We need more excitement.
At least, that’s the Violet May’s theory on Sheffield’s music scene.
And they’d know. Since forming in 2008, the Violet May have resolutely against the wishy-washy shoegaze sound that defines many indie bands, as bassist Daniel ‘Plim’ Booth explains.
“It was a conscious decision. There are so many bands that sound the same now.”
Violet May’s music is defined by its raucous riffs, unforgiving drums and sleazy vocals.
“Everything we do is still melodic,” says Booth. “Only now we have six members and a different frontman and drummer, as well as Matt Stevenson on synths.
“We had a change in line-up last winter and now we’re a full band again. It’s very exciting and it’s much better now.”
The band is releasing an EP this week, Strange Lives, which features some of the Violet May’s most forceful tracks.
EP opener Letters of Love is a screaming, soaring assault of guitars, drums and backing vocals. Four Letter Lies, on the other hand is more spacious, drudging and War is a full-on seventies metal blow-out. Strange Lives is the EP’s anomaly: it’s clean, slick and more stoned than sweaty, with spacious phrasing and cool bass.
The last track, Long Fall is a punky, very British-sounding number - a contrast to its forerunners.
The EP was recorded at Angelica Studios in Oxford, which is owned by former Jamiroquia keyboardist Matt Johnson.
“The EP was recorded with the old line-up but the vocals have been redone as our old singer, Chris McClure, left the band to do his own thing.”
But the release of the revamped EP marks a new leaf for the band.
“It’s all very fresh, we’ve gota load of new gear, which is great and we have a totally new sound - it’s a lot heavier than it was before.”
The band’s sound has already spread way beyond Sheffield - they have already toured with the likes of Death in Vegas, The Enemy and Alabama 3. The band have also turned heads in the industry - winning the support of BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music and XFM.
The Violet May took their name from the famous Sheffield record store, Violet May’s, which was owned and ran by Violet May Barkworth, who ran the shop right up to being 68 years-old.
But that’s not the band’s only connection to Sheffield’s musical legacy - they also recorded one of their first videos at Peter Stringfellow’s gentlemen’s club in London. Like Violet May, Stringfellow - who ran Sheffield’s infamous Mojo club - was also a key player ion Shefield’s music scene.
The Violet May still pay homage to Sheffield’s musical legacy, though they’re very much looking forward to the future.
“We’re organising some dates in Italy as we as some UK dates as part of a tour,” says Booth.
“It’s all happening. It’s really exciting and it’s proper music.”
The Violet May’s EP is out now.