Scarlet Room

Scarlet Room

 Seattle, Washington, USA

Scarlet Room is where rock music and cabaret meet. It's where the theatrical storylines of Eloise Govedare's lyrics intertwine with the provocative melodies of Aleksandra Weil to create something both sweet and twisted.

Band Press

"Life is a Cabaret for Scarlet Room" – LesbiaNation


By Tracy E. Gilchrist

"Masterminds who founded a musical style they’ve dubbed “cabaret rock,” twenty-somethings Aleksandra Weil and Eloise Govedare are a match made in musical heaven in the vein of a younger, hipper and female Kander and Ebb or Weill and Brecht.

Not your typical BFF’s, these best friends, who formed their Seattle-based band Scarlet Room when they were just 15, collaborate on creating fresh and poignant music that blends a rock and cabaret sound with a theatrical bent. And if that’s not enough, with their truly original music, vocalist and composer Weil and lyricist and drummer Govedare foster a message of embracing self-expression and individuality. Through their vibrant, self-empowering music and style the gals’ figuratively encourage coloring outside the lines.

With a CD release party slated for May 10, and a series of gigs scheduled in Weil’s native Uzbekistan in September 2007, the band is poised for a bit of international exposure. But before garnering their exponentially growing fan base and venturing out of the country, these virtuosos had a back-story. “We have this incredible musical connection,” Weil says of her friendship with Govedare. "I knew that Eloise read poetry. I read one of her poems and fell in love and felt really inspired,” she says of Scarlet Room’s nascent stage. In the seven years since Weil first set music to Govedare’s poem, the pair has developed a remarkable friendship filtered through their art of making music. And it shows in their mutual respect for the others’ work.

“She finds the perfect melody,” Govedare says about presenting Weil with a new lyric. “That’s the glue in our songwriting.”

Longtime friend and bassist Kris Darr and guitarist Tim Keller round out the band. But Scarlet Room is Weil’s and Govedare’s brainchild and they’ve nurtured it into a full-on theatrical phenomenon within the competitive Seattle music scene. Audiences continue to grow, says Govedare, who credits the band’s success to the palpable dedication to their art the band members exude. “This band values integrity and doing art for the right reasons,” Govedare says.

Classically trained pianists, Weil and Govedare approach their music from a background that includes classical, jazz and cabaret music. After years of performing cover songs and playing a style of music that already existed in the world, Weil and Govedare’s extensive musical knowledge led to an epiphany.

“We thought about doing something that’s never been done before,” Weil says. The young women dug deep and thought, “Who are we? What are we? What are we trying to say?” Weil explains.

An inspiration for the band’s style derived from Weil’s early love for Bob Fosse’s Cabaret—the film that cemented Liza Minelli as a bonified superstar.

From Liza’s androgynous tailored vest, bowler cap and short shorts to Fred Ebb’s and John Kander’s colorful music, Weil and Govedare pay homage to the show. Weil cites Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht—who collaborated the paean to the progressive art scene in 1930’s Weimar, Germany in the Threepenny Opera—as more inspiration for Scarlet Room’s theatrical edge.

Weill and Brecht’s tunes aren’t the stuff that pop music station’s heavy rotation lists are made of and that’s right in line with Weil and Govedare’s focus on “thinking outside the box.” That ideology birthed the pair’s leap into virtually uncharted musical waters and their appeal to a wide audience including Seattle’s Gay Pride revelers.

Govedare is refreshingly unmoved by the notion of hers and Weil’s likely sex-symbol status among their straight male and lesbian fans. “It’s always fun to get attention,” she says with erudition beyond her 22 years. “It’s more welcome when it comes from women. There’s a different power dynamic with men than women. Women don’t make you feel like your some kind of stripper.”

While Weil and Govedare’s utter passion for their work and, inadvertently, their androgynous Marlene Dietrich outfits ala Morocco—which is pure catnip for lesbians—makes them accidental sex symbols, Govedare eschews hotness as a motivating factor for their art.

In the band’s veritable hit “Marionette,” her lyric “I want to be a real girl without strings,” reflects Govedare's gender politics. It’s about a little girl who feels restricted as many women are by gender roles and expectations, she says. A self-reflective ditty about what Govedare calls “gender performance,” the song illustrates the stifling terror of girls from whom self-expression is denied.

But decked out in their gender-neutral garb and having broken free of pop music’s suffocating, narrow scope, Weil and Govedare are the polar opposite of their “Marionette”—no strings attached".

Scarlet Room EP Review on –

"In the last few years there has been a slew of bands who've take on the moniker of "punk cabaret". While the term cabaret is generally fitting the usage of the word "punk" is misleading at best. Most of those artists have little or no rock influence, much less punk. It's as if "rock" is a bad word, something they choose to distance themselves from. Not so with Seattle's Scarlet Room. As you can hear on their new EP (and first CD) they are proud to marry cabaret to their foundations in rock. Cabaret rock? Cabarock?

Forget the terminology, these four young, talented musicians are canny enough to see the commonalities between rock and music theatre. Both have frequently explored the darker corners of life, you can hear it in the works of the Doors or performances like "Sweeney Todd". Both rock and musical theatre aren't afraid to be bombastic in the best sense of the word. Both can be grandiose and still be compelling. Scarlet Room are wise enough to realize that rock is epic theatre. That there's nothing contrary about combining rock with cabaret. It's not contradictory, as heard on this CD, it may be compulsory.

Lyricist and drummer Eloise Govedare knows how to evoke a stage setting. Of the six songs found on this EP four of them reference performances or performance locations. You've got the movie set of "Lights! Camera! Action!", the courtroom of "Ladies and Gentlemen of the Cold Blooded Jury", and the puppet pageant of "Marionette". I'm not sure why the circus and sideshows have become such a metaphor for the dark underbelly of America (especially to generations that have grown up without traveling seedy shows) but Scarlet Room conjures the claustrophobic roller coaster of the decaying big top nicely on "Welcome to the Musical Circus".

Govedare's talent as a lyricist is on display with the song "Marionette". Anybody could write Pinocchio with a female protagonist. Govedare isn't just interested in a toy who wants to be "real". It's the WHY they want to be real that excites her. Pinocchio wanted to be real so that he could be loved and belong. The heroine of "Marionette" doesn't want to be real just so she can run back to the arms of her "Father" she longs to be free. She wants to be untethered and unrestrained. She wants to be more than a puppet and more than a child.

Vocalist Aleksandra Weil is the group's central attraction. She (like Govedare) is a classically trained pianist and her skill and talent shine on each song. Vocally she's also the show's acrobat. When you listen to her sing your head will duck and twist trying to keep up with her. It's beautiful.

It's the boys in the band (guitarist Robert Reis and bassist Kris Darr) that provide the ROCK. They bring a meatiness to the songs where the threat and thunder of electric guitars counterpoint the piano and vocals nicely. The guys aren't all force and volume. There are nice moments of subtlety in their performances as you can hear on "Marionette" with its has a lovely guitar sound reminiscent of the Doors' Robby Krieger.

It's good for a band to have diverse influences but that doesn't mean the concept always works. Have no fear, it works amazingly well here. Scarlet Room have perfected a unified sound. This is not x meets y, it is not cabaret meets rock. It's cabaretrock. The chemical wedding is complete. This EP is well worth your time and attention. It can stand up to any of the neo-cabaret recordings release in the last decade".

KEXP: Three Imaginary Girls Promo Blurb –

Scarlet Room and Emilia Sosa at the High Dive, Friday, August 1

I saw Scarlet Room a couple of months ago at the Showbox’s Green Room and was thoroughly impressed with their dark, sexy, Brechtian cabaret-inspired sound. At that show, SR was only a two-piece with Aleksandra Weil on piano and vocals and Eloise Govedare on drums and they immediately brought to mind some of my favorite acts like The Dresden Dolls and Regina Spektor. That night they were hampered by the limitations of that room but I’m certain that they will fare better in a bigger room that will give their songs room to breathe and circulate through the venue.