Uma Wang satin jacquard and calico dress (styled backwards).
Dilettante meets Perth's muscial darling Scarlett Stevens amongst the fresh air of the Australian southwest. Sheltered within the old-world charm of Beachgrove Heritage House, Diana chats with Scarlett to learn more about the girl behind the drumkit.
Photography by Tülay Dinçel.
Diana: I was around 20 years old, working in a fashion boutique in Fremantle, and I remember you coming in regularly. You must have been only 10 years old. Such a little cutie, with long straight hair, vintage t-shirts and cherry-coloured lips. You were already in a band then, The Flares. What compels you to work in music?
Scarlett: I’m very lucky to have grown up with parents who introduced me to so much amazing music from a young age. They’re not musical themselves but they loved collecting records and brought out a lot of international artists, bands, DJs In the 90s as promoters before opening Mojo’s bar in North Fremantle, which was an incredible venue for original bands. I grew up knowing I wanted to be an artist of some sort.
It was kind of by chance that I got to play on a family friend’s drum kit which made me fall in love with drums. I think what compels me to keep playing music is the sense of fulfilment I get from expressing myself creatively and getting to collaborate with my bandmates and friends on different musical projects. Knowing I’ve inspired other women to take up drumming or start bands has also given me an added sense of purpose to what I do.
Why do you think music and fashion are so intricately linked?
Fashion and music are inherently linked because they both have the power to capture the energy, politics and mood of a time. My favourite style icons have always been musicians, like Deborah Harry, David Bowie, Betty Davis snd Dolly Parton.
Tell us about your favourite piece in your wardrobe?
I have this 70’s, handmade, two -piece skirt and top that I bought from my all time favourite vintage store in New York, Ritual Vintage. It’s very Fleetwood Mac! I also adore my R&M Leathers studded bra, and hotpants that my friend Ruby made for me.
As a musician, you must have so many opportunities to explore alter egos, whether on stage or in video clips.
Definitely! I’m lucky I get to wear many hats as a musician and a performer. I love creating alter egos for myself in video clips and photo shoots through dressing up and the glamour of makeup. I think my onstage persona is often seen as somewhat incongruous with who I am off stage - people don’t expect to see a woman behind the drums as it’s been a space traditionally reserved for men. That dichotomy is something I hope to explore in my work - that I can be sexy and feminine but also rock out behind the drums.
I love the ritual of putting on makeup before I go onstage. It gives me something to do, helps me gets centred and get into character. I also love the feeling of transformation I get from someone else doing my face, it’s like having a spell cast on you.
If you weren’t in a band, what do you think you’d be doing?
I’d probably finish the Arts management degree I started and study a language.
What are you spending most of your time on at the moment?
I’ve been on tour for the most part of this year and have been loving spending any down time I get with family and friends in between tours.
I’ve also been reading a lot this year and loving it. I just finished up reading Joan Didion’s ‘Slouching Towards Bethlehem’ which I picked up at an incredible bookstore in Los Feliz on a recent trip to LA.
What is your favourite way to spend a weekend in Perth?
I’m a Freo girl at heart so I usually spend my weekends in that neck of the woods. I love vintage and secondhand shopping. I always drop in to Old Values, which has a great mix of second-hand furniture, clothes and collectibles. On Sundays I like to go to the Beacy farmer’s market for the best people/dog watching. The spanikopita there is to die for!
We're surrounded by these beautiful gardens today at Beachgrove Heritage House. Do you have a green thumb?
I’ve recently moved into a new house with my boyfriend James so we’ve been spending a lot of time making it ours and putting time into the garden.
I really love cycads, mostly for their ancient qualities. They’ve been around since before the dinosaurs, roughly 280 million years ago!
So, what's your favourite drum song?
Señorita by Justin Timberlake with Pharell on drums.
What can't you leave the house without?
An assortment of different lip balms! I’m on accutane and my lips are dry as hell.
You're about to turn 30, what do you hope your life will look like in 30 years time?
I hope that I will still be playing music, have the same friends, live in a big house with a couple of poodles and a massive walk-in wardrobe filled with beautiful vintage clothes.
Vintage Vivienne Westwood dress. Ann Demeulemeester high-rise leather boots.