’t play around your kids, basically. When recording the demos for that at home, I had to actually do that when my son wasn’t around.”

The rest of the album is a lot more subdued, according to Shaw. “It’s very garage, roots sort of rock. For the first track we figured we may as well throw something out there that gets people’s attention, whether it be good or bad sort of thing.”

Shaw is suffering from a horrendous chest infection when we talk on the phone and does well to soldier on during the interview. “I thought I was going to be good, I actually thought to myself last week ‘I haven’t been sick in a while’ and next minute ‘Oh no’. I jinxed myself.”

So why the break? “We started the band in 2005, so that was the year after we graduated high school. Then you know, as kids do, you either grow up and go to uni or stuff like that and you kind of put everything else on hold. We’ve all just done our own things, different bands and that, and coming into 2020 we’re like ‘Hey, let’s do it again’. So that’s what we’ve done”.

In the time since, Andrew Medancic (guitar/vocals) and Gavin Shanks (drums), once neighbours, played together in a band called Binder, while Shaw found some success in the group Our Best Laid Plans, who supported Tonight Alive and 28 Days on tours.

The lineup changed too, from what was a five-piece band complete with a keyboard player, to a more refined three-piece.

Their tastes have alas changed since then. Of course, Shaw has been listening to the heady days of Aussie rock, with the likes of Jet, The Vines and the Hoodoo Gurus – sounds largely absent on contemporary airwaves.

“I kind of miss that to be honest. Lately these days there just seems to be a lot of, and don’t get me wrong, much respect for them, there just seems to be a lot of hip hop artists in Australia. I think there’s just a bit of hole at the moment that kinds of need to be filled and shaken up a bit,” he says.

The new record is a departure from their early sounds when Shaw, as a teenager, listened to a lot of Blink-182 and punk.

“There was a band called CKY back in the Jackass days. It was very sort of low vocals – it was almost kind of emo if you can say, like emo vocals on a hard rock sort of grungey sound. And nowadays we’ve gone for a more Brit-pop, Aussie rock sound. More radio-friendly I guess you can say.”

This, he admits, comes with maturing. The trio are all in their early thirties now, and Shaw’s son is about to turn ten in March. The shows, likewise, will reflect the confidence that comes with being a more seasoned performer, and a bit older. Though Shaw is quick to add, “I wouldn’t say the wisdom, but the age, yeah”. 

Scarlet Chaser return with their first single in over a decade ‘…Until Daylight’ on Sunday February 2. Keep your eyes peeled for the new album, Vision Vision 2020, set to drop later this year.