Transviolet Talks Touring With Mikky Ekko And Being Tweeted By Harry Styles
Under the blue light of Rough Trade in Brooklyn, a silver haired pixie ascends the stage. She has a voice that sounds like bells ringing in the wind. She is surrounded by three shadowy men, whose instruments carry her voice to the stunned crowd. It’s like a scene out of a fairy tale. The following day, I met with Sarah, Judah, Mike and John of the LA based indie band Transviolet in a small, sunny coffee shop in the East Village. I still couldn’t get over their performance from the previous night, so I spoke to them about touring with Mikky Ekko, being tweeted by Harry Styles and a little on how serendipity brought the four of them together.
This is your first time touring! What is that like for you guys?
Sarah: This is out first time touring but just the feeling of seeing all of these different cities, playing the different venues, it is so exciting. By day we are super sleep deprived and do kind of feel like zombies but once we get up on stage, seeing the crowd, seeing their energy, it just recharges us. We are just pumping with adrenaline it is the best kind of high.
You guys have amazing energy onstage! You were all up there dancing around, I was pretty disappointed that the crowd wasn’t dancing with you guys.
S: I used to feel that way when I started performing, I’d be sad if the crowd wasn’t moving around but then I realized that even when I go to shows… I mean it’s not that I’m trying to be stuck up, I’ll just get so into the music, especially if it’s stuff that I haven’t heard before I realized that this might not be a negative thing, they might just be focusing on the songs and trying to absorb it. So I don’t take offense. It’s more so when I go to a show and I know all the words then I’ll definitely be dancing and singing
Judah: That being said though , I mean every show we go hard, no exception but if the crowd does start screaming the lyrics and dancing, we definitely feed off of that, we will go so hard that afterwards we will just be dead.
Sarah: A couple of the cities were kind of surprises because to be honest this is our first tour, we went into this with low expectations, we have all been there before where we have played to empty rooms, so we figured that was what it was going to be like since know one had really heard us yet but this has just completely superceded our expectations there has been times when we have shown up and there will be a group of teenage girls waiting for us outside and screaming and acting crazy it is unreal. We pulled up in a van to Denver and this was the first time that this had happened a group of girls just starts screaming and I’m just like what is going on? And then I realized they were screaming at us! So I get out of the cart and start giving them hugs and taking pictures with them and this one girl starts crying, it almost made me start to cry.
So on that note, the way that you released your stuff, the mixtapes in the mail, how did that happen?
S: Well our management came up with the idea and we liked it because with the internet today everything is so intangible and there is so much information out there that it’s hard to decide what you want to listen to and what you want to ignore so we just wanted something for our fans to have in their hands and yes it did freak some people out but we were still happy to make some waves either way.
Well that’s a good way to get attention anyway.
John: I mean if I got a mixtape in the mail… even if I didn’t like it I would still want to listen, I would still be pretty impressed.
How did that idea even come about?
S: It was someone on our management team and they were like, ok you guys might not like this, but we loved it!
So you went from sending out mixtapes in the mail to playing with Mikky Ekko…
S: Yea from there… I mean touring with Mikky Ekko is just amazing, I always loved the songs “stay” and “smile and seeing it performed live… He is such an amazing songwriter and we really respect the amount of effort he puts into his lyrics and that’s something we definitely have as a band as well. We like to pay close attention to our lyrics and really work on it.
You guys have some pretty great lyrics, what are the inspirations behind some the these songs that you write?
S; For the most part its definitely past experiences. “Girls Your Age” was based off of a conversation I had at 17 with my first “love” or at least I thought it was my love at that age. I was sitting in his car and he told me I was hot so I told him that I loved him and he was like “Girls your age never mean what they say” and its only been now that I’ve been able to articulate what I felt in that moment. Or how coming of age effected me. I think all of us know what its like to be young and have our feelings dismissed so I just wanted to capture that.
Yea and you guys really only have like 4 singles out right now…
S: Yes, “nightvision” is about finding love and chaos and having a human connection that can help you through any problem. “Bloodstream” is about unrequited love and ”New Bohemia” is the next big single and it’s a call to action for our generation. In this age with the internet we can educate ourselves and paint the world like we see it. It’s time for a change. It’s 2015, we don’t have to just be victims of these problems, we can fight back.
It’s cool what you’re saying because these days smart lyrics are pretty hard to come by…
S: Music can absolutely insight revolution and some of my influences are The Beatles, John Lennon… I would like to take inspiration from that. My favorite quote by John Lennon is “A dream you dream alone is a fantasy but a dream you dream together is a reality” and that is such a beautiful idea and so true. Everything is only ever impossible until it isn’t. It’s the crazy people that can change the wold.
Is it like a team effort when you guys write your songs?
S: We all are super collaborative with each other. I have heard of horror stories in bands where people will be like “This is my part and I don’t want your input”
But that is not how it is for us.
Judah: At the end of the day we aren’t writing music to have like a cool guitar line we are writing music for the final product. You don’t worry about one specific color in a painting, it’s about what it looks like at the end.
It’s good to see that you guys are all actually friends.
S: It really is a blessing to just be able to be making music with some of my best friends, I love them.
Were you guys best friends before the band?
S: We hadn’t met until we joined the band. At the time I was living in the Cayman islands and then I realized I needed to come back to reality so I put up a post on a music networking sight looking for someone to collaborate with and at first it was kind of a shit show and I had kind of lost all hopes of finding anything worthwhile but then… Well when I first made the post I lied and said I was living in San Diego which was not true but that’s where Mike was living at the time so when he was like “Hey you’re in my area…” and I was like “Well, actually…”. It all turned out fine. From there we found everyone else and put ourselves in the same area and here we are.
What has been the best crowd you have performed for?
S: Salt Lake City or Denver.
Judah: Salt Lake City was the most eager.
Sarah: The second it was over they came right over to the merch table and started talking to us and asking about our music. It was such a weird show, it was in the middle of the day, but these kids were so amped on it.
John: A lot of venues the people are just there to like network or for some other reason, Salt Lake City, the people were there to hear the music.
Judah: That was the first show we played our song “Bloodstream off the EP” and I’m playing it and everyone started singing along to it. No matter what we’re going to give it our all but when you get a crowd like that we definitely feed off the energy.
Mike: The Toronto show was also a good one
Sarah: Our producer Alex Reed was there and it was such a special moment because he is very up and coming and this was kind of a make it or break it project for him so this was really the first time he saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
Who inspired you guys to play music?
John: When I was a kid I saw Weezer play and it was so inspiring and then later I got into The Used and Taking Back Sunday. Seeing them perform is a really cool experience.
Mike: The Killers are amazing, the way they incorporate electronic into their music.
Sarah: I was into The Beatles and Nirvana and Radiohead.
I noticed that Harry Styles had tweeted about you guys.
Sarah: I remember that I was rock climbing and by the time I got home I had like 40 texts from everyone telling me about that tweet! Our Twitter completely blew up.
Judah: So many people will tell us that is how they discovered us.
Sarah: We could kiss him. Harry Styles if you read this, we want to collab with you.
What’s coming next for you guys?
Sarah: Touring everywhere. We are going to London after the Mikky Ekko tour at Club Coco for the Halloween ball.
Advice for aspiring artists?
Sarah: Don’t be afraid to fail.
John: If I have learned anything, I have found that relationships are the most important thing. More important than skill. You need to be trustworthy and reliable
Sarah: Be polite.
Judah: Be humble, be open minded.
Sarah: I once had an English teacher who always said, “there are no stupid questions”. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
Sarah: Keep dreaming, you have the power to change the world.
Photography: Moth Dust