Indie rock band with a soul and attitude. When all you see is darkness within you find the light that’s what Scarlet Sails sound like.
In 1923 Russian author, Alexander Grin wrote the book, Scarlet Sails, and told a story about true love and following your dreams. As a young woman, living in Moscow, Russia, Olya Fomina read the story, but never imagined that she would live out her own version.
There are so many love stories that made Scarlet Sails come to life.
Olya found a song in her heart at the age of 5 and knew music would define the rest of her life. She learned piano under strict tutelage at the Moscow Prokofiev School of Music No. 1, playing classic pieces Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Grieg, and Liszt. Original music was not tolerated, and as Olya began to write and rebel, the teachers saw ‘trouble’ coming. Her parents also saw it coming – intellectual professionals themselves, they did not see their daughter being in a rock band as a viable option. At 18 Olya took vocal lessons and fell deeply in love with the idea of music as a career. She left Moscow at the age of 21 with a freshly tattooed clef on her neck.
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A program that enticed Russian youth to go to America and work came to Olya’s school. When she spoke to them about the opportunity, she envisioned moving to New York City and learning/writing in English and soaking up the music in gospel churches and blues clubs. When she agreed to participate, she found a world very different from what she was expecting.
The summer of 2010 was an exciting one where Olya embarked on her temporary journey to America. The company she went over with were supposed to provide a job and a place to stay. She quickly discovered that the owner of the place she was to work expected a lot more than was promised him. Olya soon learned to navigate past the cities more unscrupulous and unsavory characters into safer waters.
Suddenly she had little more than a bit of money and her strong will to make it in America. She did more than survive the situation, she made a connection that would get her right back on her intended course. She got a job tending bar at The Bowery Electric, working for New York Punk Rock godfather, Jesse Malin – known for fronting the band D Generation. With a kind friend and ally on her side, she went out on tour as a keyboard player with Jesse in 2014 and played nine SXSW shows with him. There she met many people that would inspire her to take her music to the next level and found her place in the New York music scene.
Brian Viglione found true calling when he learned to play the drums. He found a world he could ensconce himself in with his friends, one that would alleviate a sometimes stressful home life, and the resulting boredom of which can come from small town New Hampshire.
Brian’s father passed on his love of music, and playing the drums, to him. The incredible positivity of the activity and the father-son bonding it provided him affected him at an early age. His parents urged him to stay true to himself and follow his talent and passion. When other kids turned to drugs and drinking, Brian turned to music.
At the age of 16, Brian was playing gigs in a cover band at sports bars in New Hampshire. Things were progressing, but in order to play bigger places and original music, he needed to go to the next big city – Boston. At 19 he moved to the big city and began his career in earnest.
Reading Get In The Van by Henry Rollins, and taking an honest assessment of his life at his immediate prospects inspired him to hit the road and broaden his musical horizons. Playing with early bands like hardcore punk outfit Sic Semper Tyrannis, psychedelia-inspired Asciento, and ultimately The Dresden Dolls, brought the avante garde into his life. His openness to many different kinds of music made him one of the most well-rounded, in-demand drummers leading to gigs and sessions with numerous well known names including Nine Inch Nails (2008), and Violent Femmes (2013 -15).
His songwriting abilities grew from the experience as well. Having the advantage of working with great storytellers like Amanda Palmer and now Olya, he wrote in line with the main emotional thrust of the song. Tuning into his collaborator’s intent, he sought to evoke as much emotion as possible.
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In the case of Olya and Brian Viglione, like minds meant open hearts. The couple met in 2013 at the Black Flag “Barred For Life” book release party at Bowery Electric, where Olya worked.
As Brian celebrated in the pit, he had no idea it was to be a life-changing evening. It was love at first sight, as he explains, “When (my friend and I) went upstairs to refresh ourselves with some libations, I suddenly caught sight of the most radiant smile I had ever encountered. Like warm rays of sunshine beaming out from behind the dark counter of the bar, parting the clouds, invigorating my spirit!”
They connected immediately – as soon as Olya told Brian her story, he knew they were kindred spirits. Upon getting to know Brian, Olya remarked “Sometimes you meet a person and you feel like you have known them all your life. That is how it was with Brian.” Their mutual respect for each other’s talent, influences and dedication that got them to that day, fanned the flames of a great romance.
They married and formed Scarlet Sails as a true collaborative effort – with Olya’s unique voice in writing and singing and Brian’s top notch musicianship forming the base of what would become a full, touring band. They added Mark Kohut on guitar and Jesse Krakow on bass, and are setting out on an exciting new chapter of life on the open road.