The Violets on stage
|Genres||post-punk revival, indie rock|
|Labels||Angular Recording Corporation|
The Violets were a post punk/indie/pop band from the New Cross area of London. Formed initially as a bassless garage punk trio, The Violets early gigs saw them playing stark, spiky and minimalist punk that evoked early art-school punk bands such as Delta 5, Prag Vec, and Siouxsie and the Banshees, as well as more contemporary acts such as Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
The band formed when guitarist Joe met vocalist Alexis in a tea room in Pinner, a suburb in North West London, and the pair discovered a shared affinity with emotive, brash and confrontational music. The pair soon wrote a song 'Laxteen', which was recorded in a studio owned by Scott Rosenthal in New York. Scott also played drums on the track. Upon returning to London Wolfe Riddims was recruited as drummer and the trio played their debut at Brixton Windmill.
Around the same time as the band was formed, guitarist Joe founded the record label Angular Recording Corporation having been inspired by Bill Drummond's book 45 and the film 24 Hour Party People. The song 'Laxteen' appeared on Angular Records first release, a compilation entitled The New Cross :An Angular Sampler.
At the start of 2007 The Violets released their most acclaimed and successful single to date, 'Foreo'. This song was inspired by the Alfred Hitchcock film Marnie, which featured a horse named Foreo. The band supported this release by touring with The Gossip in February, including a show at the London Astoria as part of the NME Awards Shows.
In March and April 2007 the band recorded their debut album, which was released in November 2007 on Angular
In August 2007, guitarist Joe joined Klaxons as bass player for the summer whilst Jamie Reynolds recovered from a broken ankle.
In late 2007 ex-Lost Penguin member Matt Gilbert joined the band on Bass Guitar. The quartet toured Germany and Italy in early 2008, splitting up afterwards. Alexis went on to do solo projects.
The Violets' stage presence is centred on Alexis and her sexy, charismatic personality. Alexis has been likened in the underground press to a cross between Debbie Harry and Siouxsie Sioux (she rejected such claims in an interview with Maps Magazine, and their guitarist said it was lazy journalism), and she has cited the same influences they had, such as Nico, David Bowie and Diamanda Galás. However, also Allmusic noted an "uncanny" vocal similarity to Siouxsie Sioux. Alexis's vocals are made all the more powerful by Joe's angular guitar playing technique, where he seems to play two guitar lines simultaneously. The lack of a bass player has been cited by some critics as accentuating the minimalistic, menacing qualities of their music.
The Violets' lyrics are often cryptic and abstract, laden with ambiguity and multiple meanings. In one interview with the South London Press (and reproduced on their website), Alexis replied to the interviewer on where the inspiration for the songs originates:
"Forceful thought train fuels the songs. It's frustrating trying to communicate to people that are looking for a middle road comment. I feel like I'm going to blow up in their faces. Although the words are mostly a breakdown of a harsh environment, the surge it creates is a positive and empowering feeling. We don't look for inspiration, it tends to just creep up on you."
- 2006 "Feast On You/Come Home" (Filthy Little Angels)
- 2006 "Mirror Mirror" (Angular Recording Corporation)
- 2006 "Hush Away" (Angular Recording Corporation)
- 2006 "Descend/Carnival " (Angular Recording Corporation)
- 2007 "Foreo" (Angular Recording Corporation)
- 2007 "Troubles Of Keneat" (Angular Recording Corporation)
ArtRocker Magazine named 'The Lost pages' the 15th best album of 2007 and the single 'Foreo' the 17th best single of 2007.
Angular Recording Corporation (The band's history is tied up with the label)
- Ged M (27 February 2006). "The Violets Descent/Carnival". SoundsXP alternative music webzine.
- http://www.mapsmagazine.co.uk/theviolets3.htm[dead link]
- Mason, Stewart. "The Lost Pages – The Violets". Allmusic.
- "The Violets: 'Music is a romantic glimpse of another world: OUR world.'". Drowned in Sound. 14 March 2006.
- http://www.drownedinsound.com/bands/6257[dead link]