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!
Sargent: For sure, it's an honor to talk especially
since we've been in contact for a few years now.
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?
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.
Cool! And how did you, Kaitlyn, Aaron & Luke get together? You were
all in different bands originally, right?
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
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.
Right - I thought I'd seen another guy credited for Bass duties previously
Sargent: Yea, Allen Davis who's band Every Move a
Picture just toured the UK twice last year.
Excellent! When are the Violets coming over!!?
Sargent: We are going to cover the states this year
and are projecting a tour over the pond next year when are next record
Fantastic - I'll look forward to come to some gigs and filming some live
stuff for the "gigs & vids" section!
Sargent: Can't wait really.
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?
Sargent: Yes, that's accurate we keep in contact
with similar minded acts all along the coast
What's the music vibe like in your part of the country? Is your sound
Sargent: Now, lately shows have been excellent. People
have been responding so well and demanding encores.
(Next month's FAOTM, Stellarscope, are fans of yours apparently)
Sargent: Cool, where are they?
One mo and I'll tell you....
Philadelphia (not sure how to spell PA!)
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.
You play a lot of live gigs & festivals?
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.
Wicked! I grew with a leaning towards the psychedelic with favourites
such as Hawkwind, Pink Floyd, etc - sounds like my kinda town! (Laughs
Sargent: Yes, when I started out people would mention
Hawkwind about my guitar and what not, and then I heard, excellent!
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)
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.
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!
Sargent: Actually that is terrific, very kind of
you. That is awesome!!
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!
Sargent: Yes, we've always felt that there is more
going on than simply rehashing bands pre-Nirvana
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
Shit! showing my age now! (Laughs Out Loud)
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.
I especially LOVE "Invitation" & "X-tacy"
Sargent: Thanks! Invitation is the one we first got
to work on when it came time to move ahead.
Let's talk about the Violets and the internet - how do you feel the web
has helped getting your sound out to the masses?
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.
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?
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!
Sargent: It's true. Spent all last year just recording
It was worth it - you can tell from the quality of the production / sound
it's a real labour of love
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?
Heh heh! And I take it there were no K.I.A. then?
Sargent: Only one punch up and she really landed
one on me.
Nice! Sticking with the net - have you ever done any web cast shows /
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.
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?
Sargent: Actually I not sure what's happening there.
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.
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.
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.
Adjustments to the artwork? Cool - so the original CD's will become collectable
then! Ebay anyone...? (Laughs Out Loud)
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.
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!!
Sargent: 5 years, congrats on that mate!
It's scary - where did the time go?
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
Sargent: Wow, so how much do you think your site
has influenced a band like the Violets?
I wouldn't of thought a lot - SkidMark is hardly myspace.com, garageband.com
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
Sargent: Cool, since you have really been our first
promotional tool over there I was curious
Sargent: Thanks so much for your work!
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)
Sargent: It's really the work you do that keeps music
good and honest
Don't - I'll start blushing! heh heh
Anything else you want to talk about bruv?
Sargent: I'm good. Thanks Markus this was fun and
best wishes to the wife and your Emily.
Cheers Clint - can I ask a couple more before we go?
Fantasy zone time....
If you could tour with any mainstream band past & present who would
it be and why?
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.
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??
Sargent: Hollow body
like a Gibson E335?
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?
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.
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
Sargent: For sure, like it here just fine
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?
Sargent: I'm good. Thanks Markus it has been a pleasure
for me as well!. Talk to you soon.
Clint, all the best of luck with the new album - see on this side of the
pond soon I hope. 8-)