Interview: Scare the Children Talk New Album, New Era

Scare the Children were one of the bands not to be missed if you lived in China before the pandemic. Their horror/folklore inspired costumes blended with aggressive metal made for a concert that felt like Halloween even if it was mid-March. The band, made up of mostly expats, released one album, Odyssey, in 2018 and left an imprint on the scene thereafter with their performances.

In 2023, Scare the Children have released their second album, Tales. They cannot, at this point, be called a Beijing-based band, as frontman Psy Sadako moved to Bangkok, Thailand, where he now operates the bar/live venue Afterlife, while the rest of the members have gone to different areas. Regardless of which town these specters call home, though, Scare the Children are back as a musical force, and with Tales, plans are also being made for a return to the stage. I spoke with Mr. Sadako about this revamped version of the band and their upcoming plans.

Since you moved to Bangkok, what is the lineup like for Scare the Children now?
The lineup is still the same, almost. A few of us moved around from Beijing (the original headquarters for Scare the Children) to Bangkok or L.A., but everybody from the last live lineup is still the same. We do have replacement drummer for some shows, though.

What is the story arc for the new album, Tales?
The first album was a full concept story linking all the songs. This time, each song is a little horror tale based on the characters we created for the stage. It’s a little bit influenced by Tales from the Crypt, The Haunt of Fear, and all of those comic book horror stories.

How did you record the album?
It was painful. We recorded the album vocals, guitars, and bass in Beijing. The drums were recorded in America, and the mixing and mastering was done in Denmark.

On a few tracks, you sat behind the drum kit once again, correct?
Not this time. The drummer and the songs we have composed are way above my level (laughs). I just gave my opinion for the direction of the song or beat and showed it to the band.

The album is certainly heavier than the last. What inspired this direction?
The new members added since the recording of the first album, definitely. They are more technical and more heavy influenced than their predecessors. Also, the fact that I don’t have to sing and play drums at the same time like the old days opened up a lot of artistic freedom.

One of the more interesting tracks is “Frère Jacques.” Of course, you are French, but what led you to choose this song to cover?
You know, another one of these ideas. You wake up, call your friends, and say, “Guys, we are Scare the Children; we should cover a lullaby—one which everybody knows, even in China.” And here you go, “Frère Jacques.”

Let’s talk about the cover art, which is vivid in its horror presentation while also containing some Easter Eggs relating to the band. Who did this piece?
This piece was made by our very good friend of the band. He has been following us for long, and we love working with him. He has a very special style, who matched with us very well. If you want to know a secret, he actually created an animated MV for one of our songs, which should be out soon.

What are the updates to the characters you portray on stage?
Except for our bass player, who is the link between old and new concepts by being a new version of his doll, we all have new characters. A priest who practices black magic, an evil Japanese spirit, a ghoul living in a graveyard, and the ghost of a widow who killed herself.

Aside from the costumes and dark, circus-like atmosphere, will you be adding new props and surprises for the live show?
We have many ideas but nothing decided yet. But we are thinking strongly about it. It will be great to have a show with pyro, smoke etc. For the mood of our act, that will add a lot to it.

When are you planning to get back on stage with this iteration of the band?
We are actually going to play in Thailand in January—one festival in Koh Phangan and one show in Bangkok so far.

Are the fans in Bangkok aware of Scare the Children?
Yes, they are. They really loved our new album and are already wearing our merch. So, I guess it’s a good sign.

What plans do you have for Scare the Children as far as touring? Are you itching to get back to China for a tour?
Of course, we would love to play in China, but they make it very complicated for us. We will still try. We are more focused on the international market now. We will try to get to Europe next year. We would love to go everywhere we can if our finances allow us.

You can listen to the album here. Follow Scare the Children on Facebook and Instagram for future updates.

Photo courtesy of Scare the Children

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