Echo Chamber: Turning violet Violet

[Echo Chamber (′ek·ō ′chām·bər): noun, 1. a dedicated space for the purposes of transmission and repetition of sound 2. a video segment that features your favorite bands playing your favorite songs 3. a video segment where your favorite bands blow your mind].


Words and photos by Jim

Artist / Turning violet Violet
Songs / “When We Were Young” & “Pink Sky”
Location / Regent Square Apartment
Time / May 14 2011

Our first Echo Chamber shoot with an out of town band. Exciting! Sara from Turning violet Violet emailed me in late April complimenting our blog (flattery gets you pretty far when you don’t get paid for blogging) and threw out the idea of shooting a video when they were in town for a show. Interesting idea. The Philly band would be in early on a Saturday afternoon before their evening show at Brillobox. Brandon, Sara’s husband, was from Pittsburgh, was a Steelers fan, and the whole band would be in to visit with the family and had some time to kill before their show. Everything sounded awesome. I gathered the troops to see if it would work. Todd was in. Justin, unfortunately, was busy packing his life away for his imminent move to Portland, OR (we miss you JA). Hmm. Well, with Justin moving soon, we might as well live dangerously and see how we could scrap some sound recording equipment together. Sara and I emailed back and forth to figure out the details, finally talking in person as the band pulled up on a sunny and warm Saturday afternoon in May. She was carrying an accordion case. I liked that.

The band piled out of two or three cars, luckily finding parking spots on the coveted Regent Square side street. Instrument cases piled high. Cymbals flashed in the afternoon sun. Clear containers filled with bells, cords, and glockenspiels rattled up the wooden steps as we loaded things into the apartment. David and Dani were hanging around after an impromptu band meeting. They split for lunch while I started to stress about space and sound. I had asked the band if they had any experienced sound guy friends in the area. They replied, not really, but brought a friend who had helped with recording. Interestingly, it was Jake, one of our Twitter friends. We laughed about internet friendships. He helped me set up sound equipment. The band was more than eager to try out these newly re-arranged tunes. With clicks and hums of an accordion, the band began their first song, surrounded by sunshine in my apartment.

They were on. The band was executing perfectly, smiling and joking with each other in between takes. We discussed Philly and Pittsburgh rivalries. We talked Penguins. We rapped about Steelers. I sweated over the sound I was recording. Without Justin around, I felt vulnerable. I had no real clue if what I was recording would even be useable. I hoped. I prayed. I checked the mic placement, pretending that I knew exactly what I was doing. Jake sat beside me and listened to the mixes, confirming my assumptions and making me feel a bit better. It would have to do. It made it almost unbearable that Turning violet Violet was playing so well. Their songs were terrific and I couldn’t have been happier working with a band I’d never really heard before. I was having tremendous luck and only hoped that that very same luck would translate onto “tape”. We would see. With bells and glockenspiels primed, the band began “Pink Sky”.

I was so impressed. This band knew their shit and made it look easy. We did a few takes of each, but really, each one was just turning out to be better than the last. Todd was feeling it, moving deftly in and out, between players and around mic stands. No false steps. No lazy camera work today. I had commited to my mic placement and would have to deal with the consequences. So be it.

The band was happy with their two songs and eager to get on the road and visit some family before their evening gig. Home cooked meals. Nap time. I could sense the nervousness and excitement as they discussed their evening show, promising to put me on the list. I told them I’d love to see them in full form. I promised. I followed through. We shook hands and the band drove away in two cars back across town, their heads filled with set lists and song lyrics for the evening show. I sat down on the front steps and took a deep breath. Not having Justin around anymore was going to be tough.

Huge thanks to Turning violet Violet for coming through town and asking to hook up with us for this awesome shoot. We had a blast doing it and we were all impressed with their stripped down set and the whole deal later that night at Brillbox. Awesome. Make sure you check out their website link above and keep an eye out for their new album that’s currently being recorded.

I apologize sincerely for the sound recording, as I really didn’t know what I was doing. It’s bearable, but it really helps that the band is so interesting to watch. Our pal Mike Marsh, once again, did an amazing job cutting the video together and creating the credits. Lastly, huge thanks to Justin Andrew for being amazing and mixing the sound for a shoot he never even saw, all the way from Portland, OR. What a guy. He’s the best.


One Response to “Echo Chamber: Turning violet Violet”

  1. [...] ok. You get the picture. We had a blast in an apartment in Regent Square. Read the full post here and check out all the Echo Chamber videos here. Thanks [...]

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