Interview With Screama Ballerina

Screama Ballerina are a unique, theatrical rock band from Brighton and are one of my favourite new finds. They deliver spiky, intelligent, catchy as hell rock songs with style. 

The band have won awards and have recorded various sessions, including one for BBC Introducing and you will find four of the bands singles on iTunes. They are heading out on a European tour in February so we caught up with them as they prepared for this and for the release of a new single.

Can you introduce yourselves?  
We are Screama Ballerina, a female fronted eccentric rock band from Brighton. Charlie O’Connor on vocals, Richie Jay on guitar, Fardin Esi on bass and Ben Miller on drums.

Where did the name Screama Ballerina come from? 
Charlie: It’s always a really tough question to answer. I can answer where it came from; my brain. I was trying to think of something to name the project before I found the guys, something to represent what I was hoping we would achieve. The more I tried the more lame the names became (haha) so eventually I gave up, then one night I was lying awake and it just clicked and I knew it would work.

How did the band get started?  
Charlie – We met at ballet school
Fardin – We met at music university.
Richie – We met at a local post office in Prats Bottom.
Ben – We crossed paths at a community paragliding lesson, in mid-flight.

One of these is true.

What have you got going on at the moment?
Charlie – We are planning our next single release of ‘Animal’, and are making a video too.
Fardin – We are releasing an E.P in June.
Richie – We have our first European Tour confirmed! (26th April – 5th May)
Ben – We have been confirmed to return to Blackpool for this year’s Rebellion festival, right chuffed!

These are all true.

Whats your favourite music and why?  
Charlie – We all have very different musical backgrounds, and I have an eclectic taste in music. I love Patti Smith/Xray spex but also a lot of 80’s and 90’s dance tunes. Favourite song of all time ‘All That She Wants’ by Ace of Base. Will listen to anything, don’t stick to one genre, cause that would be booooring.
Fardin – I like The Band and good music generally, It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!
Richie – Always changing but big on electro swing at the moment, Caravan Palace, Mr. Scruff, The Correspondence…, etc! – Go get jivin’!

Favourite book and why?
Charlie – All of Harry Potter. . . Yes. and I’m proud.
Fardin – Hitch 22-Only book I’ve read recently.
Richie – I only read guitar magazines… total guitar, guitar techniques, guitar buyer… :s
Ben – Jonathan. Livingston. Seagull.

Favourite film and why?  
Charlie – Edward Scissorhands – I’m loving Tim Burton films in general, but this is definitely the best! I love Edward and his little lost soul.
Fardin – In Bruges – Debauchery!
Richie – Beetlejuice! Just because it’s awesome!
Ben – The Lion King 1… and only number 1.

Best experience in the business so far?  
I saw Charlies willy. (Anon.)
Showing off my willy (Anon.)

Charlie – Aside from the willys (cause it’s not all about that) opening the main stage at Rebellion last year was a highlight for me!
Richie – Agreed!
Fardin – Getting to play the music!
Ben – Meeting and getting a picture with Sir Tom Jones!

Why should Soundscape readers care?
Because we care about them? 😉

Tell our readers an interesting fact about yourself or the band?  
Charlie: We have an entertaining mascot called Norman, he’s an inflatable skeleton who comes with us to all our gigs, drinks a lot and sometimes records video blogs. Occasionally he gets left behind and has new adventures… we usually get him back though.
Fardin: I once ate two 12″ pizzas in one sitting when I was eight, no lie.
Richie: I have a severe foot phobia.
Ben: I’m quarter polish and it’s still maintained a secret under the C.I.A.

What are the best and worst things about touring?  
Charlie: Worst thing: Smelly boys. Man flu. Smelly boys. Best thing: Premier inns/Hostels!
Fardin: I  really enjoyed the sing alongs in the van I.e. Rosanna-TOTO, worst of all; coming home!
Richie: best: All the gigging! – worst: don’t like the lack of sleep..
Ben: Practicing my miming to all the records played throughout the journey on the road. There and back.  Worst thing: unloading the drum kit, the heaviest instrument of all time.

What is the most embarrassing thing to happen to you while in the band?  
Charlie: Hahaha cant tell you, sorry.
Fardin: Taking a ridiculous amount of time to learn how to sway in time..
Richie: Having a few too many ‘Shandys’ and forgetting my guitar part live. Oops. Sorry band.
Ben: Turning up to a gig in nothing but a fez…..with no tassel.

What’s your writing and recording process like?  
We write a song and then we record it. 😉

What inspires you?  
Charlie – Ben inspires me.
Fardin – Ben inspires me
Richie – Ben inspires me
Ben – Naked midnight beachwalks at the premise of the transition between that of Spring and Summer. That, and ladles.

Best thing about playing in Wales?  
Charlie: I have never actually been, but we can’t wait to come and play some shows there.
Fardin: Being in a band who are not currently playing in Wales is my least favourite thing about Wales.
Richie: I’d really like to find out, book us in Wales! I’ll bring cakes and chilled beverages.
Ben: Roedd naws siriol o’r ffermwyr lleol!  (I’ll let you translate this yourself!)

Who are your role models or idols?  
Charlie: Poly Styrene. Beyonce. Patti Smith. Amanda Palmer. Billy Talent. Bill Hicks
Fardin: Robbie Robertson and Sam Harris
Richie: Guthrie Govan maybe? he’s the dude!
Ben: Idris Elba. Definition of a man who looks good in ANY colour.

What do you think the hardest thing about the current business is?  
All: The current business.

Finally, who is your favourite Batman actor?
Charlie: I WANT ROBIN.
Fardin: Christian Bale
Richie: I am a Spiderman kinda guy and I like soft and fluffy upholstery.
Ben: A D A M W E S T.

Make sure you take time to check the band out, they are definitely worthy of your time. Thanks to the band for doing this for us.

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