Last year was a massive year for music. The reunion tour of Neutral Milk Hotel, Daft Punk’s eight year album gap broken by the international smash Random Access Memories as well as the monumental Reflektor from, arguably, the world’s biggest band at the moment, Arcade Fire.
But 2013 was also the year that Brisbane lads Violent Soho, broke from the underground and released Hungry Ghost, the group’s most ambitious and grand piece of work yet. The band’s guitarist James Tidswell spoke to Jake Wilton recently about Bleach* Festival, his love for the Gold Coast and the band’s escalating success.
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Hell yeah. They took the number 14 spot in Triple J’s Hottest 100 with Covered in Chrome, they finished a nation-wide sold out album tour and their name has plastered on just about every festival bill imaginable – Falls Festival, Splendour In The Grass, Big Day Out, Groovin’ The Moo. But does it feel surreal?
“Until we did Falls Festival I would have said no. We were playing like two hours earlier than what we were five years ago at Falls so we thought we’d gotten less popular but still so stoked to be playing. Then we walked out and there were way more people then we’ve ever played to before waiting to see us and ready to sing our songs back to us. Going from Falls into Big Day Out, again the crowds were massive. We’re sort of used to it now. One time on stage, it was in Lorne I think, I saw Mikey [Richards, drummer] and [Luke] Henery (bassist) looking at me saying ‘Holy shit!’”
Violent Soho have been a band that appear everywhere you look so it’s been fairly easy to see how their career has progressed. James, for one, now has a raging beard that would make most European men quiver in fear. Frontman Luke has developed his songwriting ability exponentially with the release of Hungry Ghost and the band, simultaneously, have come to be one of Australia’s most exciting live acts.
Seeing the band (for the fifth time mind you) at Falls Festival in Byron not too far back allowed me to see how the boys handle a festival crowd for the first time. With strictly no complaints on this side, James said that the Byron show, and the crowd, was intense.
“That one was awesome because it was close to being a hometown show – a lot of people came from Queensland. Again, even after Lorne and Marion Bay, having massive crowds, we really thought in Bryon that we wouldn’t have one because it was quarter past midday on New Year’s Day so people would be nursing hangovers. We were pretty heavy considering the rest of the lineup so it was good to see so many people. It was an awesome crowd, everyone got into it right from the get-go which was rad.”
“We just do what we do and if we’ve gotten better at it, I guess that’s a good thing. I think the first few years of being in a band a lot of people wouldn’t have known about us, because we were pretty terrible at promoting ourselves. Still now a lot of people are finding out about us by seeing us live or their friends dragging them along at a festival. It seems like we must be getting better at it because the crowds have gotten bigger and better!”
“We had no idea that people were going to sing the lyrics back to that extent, it’s not something we’re used to. To just be playing the songs and everyone get so naturally vibed on it and start just yelling out the words, that’s the coolest for us.”
It seems like the Violent Soho wrath of domination won’t stop any time soon with the band already added to the Groovin’ the Moo lineup along with international acts such as Holy Fuck, Action Bronson, Disclosure with a bunch of other amazing Australian artists. The band also have an undisclosed new single coming out very shortly also taken from their third LP, Hungry Ghost.
And of course they’re headlining Bleach* Festival’s rock ‘n’ roll party at The Soundlounge next month.
“We’re really looking forward to Bleach*, it’s going to be sick. Good work to the Gold Coast for having something like this that puts on awesome bands to play for everyone.”
Violent Soho play with Bad//Dreems and Sinking Teeth at The Soundlounge, Friday 14 March. Visit bleachfestival.com.au for all the details.
Thanks to our friends at Bleach* and Footstomp Music we have a double pass to give away to Violent Soho’s show. To enter, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by midday Tuesday 4 March with the subject “Violent Soho gig” and include your full name and mobile phone number in the email.