Hey Violet Goes 80s With a Brand New EP
Iâ€™ve just watched the band â€œHey Violetâ€ perform for forty-five minutes at the Los Angeles Echoplex theatre, at a special headlining performance. Their new EP, Brand New Moves, had just dropped a few hours earlier, and the full house of passionate fans, sporting HV T-shirts & hats, cry-screamed (sang?) along with every song â€” and danced to the ones they didnâ€™t yet know.
If you donâ€™t know who Hey Violet is, you probably soon will â€” as they seem to be quickly taking over the music world with their punk rock-inspired tunes and catchy lyrics. After winning â€œNext Big Thingâ€ at the 2016 Teen Choice Awards, this almost all-girl band has just released a selection of tracks bound to capture you in repeat mode.
Their pink-haired lead singer, Rena Lovelis, is wearing glitter on her eyes and shiny black pants. She emits an unheard of level of rock-stardom for such a small girl without even singing a single note. But when she does sing, itâ€™s as if Courtney Love, Gwen Stefani and Hayley Williams crashed into each other and made a whole new generation of rockstar. Her sister, Nia Lovelis, plays a heavy hip hop beat under Renaâ€™s vocals and looks like a mini Joan Jett, darkly lit behind her drumset. Miranda Miller, on keyboards, plays 80â€™s-inspired growling synths which are new this time around on this EP. And Casey Moreta on lead guitar is the only dude in the band, and is subjected to having to deal with screaming girls asking for guitar picks mid-set â€” though he doesnâ€™t seem bothered by it.
The new tracks are different â€” more 80â€™s inspired, more melodic, with more of a hip hop beat under them. The previous EP had more of a straight pop-punk sound, and while the ones are still punk-influenced, they are a step up. The new EP offers three versions of the song, Brand New Moves, which can go nicely with several moods depending on what youâ€™re into – a straight pop version, an EDM remix version (Nomekop Remix), and an absolutely stellar acoustic version (Stripped Version) which shows off more of a sultry side of Renaâ€™s voice. Perhaps the crowd favorite on the EP, is the ever-so-on-point track, â€œFuqboiâ€ in which Rena sings about the loser with the dumb selfie faces thatâ€™s out to destroy your rep that is sadly, relatable on multiple levels. Lastly, perhaps the standout track on the EP, is Pure – a pop-synth masterpiece that could be the title track for any John Hughes film taking place in any high school hallway. Pure has the fantastic combo of chill vibes, singable and melodic hook, and lyrics that describe how you perhaps might feel about your first time â€” â€œTake my pure,â€ Rena sings, â€œIâ€™m forever tied to you.â€
After the show, the band is giddy with excitement backstage, telling me that some of the songs they played, they had learned just a few days prior. Rena is leaning on a wall, as rock stars do, until she notices my lipstick color – she then grabs my arm to drag me to her dressing room to show me that she also collects Limecrime lipgloss, just like me. We discuss our favorite shades, Saint, True Love…until her band mates call for her to take some photos. Itâ€™s in this moment that I realize these girls (and guy) donâ€™t know whatâ€™s about to hit them – the wave of popularity thatâ€™s only just starting.
Check out our Q&A with lead singer of Hey Violet, Rena Lovelis, below, and click here for their tour dates.
Where did the name â€œHey Violetâ€ come from and how did you guys becomeÂ a band?We have all be playing music since were little. Miranda, Nia, and I have beenÂ playing together for about 9 years, about 3 or 4 years ago we started playing withÂ Casey at home in LA and then he joined the band. Now that Iâ€™m saying it, it feelsÂ like yesterdayâ€¦We were tossing around a bunch of band name ideas and â€œHey Violetâ€ just fitÂ when we said it. We had a long list of ideas that involved â€˜heyâ€™ and â€˜violetâ€™ inÂ different forms and we put them together and it just sounded right.
What were some of your influences with this new EP? And how would youÂ describe the sound compared to some of your earlier singles and EPs?We listen to so many types of music but a few influences we all like are Blondie,Â Melanie Martinez, & the Weeknd. The new EP is definitely more pop than our earlier music but it has a lot of layers to it. The production has some 80â€™s influence, too, we used more synths andÂ drums to create a bigger sound.
Do you think this new EP represents any growth as musicians and withÂ your songwriting?Â
Yes, I think we have all matured. We spent the first 6 months of the year focusingÂ on our writing and working in the studio, developing ourselves while we definedÂ our sound.
Do you think your fans will like the new tunes? In what way do you hopeÂ that they connect with the music?Â Weâ€™ve already seen incredible feedback and we are really grateful that they haveÂ embraced our new music with open arms. We have a ton of other new music inÂ the works that fits in well with our EP and we hope people continue to love whatÂ comes next!
If “Brand New Moves”Â were on a movie soundtrack, set to a specific sceneÂ maybe, what would it be and why? What is it about? Is it an anthem or aÂ party song?
Ooh good question! Itâ€™s more of a chill party song that makes you want to dance.Â I could see it as a love scene with two people who havenâ€™t seen each other in aÂ long time and they dance their way over to reunite at a party.
On the new EP, there are several versions ofÂ “Brand New Moves,” whichÂ is your favorite and why?
At the moment the stripped down version of â€œBrand New Movesâ€ is my favoriteÂ because it gives a different perspective on the song and takes it to another placeÂ emotionally. Itâ€™s unexpected and makes you feel something.
Is the song â€œFuqboiâ€ about anyone in particular? What inspired theÂ lyrics?
Yes, we all know that one guy… While we were writing it we kept those guys inÂ mind but also looked up “traits of a fuqboi” to help us with specific lyrics [laughs].
Since you are almost an all-girl band, do you feel there is pressure forÂ female musicians to wear less clothing and portray a very sexy image?
I think artists ultimately wear what they want to wear and it doesnâ€™t matter if itâ€™sÂ considered “clothed” or “sexy.” People should be open to wearing what they areÂ most comfortable in, female or male. Thatâ€™s whatâ€™s in style now.
How do you feel about your fashion and what you wear on-stage? DoesÂ fashion influence your songwriting or performances in any way?
My stage style is actually whatâ€™s in my closet or suitcase at any moment. As aÂ band we are inspired by a lot of things we see on Instagram, magazines, etc, butÂ I donâ€™t try to force my style to fit into any one thing. It just naturally fits together, IÂ think.
If you could play an acoustic show like MTV Unplugged, what songs wouldÂ you cover?
Well, right at the moment I have â€œP.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing)â€ stuck in my headÂ but I think Iâ€™d really like to cover â€œDeath of A Bachelorâ€ by Panic! At the Disco.
How do you feel about winning the â€œNext Big Thingâ€ award at this yearâ€™sÂ Teen Choice Awards?
Last year we went as audience members so it was a little mind blowing to beÂ nominated to begin with this year, let alone win. The surfboard is taller than all ofÂ us! I need to learn how to surf.
Do you believe that every song is about something? Or do you thinkÂ songwriters just write what sounds cool?
I think it can go both ways depending on the artistâ€™s intention.A song can be open ended and let listeners interpret it for themselves, or it can be a very personal connection for the band and the listener can connect whichever way they choose. Both are important.
What is your favorite part about touring with 5 Seconds of Summer?
Catering! Just kidding. Itâ€™s nice to hang with some of our best friends backstageand the fact that we are constantly meeting so many new people is great. WeÂ also get to spend time with our fans in each city when we do our HV UnpluggedÂ sessions and [itâ€™s] really fun for us to get to hang with them and see theirÂ personalities.
Whatâ€™s Most embarrassing thing thatâ€™s happened to you while on tour orÂ while performing?Â
I almost took a spill on my rollerskates backstage when a forklift was coming. IÂ grabbed onto a trash can to catch my balance but people definitely saw me andÂ laughed.
Live Performance Photos byÂ Collect1ve Mind at the EchoPlex 8/15/16Â