Ones To Watch: Violens

Chosen by The Drums
Violens
It’s safe to say that The Drums know a thing or two about music. With a critically acclaimed debut and guitarist Jacob Graham’s decidedly misanthropic Holiday Records - a digital release-only label offering free weekly music - they’ve clearly got their finger firmly on the pulse. So we felt pretty confident giving them control of our Ones To Watch section this month.

We asked the Brooklyn quartet to let us in on some of the bands currently tickling their aural tastebuds. And from scuzzy feedback to toe-tapping twee, we’ve been given an exclusive insight into the musical tastes of Brooklyn’s indie darlings du jour...

Violens

Having a definitive sound is so passé: it’s all about cross-genre pollination nowadays, according to Brooklyn band Violens.

A self-proclaimed metalhead, lead vocalist Jorge Elbrecht admits that his penchant for catchy hooks and mellifluous vocals heavily inform his music making: the band’s dichotomy between light, Sixties inspired melodies, and darker, angst-ridden lyrical content may help to make sense of this. Their chosen moniker, a conflation of violins and violence, further stresses this point, as they use sumptuous vocal harmonies to sing about metaphysics, spirituality and drug-induced hallucinations. “We all grew up with pop music and I can appreciate a good pop song,” says Elbrecht, on the band’s pop bias. “There are things that are really exhilarating about that kind of music that you don’t get from thrash or metal. I just happen to have more of a pop vocal style so that’s what I use.”

But does his preference for metal manifest itself at all in the band’s instrumentation? “I guess the delivery of the guitars and the drums are probably more brutal than a lot of the bands who are around at the moment,” offers Elbrecht. “It’s like the delivery of a metal, thrash or skate-punk bands. You could say they’re pop songs infused with that.”

You can’t help but think that Violens don’t quite know who they are yet, as their muddled aesthetic suggests anyway. But where others may find this confusion disconcerting, Elbrecht revels in its fluidity. “I think a lot of people don’t know what to make of us, myself included,” he admits. “Everyone’s tastes are so widespread that it’s hard to commit to one kind of music. I don’t think I’d be happy being in a genre-specific band for example. We’re all over the place and I like it that way.”

And their narratives are also decidedly non-linear in their form. “I do like songs with stories but I don’t really like to write them as I think as soon as you try to understand what a song’s about it fades away,” says Elbrecht,. “I like there to be tension between a real scenario that’s being described and a nonsensical dream element, a Dada element to it, if you will, like an abstract theme or storyline.”

Confused? You will be...

The Drums say: “Violens make pop songs and self record and produce in a way that just sounds good and doesn’t strive to make any contrived stylistic points. They also have a mysterious quality to them: you want to hear more and know more.”

Words by April Welsh

Where: Brooklyn, New York
What: Psychedelic post-punk
Unique fact: The band have made a mash-up of MBV and The Byrds: ‘I See You’/’Only Shallow’
Get 3 songs: ‘At The Drain’, ‘Doomed’, ‘Already Over’

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Clash Magazine Issue 53




This article appears in the 53rd issue of Clash Magazine. Pick it up in stores from August 5th.

Find out more about the issue HERE. Subscribe to Clash Magazine HERE.


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