segunda-feira, 5 de maio de 2014

Peace, Love and Psych with Violet Swells - An Interview

Lá vem a Austrália atacando novamente, dessa vez da Tasmania o combo psicodélico bubblegum Violet Swells tem seu debute The Soft Focus, um epzinho delirantemente encharcado de psicodelia com melodias altamente grudentas e deliciosas.

Beach Boys, Pink Floyd era Syd Barret, Madchester, shoegazing, psicodelia moderna pra comecar a semana ao melhor estilo peace, love and psych.

Como diria Mr. Fabio Bridges, segura a trip.

***** Interview with Violet Swells *****

When did Violet Swells start?
I’ve always had an interest in music production and exploring the sonic possibilities of song writing outside of chord progressions and melodies, which has led to much tinkering in my bedroom/garage/spare room. About midway through last year I started writing songs for myself, oppose to writing for whatever band I was in at the time, which I have always done. I did this more so to play around with recording different kinds of sounds, as my previous works have generally been very shoegazey, with lots of delay and fuzz. I still love that kind of music, but I felt myself ready to explore more stripped back and melodic arrangements. Anyway, I had a few songs recorded with no intention of letting them pass through the ears of anyone but close friends, until my roommate slowly chipped away at my stubborn extorter and convinced me that we should start playing these songs live. So we found some people to fill in the missing instruments on stage, and I threw together a quick film clip to Jupiters Garden, now here we are!

Who are your influences?
The two people who dominate the musical part of my mind are with out a doubt Brian Wilson and Syd Barrett. Although they produced completely different sounds from each other, there outlook was very similar. They prospered in a time where music was being explored in ways people had never thought possible, and viewed the studio as an instrument more so than just a tape recorder. What I find myself listening to more than anything are Film Scores. There are a lot of great little melodies out there, hiding within these monstrous themes and instrumentals. Beyond scores, I love film and graphic narratives in general. A lot of my writing is based upon the pacing of stories, matching the dynamics of the songs to the events unfolding before your eyes. I am constantly trying to evoke that feeling of bewilderment and completeness you get when walking out of a really great movie.

Top five albums?
That’s just about the hardest question I could have to answer. I make lists of just about everything, from top ten treads on Batmans boots, to top five best kinds of potatoes to bake. Music is such an emotive and expansive thing though, it is hard to pin down to just a few titles. Ill probably kick myself in week for not including a Bowie or a Velvet Underground or My Bloody Valentine, or something. But here goes. In no particular order my top five would go something like this…

Pet Sounds – The Beach Boys
Not many would disagree on the pure ecstasy felt when listening to The Beach Boys magnum opus. From the arrangements to the harmonies, not one note is out of place. There is nothing I can say about it that you haven’t already thought, so ill leave it at that.

The Noise Made By People – Broadcast
Echoes Answer may nearly be the greatest song written in the last twenty years, and the rest of the album follows suit. I found out about Broadcast through the sudden death of their vocalists Trish Keenan. Making the music even more haunting, I instantly fell in love with all their albums, but this one especially. The Noise Made By People captures a sound beneath the instruments, almost like the tones of the room and time (the late nineties, early two thousands), which gives such an overall unique quality to the recording.

Days Of Future Past - The Moody Blues
A friend showed me “Tuesday Afternoon” a few years ago, it took a few listens to sink in, but I eventually became hooked. The album in general is a unrequited masterpiece that brought back to band from certain financial death. Out comes solid pop gold in the form of the before mention “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Nights in White Satin” all strung together by beautiful orchestral arrangements, worthy of Warner Brothers finest nineteen fifties picture. It is a hard sell to most people I show, but one of those records ill put on while cleaning or doing dishes, and just drift away.

Miscellaneous Ronettes Best Of Album –
I know this is kind of cheating, but there is so many of different releases and re recordings that these girls have, and most of their Best Ofs contain the same tracks anyway, so im going to go with it. I first got into girl groups like I believe most people do through The Shanri Las, who I adore, but the moment I heard the Ronettes I was hooked. Coming from the raw punk like musings of The Shangri Las recordings, The Ronettes sounded so exotic upon my first listen. With blissful horns and more defined percussion, they really stand out to me. Take a listen to “I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine”, you will not be disappointed.

Pipers At The Gates Of Dawn – The Pink Floyd
This was my first introduction to the real implications of psychedelic music. Being young and in college I was listening to stuff like In A Gadda Da Vida and Led Zeppelin (which is both amazing in their own right). Then I stumbled upon Pipers At The Gates Of Dawn. Having dismissed Pink Floyd after hearing a lot of their eighties stuff I was hesitant to put it on, but the kaleidoscopic album cover gave me no choice. What came out of the speakers sounded so alien to me. It took awhile to hear through the strange echoes and space guitars into the actual songs, but even when I had no idea what was going on, I loved it. The whole album is the defining moment in the history of all psychedelic music, an achievement that took all ideas of how and why music should be made and turned them on its head. Nearly everything creative I do, at least subliminally, stems from this record. It taught me how to find the line between experimental noise and structured songs and melodies, how to combine the two with out getting lost in either.

Playing Live?
Currently I am trying to cope with a lack of sleep and hydration from playing our first gig last night, so I am in a great position to answer that question. We had a blast! With six members squeezed up on stage it almost feels like a giant jam session. There was a great crowd that seemed to respond well, which made it all the more fun. We had it filmed by a friend, so we will probably stick a song or two up on the Internet.

Violet Swells Sound?
Melancholy, jangly, symphonic pop music that may sound simple upon first listen, but contains lots of little hidden flourishes the more you listen (I hopes so at least). Oh and with a lot of farfisia organ solos at the moment.

Recording Process
Usually I will start with a little hook that pops, usually on the organ and just loop that jamming bass, guitar and drums lines over it until I start to go crazy. Everything generally comes from that. I will have a loose idea of the overall sound going in, but a lot of time things will drastically change over the course of the recording. For instance, the closer on my work in progress EP was just about done, until the other day I was mucking around with vocal harmonies with a friend, and something fit with the song. This changed the whole idea of what the song could be, which has led to rerecording most of it to fit with the new envisioning. I need to keep myself on my toes in this kind of way, as once I get out of the headspace of a song, I find it really hard to step back into my original ideas, whether it be lyrics or music, so keeping it fresh is must.

New Bands To Recommend?
There’s so much good music out there at the moment hidden away. My favourite new artist of the last few years is Beaulieu Porch. Great progressive psyche pop, and the man behind it all, Simon, is a really nice guy. Take a listen to The Colour 55, its gorgeous. That Morgan Delt album from a month or two ago was amazing as well. Really amazing.

Which Bands Would I Love To Cover?
Something from Scott Walker, probably Jackie, if I only had the bravado he does in that song. I could happily cover just about anything Phil Spector touched, and probably will at some stage, but the big ol’ dream is You Only Live Twice by John Barry, sung by Nancy Sinatra. That is pure pop perfection to me. I go through stages of preferring the single version and instrumental, but if I ever get to listen back to myself playing that song (well), I will be an extremely happy man.

Future Plans
Right now I am finishing up recording an EP in between university assignments. Once that is out it will be playing as much as we can! Located down in Tasmania it’s a costly venture to even make it to even mainland Australia, but hopefully we will get out and play to other parts of the world soon. Beyond the EP, I hope to also release an album by the end of the year, and then see where that takes us. There is also a few plans on different ways to release singles, albums, ect that I have been cultivating over the last few months, so hopefully they will come to fruition!

Parting Words
Thanks for taking the time to listen to Violet Swells music. I did not expect it to be heard, let alone enjoyed by anyone outside of myself, so it means a lot!
Thanks guys