Posted On 22 Dec 2018
VOILÀ consists of Luke Eisner and Gus Ross, who met at USC in LA. Luke is also a successful male model (having done campaigns for Calvin Klein and H&M, featured in fashion outlets like Vogue & GQ). Gus is an Englishman, who attended Eton College, prior to moving to LA a few years back and previously sang in a jazz band in London
Luke & Gus are immensely talented songwriters who let their refreshingly honest takes on heartbreak shine through on their songs. One of their previously released singles – Stand Tall – deals with the challenges of watching someone you love suffer from a terminal illness (in this case, Luke’s Dad dying of cancer)
As recent college graduates – they often explore themes of dissolving relationships – check out previously released singles 100th Second Chance & Lately for reference
In the 6 months since Luke & Gus graduated college, they’ve put together quite a team: Ty Stiklorius of Friends At Work is their manager (John Legend), Josh Binder is their lawyer (Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Marshmello) and Jonathan Adelman is their agent (Ed Sheeran, Sia, Lorde) – so fair to say the industry is lining up to champion VOILÀ.
They’ve recently begun playing their first ever shows, having opened for artists like Kesha, The Fray and X Ambassadors this past summer.
Learn more about VOILA in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
We’re in the middle of finishing a tonne of music in preparation for releases beginning January so it’ll be tweaking and tuning sounds and asking the people we trust to help us choose which ones to finish!
Scribbling lyrics on napkins, telling gus punny jokes, and keeping a tally of how many words Gus misspells in this interview under the pretense that it’s the “British Spelling” of the word.
Since we are now at the back-end of 2018, how has this year treated this band? What is one musical goal that you have had for this year? How close are you to reaching it?
Hmm. VOILÀ didn’t exist before we put our first songs out in January of this year. Since then we’ve opened for some incredible acts and made a tonne of music that we’re proud of.
I know one of Gus’ childhood goals was to be on BBC radio and it was really exciting to watch him live that one out! Because of the time difference, they usually play the track around breakfast time here in LA and it was a really cool moment sharing hi fives over eggs and toast!
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Was it hard to think of a name that you could agree on?
As for working together, we knew right away! Actually, I remember the day we ever met we wrote and produced a song. As for the name, that’s a different story haha. We went through many names for awhile. Some of my favorite phases were “Goldilocks”, “Symphony”, and then “captain and mamba” . I’ll also tease gus for years when he thought “king kompass” was a good idea. When we landed on VOILÀ It felt right. The literal meaning of the word is “there you are”. It’s a direct reflection of what we want people to feel when they hear the music. We want our listeners to see themselves in our stories. We also both grew up with a love for magic so it was a great ending point to our name identity crisis.
How do you think your hometowns have influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group?
I grew up in small town Wisconsin! I’m biased, but It’s such an authentic and genuine part of the country. It’s freezing in the winters so a lot of the entertainment comes from sitting around and telling stories or reading. Musically, the Midwest harbored so many good pop-punk and emo bands. It also is a part of the country that enjoys country music. For me, two of my favorite clever lyricists are Pete Wentz (fall out boy) and Sam Hunt. So I have my hometown to thank for the love of those genres.
I grew up in a small town in the south of England so for me it always inspires me to pursue something that can bring value to my own small beginnings and to those who have invested time and effort in teaching and helping me thus far.
How has your various musical backgrounds helped shape the sound of this band?
This is a good question! My parents found a guitar teacher for me when I expressed interest in learning named Jason Behr. He trained me in classical finger style technique which I am so thankful for because that one hundred percent affects the sound of our songs. I remember Jason telling me he practiced 8 hours a day! That dedication was so inspiring to me when I was younger. He is one talented guy and I owe him an all capital THANK YOU!
I used to sing Jazz music and play more classical styles so for me I bring a certain form and discipline to it. I need certain melodies to resolve in certain ways and it’s definitely from learning from a clear rule book when I first started performing and learning instruments.
How would you say that this group has grown and developed since you first formed in 2015?
There have been a lot of technical changes, but it really all boils down to we’ve grown more and more transparent and authentic. For example, I describe our last song “Don’t” as four chords and the truth. There isn’t any smoke and mirrors around that song. What’s so funny is our growth with this band is a lot like personal growth. Sometimes it takes a long journey only to return back home and realize you were just looking for yourself all along!
Let’s talk about your brand new single, “Don’t.” What inspired this song and has its success surprised you guys at all?
Love is oxymoronic! The only girl I’ve said “I love you” to is also the only girl I’ve said “I hate you” to. We are happy to see the song ringing true to others, that’s how I define if a song is successful or not.
Since you are relatively new to the music business, I’m curious what has surprised you so far about everything?
For me it’s very interesting how fans can access artists now! Growing up, my friends and I would wait outside of venues for hours after a concert by the tour busses in hopes we could meet the band. I even remember writing physical letters to artists! In fact, I wrote a letter to Hayley Williams asking her to my freshman homecoming dance and am still awaiting a reply haha!!! But, now instead of having to get meet and greet passes and all that, fans can just message us on social media! I think it’s absolutely great! People ask us questions, for advice, or even just to share their troubles and it’s so easy for us to build connections with fans I love that about the industry right now.
You have already connected with many big names in the industry. What have they taught you already?
We are very fortunate for the care we’ve been entrusted under. I think our relationships with them have taught us the value of handwritten thank you notes. After we take meetings with anyone we try to write them a letter! It is very easy to get caught up in the business end of things, but we are all in this together as people! Having a personal connection with everyone you work with is a great lesson we’ve learned!
This past summer, you opened for some very big acts. What was like for you all? What’s been a favorite show of yours so far?
Oh it’s an absolute honor! It’s kind of like being invited to meet your girlfriend’s family for the first time. You try your best to impress them! Artists like Kesha, X Ambassadors, and The Fray have these very loyal and supportive family of fans. So to be invited along to play for their ‘families’ is quite the privilege.
Generally, how do you all go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately?
We write together! If we wrote books and not music we would be the most unconventional set of authors around. It’s like sometimes we start on chapter 7, or the prologue, or chapter 1. We never start a song the same way. Sometimes it’s a verse lyric, or a chorus melody, or a guitar riff, or a story concept. There really isn’t a systematic order and that’s what makes them all different!
When do you hope to release more new music and a full collection of new songs?
We are sitting on a lot of new music! So now, it’s in the hands of those who know the business better and when is the best moment to put them out to reach the right people!
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
I think Gus and I are the same on this one. It’s that first listen once we finish the rough cut of a new song. When all the lyrics and melodies are finished and you can sit back and listen to it for the first time. You never get a second first listen so that is priceless!
Can you talk about your wildly theatrical live performances? What inspires these shows and the way that you entertain crowds?
You know, we actually keep things as stripped back as we can! We try to connect with people in the audience and tell stories of what the songs are about. Also, we try to weave covers into our original songs as a medley. That concept comes from when we used to be DJs and would mash songs together to keep people singing along and engaged!
Do you find that all of social media and keeping up with your fans has gotten so overwhelming? Or do you rely heavily on others to take care of that for the band? Which platform would you say that you enjoy engaging with the most?
The algorithm of social media is overwhelming. Tracking likes and when to post and all that is a bit mental. But, we LOVE keeping up with our fans. I don’t even like calling them fans, because they are sharing this whole experience with us so they feel more like team members. We love to chat and to listen, even if english isn’t your first language! Instagram is where we check the most and get back to people the quickest.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape to all the current events?
Gus and I are musicians and not politicians. Our expertise is in lyrics and melody! We stick to what we are in control of which is the nation of VOILÀ! We are in control of the safety and wellbeing of our team and the people that are affected by our music that is what we focus on.
What musicians would you love to work with in the future? What artists have really been inspiring this group and your music since day 1?
I think I mentioned it earlier but my favorite lyricists are Sam Hunt and Pete Wentz so I would love to work with them. My first concert was the Goo Goo Dolls so I’d be eager to sit with Johnny Rzenik. I’d also really love to collaborate with some of my favorite authors! I’m so inspired by literature that I think it would be so cool and unconventional to sit down with an novelist and write a song. I think if I could sit in a room and write a ballad with Nicholas Sparks I’d die a happy man!
James Bay / 30 Seconds to Mars / Paramore would be three that come to mind for me. Maybe all together on one song. Haha
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
I’ll try to keep this one short and sweet! From our songs: “It’s okay to wear your broken heart on your sleeve”. From our live show: “You don’t have to be lonely alone.”.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about this group?
I hope people continue to sharpie lyrics on their arms in the back of classrooms like I used to growing up! Reach out to us, let us know what’s going on in your world! Your stories inspire us tremendously. We love our fans, and so much of loving someone is understanding their struggles and trauma.