Thanks to Chris McClure of The Violet May for taking the time to talk to me. Check out what the guys in The Violet May are up to, their thoughts for the future, and what their sickest chirpse is…..
For everyone who doesn’t know who you guys are, tell us about yourselves in your own words.
A. We are The Violet May, 6 Sheffield lads who met around 2 years ago. We met through a shared opinion that British guitar music was boring us, we wanted to make something more instant with energy, a sound that made you feel you were in danger. You can call it rock or punk or whatever, but it had to be heavy and in your face right from the start.
Your band claim to be bringing back guitar music with a pulse and energy that isn’t around these days — who would you say are some of your contemporaries that are trying to do the same thing?
A. It just seemed that every guitar band looked like an extra in Hollyoaks and there was very little backbone in what they were doing. Stating The Clash and The Jam as their inspiration but sounding more like Maroon-fvcking-5 when they played. I suppose we want to bring back the meat and two veg of what is a rock song, it’s meant to be loud and it’s made to go mental at. Contemporary-wise, of course there are bands out there doing it but they don’t seem to get the exposure they deserve, it seems that other genres have been far more exciting over the last 5 years.
What’re your feelings on the climate of the music industry right now? Are piracy and free music a bad thing? Are smaller acts given time by labels?
A. It’s a tricky one innit? Of course if we put our full time and effort into a record and into what we do, then we expect people to purchase it as it is our product that we are providing. However, I totally understand that if a skint 16 year-old is buzzing off our tunes and he is pot washing at weekends, then he is gonna download the album and then spend his wage on getting bladdered at the weekend, and who are we to say he is out of order? In terms of bands being able to grow and progress through a label, we have lived in a society for a long time now where we demand everything instantly, we want the full works straight off. However if you look at some of the classic albums of the last century you will be surprised to see that with a lot of artists it’s maybe their 3rd or 4th record. At the end of the day music is art. it took Da Vinci nearly 10 years to paint the Mona Lisa, ya know what I mean? It doesn’t matter anyway because our debut album is going to be fvcking brilliant so it’s not an issue we need to ponder on, ha ha.
You’ve just released your debut EP “TV”, hows that working out for you? What are your plans now?
A. Yeah, we released our “TV” EP this summer. It got a great reaction which is cool. It was frustrating because those songs have been around from the start but for many reasons they took a while to be released, we are proud of it but let’s not dwell, we have shiploads of new songs and they are going to get recorded this autumn. As a band we have improved dramatically so I think we will positively surprise people with our new songs. Until then we have a full UK tour at the start of October ending with Iceland’s Airwaves festival, but we want to be prolific, playing constantly and releasing great tracks constantly, why wait around?
We can all grab a copy of your music but for those a little out of the way, can you tell us what you try to achieve live?
A. As we speak now, our live sound is probably our biggest weapon. I think automatically people expected us to be another twee indie band and they got a big shock when they heard us live, I can see the Hollyoaks wannabes running for the door now, ha ha. We seem to get different people likening us to The Cramps, Sisters of Mercy and BRMC for example. We always try to keep people on edge live, that element of danger has to be there for us.
Speaking of which, you’re playing Iceland on your upcoming tour! How far has the word of The Violet May spread? What are you doing to help get your name out there?
A. We toured Italy and Germany and got an overwhelming reaction to be fair, we are being played a lot on K-Roq which is LA’s biggest station, I think the USA will be 2012 but ya can expect us here, there and everywhere next year. If we keep putting stuff out and traveling then it’s inevitable that we are gonna get the props we deserve, you have to believe that.
I think it’d be fair to say you’re a band that could hit the big time soon — what advice do you have for bands starting out or on the cusp of success such as yourselves?
A. Well it’s the filthiest business around from what I can see. Keep together as a group of people/friends, don’t let anyone or anything divide you. Get a good manager who has a passion, hunger and wants to try something different and don’t take yourselves too seriously, no matter what clothes you wear, what you drink or what band you’re into, someone has been there before and done it/tried it. Actions speak louder than words.
What’s the best chat up line you have as musicians? How do you guys chirpse girls?
A. I refuse to answer that ha ha.
A sick chirpse is doing something particularly gutsy or bending the truth and getting away with it — have you any good stories where you really went out on a limb and got away scott free?
A. You ready for this? I used to work at the Lowry theatre in Manchester, I got caught eating all the ice-cream in the cellar and was sacked on the spot. A week later Noel Gallagher announced a secret gig for 300 competition winners on the following Thursday at the Lowry. Me and my mate Andy had been drinking all day that Thursday and indulging in some recreational activities as ya do at 19. Off our nuts I realised I knew the codes for every lift in the building, and I knew the last lift took us right to the dressing room. Boom, we were in. The next thing Noel walks in and we told him how we had blagged it and he buzzed off it. After the gig he invited us to carry on the party with him and Peter Kay, but the icing on the cake was when my boss who had sacked me walked in and asked if we would like some champagne, “no thanks mate, I’ll just have some ice-cream”. The picture on his face when he saw me will stay with me forever. An epic blag.