Band shrugs off comparisons to other acts

illScarlett performs tonight at the Mod Club as part of the 102.1 The Edge’s Electric Xmas.


As far as Cinderella stories go, illScarlett’s is a pretty damn good one.

After six years together, the Mississauga band is finally experiencing success due to the members’ hard work and a little luck.

Vocalist Alex Norman, guitarist Will Marr, drummer Swav Pior, bassist John Doherty and DJ Pat Kennedy were playing in the parking lot at the 2004 Vans Warped Tour when tour organizer Kevin Lyman invited them to play backstage at his barbecue, resulting in a snowball effect that has led to performing at the 2005 and 2006 Warped Tours and Toronto’s inaugural Virgin Festival this past summer.

Norman describes the turning point as "one of those moments where you just want to slow it down a little bit, try to hold on to it a little longer … I was totally nervous, I’d slept in a van … my throat was a little rough … but it was awesome … in my lifetime, I think it’s my favourite moment."

The success of the band’s song Heaters is especially impressive considering, until recently, the band didn’t have a major record deal. (They have since reportedly signed to Sony Music Canada). illScarlett’s EPdemic was released in October on its own label, Infect The Masses, and its do-it-yourself attitude combined with a frenetic live show has finally paid off.

illScarlett’s music is a smooth mish-mash of styles including rock, ska and reggae, resulting in high-energy, infectious tunes.

Norman remembers meeting Pior in high school, "we traded CDs, the biggest bands we listened to at the time were Nirvana, Silverchair, the Deftones …"

An interest in Sublime and reggae was the initial spark, though. "That’s when it started feeling like something special," notes Norman.

With the Sublime comparisons Norman admits "some people are afraid to ask us …

"It doesn’t bother us, there’s way shittier bands that people can make you sound like … we just hate it when people say ‘you’re the next Sublime’ … I think their sound is different, there’s more stuff going on in our songs."

Does he have any guidance for fellow struggling Canadian acts?

Norman advises "have fun, work hard, it’s not always gonna be smooth sailing but always remember you’re a band and a band can do anything … and stay away from coke."

Latest From ...