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Screetus Bends Minds and Genres with “Scarlet, Cloudy, and Closed"

Based out of Bangalore, India, progressive Rock band Screetus is an amalgamation of the words, Scree, loose stones on a mountain, and Cetus, a sea monster in Greek mythology. A Screetus is a stone whale that’s about to disintegrate. As true lovers of stories and ones to be inspired greatly by artists of all realms that came before, Screetus tries its best to fulfill the role of a modern storyteller.

While holding heavy roots in progressive rock, the music that they craft incorporates elements of psychedelia, modern electronica, and classical symphonies. Their debut album, 'Auburn Garden,' is a concept album that delves into various perspectives of abuse and the debasement of one's soul. The idea of abuse is viewed through multiple lenses like drugs, psychological and physical abuse, and religion.

Scarlet, Cloudy, and Closed,” sets the anticipation at high stakes with the ominous instrumentation that initiates the record. The instrumental components begin to progress as the deep and menacing vocals grace the speakers with reverberations and harmonies. The dystopian atmosphere that is carried throughout this song creates a dominion of universes that fuse together just as the genres displayed do so.

The songs carefully selected on the album, 'Auburn Garden,' tell stories from the perspectives of the victim in despair, a hypocritical bystander, and the frenzied abuser. The expression behind “Scarlet, Cloudy, and Closed,” holds true to the unraveling.

Screetus pours emotion into the composition as individual artists and band members. At any given time, you can pinpoint the sonic contributions that each creative provides to this piece of art as they mesh their chemistry together in a seamless fashion on “Scarlet, Cloudy, and Closed.”

In a world where people are expected to follow the normality that is put in place for us, Screetus goes above and beyond to flee ordinariness. As the record advances in originality, their storytelling talents are unmatched as they allow us to disentangle numerous sentiments while focusing on the art they create all the way to the last moment of this masterpiece. The true signs of an auditory expedition.

Hello Screetus and welcome to BuzzMusic. Congratulations on the release of “Scarlet, Cloudy, and Closed,” off of your debut album, 'Auburn Garden.' With a song that holds so many artistic components, we would love to know; what does your creative process looks like as a band?

Thank you so much for having us! And thank you. It’s been a very engaging process, the release of our debut EP, and we’re learning a great deal. I would say that making music, to me, is somewhat analogous to how artists paint. I’m not good at that myself, but I understand that it’s about knowing beforehand what the artist wants to see on the canvas when it’s completely blank, and then filling in the details as the story emerges, little by little. Finding the right colors, applying the right layers, all that’s just a process of getting the details right, after a great deal of trial and error, in order to achieve that idea that’s already in your head.

Song-writing, for me, is a similar process. For Scarlet, Cloudy, and Closed, and the other songs on the record, I knew what the song wanted to be about and how I wanted it to sound, at least vaguely, before starting to record anything. That sound, and those textures, I believe, are supremely important in getting right. And I had deliberated on that for days before realizing precisely what would be appropriate. After that, it was a simpler process of writing riffs and melodies, and rhythms that would accentuate the story. I start with a simple melody and then build on it, adding layers, and sometimes, taking them away. I record everything going directly into my computer initially as a rough sketch and program the drums so that I have a working demo that actually sounds like a complete song. Then I’d send it off to Vijay and Vamsi and we have detailed conversations about what they can add and do better because of their expertise in their specific areas. The idea is to always serve the song. Then they record their sections and we go over them a few times in case anything needs to be changed a bit, or as it was in this particular case, share their ideas about specific changes (and we don’t believe in holding back on the nit-picking) and I’ll record them in my studio.

What is the meaning behind your debut album and this single in general? Why did you pick the theme that you did?

This album is loosely inspired by the stories of Frankenstein and Prometheus. It delves into ideas of abuse and attempts to look at abuse through various perspectives. Saturn Eyes is told from the perspective of the victim who’s gone through hell and try as she might, even after getting back on her feet, continues reliving that torment. Looking Elsewhere, as it’s named, is told from the point of view of a bystander who fantasizes about helping someone in need, but doesn’t actually do anything more than gathering information. Finally, after the inevitable happens, this person grieves in the hollow space that is now filled with his guilt. Scarlet, Cloudy, and Closed was the song I had the most trouble writing, but in that sense, it was also the most fulfilling. This song is narrated by the abuser, and within this track, we see how the abuser doesn’t believe he’s causing any actual harm, but in the process of feeling more and more powerful over the victim, he starts losing control over himself. And that frenzy is the place where all the damage occurs. Deep Caves and Dreary Main is a prologue that stitches all of the songs together, through its three sections. Of course, abuse exists in many forms, and through the lyrics, I’ve tried to convey that it could be physical, or psychological, or sexual, or religious, or through drugs, or all of that, because I can’t wear one ends and the other begins. And then that’s how it’s related to the stories of Frankenstein. The victim is the monster. The bystanders are the people he meets, and the abuser is Dr. Frankenstein. I thought it was a different way of approaching this story that I’ve loved ever since I read it the first time as a child. I’ve read it many times since, and though popular culture has romanticized the story a tad too much, I’ve found it conveys so much about the human condition that it’s had a lasting impression on me. And it let itself out a little through this EP.

Could you please go into detail about what the recording session looked like when making “Scarlet, Cloudy and Closed?” How long did it take you to record the album as a whole?

This first album was recorded during the Covid lockdown, as a result of which, we weren’t able to get together and do it in a proper studio. But technology has evolved to a point where studios aren’t as necessary as they used to be. Artists have been recording in their basements and garages for years now, and with artists like Billie Eilish, they’re even getting a great deal of popular fanfare. So, we also figured that instead of waiting for the pandemic to pass us over, we should get the music while it was fresh. And we did exactly that. Once the song was written and the demo was recorded, I shared it with Vijay and Vamsi to get their inputs, and we spent a few days discussing those, which I wrote down. Then over the course of a week, I proceeded to capture all those encapsulated ideas in my home studio. First, I programmed the drums down to every note. This was probably what took the longest since I kept running it against Vijay who’d show me exactly how he’d play it. Unfortunately, he couldn’t just record the ideas himself because of the usual limitations of having a studio for drums. It’s not easy or cheap. But the discussions helped massively. I was able to program everything exactly how he’d play it, with maybe a little more embellishments here and there. Then I spent three days recording bass, guitars, and synths. I did all the vocals for every song on consecutive days, though. I find that a simpler process whilst also getting some consistency on how I wanted each track to sound. And this is pretty much how we did the entire album. The recording didn’t take too long, to be honest. It was about a month that we spent doing it. The larger amount of time, of course, was writing the songs and recording the demos. It took about three months to get each song to a place where it was 80% done and all we needed to do thereafter was to redo the takes properly and refine certain sections.

What message would you like listeners to take away from this creation?

Abuse is bad! Well, of course, that’s there. But more than that, I really believe we live in a world where people aren’t usually empathetic to anyone else. We like to believe that we are, but in all honesty, the world could do with more empathy. We need to always ask questions and attempt to understand that someone we love could be going through something that we haven’t experienced, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help them grow. And especially with a song like Scarlet, Cloudy, and Closed, I want to say that we need to understand what evil is, as well. Abuse doesn’t always come from a person. More often than not, it comes from an idea. The idea could be fear of God, or patriarchy; it could be rooted in the economics of the drug business and how people push drugs onto children who don’t really know better. We don’t see these things because they require effort. I would really like people to make an effort in understanding why someone goes off another path that might seem inexplicable, and how then can we help that person be better. We’d do well to live in a world with a little more empathy.

What can we expect to see next from you?

Well, we’ve already got ideas for another album and I’m already working on the demos as we speak. This time, it’ll be a full-length LP with eight or nine tracks and will probably be close to an hour-long. With the next album, I’m trying to explore more diverse sonic ideas and arrangements, but it’ll be a rock album nonetheless! We won’t say much on when we plan to release it, but I can say that we’re a good way into the pre-production process right now.





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