Interview with Violent Attitude If Noticed

Formed in 2008, Sao Paolo based band Violent Attitude If Noticed have ever since then been on a mission to define what is post-progressive rock. Having released three studio albums so far, they’ve been more than successful in their initial goal. The band’s third album “Eight” was released in 2014, and about it and the future Prog Sphere talked with main songwriter Will Geraldo.

How long “Eight” was in the making? Describe the journey this album represents.

“Eight” took about 11 months to be made and it’s by far our most ambitious album. The journey from the previous album and throughout the production was quite rewarding because we managed to achieve what we expected from ourselves. To put it simply … evolution I guess. We’re really proud of this record.

Tell me about the themes the album captures.

Many people asked if the album was called “Eight” because of the eight tracks in it but the theme behind it is all about the successive pattern of mistakes that human beings have chosen as their path. The number 8 represents exactly that and that’s the theme that permeates the album.

Violent Attitude If Noticed - EightDescribe the creative process behind the new album, and the process behind the propulsive, mercurial title track.

When we first start discussing ideas for a new album we knew we would have to work hard. First because “Timeline” was a great album and make something better wouldn’t be easy and second because we wanted to mix all the influences we have and turn these into new musical ideas so in other words we wouldn’t limit ourselves, not because we did it before but perhaps this time around we were more aware of it. When we had all the songs, we went for the second stage which was listing elements we wanted to incorporate such as children’s choir, female vocals, children vocals, textures and timbres and then we started to work on those. Many experiments were made and some good extra stuff ended up being written and kept for future use. In terms of the title track, it would have to transmit the idea of the whole album and its theme, so the song “Eight” represents everything that the album has to show. Anger, uncertainty, hope, faith, distress, hate etc in no particular order but laid in a way that the listener can be transported from hell to heaven and back again. There’s nothing better to represent hope than children singing and nothing better to represent disgust than acid guitar effects and distorted drums. On top of all that we ask the puzzling question “who are the real enemies ?” There you have it.

Delve deeper into what “Salvation” is communicating.

Humanity seems to have a need for outsourcing responsabilities. Some people put in god the responsability over their decisions when something goes wrong and I honestly think that if there is a god, he/she/it would have better things to do or more important problems to fix than wasting time with those because of their decisions. There’s always a price to pay and we have to raise awareness of how we can affect others and the consequences of that.

Where does “Eight” stand compared with “You Never Met My Fears” and “Timeline”?

For each of the previous albums we had a different line up and therefore different influences altogether. On ‘You Never Met My Fears’ we were figuring out our sound. On “Timeline’ we kind of had it figured but it was only on ‘Eight’ that we felt very strong about being in a common place summing all our influences.

It’s been four months since “Eight” was released. Are you satisfied with its reception?

Very much so. We actually didn’t expect this much. On the first week we already had more downloads than all previous albums summed together and that was absolutely fantastic.

Which bands or artist influenced your work for the album?

As a whole and not only for the album I would say Tool, Peter Gabriel, Porcupine Tree, New Model Army, Marillion, Depeche Mode, Front 242, David Bowie, Tom Jobim and Miles Davis.

Tell me about the complexities of creating this album.

The production would involve elements that weren’t available at first. The ideas were there but the tools weren’t and we wanted to introduce elements that hadn’t been used before. The children’s choir for instance. Those kids couldn’t go to the studio because of logistics so after trying for 3 or 4 times to bring them over, we decided to record them on location and off we went to another city about 3 hours from ours with a recording rig into the church where they used to rehearse and do it there and then. The female singers were another complication because of their time schedule and also because they lived in different cities. Logistics again. Once we had all that sorted it was just a matter of fine tuning. During the mixing sessions a few more things were tossed in it and after that we sen it over to Jon Astley (The Who, Porcupine Tree, Anathema, George Harrison) for mastering. Fortunately we ended up having more than expected.

What types of change do you feel “Eight” can initiate?

In terms of music, to us, I believe this album has put the band on the right direction. In terms of listeners, it would be nice if the message got into people’s minds. I believe in a better future and we try to use our music to inspire others.

Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?

Not really. When ideas pop in we tend to register them all and then when we sit down to write the actual songs we go back and check if those ideas will fit. Of course you can call that a pre-defined pattern but I don’t see it that way.

Violent Attitude If Noticed

Violent Attitude If Noticed (photo: Juliana Bueno)

What kind of gear do you use for recording your music?

As engineer I like to combine classic sounding with new technology so we will always go for Vox, Marshall and Roland with classic mic’ing and sum these with software sounds for the guitars, Ampeg for the bass which is unbeatable, analog synths and VST’s being largely explored and my recording rig is based on Symetrix converters, Universal Audio DSP, Drawmer EQs and TL Audio tube compressors hooked on Logic Pro X.

What is your view on technology in music?

I think it’s great as long as people know how to apply it. I have heard so many dreadful albums in the last few years and that’s purely because “professionals” don’t understand how to work on the digital domain and I’m not getting into the old argument of analog being better than digital. Both are great if you know how to combine them and because I come from the old school of anaIog audio I always say that good practices in analog will always be good practices in digital.

What is your first musical memory?

A Bee Gees compilation cassette my mom used to play over and over.

Are there any modern progressive bands that you listen to?

There has been so much crossover in styles that I find hard to classify what is prog these days but Lifesigns, Mastodon, Katatonia, Opeth, Gandalf’s Fist, Machines Dream are some names worth mentioning.

What advice or philosophy might you impart to other musicians, be it in forms of creativity, technical stuff, the business side of it, or anything else?

I suppose the most important thing about making music is writing music. Give up on the idea of tribute/cover bands and make your own. At first money won’t pay but in time you will realise that there are other ways to go about making money with music.

What are your plans for the future?

Because our creative process takes about one year, we have already started working on compositions for the 4th album. Future is right now.

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Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

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