Clint Sargent
The High violets
26th February '06
I always like to celebrate SkidMark anniversaries by featuring artists who have a long association with the site, and therefore have proved to be a valuable part of the whole. The 5th anniversary "Virtual Interview" is no exception as SkidMcSkidder talks to Clint Sargent from the excellent the High Violets - a truly gifted band who have been a part of the SkidMark family since May 2001. Showcasing talented, committed acts like the Violets are the essence of what SkidMark is all about and so without further ado...

SkidMcSkidder: Hi Clint it's great to talk to you "live" at last and I'm especially thrilled that an interview with a great band such as the Violets will be featured as part of SkidMark's 5th anniversary edition!

Clint Sargent: For sure, it's an honor to talk especially since we've been in contact for a few years now.

SkidMcSkidder: And in that time I've always found "The high violets" an intriguing name for a band - how did you arrive at it as a name for the band and does it have any significance?

Clint Sargent: The name came from an song by Eric Burden and the Animals. They have an excellent album from around 67 or so called "The Twain Shall Meet...." and on it is a song called"Sky Pilot", in the early days of the Violets when we were starting out we listened to this song and someone thought the were saying High Violets. We liked it and stuck with it.

SkidMcSkidder: Cool! And how did you, Kaitlyn, Aaron & Luke get together? You were all in different bands originally, right?

Clint Sargent: Luke and I met in Eugene where I was attending college and we started up jamming, epic 30 min jams, no real singer, but we move on and got in a real band called the Bella Low which did not last. Kaitlyn is and had been a solo artist that would play with the Bella Low. When that band ended she offered up her services as a singer, which was fantastic

SkidMcSkidder: And Aaron?

Clint Sargent: Aaron, has come on more recently. He has been a friend around town , he asked to play when our original bass player moved to S.F.

SkidMcSkidder: Right - I thought I'd seen another guy credited for Bass duties previously

Clint Sargent: Yea, Allen Davis who's band Every Move a Picture just toured the UK twice last year.

SkidMcSkidder: Excellent! When are the Violets coming over!!?

Clint Sargent: We are going to cover the states this year and are projecting a tour over the pond next year when are next record is made.

SkidMcSkidder: Fantastic - I'll look forward to come to some gigs and filming some live stuff for the "gigs & vids" section!

Clint Sargent: Can't wait really.

SkidMcSkidder: You're based in Portland, Oregon, in the USA - without sounding too ignorant - would I be right in saying you're more part of the West coast scene?

Clint Sargent: Yes, that's accurate we keep in contact with similar minded acts all along the coast

SkidMcSkidder: What's the music vibe like in your part of the country? Is your sound well received?

Clint Sargent: Now, lately shows have been excellent. People have been responding so well and demanding encores.

SkidMcSkidder: (Next month's FAOTM, Stellarscope, are fans of yours apparently)

Clint Sargent: Cool, where are they?

SkidMcSkidder: One mo and I'll tell you....

SkidMcSkidder: Philadelphia (not sure how to spell PA!)

Clint Sargent: That's it, very well we're off to play Philly in May as well as the other major hups on the east coast.

SkidMcSkidder: You play a lot of live gigs & festivals?

Clint Sargent: We are heading out in a matter of days to play the big fest in Austin (SXSW) well play two shows there. Should be a blast. It's a town i've spent some time in very psychedelic I don't think the guys and gal are going to know what hit them.

SkidMcSkidder: Wicked! I grew with a leaning towards the psychedelic with favourites such as Hawkwind, Pink Floyd, etc - sounds like my kinda town! (Laughs Out Loud)

Clint Sargent: Yes, when I started out people would mention Hawkwind about my guitar and what not, and then I heard, excellent!

SkidMcSkidder: Ha ha! I was going to ask what FX you use as I'm listening to your latest CD as we speak and the guitar on "Love is Blinding" sounds so like latter day Dave Brock! (Laughs Out Loud)

Clint Sargent: Is that right, I don't know if I've heard him. What I use is delay with wah mostly and especially on that one.

SkidMcSkidder: Talking about your new album "To where you are", when I Finally get around to finishing writing the review, it will be one of only two CD's in the SkidMark CD review section so far to score a 10 out of 10! - It is awesome!

Clint Sargent: Actually that is terrific, very kind of you. That is awesome!!

SkidMcSkidder: What's stranger still is the fact your chosen genre of "shoegazer" isn't the kind of sound I go for normally although I would say you don't fit too comfortably in that pigeon hole as you have such a unique, individual style which, although you can get flavours of your named influences such as the cure, jesus & mary chain, my bloody valentine, etc, is very easy to listen to and even easier to really get into to!

Clint Sargent: Yes, we've always felt that there is more going on than simply rehashing bands pre-Nirvana

SkidMcSkidder: What I appreciate most about your music is that fact it is so different to the kinda American post-grunge / skater rock that makes it's way over the pond - you have a knack of writing material which is true to your style yet very appealing to the mainstream - a bit like Suzi & the banshees in the 80's

SkidMcSkidder: Shit! showing my age now! (Laughs Out Loud)

Clint Sargent: Oh it's all good, love Suzi! I like that comparison a lot. On this album we concentrated on making the songs more accessible without changing our sound dramatically.

SkidMcSkidder: I especially LOVE "Invitation" & "X-tacy"

Clint Sargent: Thanks! Invitation is the one we first got to work on when it came time to move ahead.

SkidMcSkidder: Let's talk about the Violets and the internet - how do you feel the web has helped getting your sound out to the masses?

Clint Sargent: The web has had a huge impact on that. With out it it's hard to say how far, I mean people always find stuff and in a way some of the mystery might be lost, but yea not sure if people in Russia would be contacting us if it wasn't for the internet.

SkidMcSkidder: Yeah, I hear what you're saying - I'm sure the internet has made the careers of many a unknown band that would have never got past an A&R man! Do you write and maintain your own excellent web site?

Clint Sargent: Well, to be honest I'm not that computer savy. Haven't had the time to figure the language on these matters and so we've hired a person to maintain it.

No shame that in that my man! Better to be expert in few matters (i.e. the music!) than jack of all trades.... In fact the paradox is I got involved in web sites to promote my own song writing / recording efforts aka Incubus Lovechild, but it is now the main reason I have no time to actually finish rebuilding my studio & recording again!

Clint Sargent: It's true. Spent all last year just recording our record.

SkidMcSkidder: It was worth it - you can tell from the quality of the production / sound it's a real labour of love

Clint Sargent: Thanks, it was one of those things, the stress etc., where if we can just get through it and not kill each other than we'll have to have something, right?

SkidMcSkidder: Heh heh! And I take it there were no K.I.A. then?

Clint Sargent: Only one punch up and she really landed one on me.

SkidMcSkidder: Nice! Sticking with the net - have you ever done any web cast shows / live broadcasts?

Clint Sargent: No, not yet. We'll we did just play on KEXP in Seattle and as with a lot stations now they stream. They have been playing "Cool Green" and we've received e-mails from people in NYC saying they heard us here.

SkidMcSkidder: Ha! The track that's actually playing right now on me player! I guess college radio is a good promo tool for US bands too as don't they network shows between dozens of campus stations?

Clint Sargent: Actually I not sure what's happening there.

SkidMcSkidder: I'm recalling an interview I did a few years ago with an American act and I'm sure they said that college radio was the way to go to get major coverage of the buying market as the bigger universities / colleges network across states so the potential for major increases in fan base (and hence CD sales!!) was huge.

Clint Sargent: With this album we've managed to attract not only college stations, but also, bigger stations with budgets. This has lead to a bit of the sell out call.

SkidMcSkidder: Brilliant - so you're almost ready for second edition pressings? What was your initial pressing numbers?
Clint says: That's right we need to press more a few thousand and make a few adjustments on the art work, some things we've lost sleep over because we got a little rushed on it.

SkidMcSkidder: Adjustments to the artwork? Cool - so the original CD's will become collectable then! Ebay anyone...? (Laughs Out Loud)

Clint Sargent: We'll the cover will stay, There are some people who helped out, there were a lot of people who helped us on this, some credits slipped through the cracks during the final days leading up the original release date which got pushed back. We need to properly credit a few people.

SkidMcSkidder: Well thanks very much! heh heh! Just kidding! Ah... immortality - to be mentioned on sleeve notes - I've managed it twice now in the last 5 years... SkidMark will live forever!!

Clint Sargent: 5 years, congrats on that mate!

SkidMcSkidder: It's scary - where did the time go?

SkidMcSkidder: 4 total site rewrites.... and now the this version of SkidMark is tottering on the brink of 200 site pages! I've got 5 more new bands to add before the 1st March too - 1 Russian, 1 from Denmark, 1 UK & 2 US

Clint Sargent: Wow, so how much do you think your site has influenced a band like the Violets?

SkidMcSkidder: I wouldn't of thought a lot - SkidMark is hardly, or the like - I enjoy doing my small piece to help out but I wouldn't say the site was any major competition to the "big boys" - what I hope I give which is different is the "personal touch" to the bands - SkidMark isn't just another cgi script / automated listing site - there is somebody at the other end interested in the band and being available to talk and listen to suggestion

Clint Sargent: Cool, since you have really been our first promotional tool over there I was curious

Clint Sargent: Thanks so much for your work!

SkidMcSkidder: No problem - again that's the other main difference - the bigger sites are $$ orientated, i.e they're businesses whereas SkidMark is purely my passion - it costs me! (Laughs Out Loud)

Clint Sargent: It's really the work you do that keeps music good and honest

SkidMcSkidder: Don't - I'll start blushing! heh heh

SkidMcSkidder: Anything else you want to talk about bruv?

Clint Sargent: I'm good. Thanks Markus this was fun and best wishes to the wife and your Emily.

SkidMcSkidder: Cheers Clint - can I ask a couple more before we go?

Clint Sargent: Yes

SkidMcSkidder: Fantasy zone time....

SkidMcSkidder: If you could tour with any mainstream band past & present who would it be and why?

Clint Sargent: Oh, good one. Some of my personal favorite bands I'm a bit leary of actually hanging out with. that's a tuff one, we won't have a choice in that matter I can tell you. There are some bands now one from Canada called "Stars" that would be good.

SkidMcSkidder: The new CD sales go ballistic and the record company now LOVE you - as a reward they offer to buy ANY new or antique guitar - what would you go for??

Clint Sargent: Hollow body

SkidMcSkidder: Something like a Gibson E335?

Clint Sargent: Exactly

SkidMcSkidder: Nice...

SkidMcSkidder: On the back of the CD going double platinum, you gain instantly celebrity status and every female celebrity from both TV, film & music want to be seen on your arm - who'd be be the lucky lady and where would you hang out with her?

Clint Sargent: Right, well okay, who's interesting now? They all seem so ridiculous, but I guess it would matter as long as they were hot and I suppose I would do the traditional beach gettaway in some paradise, pick your paradise and hopefully get on the cover of a celeb mag while sunbathing nude.

SkidMcSkidder: Like it! Well, unfortunately mate your stuck with me hanging out in cyber space for the time being!! (Laughs Out Loud) but it's only a matter of time.

Clint Sargent: For sure, like it here just fine

SkidMcSkidder: Well it's been an absolute pleasure Clint - I'm pretty well spent now so anything else you want to discuss before we hit the super highway?

Clint Sargent: I'm good. Thanks Markus it has been a pleasure for me as well!. Talk to you soon.

Cheers Clint, all the best of luck with the new album - see on this side of the pond soon I hope. 8-)

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Virtual Interview conducted using MSN instant messenger 26-02-2006
SkidMark Multimedia Productions MMVI