Scorpion Child’s Aryn Jonathan Black talking
Scorpion Child has released its second album ‘Acid Roulette’ on June 10. A week before the album release Rockmuzine had the opportunity to speak with the band’s singer Aryn Jonathan Black. The following is the rendition of an animated conversation about the band, music and the new album.
The internet is somewhat ambivalent about when the band actually started, anywhere between 2006 and 2010. Aryn started the band early 2007. “We had several different members over the years, it’s not my fault I swear”. In the early years the band didn’t take itself really serious, lots of alcohol and drugs going on. People just kind of fell off. At first the band did a lot of local shows in Texas, and some East-Coast tours. Scorpion Child released a mini album and 3 seven inch singles in those days. It came to a point where the band found that they could take this a lot further. This was a turning point for Scorpion Child about 6 years ago. The band started pre-production, did some tours, recorded the album and waited another year for Nuclear Blast to release the album in 2013.
Rockmuzine remarked that Jeremy Wilderman from Monster Truck told a very similar story about being big locally in Toronto until they decided to take it to the next level. “I see the similarity“ Aryn states “except we didn’t freeze our asses off in Toronto, we were sweating our asses of in Austin”.
The name Scorpion Child raises an association with the German hardrockband the Scorpions. Aryn points out that the band is not related to the Scorpions. Scorpion Child is very different from the German band. Aryn and Chris went to see the Scorpions recently and it turned out to be one of the best shows Aryn had ever seen. “The Sorpions were so good, they played a lot of their old, heavier and progressive stuff”. The band name was taken from the lyrics of ‘Lil’ Devil’ a song by the Cult from their 1987 album ‘Electric’. Aryn loves the Cult, especially their dark wave albums like ‘Love’.
Keyboard player “AJ” Vincent was the last member to join the band in 2014. Adding a keyboard player to the band was a wish come true for Aryn. Since the beginning of the band he wanted the band to have a set-up like Deep Purple with an organ player, bass, guitar, drums and a lead singer. The problem was to find a keyboard player that could play “Heavy Keys”. Only with AJ they found the right person that could contribute “heavy keys” to the sound of the band. Adding another instrument, rather than a second guitar player opened new creative possibilities for the band. Two guitars are kind of competing for riffspots and solo’s while adding “heavy keys” provides new, more psychedelic opportunities. Especially since AJ can do anything with his organ and the Lesly cabinet from heavy distortion up to psychedelic solo’s.
The band originates from Austin Texas. On the question whether this origin influenced the band Aryn laughed and said: “The answer to this question really depends on the day, traffic in Austin is pretty out of control”. More seriously the influence has decreased over the years. The band started as a local Texan band, but by touring in so many different countries the band became influenced by all these different cultures, people and bands from all over the world”.
Scorpion Child likes to jam and play together with other bands while on tour. Each tour the item comes up, but for various reasons it didn’t happen that often. While touring with the Swedish band Horizont the cooperation became very close, guitar player Christopher joint the Swedish rockers on stage on several occasions. When Scorpion Child’s bassplayer left during the tour the 3 guitar players from Horizont helped out by each learning a couple of songs and stand in on the bass.
The inspiration for Scorpion Child’s music comes from different sources, obviously music, but also literature and movies. The music that inspires Aryn ranges from black metal to industrial rock, gothic, classic rock and dark wave. It depends per song. Aryn describes Scorpion Child’s music as “We’re a pissed off Deep Purple, that’s the best I ever heard”.
About playing in the Netherlands
We discussed the most recent shows in the Netherlands, starting with the most recent show at Paaspop in a barn called the Thunderbolt. Rockmuzine wrote on that show: “Ozzy has a son and he is called Aryn Jonathan Black” Aryn seemed to like this description, and stated that he didn’t think about this, but it sounded really cool. He remembered that they performed in in a barn, and that the Paaspop terrain looked like a large carnival. He was surprised to hear that the Paaspop venues were only temporary and that a week later the terrain was a field again.
Another recent Dutch show was last year’s Speedfest in Eindhoven. The Speedfest was deeply influenced by the terrorist attacks on the Bataclan in Paris the week before. Eagles of Death Metal, the band under attack was going to be headliner at the Speedfest. This obviously didn’t happen since the band was still heavily in shock. Actually Scorpion Child played in Paris a week after the attack in a place that had the same staff as the Bataclan. The people who worked that night lost their colleagues and friends and lived only because they had a day of a week earlier. They were very sad because they lost so many friends. It was like the people that were spared from jumping out of the World Trade Center at 9-11 because they had a day off. The band didn’t have any doubts in playing Paris or the Speedfest right after the attack on the Bataclan. “We didn’t think about what happened in Paris. If it is our time to go, it’s time to go. We were there just to play some rock ‘n roll and they would have to kill us if they wanted us of the stage.”
The new album: ‘Acid Roulette’
Nuclear Blast published the background to the album’s conceptual narrative. A tale of love, loss, lust, betrayal, and a game called “Acid Roulette”. The record follows the story of a doomed love that lands the male protagonist behind bars while his wife lives out an affair with her wealthy lover. Aryn on that story: “Obviously the label needed content and wanted to know what the album is about so I told them the story. But I’d rather let the music speak for itself initially. I’m hearing people that have listened to the songs without knowing about the story, and it is interesting how many different stories these lyrics can make. I’m learning a lot about my own lyrics every day”.
Aryn created the cover art for the album, the woman raising from the swamp represents the whole album, the lies, the disguise, even the androgyny because it is not a sexist story because it could go both ways. It could also be about a traveling woman who comes home and find her husband left with another woman, it just happens to be the subject from Aryn’s imagination that puts it in a male perspective. The cover has all colors in the rainbow but it still has an earth tone to it. The colors represent all the different emotions on the album, anger, fear, happiness and frustration. It’s a vibe cover. When asked about his favorite song on the album Aryn can’t pick. He goes back and forth, one day it’s ‘Acid Roulette’, the next day it’s ‘Winter Side Of Deranged’ or ‘Survives’. The album has so much different perspectives.
The album is really a step forward from the previous one from 2013, the musicianship and comradery in the band have changed, but also the addition of AJ’s “heavy keys” have provided a new creative dimension allowing the album to be much more diverse than the first.