Monday, November 11, 2013

Violet Opens Up About Emotional New Video, Changing The World, A Halestorm Connection and Their Favorite Charity

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People often say that the Internet has leveled the playing field for musical artists and that record labels aren't very relevant anymore.  But if you look at the musical artists whose YouTube videos get millions of hits; whose songs get played on radio stations nationally; and who get hundreds of articles written about them, the vast majority are all on labels with the budgets to get top-quality recordings made, to get great videos produced, and to get the support of other established artists.
Occasionally, though, a musical artist hits a nerve that gets everyone talking in a way that helps them succeed independently.  That's exactly what is happening with the LA-based pop/electro band, Violet.  

Violet recently released an emotional video for their song, "The Day I Was Sorry," that has begun riding the waves of social media and getting attention far and wide.  Helping Hands Rock Reviews recently had a chance to sit down with vocalist Jessie Covets, bassist Alayna Miller, and drummer Kayla Miller to discuss the song, the video, and where they see the enthusiasm of their growing fan base taking Violet in the near future.

Helping Hands Rock Reviews:  You guys have just released a new video for your song, “The Day I Was Sorry.”  The song has some pretty vivid lyrics.  What’s the story behind the song?

Jessie Covets:  The story is one day I woke up from a dream about my mom passing away and not being able to have the opportunity to say the things that I want to say.  Also, not only just a dream but a reality that not spending enough time on the phone with my mom because [of me] trying to do the band thing and trying to live my life, moving out to LA and all this stuff and really not being able to say like I love her or listen to what she has to say and forgetting almost that she has Stage 4 breast cancer and now bone cancer and she’s had it for 10 years.
So [it’s] almost like, not forgetting, but being desensitized by it because [of] the prolonged period of time and the distance and the lack of communication to my mother and then a song stems from that.  I’m sure [it] relates to a lot of people’s situations that regret not having the opportunity to say the things that they want to say to the people that they care about the most.

HHRR:  So, the lyrics were based on an actual dream?

JC:  Yes.

HHRR:  Now, the video itself also shows some pretty emotional imagery.  What’s the story behind the video?

JC:  Basically, we started with recording the song because we had to get the song done the way that we felt most passionate about it.  I was actually talking to one of the producers, his name is Igor [Khoroshev].  He’s actually the keyboardist of the band Yes.  I was telling him about how I was raising money to shave my head if we met the goals of the [cancer] fundraiser that we started and he just had an epiphany.    He’s like, “Why don’t you just invite everybody who wants to be a part of this, and that has a story and has something to say, to come and shave their head and donate their hair or donate money and be a part of the video.”  And we were like, “Wow, that’s a great idea!  We should definitely do that!” 

Then we took [the idea to] a meeting with our videographer, Scott O’Malley from GuerillaPress and he was like, “That’s an incredible idea!”  We had to do it in crunch time because the month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  So, we wanted to make sure it was released in the month of October.  So not only did we have to cut a song in less than 10 days, we also had to cut a music video and edit it.  So, within three weeks we got all of this done.  No joke!

HHRR:  That had to take an incredible effort of many people in many different roles pulling together and really delivering in crunch time didn’t it? 

JC:  Yeah, definitely.

It’s not only the passion behind the band.  These people were inspired by the song and by the creativity and the collaboration and the dynamic of Violet and who we are as people.  Every single one of them did it for free.  Not only because they believe in us, but in support of cancer awareness.  They were like, “We believe that this song is really going to help people.  We want to be a part of it.  And not only that, we want to do this free of charge.” 

So, it really was passion in every way I can say.  And if you feel that when you watch the video, I’m telling you…that’s what every single one of us that had [something] to do with the video felt the entire time.

HHRR:  Now, when you say “free,” are you talking about the audio recording and the video production?

JC:  Yes.

HHRR:  Wow.  That’s amazing!  That’s some real money and real time and real work that people dedicated.  So, it’s amazing that you were able to inspire people to step forward and make that contribution to what you’re trying to do.

Alayna Miller:  It was really amazing…The fact alone that it was free is kind of uncanny and just unbelievable.

We didn’t have a lot of setup.  We didn’t have a script.  And we barely had guidelines for people to follow.  The only thing that was really planned was the shots of the people facing the camera.

Every single thing you see in that video is 100% genuine and 100% natural and unplanned.  And I think that’s what people can feel.  That’s not the stuff you can fake.  There [are] actors that can act so well and make you feel certain things, but I think the powerful feelings you get from the video are from the genuine authenticity of what’s happening.

HHRR:  The credits of the video mention some pretty recognizable names:  Mike Plontikoff, who has engineered the recordings for many household name artists in the music industry; Eric Friedman, who is the rhythm guitarist of Creed and Tremonti; and Arejay Hale, who is the drummer of Halestorm.  How did you come about working with those heavy hitters?

JC:  We actually were on our way from Florida to LA and we ended up meeting Halestorm on the road, which is crazy, and we ended up really hitting it off with them.  And then sooner or later, I ended up falling in love with Arejay [laughs]. 

Him and I kind of stopped talking for a week after we met.  Not because we didn’t care about each other, but because we had other priorities.  I was just moving to LA with my aspiring band and he was on tour.   

But he called me a week later and he said, “Jessie, I just saw this video of you online that I just found of you singing ‘The Day I Was Sorry.’  This is an incredible song.  You’re incredible.  I didn’t realize you took music so seriously.  A lot of times you meet people and they aren’t really passionate.”

Literally, this song brought us together.  It’s kind of ironic.  He ended up showing his producer when he came out to LA and he was staying with us at our house, which is now his house, too. 

He ended up showing Mike [Plontikoff] and he’s like “Hey, you gotta listen to my girlfriend’s band.  They’re incredible.  You’ll really like them.”  He showed Mike maybe one or two songs and Mike was like, “Get them in here!  We need to work with them immediately!”

We all met with Mike.  He fell in love with us, we fell in love with him.  Then we met with Igor and we just hit it off and everything was perfect.  

“Erock” – Eric Friedman – is actually a great friend of ours now, too.   I’m not joking:  Right now, I’m literally sitting in the studio – Howard Benson’s studio – and we’re cutting a new song and Eric’s playing the guitar on this one, too. 

HHRR:  It’s just crazy.  It’s like that song has created so much magic around it.  You must feel really good about the vibes that song sent out into the universe and brought all these people together. 

JC:  It’s so important that we bring people together with our music because us three girls are best friends.  This music, it’s like a joint feeling between the three of us.  We’re inseparable musically, emotionally, and mentally in every way.  We wish nothing but to move people with everything we have:  when we play live shows, when we finish our record.

That’s why we’re really taking our time.  Some people are like, “When you gonna come out with the record?” And they’re kind of pushy.  But, as you can see, the best things come without thought and they come at the right time, like this video and this song and how I met the girls and how I met Arejay and how we became a band.

The best things take time.  But we really hope that everything we do changes the world, really.

HHRR:  With the momentum that Violet seems to be building, is 2014 going to be the year that you guys break out?  What are your goals for the year ahead?

AM:  I think 2014 is our year.  I think that, as far as goals go, like Jessie said, I wouldn’t necessarily say that we have the same goals as any other band. 

Rather than being focused on getting signed to a record deal or getting a signing bonus or anything like that, what we’re more concerned about is getting our content out there and released into the world so that we can start to get the recognition that we’ve been trying to [get].  Again, not for reasons like getting a record deal, but for reasons like to show awareness for things that we believe in.  For starters, this video that we released has so much more meaning than just a music video.  We want to touch people with what we’ve been through and what we believe in. 

Instead of just releasing music that we think people will like, we have so many messages and emotions and elements to our songs...we really do want to change the world with our music and with our messages and everything, from things like cancer awareness to helping girls with image – things that we all so strongly believe in. 

To answer your question, I think our goal is 2014 being our year not just to get a record deal,  but we want to go on tour so we can go around the whole world and just drop messages everywhere and just get to the point where we’re getting our message across. 

JC:  I think a good example of what she is trying to say is the video that we shot, a lot of people did it for free for us, but we put up that event at my job.  We paid for everything.  Like all the food and all the snacks and all the cost of bringing people in, we paid for out of our pocket.  And we can barely pay our rent.  It’s not that we’re asking for recognition for that.  We really aren’t.  We just wanted people to be there and be a part of it.  That’s all we wanted, for people to share.

I cannot explain to you, that video doesn’t even do justice to the connections between strangers that happened that day – October 20, [2013] Team Jenny Cancer Awareness Event.  It was incredible.  It was just unbelievable.

HHRR:  Jessie, what has your mom said about the song and the video, now that it’s out there and now that so many people are paying attention to it?

JC:  When we got the first cut of the video, she was with me.  She was literally in tears. 

She doesn’t like talking about when she was in the hospital over Christmas…and all the years she couldn’t be a part of a lot of family events because she was sick.  She doesn’t like to talk about that.  She doesn’t like sympathy…For her to see it from my perspective, it like totally just drew a whole other emotion out of her. 

Now that we made this video, it not only inspired everybody else who watched it hopefully, it truly inspired my mom to be an open book for those who need to hear the words that she needs to say about what she’s been through.

HHRR:  Our site, Helping Hands Rock Reviews, is all about raising awareness and money for charities.   Do you have a favorite charity that you’d like to give a shout out to?

With their momentum building, Violet is a band to watch for in the year ahead.  Here's that video of theirs we talked about.  Watch it and we think you'll see why they are headed upward in the music industry.