Having caught our attention a couple of years ago with their first two EPs, in violet have returned with an incredible new album in the pipeline that explores a musical world that can only be described as post industrial; seamlessly blending heavy guitars and delicate, disembodied vocals to produce stark, brutalist soundscapes occasionally leavened by moments of stunning beauty. Ahead of the release of the first single, ‘We’re All Dying, Says Sylvia’, from the record tomorrow (10th May) we talked to main man Jake Murray.
(((o))): So, first and foremost, who are in violet and what are your musical backgrounds?
Jake: On guitar: Alex Prete, also playing drums for and touring with another London-based band The Immigrants. All the way over in Helsinki there's Tuomas Hakkarainen, who covers drum roles in his studio for the recordings. We've just drafted in Fil Walsh formerly of A Time For Burning on bass guitar and then me, Jake Murray. Fil and I played in that band for many years together so it's great to have him on board.
(((o))): How did the band come together?
J: in violet kicked off when I moved to London about three years ago. I needed a way to get all this new music out of my system so started recording alone in my basement at the time and sending things over to Tuomas. I became friends with Alex down here and asked him to help me record this album, and when Fil mentioned his plan to move here this summer it was a natural decision to bombard him with a load of bass tabs (a particular habit of mine that's nice to have back).
(((o))): Please describe your sound in the form of a tongue twister
J: in violet likes rhyming while lying in reverb and singing a story in the center of space
(((o))): Do you think your local music scene has had any impact on in violet as a band?
J: I don't think so. We have a bunch of friends playing in truly incredible bands here in London, but since we don't play at the moment we're not involved in any particular scene.
(((o))): Your new album is coming out in the next few months and we’ve had a sneak peak here at E&D Towers and it’s a bit special. Tell us a bit about it.
J: Opal is the progression on from the two eps. There's no concept or theme specifically (though it does have recurring ideas), but the two previous releases were me exercising a new-found music muscle as I was playing in a different style from my last band. I think by the end of epii I'd found what I was going for and spent quite a long of time trying to structure and form that idea into something tangible, which is this. I think we've moved on again since then and things have taken a bit of a turn, but it truly is the music I've been working towards for as long as I've been playing and I really couldn't be happier with how we're presenting ourselves now.
(((o))): What do you think is the most difficult challenge facing new bands starting out in the industry today?
J: Being heard. There's so much noise that it's incredibly difficult to get people to tune in and l i s t e n. That's why blogs and labels are more important than ever. Radio should be a bigger factor, but if you're not the next Mumford & Sons or Lady Gaga they won't play it. Part of that is the "talent shows" too, if you don't have a tragic back-story and don't want to sing pop music it's really quite difficult to get people to pay attention to anything you're trying to say.
(((o))): Every band has different aims, and sadly very few decent ones get proper fame and recognition. What would have to happen for you to feel like you have ‘made it’ as a band?
J: My dream is to be able to dedicate myself to writing, recording and to tour. I'm fortunate enough to work in music and really love my job, but have an itch at the moment to kick performing back into action and focus more time and energy into my music.
(((o))): What do in violet look like under ultra violet light?
J: Eyes and teeth.
(((o))): We have another column called Echoes of the Past in which we get people to talk about albums that strongly influenced their musical outlook. If you had to pick a single album that strongly influenced the music of in violet then what would it be and why?
J: I was thinking about this a lot recently and whilst it might not be fully apparent listening to our record, The Knife's opera Tomorrow In A Year played a very large part in shaping the music. Their approach in that album to combining a traditional classic form and mutating it into this dissonant, beautiful, unique piece of art is astounding and it grew into one of my favourite albums of all time. I could talk about it all day, so have a read of my Echoes of the Past piece on it if you're interested!
(((o))): This is ostensibly a column for introducing new bands. Who do you think we ought to include in it in the near future?
J: Like I said before, I'm friends with some truly inspiring musicians and love introducing new people to their music. The girls from Bird lent their vocals to one of our songs on this record, so if you like that you have to catch them next time they're on tour or pick up one of their eps, as they're definitely onto something huge. Another band I LOVE from my hometown is Organ Freeman, who are probably the greatest live band of all time. Take a look at some of their YouTube videos if you want to get a better idea, or go watch them at The Islington Mill. They seems to play there a lot. Finally, I'd have to recommend In A Sleeping Mood, who recently remixed our song ‘We're All Dying, Says Sylvia’. These guys put out a new sketch every single day, which is insane; they've literally got music pouring out of their ears.
(((o))): What are in violet's plans for the near future?
J: Our plans are simple: Get rehearsals going and start performing. We have a music video in the pipeline which is shaping up nicely. It's been a very long time since I played now and I'm dying to get back out there. Then maybe start working on another album?