HEY VIOLET are undoubtedly the most dynamic and exciting up and coming alternative-pop band of the moment, and there’s so much more than meets the eye with these guys. Even before the release of their debut album FROM THE OUTSIDE (coming June 16), Hey Violet have attracted a lot of attention. Brii recently caught up with Rena and Casey from the band to talk all things FROM THE OUTSIDE.
If you aren’t already familiar, Hey Violet are honestly kind of an anomaly in the alternative music scene. Even without an album, they’ve opened for the Foo Fighters and the Smashing Pumpkins under their former name Cherri Bomb, and they were recently the cover stars of Kerrang! magazine (the first band in 5 months to feature a woman). After getting a heck load of hate from the alternative music community for not being ‘alternative enough’ to take the cover, vocalist Rena Lovelis took it all in her stride, telling us that “a lot of genres have almost morphed, and taken on so many different faces of what alternative could be- so I definitely feel like we are alternative in our own way. We’re alternative-pop, ya know?”. And honestly, she’s so right.
It’s ironic though how quickly the alternative music scene has been ready to write-off Hey Violet given their distinctly punk-inspired roots. These kids have some serious punk-rock credibility, with Rena crediting Physical Graffiti by Led Zeppelin as the record that changed her life, and Casey claiming Van Halen’s self-titled as the record that changed his. Add to that the fact that they have the seal of approval from the Foo Fighters and their fans, who according to Rena “were really receptive… they were just really happy to hear women doing music”- and any argument that Hey Violet are simply a vapid-pop band is immediately squashed.
While From The Outside is largely an alternative-pop bop, there are moments on the album where the style of their first EP pops through, like in the end track This Is Me. Rena admits that this is an intentional marrying of their previous and new sounds, saying “we didn’t write it thinking ‘oh we have to like come up with one that’s gonna sound like our old stuff’- it kinda just happened. We had no idea that it was gonna be on the album, but we were like ‘that one would actually be really fun on the album’ so we threw it on there as a little homage to the first EP”.
From the perspective of a young woman in the music industry, Rena and her bandmates have had to deal with venue staff questioning why they’re backstage and admits that while sexism is still rampant, we’ve come a long way stating “for lack of a better word the ‘weirdness’ that comes from girls being in the music industry is assuming that they’re either girlfriends of musicians, or they’re someones daughter, and I feel like people need to just generally have a more open mind about it. This could be an artist, this could be someone’s daughter, but we walk in and I’ve had a moment where someone was like ‘what are you doing here, what are you doing?’ and I’m getting in trouble for being there and I’m about to go on stage?! But I feel like it’s definitely becoming more of an open minded industry in that there are a lot of female performers out there, and I love that. So. You know, power to ya!”
And their philosophy about making young women feel welcome in the music industry extends to their unrelenting support of other female performers getting the recognition they deserve, with Rena gushing that “it’s not a competition- you see a lot of guys on the cover of magazines, but it’s nice when you finally see a strong woman gracing the covers of any magazine, especially a music magazine. It’s nice to see some women in the music industry killing it. I love seeing Hayley Williams on any cover and I honestly just get so happy”. The sisterhood of female empowerment in the music industry honestly makes us so happy too.
There’s so much more to Hey Violet than you think. Don’t be fooled by their pop bops, these kids have something to say, their songs are all so highly relatable (who among us hasn’t dealt with a Fuqboi?) and they’re the real deal. Their debut album From The Outside is dropping on June 16th, and it’s available for pre-order right now. It’s set to be your new fav, honestly (Hoodie is such a bop- I’ve been subjecting to office to it for over a week).