Scarlet White is a band that will blow away any pre-conceived notions that you may have about Christian rock bands. It won’t take long after listening to this band, whether in concert or just by cranking their latest album The Inbetween, to realize that they are creating some of the most intense and melodic rock out there today that can stand toe to toe with some of the heavyweights in the music industry. Yes, there’s also a very important message in their music that they are delivering, but don’t let that make you shy away if you think Christian rock isn’t your thing. I’m willing to make a wager with you that if you give it a chance and a fair listen that you will soon find this band very addictive to your music hunger.
The band consists of founder and lead guitarist Dan Hall, lead vocalist Spencer Minor, and the husband and wife rhythm section of Jacob Hendricks on drums and Erica Hendricks on bass. The band released their second The Inbetween and quickly proved that the dreaded sophomore slump was not going to add their name to a long list of musical victims. The band is already three singles deep into the album with each one finding success at radio. They are going to be a part of the 5th Annual Small Town America Tour with Seventh Day Slumber, Fireflight and Shonlock which kicks off in August. I sat down with Dan Hall and Spencer Minor who gave me some insight into the band and what’s ahead for them.
The music nerd in me always asks if there is a meaning or story behind a band’s name. What about you guys?
Spencer Minor: It’s actually from the Bible; it’s Isaiah 1:18. It’s the contrast between the sinner and redemption and all that good stuff.
You know how every super hero or villain has an origin? What’s the origin of this band?
Spencer: It’s really weird because this really huge meteorite came hurling in from space and landed on the Earth (laughs). No, Dan started the band and then we all just started coming in one piece at a time. We knew someone who knew the other person and it all just started to work out.
So, were any of you friends before joining the band or just total strangers brought together?
Spencer: Jake (Hendricks) and I originally went to elementary school together, but then we kind of separated ways along the way; Dan was actually friends with my brother.
Dan Hall: One thing just kind of lead to the next and it basically started with me and Spencer’s brother and then a friend of a friend came in to play and eventually picking all the right people to get us where we are now. It took a while, but it finally all worked out.
I know it’s tough sometimes trying to find all of the pieces that fit. I’ve referred to it before as putting a puzzle together. You can force those pieces to fit, but it’s never quite right until you find that actually piece that’s meant to be there.
Spencer: Yeah, I agree with you on that. We actually went through a lot of people in the beginning and it seemed to be the bass players for some reason. We finally found that perfect fit for that and it’s meshing really well, so we’re all really happy about that.
I saw that you’re taking part in the Small Town America Tour which kicks off in late August and includes Seventh Day Slumber, Fireflight and Shonlock. I know this is the fifth year for the tour, but have you guys been a part of this before?
Spencer: No, this will actually be our first time on the Small Town America Tour. It’s a huge honor and we’ve gone so many years looking up to some of these people that we’re about to play with. The fact that we’re sharing the stage with these bands is huge for us and a great experience to meet all of the fans while we’re out doing fun stuff on the road.
I think it’s a great idea for the tour to be hitting some of these smaller markets that get looked over when bands tour through the area.
Dan: Yeah, I think the premise of it is awesome and the fact that they’re reaching areas that don’t normally get this kind of production is an awesome thing.
I think that, even today, there are quite a few people who have a misconception when they hear the word Christian rock. Do you guys run across that in your travels?
Spencer: Yeah, every now and then we do, but we just try to be awesome and see where it goes after that. If someone doesn’t like the fact that we’re Christians playing music, I guess that’s on them, but we’re just here to have fun playing music and getting to know people.
I don’t necessarily think it may be people having a problem with you being Christians as much as it is a type of pre-conceived notion with what you’re going to sound like. Then, you play your set and they’re floored with how awesome you sound and how much they enjoyed your set.
Spencer: Yeah, that does happen a lot.
I saw on your Facebook page that you’re doing a Kickstarter campaign. Can you tell us a little about it?
Spencer: We’re gearing up for the tour and we have a lot of stuff to do to get ready and a lot of merch to order. I think we’re covering a little over 15,000 miles, so there’s a lot of gas to buy as well. The expenses will hopefully be covered, but the Kickstarter is to help ensure us that we made it to the next show.
I don’t think a lot of people realize how little money is coming in sometimes on a tour and the gas to get from one show to another can be a huge expense.
Spencer: Especially when you’re only getting about ten miles to the gallon (laughs).
What the heck are you guys driving from show to show, a donkey?
Spencer: (Laughs) Might as well be!
Other than using a donkey as tour transportation, what other hurdles have you guys had to face?
Spencer: One of the major hurdles are labels that think they are labels and then screw you out of a lot of money ,just to put that blatantly. Also, empty promises are a big hurdle from people who think they can make you in the music business and then not so much.
Dan: We signed to our first label in 2010, I think, and that will probably be the last time we do something like that. That’s not to say that we’ll go through what we did with every label. What we’re hearing from other bands and some bigger bands as well, is that they all seem to be leaving labels and going independent. We’re definitely going to stay independent as long as we can and hopefully forever.
Spencer: You really have to be careful with small indie labels and what you’re getting yourself into and that’s what happened with us. We were a new artist at the time and we weren’t prepared for what we were getting ourselves into.
I think it’s a throwback to how a lot of band used to do things when artists sold their music and sometimes merch out of the trunks of their cars. This whole DIY (Do It Yourself) movement is proving that bands don’t necessarily need that corporate machine t be successful.
Spencer: Yeah, especially with the digital marketing right now witnd a stuff like that. You don’t necessarily need that CD sitting in a store to be successful. That alone is really helping indie bands these days.
So, the tour kicks off in August and we all know if can be a little tough out there on the road. I know fans, like myself, love to make care packages to take to the shows and give to bands that they love. What are some of your personal faves that they could include when making them?
Dan: We’re not picky at all.
Spencer: Anything that’s not fast food related. Anything that would make us feel like it something from home.
Dan: Anything that we could use for Triple Dog Dare Thursday.
That seems to have taken on a life of its own. Where did that come from?
Dan: It kind of grew from our stupid ideas and it just got dumber and dumber. We put it on video and reached out to the fans to get them to participate with their ideas. It seems like everyone wants to see us lick peanut butter from armpits, but we don’t want to do that (laughs).
I know our time is running short and I wanted to ask if you guys wanted to close with anything?
Dan: We’re doing some festivals this summer before the tour kicks off. We are going to release a fourth single and we’ve been saving it for a while. It’ll be our slower song “Worthy” and it’s been getting a really good reaction behind the scenes and it should be coming out in about a month to six weeks from now.
Spencer: Come see us on the road; we’re always out making new friends with the fans. We try to be that helping hand that someone needs in those dark times.ourselves into.
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