Featuring the mellow vocals of former Savoir Adore lead singer Deidre Muro, the atmospheric guitar work of MGMT collaborator Derek Muro (her brother), and the virtuoso electronic programming of French Horn Rebellion’s David Perlick-Molinari (her husband), Violet Sands sounds like a musical experiment aimed at demonstrating that quirky arrangements and intense vocals can coexist, and that cut and paste music can have a heart. Their striking sound makes it a perfect band for a Delicious Audio feature!
How did this new project come together?
Deidre: First of all, we are family. Derek (my brother) and I have played music together in various formations since we were kids, and David (my husband) and I have been making music since we met. We came together over shared interests, in music and in ideas we were personally exploring – self-discovery, returning to roots… The timing was kismet.
Your music sounds very playful. Are there any instruments, pieces of equipment or musical toys that made you rediscover the playful side of creating?
Deidre: We’ve had SO much fun playing with our work process – Sometimes we’ll write at a computer while simultaneously recording, but other times we’ll just write in a room together with instruments. Sometimes we’ll make up games for producing a track – collaborating by taking turns with time limits. We’ve also done remixes of our own tracks, finding 3 or 4 new ways of approaching one song. This led to some of our favorite moments of the EP. As for equipment, the Ableton Push has really opened up a lot of possibilities for what we do – in the writing process and also in live performance.
What is it that most frequently ignites the initial idea for a song? A melody, a chord, words, an electronic sound, a loop?
Deidre: It can range from a story, character or concept idea to a simple beat, from Derek looping a guitar phrase for 20 minutes to a lyrical theme. Recently, the most common has been the thirty second jam one of us made on our own and the saved in a shared folder. Another one of us will discover it and go to town on it and it will grow into a song in stages.
David: All the jamming and improvisation really starts coming together when we find something that tickles us, about how the meaning of the words marry with the feeling of the harmony/groove, and then in a moment the song is revealed.
What are the synths and/or drum machines that have become some sort of signature sound in the band’s songs?
Derek: There aren’t any specific pieces of gear that have that role, although I would say something that has become part of our signature recently has been a process of taking audio, chopping it up and re-purposing it. These can be from recordings we’ve made on our phones to sound effects to existing loops.
David: Twisting our own audio samples on their heads has been the source of great joy in the recording/writing process. It’s so out-of-body 🙂The guitar sounds in Violet Sands are very atmospheric, what kind of guitar effect are you using to get that sound?
Derek: We love atmospheric guitar sounds! On the EP I used Deidre’s Gretsch Electromatic, my Fender Telecaster and sometimes a vintage Hagstrom electric 12-string. A lot of the sounds came from a mixture of an amp mic’d far away, and a stereo direct signal coming out of pedals. Many times the direct sounds are the bulk of it. Some of my favorite hardware effects on the recordings are the Eventide PitchFactor (lots of wild pitch modulation effects) and the Black Arts Pharaoh Supreme (very fuzzy leads).
What one piece of hardware/software would you most like to add to your recording setup?
Derek: An Elektron Monomachine. We’re all really into SOPHIE’s music and recently saw him play here in Brooklyn. We read that he uses that synth often, so we’re very curious – the different synthesis methods sound really interesting.
David: A Mighty Wurlitzer!