Electro-Pop Duo The Fame Riot Takes ‘Band of Brothers’ To A New Level
“The riot is definitely along the lines of our stage performance—we usually bleed every show. We lose a lot of blood. We’ve never had to have a transfusion but cut it close a couple times. The riot is just our energy, the fame is just a positive global perspective of that as we see it.”
When first speaking to Liz Scarlett and Shazam Watkins, the brothers behind The Fame Riot, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Watkins decided to speak in a British accent to make it easier to differentiate between their voices, but the brothers were constantly cutting into each other’s sentences with add-ons, interruptions and noises of agreement. Both brothers are self-taught musicians who’ve played from a young age, but had mainly performed in places of worship until 2012, when Scarlett put it, they decided to “take some shit seriously and really professionally freak people out.” The name The Fame Riot isn’t representative of an alter ego for the boys, but rather a ‘movement’.
“I think it was very much a statement about us captured in two simple words, ‘the fame riot’. At first we knew that we wanted this movement to be something that people from all around would be aware of, the fame aspect would be, ‘oh my god we all know what’s going on’ and the riot as the description of what’s happening,” Scarlett said. “It’s a statement about just us, and letting go – letting loose, breaking out of little spheres, bursting the bubble, giving people serotonin.”
“We are each other’s other point of reference.”
It’s this shared vision that makes The Fame Riot such an earnest endeavor. When asked if it’s ever difficult to work as both band mates they laugh wholeheartedly and launch into account of tangles they’ve had, making it clear that most of the blood they shed is on stage, having gotten most of the fighting out of the way when they were younger. Scarlett describes their relationship as a sort of telepathy; “We’re like the yin to each others yang in a lot of ways. He balances me out in a lot of ways, and we really just have an organic mesh…our mentality, our approach, our engagement in the whole creative process, its very much in unison. It’s very much like triangulation, and you can’t triangulate without more than one point of reference. We are each other’s other point of reference.”
“Our sound is very much an old story, told in a new way.”
The Fame Riot only has plans to get bigger and crazier—their debut EP DUST FUNK is their “initiation sampler”, and they cite inspiration from sources like Bowie, Queen and the Rolling Stones. They’ve also released a video for their single ‘Heart Stray’ which you can watch below to get a taste of what they call their “sonic soup that never stops cooking”. It’s not all about the future for these brothers, however. “We’re a culmination of the past, present, and the future, from the 50s all the way up to the 80s infused with a very science-fictional outlook. Our sound is very much an old story, told in a new way.”