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Violens 1 by Tom Hinescrop

BOTW: Violens – Interview

We caught up (by phone of course; PlanetNotion’s transatlantic airmiles are sadly nonexistent) with NYC-based lead singer and the creative driver behind Violens, Mr. Jorge Elbrecht recently, to discuss the band’s debut record. He tells us all about his creative process, which involves a nightmare-avoidance strategy, beautifying facial boils and living in a recording studio…

PlanetNotion: ‘Amoral’ takes in all sorts of different sounds; do you reckon it’s unnecessary these days to stay loyal to one genre?

Jorge Elbrecht: Not really. Well, I guess it depends on what you want to do as a band, but I feel like for us, we’re just trying to keep it interesting for ourselves, really. What we really love is lots of twists and turns, musically speaking, and to have an element of surprise as well!

PN: Do you consider your debut particularly amoral?

JE: ‘Amoral’ refers more to our approach to the decisions made for the record from a creative standpoint. Amoral more refers to a disbelief in truth or the fact that there is moralisation today. Like, if there is a morality for what kind of band or genre that you are, then amoral for us is a disregard for that sort of thing we should be doing and applying that theory to our music; doing it our own way.

PN: Tell us a little more about why & how you decided to go down the self-releasing route?

JE: We actually have different plans for different markets. We decided to put it out in the UK first, and weighing up all the options, there’s a few pretty good examples of bands doing all this stuff on their own over there and not having to…sometimes with labels you can partner up with a great one and then when you sign a contract that relationship isn’t quite the same. We have a really strong relationship with the UK team, so that’s what made us think ‘Yeah, let’s just go for it!’

PN: I’ve read that you’re influenced by dreams and nightmares, any recurring ones you can tell us about?

JE: (laughing) Not really, no! The dreams thing is more the whole growing up and having nightmares as a kid thing. At one point I figured out how to sleep so I don’t remember my dreams. There’s a certain configuration of sleeping that I’ve worked out whereby I never remember my dreams or have nightmares, but then if I sleep on my back, say, I have nightmares!

PN: Can you tell us what this configuration is?

JE: I’m going to have to withhold that information, I’m afraid.

PN: No worries. Back to the record: Is there much of a NYC influence?

JE: Yeah. Well, I’m sure it is, but I don’t really look at our music as city or region specific. Sonic Youth are definitely a huge influence though.

PN: Of course. Musically what’s the most exciting thing on your iPod at the moment?

JE: Well I’m currently producing and mixing a band called Lights, so I’ve mostly been listening to rough cuts of these mixes, so that’s been pretty much on rotation. It’s pretty exciting though.

PN: What was the theory behind your album artwork?

JE: No theory, it was just an intuitive thing, the result of mashing together of ideas to represent some of the feelings on the record. Caroline and I found an image in an old medical journal, which had illustrations of different skin diseases. The photo on the cover is of a guy with boils all over his face. It was really horrific, but we thought it would be interesting to manipulate the flesh problems, make it beautiful and to superimpose beauty onto his face. We’ve made it look more like some amazing old painting; it’s an image that is both beauty and horror.

PN: You’ve been around for a couple of years, what’s kept you from releasing an album for so long?

JE: Well I guess we’ve been taking breaks from recording to go on tour and also, we’re pretty obsessive in the studio, redoing songs, redoing mixes, and so on. I did it all myself in terms of engineering, producing and mixing the record, which was a pretty steep learning curve, especially if you’re trying to up your game. I’m always on the lookout for more equipment, and if I can get my hands on a piece of new gear then suddenly I want to record the whole album through that, or all the vocals, so it was a pretty epic process.

PN: How long were you in the studio for?

JE: Well the studio’s at my apartment, so all the time I guess! We recorded some drums, and basic tracks, there for a couple of days, but it took a good while afterwards to do all the mixing.

PN: So what’s next for the Autumn for you guys – are you excited about touring with the Drums & MGMT?

JE: We just hope that the crowd have heard some of the songs before they see us!  And we’re  excited to have so many shows back-to-back; the Tour’s for most of November and December basically. It’s going to be the most continuous string of shows that we’ve ever played, and we’re so excited about the record that we just can’t wait…

Interview  – Seb Law

Photography – Tom Hines

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