Palma Violets

PopGun Presents

Palma Violets

Devin, Mainland

Jan 28

Doors: 8:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Glasslands Gallery

Brooklyn, NY


Tickets Available at the Door

This event is 21 and over

Palma Violets
Palma Violets
For a long time if you wanted to hear the most exciting new band in Britain, you knocked on a tall black door off the Lambeth Road. An aging British Rail building - part art studio happening, part squat – Studio 180 was where south London’s Palma Violets were gestating, away from sunlight and the world at large.

A thrilling rock'n'roll four piece channelling The Clash, the Mysterians, and the Bad Seeds, from September 2011 they were holed-up here writing songs "their friends could dance to" and occasionally putting on celebratory, ecstatic parties about which word quickly spread.

The opposite of the last significant development in English guitar music when the Arctic Monkeys became the first "MySpace band", harnessing the power of the internet and prompting BBC documentaries and convulsions in major record labels, the Palma Violets’ rise has been notable by their total avoidance of the worldwide web.

In fact until a couple of months ago, they had no online presence, no music recorded, and no press team working for them, this wasn’t the product of some fiendishly counter-intuitive marketing strategy, it was because all they cared about was playing shows.

“We didn’t want to put ourselves on Facebook, Youtube or the internet because we hadn’t recorded any songs,” explains singer Sam Fryers. “We were making this noise together in a room for fun and that’s where you had to experience it.”

“The best way to see a rock’n’roll band is to go and see them play live,” elaborates bassist Chilli Jesson. “That’s all we wanted people to do.”
“And of course, we hate being in recording studios,” laughs Fryer.

It’s not hard to see how word of mouth spread about the band. If you got through the door in that early period, what greeted you was an intoxicating sense of chaos. Beer being sold out of a dustbin in a makeshift kitchen, experimental artwork protruding from every wall, kids milling about, seemingly all friends, just waiting for the moment the band would start to play, normally around 11 at night, but sometimes a whole lot later.

In an airless basement that could hold 50 people, the band would finally appear in a hail of feedback and organ noise, before blazing their way through a short, incredible set: their sound a primitive, wild rock’n’roll music offering echoes of ‘60s garage and soul but with a defiant Englishness at its core, the band themselves radiating a ferocious energy, encapsulated in the tense and tactile interplay between Jesson and Fryer but driven forward by the incessant beat of Will Doyle’s drumming.

After a period of parching drought in British guitar music, this was akin to stumbling across the oasis in the desert just before you and everyone else died of dehydration.

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for record labels to catch on and in the first few months of 2012, Palmas Violets were courted intensely. From the outset, though, they only ever wanted to sign to one, and that was Rough Trade.

As Jesson recalls:“When Rough Trade came down, it was so special. It was like they restored our faith in music. I mean they actually talked about music for a start. Geoff Travis was the only person who picked up on the fact that we were doing a cover of The Riveiras’ ‘California Sun’. The other guys talked about supermarkets and shelving and how we were going to penetrate the market.”

The feeling was mutual.
Devin may be a fresh face on the New York music scene, but this Brooklyn native tends to a time-honored tradition of red-hot rock and roll. (Think Iggy Pop, Jack White and the New York Dolls.) His last job was stacking boxes in a shipping warehouse. He doesn't do that anymore.
Can you talk a little bit about what you were doing before this?

You know, I was working a terrible job and living with a roommate in a basement apartment in Park Slope—a little shithole with no windows. We were both single and pretty much depressed, not doing anything. Absolutely nothing was happening; I hated New York and everyone I knew. I was like, "Maybe I'll move to Germany."

Then you started writing songs.

I'd been writing before that, but they were pretty terrible. I mean, really bad. But then I started working with these classic forms that everyone understands: rock and roll, rhythm and blues. I never knew I could pull off rock, but I wrote some songs and I could tell I didn't suck anymore. They have references all over the place to the music that I like. I think that's part of what makes it good—it's got really specific references to good music.

People have already started mentioning David Johansen and Iggy Pop.

There's a million different guys and girls you could point out. But Iggy Pop is definitely one you can stand behind as a pillar.

What do you like about him?

I discovered him late; I think I was 24 or something. I saw this video on YouTube of him doing "The Passenger," which isn't even him in his prime. But it just took me in that moment; it hit me personally. I never saw anyone do that. He's obviously a man, but he's acting like a child. It's so cool. Everybody wants to do that: get up onstage and flip out—but without looking like a fool. Anyone can go up there and look like a fool. But to pull it off for real, I was just like, Wow. Rock and roll is supposed to be fun, you know? And so many times it's not. Rock and roll on the radio—well, now there's no rock on the radio, at least in New York. But when I was young, in high school, rock was definitely not fun. It was terrible.

So you began utilizing these classic forms. Did you know what you wanted to sing about?

The forms suggest what the songs are about—they put you in a world. Take the first line from "New Horrors": "Junkie's shaking in the subway car / My baby's shaking on the dance floor." Everyone's seen that. And "White Leather," that's a song about getting ready to go out. The album takes place at night, I think—it's about running around with the one you love, doing whatever you want.
Mainland was formed in the summer of 2010 after a chance meeting at a rooftop party between songwriter Jordan Topf and Corey Mullee, who shared similar tastes in music. Zachary Walter a classmate of Mullee's joined on bass, shortly thereafter Dylan Longstreet joined on drums. In spring of 2011, the band hibernated into their studio "The Bunker" for future producer Nick Stumpf who would go on to record and mix the band's first EP, Summer Sick. Following the release the band made its way to California for a west coast tour. Mainland is currently recording their first album.
Venue Information:
Glasslands Gallery
289 Kent Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11249