THEIR TIME HAS COME
Violent Soho’s third album Hungry Ghost went gold last month and won two AIR Awards, just as the Brisbane-based rockers were preparing to kick off their national tour comprising 23 performances
Music from the 1960s was big in the ’80s, the ’90s were all about the ’70s, and whatever we call the decade from 2000-10 endured an inexplicable ’80s revival.
So by that logic, this decade will eventually be remembered for the return of ’90sinfluenced music – and Brisbane band Violent Soho are happy to be at the forefront.
Just don’t make the mistake of labelling them “grunge revivalists”. And definitely don’t mention Nickelback.
“In 2010 everyone was calling it a ‘grunge revival’, and we felt like people didn’t understand what we were doing if they thought we were trying to revive a genre from when we were children,” Violent Soho guitarist James Tidswell explains.
“The word ‘grunge’ was not really accurate for us, because we thought we had punk rock and pop-punk influences as well. When I was a kid, grunge was Bush and Live and Days of the New. I was 10 or 11 when grunge (was replaced by) Green Day and The Offspring and Silverchair, so that’s what we’re influenced by and what we’re always going to play.
“When people were saying we’re part of a grunge revival, we thought grunge was still around and had morphed into Nickelback.
“So it was pretty hard for us – we were like ‘ What? You think that’s what we sound like?’
“It seemed a little bit unfair. But the first review we ever got called us Britpop, so we didn’t really care what people labelled it. Everyone’s got their own take on it, so you can call us whatever you want. So if ’90s music comes back into vogue then, hey, it’s good timing for us.”
You could argue that Violent Soho – Tidswell, Luke Boerdam (guitar, vocals), Luke Henery (bass) and Michael Richards (drums) – are already in vogue, having won a legion of fans across the country with their hard-hitting performances at festivals such as Falls, Big Day Out and Splendour in the Grass.
They have also released a string of popular singles such as Jesus Stole My Girlfriend, Saramona Said, Neighbour Neighbour and Covered in Chrome, which came in at No.14 on Triple J’s Hottest 100 of 2013.
Violent Soho’s popularity went to a new level last September with the release of their third album Hungry Ghost – the follow-up to 2010’s self-titled record – which debuted at No.6 on the ARIA album charts and spent more than a year in the top 50.
Hungry Ghost officially reached gold status last month, and won Violent Soho the Best Independent Album and Best Independent Hard Rock, Heavy or Punk Album categories at last month’s AIR Awards.
The band is also nominated for Best Group, Best Independent Release and Best Australian Live Act at this month’s ARIA Awards.
All those accolades are nice, but don’t mean as much to Tidswell as something else that happened recently. Last month, one of his musical heroes, Blink 182 bassist Mark Hoppus, tweeted “hi @violentsoho, I like your band”.
“That was probably the raddest thing to ever happen,” Tidswell says.
“I never would have seen it coming. The fact that he even listened to it, let alone took the time to tweet about it, was pretty cool.
“As a kid, (Blink 182’s) Dude Ranch was the album that kicked everything off for me, as far as wanting to play music.
“I grew up listening to music like Sonic Youth, and we’re lucky enough to be signed to Thurston Moore’s label (Ecstatic Peace! Records), so he’s heard us. Now Blink has heard us too so it’s pretty cool man, I’m stoked.”
“It’s been an awesome year, a very new experience for us. In 10 years we’ve probably been popular for about four months. They say you should high-five everyone on the way up, and high-five everyone on the way back down.”
Violent Soho are embarking on their No Sleep Til Mansfield 23-date national tour, hitting every capital city and a number of regional towns across Australia.
Rock band Violent Soho are happy to be labelled just about anything except “grunge revivalists”.