TRANSVIOLET: "Seeing the World Not As It Is, But How It Could Be"

Among a wave of young artists writing songs which not only represent entertainment, but also a defiant statement that their generation is as aspirational and determined as any other previously, US electropop quartet Transviolet stand out not only for their brilliant music but also the message behind it. Sarah McTaggart (vocals), Judah McCarthy (guitar), Michael Panek (bass) and Jon Garcia (drums) were in the midst of their first headline tour of the UK when Insanity Radio caught up with them. At the Boston Music Rooms in London, we met to talk about their music, “millenials”, and their plans for the summer festival season and beyond.

Insanity Radio: How has your tour been going so far?

Sarah: Amazing! It’s our first headline run in the UK, so we didn’t know what to expect, but a lot of the kids we met on the Twenty One Pilots tour have been coming to these shows and it’s been fun.

Insanity: So far, what have you found are the main differences between touring in America and here in Europe and the UK?

Sarah: You guys have a lot of stairs.

Mike: The drives are much shorter.

Judah: Yeah, it’s easier to get from venue to venue. Also, most venues and clubs here allow younger kids in, which we’re very appreciative of as a large number of our fans are younger. We prefer having younger kids in the room ‘cause they’re crazier, louder and get the older cool kids to get into it too.

Insanity: How have you found the difference between playing as a support, as with Twenty One Pilots, and stepping up to play your own headline shows?

Sarah: I think as a support act, the people there are usually there for the headliner, which is great ‘cause you’re making new fans, but the pro of being a headliner is that the crowd are there for you and are singing your songs back to you.

Judah: When the people in the room are singing at the same volume as the music coming from the stage, that’s awesome.

Insanity: You’ve got a four-track EP out right now, what is your favourite song on it to perform live?

Sarah, Jon and Judah together: “Night Vision”.

Mike: For me, “Bloodstream”’s pretty fun.

Judah: Yeah, we’ve been opening our set with “Bloodstream” and it’s a cool dark, heavy way to start the set.

Sarah: And we’ve added a new intro to it, which is pretty awesome.

Insanity: Nice! So when you write songs, do you think about how you’re going to play them live?

 Mike: I hadn’t, but now I’m starting to.

Judah: On our record, and with all the songs we’ve written, I record as much guitar as possible so it’s impossible to play live.

Sarah: There are normally about seven layers.

Judah: I can’t recreate it, so I have to write something new to play live!

Insanity: When you’re writing songs, do you tend to start with one musical idea, or a lyric; how does your songwriting process work, in effect?

Sarah: I think it’s different every time, sometimes I’ll come in with vocals over piano chords, ask the guys what they think about it and start adding things. But sometimes it’s the opposite, one of the guys, who all produce now, will come in with a track and ask what we think about it, so then I start writing vocals over that. It’s different every time.

Insanity: The lyrics to Girls Your Age” struck me as very emotional and interesting, did that come from a personal story?

Sarah: Definitely, it’s my personal coming of age story, talking about the first time I was in love, or thought I was. It’s about being young and a bit naïve, and being in love with somebody older, and looking back trying to understand those feelings now that I’m older. It’s kind of a cliché, the younger girl falls for the older guy and she’s manipulated, but I don’t know if I was manipulated or who was manipulating whom. I couldn’t work out fully what the story was, so I wrote the song to try and figure it out myself.

Insanity: The other standout song on the EP is “New Bohemia”. It’s a very positive way of presenting young people which is rare in the media, was that a conscious decision?

Sarah: Yeah, I was looking for a way to describe our generation as I saw it, because there is a stigma about our generation that everybody’s entitled and lazy, and we have no game plan for the future, but I don’t think that’s the case – I think there are a lot of young people who are intelligent and resourceful and want to change the world for the better.

Insanity: British media right now seems to have an obsession with the term “millenials”…

Sarah: Yeah it’s the same in the States. It has a really negative connotation attached to it. I feel like we’ve been handed a timebomb, told to suck it up and stopped whining.

Insanity: What’s cool about “New Bohemia” is that it expresses that everybody is individual, in contrast to the idea of “millenials” putting a blanket term on people with real differences.

Sarah: It labels everyone in the same way, as if we’re all just sitting here chanting Drake lyrics and drinking or something. Not all millenials are the same.

Insanity: In summer you’re coming back for Reading & Leeds Festivals, have you done any big festivals in Europe before?

Jon: We just played our first festival, but we didn’t know it was going to be a festival.

Judah: Until we got there we had no idea what it was!

Sarah: When we got there it was fun. It was called “Les Nuits”.

Judah: (Struggling with French pronunciation). It was “The Nights”, anyway, in… French? Anyway, it was awesome, a great country to play in.

Insanity: Do you know much about Reading & Leeds, or the lineup?

Judah: We’ve been asking around since we got here.

Sarah: Everyone tells us to wear shoes we don’t mind getting messed up.

Judah: We’re playing quite a few festivals this summer, and I don’t want to know too much about the lineup ahead of time ‘cause at any festival we do play, there’s so many bands that we want to see but there’s no time. You show up, play your set, do promo and press and then you leave.

Jon: I know we’re playing the same day as Red Hot Chili Peppers so I’m looking forward to that.

Sarah: Isn’t Die Antwoord playing? I want to see them if there’s any way, they put on quite a show.

Judah: I know the lineup’s incredible, I remember looking through it and thinking “oh my god!”… it’s stacked.

Insanity: Are you planning on putting out any new music before then?

Sarah: Probably not… it’s not up to us, we have music finished and ready to go, we’re ready to put it out when everyone else is.

Judah: We’re sitting on a trigger just waiting for the word.

Insanity: If there were any festival or venue in the world you haven’t played yet that you could, what would you pick?

Mike: Red Rocks is what Judah would say.

Judah: Well that’s a venue, but Glastonbury is the top of my bucket list. We’re also playing Governor’s Ball in the States this year, which is a big one for me. There’s so many…

Sarah: Coachella!

Jon: Coachella would be cool ‘cause it’s so close to all our friends in California; it’s where they all go.

Mike: I know which one I want to play, it’s one in Alabama called Hangout Festival, it’s on the beach and every stage is literally right on the water.

Judah: I’d like to do a tour like Lollapalooza, I know they have one in South America now, and I think they have one in Germany as well. All the festivals!

Insanity: You’ve toured America and you’ve been over here in Europe and the UK, where else in the world would you like to head to next?

Judah: Asia, Japan…

Sarah: I’d like to do Asia because it’s so culturally different to us.

Jon: Australia as well…

Mike: Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Kuwait… all the good ones!

Judah: Mike’s on tour by himself there! (jokingly) North Korea?

Insanity: So one final question: for someone unfamiliar with Transviolet, how would you sum up what your band represents?

Laura: Seeing the world not how it is, but how it could be.

Judah: Yeah, that’s good.

Mike: That’s the headline.

(Interview conducted by Michael Bird.)

Check out our gig review of Transviolet at the Boston Music Rooms. The band’s self-titled EP is out now.

Insanity Interview: RHODES

Interview with David Hayter

Syed from Insanity Radio interviews David Hayter who is arguably most well-known for his roles as Solid Snake and Naked Snake aka Big Boss from the Metal Gear Solid Franchise. What others may not know is that David Hayter has played a vital role to the first two X-Men movies and has successfully created and runs his own studio, Dark Hero Studio.


Interview – We Cut Corners

We spoke to Conall O’Brachain about the Dublin duo We cut Corners and their new found fame. The band is made up of just Conall and John Duigam but there is nothing lacking in their incredible sound. The duo have been compared to bands like Vampire Weekend in terms of sound.

ACA: Hello Conall, how are you doing?

Conall: I’m OK, thank you. Hope you’re well?

ACA: We’re great thanks. What can you tell us about We Cut Corners? Any new exciting news?

Conall: We are just preparing our new album ‘Think Nothing’ for release on 25th April so that’s keeping us busy and we’re also on tour right now around Ireland.

ACA: wow, that does sound busy, do you ever stop?

Conall: Me and John are literally always busy writing songs and doing tours, we do not stop! Haha! But it’s what we love doing so it doesn’t feel like work to us just good fun.

ACA: Who would you compare yourselves to in terms of sound?

Conall: That’s a difficult one because I feel that we have a really individual sound. Other people have compared us to bands like Vampire Weekend and Red Shoes.

ACA: Interesting. Do you find it difficult being a two piece? Is it more hard work than the stereotypical band?

Conall: No, not really. We have too much fun to consider it work and we like being busy. We’re odd like that!

ACA: Thank you so much for your time, we love the music!

Conall: Thanks Andy, Alero and Chloe. Speak to you later. I’ll check out Insanity radio!

The band have an album available on ITunes called “Today I realised I could go Home Backwards” and have an amazing sound to them. Well worth a listen!

~ Andy, Chloe and Alero

Give  We Cut Corners’ single “Best Friend” a listen here:

Interview – The Bohemian Embassy

We spoke to Ben Angel (the lead singer of The Bohemian Embassy) about his musical aspirations, the new album and the unique style of the band.The band is made up of Ben Angel (the lead singer and guitarist) Luke Cradock (on bass guitar and vocals) Louis Lanfear (on drums) Will Jefferies (lead guitar and vocals) and Jade Morris (on violin).  The five piece are from Bath, Bristol and surrounding areas.

ACA: Hi, Ben how are you doing?

Ben:  I’m very well thank you, it’s been so busy with the band and our album release it’s exciting so yes I’m really good, haha!

ACA: That’s good to hear. So how did you guys form such a unique concept for your band?

Ben: We started out with just the two of us (me and Luke) but we met the rest of the band in a recording studio in Bath when we were all sort of putting down some tracks and we decided to collaborate and it went well so here we are!

ACA: Is it exciting to think that you’re a signed band with two albums available on Itunes?

Ben: We’re signed by various independent record labels. We think we have a really original sound so we’re really happy with how it’s going with our music and are working non-stop and always trying out new experiments with our music. We think that’s what makes us stand out from other bands, we’re not one genre, we mix genres up to create something new.

ACA: Can you give us an example of some of your experimental work?

Ben: Of course. We have a violinist for starters! We like to use that to the best of our advantage. We’re told we sound like David Bowie mixed with Arcade Fire and The Clash so that’s exciting. We’ve recently recorded a Lana Del Rey cover of “Blue Jeans”.

ACA: Where do you draw your inspiration from for your music?

Ben: Anything from 1960’s onwards, we’re fans of old classics like The Beatles. The Bohemian Embassy have been busy on tour all over the UK and countries including Spain so sometimes on the road we’ll see or hear something then decide to go to the studio when we’re back and lay down a track.

ACA: Thanks so much for talking with us Ben and if you’re ever near Surrey/London let us know so we can interview you on the radio. We will definitely be playing your music on our show on Insanity!

Ben: That would be great! I will do, I’ll be sure to listen in to Insanity. Bye Alero, Andy and Chloe!

They have albums available on ITunes called “Built for the Future” and have just released their newest album “Seek Love” which came out on 13th March. All of their tracks are available on ITunes so if you’re looking for something quirky and a bit different then check out the band that sound like The Clash with an orchestra edge.

~ Andy, Chloe and Alero

Listen to “Seek Love” here:

Rae Morris Interview Brixton O2 Academy, 13th March 2014

Right, so it’s been a crazy year for you with touring, festivals, and releasing your EP, how’s it been

It’s been great, this year in particular has been really exciting it feels like everything’s been starting. I’ve been doing it for quite a while now but this has been the first year that things have been kicking off, like I’ve been played on the radio and starting to get recognised, so the little things like that which have been happening are all really, really positive.

Yeah, you’re all over youtube, and I saw that you were in the live lounge not so long ago, and there are loads of blogs about you, all good things don’t worry

Haha phew. Yeah it’s all been very exciting, still can’t believe a lot of it to be honest but so far I’ve enjoyed every moment

What has it been like touring?

It’s been amazing, in total for 3 years, started when I was 17 (Wow that’s so young) Yeah, I began when I was at college, but this year has been the best as I’ve been with Bombay Bicycle Club supporting which has been wonderful, especially because I supported them a few years ago and got to know them so to have got back with them has been lovely

What are they really like?

They’re wonderful yeah, they’re people that I see outside of the music as well, which is great, especially considering I don’t have that much time to see other people, but they’re very down to earth and we can just get along together

So what about Lunar in the charts at the moment with your vocals, that’s pretty cool

Ah do you like it? Yeah it’s very cool, it was great fun to work like that with Bombay and see how it took off, it was nice to be a part of that

Awesome! And festivals, are you doing any this year?

At the moment I’ve got a few confirmed but nothing major, just a few underground ones like Dot to Dot in Bristol and the Great Escape in Brighton which I’m really looking forward to because it’s just such a great festival, so yeah, just little things like that and hopefully I’ll get booked into other ones as well as the summer goes on.

What do you prefer, touring or festivals?

Umm I definitely prefer long tours because you can really get into it. Like this tour we’re doing at the moment everyone knows each other now and we’re in the routine of it

How long has this tour been going for now

I’ve done two weeks so far already with Bombay and maybe this is the ninth or tenth gig

Haha you don’t even know any more

Haha yeah, I literally don’t, you lose track very easily, but this one today is a London show which is very exciting, I can’t wait

I imagine it’s exhausting though isn’t it?

It is, it’s difficult to y’know keep it going (and stay grounded I imagine?) yeah, you’ve got to keep yourself well, because you’re singing every night

Yeah that’s a point, how do you keep your vocals up to scratch, must be pretty straining?

Haha well yeah, it is… you just… I don’t actually know yet haha, I’m still figuring that out

That’s why you need all the tea and honey right? (at the start of the interview, someone had brought her lemon tea and in drug deal fashion, exchanged munuka honey for money, very hush hush)

Exactly, I’m into all of that, you kind of get obsessed with manuka and all of these fancy things

Hmm the myth of manuka, does that actually work?!

I believe it does yeah! It’s a pretty good thing

You should promo it for them! So what do you do in the day when you’re touring, how does it all work?

Well I stay in travel lodges because we don’t have a bus or anything, we just follow the band, so basically we stay, sleep, check out and then drive to the next place

So you’re just driving all the time! Pretty close proximity with everyone all the time?!

Yep. It really is. But we have a DVD in the van so that’s ok, we’ve been watching Band of Brothers recently which is really good, quite bleak, but really fun… then we just get to the venue at like 3 or 4 where we’ve got to load in and sound check, so by the time you’ve done all that, it’s pretty much time to get onstage and then you’ve got to leave again!

You must just be on an adrenaline high the whole time to keep going!

Yeah, it’s important to make sure you’ve had enough sleep, but it’s so wonderful, I love it so much I don’t mind!

So you actually do look forward to doing it every day, or are you sometimes like ‘ugh I’ve got to go up again!!’

No never, I always feel like, because every gig is so different, there are different venues and all these different factors y’know like the sound and the little changes, so I never feel like I don’t want to do it. This gig is gonna be interesting actually because it’s just the next level, it’s such a good venue to play at

What’s been your favourite venue ever, including festivals, all of it…

Oh ever? Well I played at the Royal Albert Hall not too long ago, I opened for Noah and the Whale. That was just one of those moments… because I’m from the North, Blackpool, so I don’t know London all that well and one of the first things that I did when I came to London when I was a kid was go and look at the RAH and the Royal Academy of Music

Bet you never thought that you’d be playing there one day!

No not at all, so yeah, it was a pretty big deal!

Ok next question, are you a barefoot performer?

No. absolutely not, I am just not into that, just no. I understand the whole no shoes type thing, like if you’re wearing big high heels or something but I’m just not into bare feet

Don’t wanna feel your soles against the stage then? Never get that urge haha

No, well, maybe if you’re like Joni Mitchell or something then that’s totally cool, but other than that it’s just not good… it’s too cold haha

Hmmmm interesting. I think if I was a performer I’d go barefoot… foot jail man, what about at a festival, then it’s edgey right?!

Haha at a festival?! That’s even more reason to wear shoes!

True! So I have to ask, because your hair is fabulous, how do you keep it in shape? Manuka honey perhaps??

Literally, I do nothing, just wash it and then leave it, we have similar hair, that’s the done thing right?

Absolutely! And if anyone come’s near you with a hairbrush fight them off haha… what about your family and friends back home then? Do you ever get to see them? It must be hard to maintain that being on the road all the time?

Yeah it is quite tough, I guess I don’t really see my parents as much as I’d like to but I do see them a lot because they’re massive fans, not just of me, of Bombay and everyone which is good and they’ve kind of got to know everyone quite well now. They’ve already been to like 4 of the gigs on this tour and they’re going to come to more of them!!

Ahh that’s really nice, and how about your friends back home, get to see them much or are you kind of just making more friends on the road, I suppose there’s no real time to keep that well in contact with everyone at home, especially because you started out so young, 17 you said?

Yeah I guess I kind of didn’t make that many teenage friends because I didn’t go to university or anything so I’m just so lucky that I get to meet likeminded musicians like now with Bombay Bicycle Club, they’re the kind of people who I can get really close to

Do you ever sort of make music with them, like, do you ever talk over your songs and come up with stuff? (yeah definitely) or does it all come from you?

Well I guess it’s a bit of both actually, I mean, I’ve always been very sure about what I wanna do, and I kind of know that myself but it’s so nice to have people like Jack and to be able to bounce ideas off and say ‘what do you think of this’ and ‘what do you advise me to do?’ and that’s what’s so nice about having people around that know!

So do you ever jam?

Haha I cannot jam

You don’t all just sit around the piano and do kind of improv

Aww no, I am so bad at jamming, because I’m not like a proper musician, like I’m not very good

Haha don’t say that about yourself, you’re great don’t worry!

Haha yeah, well I’ve been around people jamming and I like to watch them do it, I just kind of sit back and appreciate the jam haha

Jam’s where it’s all at man! So onto the writing of your music, what’s your method, lyrics or melody first?

It’s always melody first with me, it’s always about the music first. And I guess the more that I’m on the road, the lyrics kind of come to me so it’s changing, it’s gradually changing, but yeah, usually it is the music first and the lyrics come later because the words are the hardest part and they’ve gotta be right, they’ve gotta fit.

Yeah for sure, so when you come to writing the lyrics does something just come to you or is it more like a personal, deep down kind of emotional thing haha

It depends because I guess like, if I’ve done a recording of a song when I was just recording the idea, if there’s like a phrase that fits really nicely with the feel of the music then I’ll try and fit the words around that, and it might be something that wouldn’t work and if it is then I don’t try to force it, but yeah usually if I’m gonna write a song then it’s gonna be about something that’s important because you’ve got to sing it every night haha

Haha yes, very true! Are you writing anything at the moment or coming up with stuff?

I’m still writing yeah, I’m trying to write all the time but it is hard when you’re moving around a lot but my album is finished now and is coming out just after the summer so I guess I’m kind of still writing for that as well as writing for the next thing!

Phwoar so it’s all go, never a dull moment! Ok, a bit out of the blue but we’ve got a feature on our show called ‘what bothers me’ so what we’d like to know is what bothers you?

What bothers me? Like anything?

Yeah, it can be as trivial as you like, for example, my most recent ‘what bothers me’ is how I noticed the other day that I grit my teeth when I stroke dogs, out of love I guess haha, which apparently is very weird, I thought it was normal so I was bothered by the fact that not everyone does it… do you, please say yes!!

Nooo… I don’t do that. That’s really weird, sorry haha

Yeah, yeah I know haha so what about you then?

Ok, definitely ice, like I don’t really like ice at all, ice in the freezer is awful, like when you put your fingers into the draw and it’s just the worst, makes me cringe. But I hate it everywhere, even in drinks, can’t have it at all… unless I’ve got a straw because I’ve got sensitive teeth

You need Sensodyne

I’ve tried, I really have! Nothing helps!

Haha that’s too bad, no cold drinks for you then! Have you had any cringe moments when performing or anything, any major faux pas?

Ooo, yeah, last time I was on tour with Bombay, we were in Plymouth and I went out and said ‘good evening Portsmouth!’ because we were doing both places… I think there were a few boos! But I’m glad I’ve messed up like that quite early on, I feel like it’s out of the way now

Yeah it’s a pretty rockstar thing to do, well done! So you went to the Brit Awards recently, how was that? Was it very surreal?

It’s kinda cool, it’s kind of like just really normal though at the same time. The way that I felt about it was that it was really great for everyone to be recognised for who they are and it was just really nice to see the music, y’know, just watch the gigs it’s not really about the awards for me so it was nice to go and enjoy it but I always feel a little bit out of place, it’s very strange

Don’t worry, I’m sure everyone feels like that! So is this whole experience and lifestyle still very surreal for you or are you kind of getting used to it now?

Oh gosh yeah, I’m always in awe, I actually don’t do anything like that ever so it’s really abnormal, I like to just be totally normal and do normal things so going to things like the Brits is just really surreal, I’m always thinking ‘this is a totally different world!’

Well this is your life now I guess haha

Yeah I hope so, fingers crossed

Are you turning into a diva then? Do you have any weird demands or anything?

I really hope not! Uhh no not really, very into health stuff like we were talking about before, I need my manuka honey, so yeah, that’s my one luxurious thing.

I think we can allow you that! Well I think that’s everything I need, and it’s been really lovely talking to you so thank you, I really appreciate it and I’m a big fan! Good luck with everything and thanks on behalf of Insanity Radio, it’s been great!

~ Chrissi Smith


Check out Rae Morris’ new single “Do You Even Know?” here:

Interview – Walking Relic

The band formed in 2009 – how did this happen?


Me (Jessie) and Chris were in a band in high school, but it didn’t work out, so we started playing with his brother-in-law (Derek) and it just sort of happened!


You’ve been likened to acts such as ‘The Killers’; do you think this is accurate?


Yes definitely! They’re one of our major influences!


Other than ‘The Killers’ then, who would you say have been your musical influences, as on your website, you talk about how your EP ‘Sojourn’ has been influenced by various artists.


Yea, definitely… well like we said ‘The Killers’, definitely a bit of ‘Muse’, ‘Florence and the Machine’, and we’d probably say ‘Tegan and Sara’ too.


Your website also claims that your EP is a different take on synth rock music… what do you think it is that makes you guys different, and what were you aiming to achieve with this EP?


I don’t think we were intentionally setting out to be different, it just sort of happened… I think a lot of it is the actual music. We tend to go a bit over bored with the music, so I guess the sound is pretty layered. I think sometimes bands today don’t have many layers to their music, so I guess this makes us sound a bit different. To be honest, we’re just trying to get ourselves out there and hopefully branch out to the UK.


How have you found your music received in the UK compared to the US?


I think it’s a bit difficult to say at the moment, because we haven’t yet been out there and seen the influence our music is having over there yet. There is such a different kind of music scene in the UK that we really want to be a part of. We’re from Oklahoma, and our music is very different from the usually Oklahoma scene. We’re hoping our work will be more accepted in the UK.


I personally find it really cool that you guys are female fronted. What affect has this had on your career as a band, and do you think it has benefitted you?


Yea, I’d definitely say it’s been a benefit. It’s very uncommon within the Oklahoma music scene so it definitely makes us stand out. Plus, there’s been a massive uprising of female artists, such as ‘Haim’, ‘Chvrches’, etc., so this has helped, and it’s really cool to be a part of that.


Finally, you’ve done several EPs now… what are we to expect next from you?


Yes, our first EP was definitely a learning experience. We mainly just wanted something people could listen to! And this one (‘Sojourn’) is us trying to really get ourselves out there and to spread the word of what we’re about. But we have a full album coming out around the end of Summer/ early Fall which we’re currently recording and are very excited about.

~ Emily Edwards

Check out the new video for “Every Little Thing” from Sojourn here