Posted On 25 Jun 2019
On June 14th, Violet Crime released their EP, Paper Queen.
The music of Violet Crime can best be described as a modern take on vintage sounds. The group, comprising Jeff Mills (vocals), Selina Doran (vocals/guitar), Tom Goier (lead guitar), Kasey Gandham (bass) and Kevin Nagel (drums), have been praised for their powerful dual vocal performances, as well as their blend of indie, pop, soul, blues and jazz into one unique retro-pop genre.
For the Paper Queen EP, Violet Crime deliberately signed on with pop-punk heavyweights Sam Guainana and Derek DiScanio (State Champs), with the intention of creating a modern wrapper for their vintage sound.
What’s super cool about this EP is that it was released via Play Together—a social impact artist management company, co-founded by Violet Crime bassist, Kasey Gandham, that invests a portion of profits back into elementary art and music programs in Chicago. With each release, Play Together pairs a musician with a visual artist, providing a richer and more immersive experience for fans. For Paper Queen, Violet Crime have partnered with Julius Bautista, and a portion of proceeds from music and art sales will go to Intonation Music. Great art for a great cause. 🙂
“There’s no shortage of local, up and coming acts in the Midwest — specifically Chicago — but there’s not a lot that are like Violet Crime.” –Substream Magazine
Connect With Violet Crime Here:
Learn more about Violet Crime in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
Tom: this interview, drove all day up to MN and now enjoying chipotle 😉
Selina: Gonna go buy some fun new gear for our upcoming show – it’s about to feel like Christmas!
Now that we are into the 6th month of the year, how would you say that 2019 is treating the band so far? What have been some goals this group has had this year? How close are you to reaching them?
Selina: Wow, it’s been a year! I think I can speak on behalf of the entire band when I say that we are currently overwhelmed with gratitude. We just wrapped up our Kickstarter campaign to raise money for Intonation Music and Play Together records and completed at 260% of our original goal. So many people contributed to support our music, the art of Julius Batista and the work of Play Together and Intonation Music, and it blows my mind that there are so many generous people out there who care about what we’re doing.
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? Has anything surprised you about this musical journey so far?
Selina: Did you know that it took a year for these guys to convince me to play in this band!? Ha! I knew Kasey through work (that’s another great story, by the way) but I didn’t know anything about the other guys, so I was hesitant to invest my time and energy into something that would be such a time commitment when I didn’t know the crew well. Fast forward one year later and we’ve recorded an album in Toronto, played lots of amazing shows throughout Chicago and are about to throw the biggest celebration at our release show on the 29th at the Bottom Lounge with all of our favorite people! I think the biggest surprise is how quickly the five of us meshed together – we’re best friends now and I don’t know what I’d do without these guys in my life. I love playing music with them and doing life together.
How do you think your hometowns have influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group? If not, what do you think does influence this group?
Tom: For me, I think the biggest way our hometowns have influenced our sound is that Jeff and I went to high school together, so we have been playing music together for years and have noticed we’ve developed this awesome musical telepathy thing that you can definitely feel watching us.
Selina: I’m from a beautiful little town two hours north of Seattle called Bellingham – which has an incredible bluegrass and folk community. I grew up running across the street to play in music circles and house shows at my neighbor’s starting when I was seven years old. I was taught the value of sitting and listening and learning from other musicians who brought their own unique styles to a collaborative session. I think this is one reason I love playing with the guys – they each bring a unique genre and musical expertise to the group and I think our differences make our music more dynamic.
I always like to ask bands if you all hang out socially apart from the music? In other words, when you aren’t working on music, do you guys enjoy hanging out for fun?
Tom: Oh all the time, Jeff and Kevin have lived together, I now live with Jeff, Kasey lives down the block and Selina and I are seeing Dead & Company this weekend.
Selina: Ha! We’re overly involved in every aspect of each other’s lives – We’re best friends! Tom and Jeff just had the best house warming party and we brought our closest friends!
How excited are you all to have released your EP, “Paper Queen,” this month? Did anything surprise you about the overall process of putting this collection together?
Tom: We’re super stoked!
Selina: Making that record in Toronto was an insane experience. We came prepared with our songs, and we were pretty attached to what we thought the end product would be in our heads walking into that studio. I think the most incredible thing about those ten days with Sam was his ability to push us out of our comfort zones to make our music even better. Am I surprised by that talent? No way. Sam’s one of the best and we were so lucky to have the opportunity to work with him. He’s the real deal.
Can you talk about how “Paper Queen” was released via Play Together, the social impact artist management company? How did you first get involved with this organization?
Tom: Play Together was partially founded by Kasey so that is mainly how we got involved. For the collaboration that the Paper Queen release is part of, we were paired with Julius Bautista supporting Intonation Music!
What was it like being partnered with the visual artist Julius Bautista for “Paper Queen”?
Selina: I will never forget the night Julius revealed the two original paintings (Paper Queen and Paper King) to an intimate group of our closest friends and family. He is one of the most talented artists I know. The fact that he wanted to do a collaboration with us and create a physical representation of our music that truly brings the emotion behind the songs to life – that means the world to us.
While it’s hard, can you pick out a few favorite songs on the EP and talk about the inspiration for them and how they got to be on this collection?
Tom: Paper Queen is definitely a favorite of ours. Paper Queen just fell into our arms without a specific inspiration, it was the first song we wrote of the new record, and it started with Kev just hanging out with a guitar playing the chorus chords!
Generally, how do you go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately?
Tom: I think it’s usually someone coming to the table with an idea and everything throws in their own little spice to it. Jeff is for sure the masterful lyricist though 😉
How has your sound grown or changed over the years? What has remained the same?
Tom: I think our sound really changed between our first release “Home Movies” and this one “Paper Queen” but I think we can attribute a lot of that to the addition of Selina’s smooth vocals because that has been the biggest change!
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
Tom: I think I can speak for all of us in saying that any time we are making music is when we are happiest. I personally enjoy changing things up on stage and there is a charm to not playing things exactly like they are on the record, but recording new music is also amazing because you can create things that aren’t always realistic live.
Where can fans see you perform next? What do you think makes for an ideal show for this group? What has been a favorite show of yours in the past?
Tom: Our EP release show is on June 29th at the Bottom Lounge with Johari Noelle, Bright Kid, The Darling Sons, and Tiote! As Jeff once said, our ideal show is the one with “our friends singin the words, man.” My favorite I think has been the Martyrs show, the sound was great, we packed the place and everyone that played that night was great.
How has social media impacted this band? How often are you all on your different sites interacting with fans?
Tom: I do know Kevin and Jeff used to watch my Instagram guitar videos in college 😉 But we engage multiple times everyday with our fans on Instagram and Facebook so I think we’ve developed some really good connections that way. Also makes you realize sometimes how small of a world it really is.
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?
Tom: I think we’d all be pretty stoked to work with a band as amazing as Vulpeck, pretty much everything they touch is 24K magic. There are SO many different artists that inspire us and we all have slightly different musical tastes, so I think that also makes our music unique because it has sparks of all different genres.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
Tom: None of us really know what the heck Jeff is talking about in our music, so you’ll have to ask him..just kidding. For me, I hope theory nerds (like us) hear slight nuances of stuff in our music and pick up on what we’re doing while I hope other people still go “hmm that sounds schweeet” without knowing.