Anti-Violet are a noisy duo turned three piece punk machine hailing from Melbourne, a newfound trifecta of Ashlin Johnson on vocals and guitar, Hayley Francis on the bass and Lewellyn Irving smacking the skins.
Since they picked up Francis on the bass, this act has found tremendous new character, realised especially in their latest single Fuzz Brain. With a couple of gigs looming on the horizon and more releases in the works, we caught up with Anti-Violet for the latest.
Catch a buzz with Anti-Violet, the fuzzy, scuzzy Melbourne three piece making waves in the city’s electric punk scene.
HAPPY: Hey guys, what’s up? What are you up to at the moment?
ANTI-VIOLET: Ashlin is busy putting the finishing touches on the mix for our next single When I Find Myself while Hayley is making a gig poster and Lewellyn is probably sleeping. We’re also busy getting ready for a string of gigs we’ve got coming up really soon!
HAPPY: What went into the decision to bring Hayley in on bass?
ANTI-VIOLET: Well, we’ve had a problem with finding a permanent bassist since the band’s formation. And then there was Hayley who conveniently purchased a bass guitar and wanted to learn, so we thought what better way to learn than to humiliate yourself in front of an audience.
HAPPY: Have you found any challenges making music with someone you’re dating?
ANTI-VIOLET: I think we were really hesitant at first because most of the time relationships in bands just end badly, but it has actually made the whole experience a lot more enjoyable and civilised, especially breaking the monotony of having a bunch of boys arguing all the time. Before playing in the band Hayley was always involved anyway, making music videos, helping produce songs and being a pro roadie, so it’s not all that different.
HAPPY: On the other hand for Ashlin and Lewellyn, how has being friends for so long helped or hindered Anti-Violet?
ANTI-VIOLET: We haven’t always been friends, we’ve just known of each other’s existence for a long time. Lewellyn used to bully Ashlin in school because he was friends with Ashlin’s older brother and Ashlin was a fragile guitar nerd. But over time we’ve come to accept our differences and play music together, and the band feels more stable just because we’ve known each other for so long.
HAPPY: Your new cut Fuzz Brain is scuzzy as, I love it. Can you shed some light on what this one’s about?
ANTI-VIOLET: So basically Fuzz Brain is about our overstimulated lives through screens and memes. I like the idea of static sounds and television sets. But mostly I just bought a fuzz pedal and wanted a cool track for it to feature on.
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HAPPY: I hear there’s a video in the works too! Who did you work with on this one and what can we expect?
ANTI-VIOLET: Hayley was part of the film club in uni where she met Jeremy Teh, who edited a short B-grade musical film Hayley and Ashlin made last year. Jeremy directed and edited the music video, which was shot entirely in front of a green screen in our unit. Expect great quality special effects, acting and advertising.
HAPPY: Can you talk about working with Common Cult? They seem like they’re doing awesome things.
ANTI-VIOLET: It’s great because Common Cult can handle all the non-creative stuff that’s completely necessary to being in a band like distribution and marketing, which we have no clue about. Because it’s run by Hayley we can get everything our way and it’s just awesome being part of a collaborative of local creative people who support each other and play a decent game of pool.
HAPPY: Who are some of your other favourite punk acts kicking around Melbourne right now? The scene seems pretty vicious.
ANTI-VIOLET: Some of our favourite fierce locals are party goths Heat Wave and dreamy angst babes Chelsea Bleach. Gold Class are great for our post-punk moods and we also never say no to grooving out with our label-mates AMIKO.
HAPPY: You’re playing a couple of shows this month. If you had to give one piece of advice to the punters heading in, what would it be?
ANTI-VIOLET: Even if you’re an introverted weirdo like us, you should never be afraid to have a cheeky boogie. Dancing probably releases endorphins or something, and it’s the only form of exercise we ever get.
HAPPY: And after you’ve walked off the stage and hung up the boots, what’s next for Anti-Violet?
ANTI-VIOLET: We’ve got too much on to hang up our boots! The Fuzz Brain music video is out this week, we’re headlining the Evelyn next week and the Tote next month, later in July will be Common Cult’s first birthday party and in August we’ll have another single out. We’re drinking lots of coffee just to get through it all but luckily we love coffee.
Catch Anti-Violet around Melbourne in the coming weeks: