Interviewing Scarlett Jane’s Andrea Ramolo and Cindy Doire is a task not without its share of challenges. Both sound identical over the phone, both answer questions simultaneously and both finish off each others answers. So trying to decipher who said what in their 30-minute conversation about their latest self-titled recording is a challenge in itself.
So it’s hardly surprising that the synergy between the rootyfolk/pop duo of Toronto’s Ramolo and Timmins Ontario native Doire goes back over 12 years. They were introduced to each other by an ex-boyfriend in 2003 “And we’ve been leaving ex boyfriends behind ever since” cracked Doire. Sometimes touring separately, sometimes touring together Ramolo and Doire forged a songwriting collaboration long before they official joined forces as a group.
“ We’d be playing dates together and after the shows, people would be trying to buy our Cd’s and they’d be confused that we weren’t actually a band and there wasn’t just one CD they could buy. It would be like, `Here’s Andrea’s CD and here’s mine.” noted Doire. “Yeah, we were really pissing those people off” laughed Ramolo.
The partnership which ultimately formed Scarlett Jane was officially consummated in early 2011 after both had simultaneously suffered breakdowns in personal relationships and sought solace together in releasing their pent-up emotions in a collaborative songwriting partnership. So after a crazy tour of Europe which saw them perform 28 shows in 31 days, the pair booked themselves an all-exclusive vacation to Mexico, where within the trappings of a tropical climate, limitless food, pampered personal service and a luxury hotel suite – they pulled out their guitars and spent the vacation in their room writing songs!
“We had to get away from Toronto and all the distractions,” explained Ramolo. “We both have a lot of friends in other bands and we are always out supporting them so we are easily distracted. By being away by ourselves, we can work on our songs and put them to music, that’s our thing now.”
The duo certainly had plenty of angst to work out with songs like”Aching Heart”, “Can’t Come Back”, “Oh Darling”and “I’m Gone” featured on their 2012 `Stranger’ debut. The record, released on MapleMusic, would go on to receive two Canadian Folk Music nominations and one song; “Wild Fire” made the semi finals of the International Songwriting Competition. Yet as Ramolo and Doire headed off on a Cuban vacation in 2014 , to duplicate the songwriting results they originally achieved in Mexico, their debut record was remixed and re-released to an even stronger commercial response.
“In my head I always thought of recording to tape but the end result doesn’t translate very well to radio. So our manager, Jake Gold, suggested that we remix the record (distributed by Warner Music Canada) and this also allowed us to release a track in French (Aching Heart) which gave us extended exposure in Quebec,” noted Doire (who had previously released three French language records). We worked with Laurence Currie on the remix and he gave that song a certain clarity.”
Having enjoyed a productive songwriting session in Cuba, Ramolo and Doire returned to Canada, and capitalizing on the evolving popularity of `Stranger’, began work with noted performer/producer Colin Cripps and associate Colin Stringer, primarily at The Tragically Hip’s Bathhouse studios near Kingston, Ontario.
“We’ve always had a collaborative dynamic,” said Doire of her working relationship with Ramolo. “Even with our solo records, we have five of them between the two of us and there’s strains of Scarlett Jane creeping through all of them. We’d co-write songs and sing harmonies on each others records. It’s kind of nice to go back and listen to those records and see how everything evolved.”
That creative dynamic continues to evolve on their latest record as Doire and Ramolo continued to fine-tune their writing skills with song lyrics that left them emotionally exposed while at the same time showing the pair had fine tuned their editing skills to focus on materially they could both connect with on a lyrical level.
“Songwriting is a very organic process,” allowed Ramolo. “Even if some of our ideas aren’t fully developed, we’ll leave them on the table and we’ll keep on moving and processing ideas until we are both happy with the material.”
For the second album, Ramolo and Doire decided to go the crowd-funding route to raise capital for the record “At first we were reluctant to go that route. It’s not something we were initially comfortable doing,” noted Doire. “There’s a romantic notion about the struggling artist but it’s not that romantic when you have to pay your rent. But this is a business, we are reaching out to fans and inter-reacting with people who want to help you. They are the first people who would want to buy our new record and it allowed us the opportunity to offer them special perks like having their name on our album jacket.”
Jann Arden, a big fan of Scarlett Jane bought a pair of cowboy boots from both Ramolo and Doire for $500 each but strangely, an offer for the duo to provide babysitting services for a mere $10,000 was not accepted by their fan base. “Thank goodness,” noted Ramolo. “I wouldn’t trust us with your children.”
With song titles like “I Just Wanna Be Loved”, “Broken Open”, and “Tin Can Rebel” the girls are still wearing their collective emotions on their sleeves. “Little Secrets” is Scarlett Jane’s debut single and they are also continuing to cultivate their Quebec following with Doire’s “Cours” track sung in French.”Yes our personal relationships, both past and present still fuel our songwriting,” laughed Doire. “But we are expanding our scope a little more as we develop our skills.”
It also helped that Warner Music Canada agreed to get on board with the project and are distributing Scarlett Jane’s new release. “We wanted to work with people who are excited about working with us,” noted Ramolo. “It’s nice to have people who are on the same page as us. I think they understand what we are all about and we believe they are a good match for us.”
A summer full of folk festivals and outdoor concerts culminate for Scarlett Jane when they perform at the Timmins Kayak Challenge August 29th on a bill with The Box and Platinum Blonde. “That’s my home town,” boasts Doire. “So I know it will be a special event for us.”
Scarlett Jane will also be embarking on a 20-date national club tour in September. For further information, link to www.scarlettjane.com.
[youtube width=”600″ height=”400″ video_id=”6_4SKh3BJR8″]