Pop trio Hey Violet is making 2021 all about self-discovery with their music. We’re sure many of you are familiar with Hey Violet songs like ‘Guys My Age,’ ‘Hoodie,’ and ‘Better By Myself.’ While we still can’t stop listening to these bops on repeat, Rena, Nia, and Casey have been hard at work on new music that gives listeners a peek inside frontwoman Rena Lovelis’ mind. We here at THP are so excited for this new era of Hey Violet and you should be too.
While we’ve only heard four or five songs from this era so far (okay… maybe pieces of a few more… thanks to Nia), and only two have been released so far, we’re already in love! In honor of their newest single ‘Problems,’ we had a chat with the band about their recent singles, some of their upcoming songs, and the unique bond between Hey Violet and their fans.
So make a cup of tea and relax as we give you the lowdown on 2021 Hey Violet. Oh, and watch their 1920’s inspired lyric video for ‘Problems’ while you’re at it.
It’s been six years since you kicked off the band Hey Violet and we’ve seen you grow up from your late adolescence to early to mid-twenties. What do you think has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a band in that time?
Rena: The biggest lesson so far has been that we can create absolutely anything we want. I feel like much of the beginning of Hey Violet was feeling put into a bit of a box without even knowing. We liked most of the songs we were writing and playing, but we tiptoed and hesitated when it came to trying new stuff. Once we opened that door though, it was a bit of a beautiful avalanche of ideas and inspiration. Also, to stop reading the comment section.
It’s no secret that you’ve influenced young women to pick up instruments, who are some female instrumentalists who inspired you at a young age?
Rena: It’s actually insane the amount of people I’ve thought of right after reading this question. Alanis Morisette, Janis Joplin, Hayley Williams, Taylor Swift, Kate Bush, Amy Winehouse, Stevie Nicks, the list could go on and on.
Nia: I was also really inspired by watching Madonna and Beyonce’s shows. the sets were always insanely creative and it was inspiring to see how much the live shows emphasized their stories and the power of what they had to say.
We are obsessed with the ever-changing aesthetics of Hey Violet! Is there a kind of visual theme you’d love to try for the band that you’ve yet to?
Rena: We’ve got a few ideas in mind for the future, but I think it’d be really cool to do some country-inspired fashion or an artsy/avant grade style. it seems to change moment to moment with us so we’re always down to experiment.
Rena, you were quite candid about what sparked the creation of ‘Problems’ recently. We know that this is appreciated by fans who may be in similar situations, but how has it helped you to be honest with them?
Rena: I only see myself getting more and more open and honest as we have more of our releases coming out. I grew up in a band with Nia where the label we were with really tried to get us to always say the right things and not make too much of a mess in interviews and keep clear of conflict. The more we’ve grown and learned, the more I’ve thought, “what the hell were they thinking that I wouldn’t be a mess? I’m a walking disaster and I can be anything I want!” it’s so unrealistic to pretend like shitty stuff doesn’t happen and everything is perfect. That would be so boring.
Specifically for ‘Problems’ though, I wrote that one at a very unrestrained, almost vicious point in my life. It makes me laugh hearing the juxtaposition of the meaning and the sound. I genuinely had no idea how fucked up my head was at the time, to the point where if someone made it clear that they’d be bad for me, that’s what perked my ears about them. I just wanna go back and grab that younger Rena’s hand and tell her to run. She didn’t need the trouble from herself or anyone else.
You’ve mentioned that ‘Friends Like This’ is a song that you wrote a while back then changed up to be about the isolation of the pandemic. What was the original theme of the song? And you sing “Might take a trip, but just to my fridge,” so we need to know, what has been your go-to lockdown snack?
Funny enough, it was written around the same time as ‘Problems.’ It was about how I leaned into so many unhealthy habits trying to escape my own mind that I couldn’t even connect with anyone around me. I was either too depressed or too wasted and neither of those ever equal a friend. We have some other upcoming songs that touch on that type of stuff so I felt good about rewriting ‘Friends Like This’ to be quarantine-inspired.
I feel like a kindergartener even saying this, but I’ve been obsessed with the tiny snack packs my mom used to pack me for lunch as a kid. I’ve been downing applesauce and diced peaches and mandarin slices. Oh, and apples and peanut butter. It’s a real problem.
In your single ‘Friends Like This,’ you sing about different things you could do to keep yourself entertained during the pandemic, such as bleaching your hair, starting a cult, and golfing. What did you three actually do during the pandemic?
Casey: Well, I started growing potatoes so the pandemic just gave me a green thumb.
Rena: Nia and I have been watching true crime videos but that’s been since long before the pandemic. Nia dyed her hair a few times, I almost shaved my head and oh, I started learning Spanish too!
What Hey Violet lyric from this era means the most to you?
Rena: The album as a whole is a story that means everything to us; it’s hard to pinpoint which lyric means the most because it’s like trying to summarize a lifetime of hurt into one single sentence. A part in one of the songs that always seems to get me is the 2nd verse of our song ‘she’. It goes like this:
“we could drive to nowhere,/ find a hiding place for us/ we could smoke our cigarettes there,/ baby, we could go there, yeah.”
That verse alone obviously sounds like I’m talking to someone but it’s actually me just talking to myself. ‘She’ always breaks my heart because there’s such desperation to wanting to reconnect with myself but the exhaustion of having lost myself in the first place feeling too overwhelming to bear. My whole state of being got to a place where I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror anymore physically, mentally, or emotionally.
You mentioned in a Zoom call with fans that your newest EP Problems will focus on loneliness. Can you tell us what the themes of the two following EPs will be?
Rena: Definitely! The fans know by now I can hardly keep my excitement in about these upcoming songs. To elaborate on the first, Problems isn’t just about loneliness but also loss. Going through the process of writing these songs, I always felt like a chunk of me was missing so whether it felt like I was losing my connection with myself, wondering if I ever had it, or being let down by lovers or friends, there’s that general theme of incompleteness.
The second EP really focuses on what I attempted to do to fill that void I felt. Whether it was with people, relationships, cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, or other shit, I was desperately leaning into those vices and trying to find something that would satiate the longing for wholeness.
I’ll leave the third EP’s theme to be picked apart at another time, but this whole batch of new music really follows me trying to find a sense of belonging. The road to happiness is never a straight path; that’d be much too easy I think. But these songs really encapsulate this road I’m on and I think so many other people are on as well.
Last year Nia started a discord called Hey Violet Hotel to connect all your fans on one server. Nia, what inspired you to do this?
Nia: At the beginning of the pandemic, that’s really the main tool I used to get closer and keep in contact with my friends! We as a band really value the connection we have with our fans and I felt like we could take that a step further by making a little community where people could talk about things they love as well as be able to vent when they have a bad day. It really warms my heart to see the amount of people that have made friends through the server and it makes me happy to know that people have a place to feel safe and feel at home. The Hey Violet Hotel discord really brought all of us together in a really special way, especially during such an isolating time.
The bond between Hey Violet and their fans is so unique! You zoom and game with fans, you sent some of them holiday cards, and have even referred to them as your family. What do you think has caused such a tight bond between you and your fans?
Rena: It really comes back to us always wanting that sense of belonging. We know what it’s like to struggle with mental illness and people that didn’t care for us as we wanted them to and plenty of other stuff that always leaves us searching… we wanted to create that home and that sense of belonging within Hey Violet and we’ve only just begun with it really. Our fans genuinely mean so much to us and we want them to know that they’re safe and loved and supported in our Hey Violet world.
We absolutely adore Hey Violet and we’re so psyched for their new music! What do you think of the new Hey Violet era? Have you listened to ‘Problems’ yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Keep the Hey Violet buzz going in the comments or over on our Twitter @thehoneypop! If you’re as ready for more new songs as we are be sure to presave their next single ‘Dear Love’ here.
Featured Image Source: Diana Mantis