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INTERVIEW: Violet Mary

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thanks!  We’ve been up to no good, and we solemnly swear to it!  It’s a very exciting time in Violet Maryland. – Mike

This is why we keep Mike on a leash most of the time. We’ve been good, for the most part. We’ve weathered the storms, and we’re looking forward to what’s ahead. – Joe

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Figure It Out”?

Figure it out is a song of self empowerment.  It deals with a general state of “reaction without reflection” that our country seems to be experiencing, especially lately.  The media seems to be setting the tone for the general attitude of people.  Reality has indeed become “stranger than fiction”  It’s a call to think for yourself and of course… Figure it Out. – Martin

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Violet Mary has lately been reflective on the current events in our day to day life and Figure it Out is an example of that mindset.  Mel Muscarella has written lyrics that are insightful but just direct enough to inspire introspective thought… hopefully. – Martin

No single event was the inspiration for these lyrics. Building off Martin’s thought that the song is reflective of current events both in the U.S. and abroad-we absorb these terrible events like bombings, hate crimes, shootings with our breakfast and shake our heads at how sad it is that these things are happening. We might talk about it with a coworker or friend but then we get on with our day. We don’t all have the capacity to solve world problems on a large scale, but we all have the capacity to do something, even if it’s seemingly small- like a change in how you treat someone who is different than you. It’s a call to action of any kind. -Mel

Any plans to release a video for the single?

We don’t have any immediate plans for a video, but we’re juggling several things at the moment, so who knows what might happen in the next few months? We made a couple videos last year, and that’s a project we’ll likely continue in the future. – Joe

The single comes off your new album All That We Seem – what’s the story behind the title?

The title All That We Seem is yet another example of the dichotomy: who we seem to be is not necessarily who we are. It’s a statement about the need for authenticity. – Martin

The title was taken from the Edgar Allen Poe poem “A Dream Within a Dream”. Both stanzas of the poem end with this idea “all that we see or seem is a dream within a dream”, one stanza ending with this as a statement and the second stanza ending with this line posed as a question. It’s a question between reality and fiction and we expanded on that idea to include our own duplicitous natures and felt that the title really matched the tone of the album and tied it all together. -Mel

Is the album in some way a concept record or does each CD deal with a different topic?

The double CD set is “Light” and “Dark” by design.  Again, this touches on the dichotomy mentioned before. – Martin

I don’t know that I would call it a concept record per se, but it is very intentionally structured like Martin mentioned.   The darker disc is more moody and introspective with the musical packaging reflecting such.  The lighter disc is outward focused with a straight-ahead and major mode to the music.  We find that most listeners gravitate towards this second disc when they first listen to All That We Seem, and the first disc grows on them over time.  But, this also tends to reflect life: we’re not self-reflective and intensely introspective all the time!  So, disc two is for everyday listening; disc one is for those times when life gets complicated. – Mike

How was the recording and writing process?

The lion’s share of the songs were recorded live in the studio with subsequent overdubs to focus the imagery of the various messages. Mike and Mel Muscarella were the predominant creative visionaries for the work. – Martin

For me, it was a truly unique and exciting experience because I joined the band in the middle of the recording process. All of the drums parts were recorded by the previous drummer. I basically came into the situation and advocated for rerecording the entire record. While I enjoyed what the previous drummer offered, I felt weird releasing a brand new record that I didn’t play on. I guess I felt like I wanted my “voice” to be represented. We ended up taking the next few months to analyze each song, which led to more writing, and before we knew it, we had enough material for two records. We decided to do something that wasn’t really being done anymore and release the record on two discs. Everything about the process was truly collaborative. We said yes to everything that anyone suggested because we felt that there were no bad ideas. We kept some, we changed some, and we discarded others, but everything was used on some level during the process. This album really helped to define who Violet Mary would ultimately become. – Joe

What role does the 90s Grunge/Rock scene play in your music?

That’s an interesting question. I was big into the grunge scene in its early days. I listened to Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Seven Mary Three, Sponge, and so many other bands that seemed to dominate the music scene. I put together my first band in the early 90s with some friends from school. We played what was on rock radio, or we at least tried to. I think musicians tend to be most influenced by the music of their youth. It’s that nostalgic feeling…perhaps we’re all trying to relive a simpler time. – Joe

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I try to observe a lot, whether I’m at home or at the cafe or when I’m at work or in the car listening to the news, so my lyrics, in general, are snapshots of these observations. Some of them are observations of my past, of my family, of books or articles I read, of strangers. Some, like Given the World, are for my kids. Breathe in Deep was based on a Celtic legend that inspired the book The Thorn Birds. A lot of different sources. -Mel

Any plans to hit the road?

Absolutely!  We’re planning a few tours of the Northeastern US in 2017 to support All That We Seem AND another album that’s currently top-secret. We’ll be bringing The Ugandan Water Project with us, which we’re very excited about! – Mike

Definitely! We want to bring our music and our passion for community and humanitarian work to other places. Staying home isn’t really my thing anyway. – Joe

What else is happening next in Violent Mary’s world?

We have a lot that we’re currently working on. Not only have we just released our first single, but we went into the studio this past winter and recorded another new song that we’ll be releasing in the spring. Also, we’ve begun working on a compilation of sorts. We don’t have a release date for that yet, but it’ll be sometime in 2017. Finally, we work in partnership with a local distiller, Black Button Distilling, and a non-profit organization called the Ugandan Water Project, which supplies disease-free drinking water to the people of Uganda. We’re all collaboratively planning 2017. It should be an exciting year! – Joe

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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