To coincide with the release of the beautifully ethereal new single inertia, we caught up with the creative mind behind the project violet oscillation.
We talk all about the music, the enchanting visuals that support it, and what the plan might be for the months and years ahead. Here’s the conversation in full.
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Hey, great to chat with you – thanks for the interview! inertia is wonderful, ambient-cinematic yet melodic and deeply calming to delve into. What inspired the track, and what was the creative process like?
Hey! Great to talk to you. I write compositions all the time when we’re filming for pedal partners. inertia was something that I felt was too lush to pass up on.
I’ve always found music, in particular the Shoegaze music I make, to be a cathartic process for me. Something flowed through me to create the drone chords heard on the inertia.
Lyrically, the song is very introspective & was a therapeutic way for me to release some of the negativity that has been the last couple of years. I tend to write the music & lyrics separately. I’m writing lyrics all the time, I then find the song that fits for them.
How do you usually get started with a new musical work – is it an acoustic, solo instrument approach, or more intricate with software from the start?
Composition always starts with guitar for me. I often approach the use of effects as a whole separate process. So, I might write a song with no effects, just a clean guitar tone (I always prefer writing on an electric guitar, even unplugged, over an acoustic) & then figure out what textures I want to create.
On the other hand, sometimes I’ll start a song off after being inspired by one or more effects pedals. For inertia, the latter was the case.
Source Audio sent over the wonderful Ventris reverb & that has been a big inspiration recently. I’ve written a few really lush Shoegaze songs with it. It’s not only a great reverb, but has wonderful delays & modulations, which really hark back to the rack units Shoegazer’s would use in the 90s.
What does the name Violet Oscillation represent?
I was initially going to call the project “violet” but felt something more had to be added to the name. A lot of what I do crosses over between my visual & auditory worlds. My vision is strongly based in the visual medium & I love how each aspect (music & visuals) will inspire the other.
A lot of what we’ve done so far (Paige, Becca & I) with pedal partners has focused in on a certain colour palette that our audience will know by this point. Purples have always been amongst my favourite colours, I love lavender fields. The ‘oscillation’ part came to me on a run. Delay pedals are my favourite & in particular the PS-2, the way that pedal oscillates is one of my favourite things.
“I like focusing on textural sounds that might be considered noise or redundant in other genres.”
How did the visuals come to be, and how do you hope this aspect will redirect the audio experience?
That’s something that’s always been there. I’ve been playing with visuals ever since I started playing music. It can really help bring the room together if you like. You can communicate so much more, or something different entirely, with visuals in relation to a song or music video for example.
Paige & Becca of abstract in sound really helped me hone in on the way I create visuals, I really appreciate the female energy they bring & so a lot of what we do is back & forth between our projects – we’re all in the same creative world, a sort of creative collective.
What would a live performance entail, and is this something you’re keen to showcase in the coming months and years?
I’ve been itching to get back to playing live shows, in fact the whole band has, since our last show in 2019. Of course, a lot has happened since then. I’m in the US at the moment & my rhythm section is in London. We’ve got some things in the works, so hopefully we’ll have something for the end of the year or, failing that, 2024.
What recordings or artists impacted you the most during your early years, and who do you still listen to now?
Slowdive have consistently been with me since before all this (pedal partners, violet oscillation etc.) so it was an honour having Simon lend his ears to the master. Tame Impala used to be a big thing for me, he still kind of is, the outro bassline was inspired by his more recent work. But mostly I’m really into guitar bands – Shoegaze, Post-Punk, Post-Rock.
I think a lot of experimental musicians venture away from guitar, but guitar is just what gets me most excited. I’ve been playing so long it’s just an extension of me & I have lots of ways to keep things fresh.
The heavier shift towards the end of the track is unexpected, artistically well-placed – what was your mindset or intention with this sudden change?
Sonically that represents a storm. I guess the song is about me weathering various storms. It’s pretty chill for the most part, but I guess the outro is anxiety manifesting itself. It’s a cruel thing, I guess it keeps the listener on edge, out of the blue, this heavy distorted bass.
What do you hope listeners take away from the release, and where do you imagine is the best setting for experiencing it?
I just hope it can bring healing & calm for people. I’ve always been about positivity & building other people up, there’s so much negativity in the world, I want to create a place for people to escape.
Visually & sonically I think it’s pretty out there, but I don’t know anymore, I’m so far down the Shoegaze rabbit hole, when I hear a song with only two or three layers, well that’s the point I don’t really hear it, it might as well be John Cage’s ‘4:33’ – but even that changes with each performance, right?
Music is all about weird & wonderful textures for me, I love listening to songs & finding new sounds years after I’ve first listened to something. Once you get sucked into an artistic world you enjoy it can be a really fulfilling experience.
What would resemble your idea of success as a musical composer and artist?
To be able to keep putting out music I enjoy & seeing the friends I’ve made along the way enjoy it too. I want to keep doing this my whole life, enjoying the expression of my art.
Is this a self-made project or was collaboration important?
Yeah, all done independently. Paige & Becca of abstract in sound filmed the music video, & Simon Scott of Slowdive mastered the song, but otherwise I composed, recorded, mixed & edited up everything.
A big part of my creative vision is about creating art independently. I enjoy every step of the process from composition, to mixing, making the music video & then getting stuff out into the world. I can express myself in many different ways.
I find it hard to switch off sometimes, I’ve really been trying to get better at that, like working less & trying to rest, but creating stuff is just too fun!
What’s next for you?
Hopefully, we’ll be going into record the debut album soon. We have such a backlog of songs now, another album’s worth of material from the initial incarnation of the band too. I just want to keep putting more & more music out. Live shows too, I can’t wait for those.
“Music is what drives me & I have no clue what I’d do without it.”
Cheers for having me!
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