Dec 2018 02

ReGen Magazine speaks with Eden Gallup, son of The Cure’s bassist, about his own musical path with his own rock band and synthwave solo project, creating for the love and dedication of finding his own musical voice.
 

 

An InterView with Eden Gallup of Violet Vendetta and Serpent Ride

By Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

Having a famous parent can often go one of two ways for an aspiring artist – on the one hand, it can provide opportunities that would otherwise be more difficult to attain on one’s own merits; conversely, it can assign certain expectations for the younger artist to match or even surpass the elder’s work. Eden Gallup has spent his life in pursuit of his own musical inclinations, first with his rock band Violet Vendetta and more recently with his synthwave solo outing Serpent Ride. As the son of The Cure bassist Simon Gallup, one could say that Eden has music in his blood, but he’s done well to allow his own creative output to follow its own path. Speaking with ReGen Magazine, he now gives us some insight into his upbringing and the profound impact music has had on him, from his love of punk and rock to the long history of Violet Vendetta and the spontaneous nature of Serpent Ride, all culminating in a musical voice that he can definitively call his own.

 

Growing up with a famous musician for a father, can you tell us about what effects this had on you growing up, and especially in what ways it helped to motivate your own musical interests?

Gallup: I wouldn’t say it had any profound effect on me, other than it probably gave me more influence to pick up an instrument than another kid maybe would have. I started out ‘playing’ drums, then dabbling with bass, eventually settling on guitar… because of Slash. Quickly realizing I’d never be able to play like him, I took a lot of influence from guitarists like Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, being able to write incredible songs with just a few basic chords. It seemed less daunting and more achievable.

There is the notion that we grow up not liking what our parents liked, or that it is uncool, etc. Was there ever this sort of feeling for you?

Gallup: I was probably quite fortunate that my folks had pretty good taste when it came to music. I never had any of the ‘Turn that horrible music off’ remarks that some of my friends had from their parents. I used to love going through boxes of their old vinyl, of albums that they would have bought when they were teenagers. Things like the Pistols, Clash, Slits, Runaways, Damned, Ramones, etc. There was no getting away from the punk.

Would you tell us about your own musical pursuits?

Gallup: I have been in a band called Violet Vendetta since 2004. The original band formed when we were all 14 and still at school. Since then, people have come and gone, and I have just kept it rolling. Since 2006, we have released three EPs and two demo albums.
 

 
I think some people are under the notion that because of the obvious musical connections I/the band has, that it would be a walk in the park for us, but its most certainly not the case. The only thing that has kept it all going is the sheer love for it, dedication… and stubbornness. V.V. is now at a point, after more than a decade of struggle, hard work, and finding the right lineup, where we are about to record our first proper full-length album, that will hopefully be out next summer.

 

 

Your side project, Serpent Ride, seems very much of the current wave of retro-electro and synthwave. What are your thoughts on these retro trends and how they are being approached and expanded on by the current generation of artists like yourself?

Gallup: I think it definitely does have that flavor to it, but that was never the intention. In fact, Serpent Ride never had any intention. The whole idea of it was for it to just be what it would be – a totally different approach to how I do things with V.V., and that was the reason for it being a side project rather than just throwing those songs into the V.V. pot. I didn’t want anything on the Serpent Ride album to just be ‘another song.’ I had a bunch on riff ideas that I have accumulated over the years, that I knew weren’t right for V.V., but never knew what to do with them. Then in late July, I had given Tim (Violet Vendetta’s drummer) about 16 songs to learn for the upcoming V.V. album. So, I knew I’d be sat twiddling my thumbs for a few months, so I decided to record these new songs, and ended up calling it Serpent Ride. Originally, it was intended to be three or four songs, and I’d just stick them online as a downloadable EP. But the songs just flowed and within two weeks, I had 8 songs. I’ve never written/recorded and finished a project so quickly. It just shows it needed to be done. I really enjoyed the whole process.

Lyrics like ‘Stop trying to go somewhere and dance now’ on ‘Dance Now’ have a rather saccharine, almost ironic resonance, as if a commentary on its own style… was that the intent of the song or am I incorrect in my reading of it?

Gallup: This was the last song I wrote for the Serpent Ride album, when I was content that the album was finished. But I was getting a coffee one day in August and found myself singing this melody on the way back to my car and I remember thinking, ‘That would make a good dance hook.’ The message of the song is basically to live in the now. In a world where everyone is so busy, we can often forget to live for the moment. We can often get lost in this notion of constantly trying to ‘get somewhere,’ and not being happy until we are there. But where and when is that exactly? In a sense, we are already in it, but as humans, we like to get things done, and once we have done that, we look for the next thing to do without ever really being satisfied. It’s part of the human condition I suppose – a constant race against time. But, we don’t really have a great deal of time here, so I think it’s important to try and live in the now, rather than constantly chasing something.

 

 

The imagery and the band name reference the Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendetta – to what extent do sociopolitical issues affect your musical and creative outlook?

Gallup: They don’t really. I try not to write about anything like that, as I feel it dates the songs. It solidifies them in this current time, and that’s not something i want to do. I think subconsciously, on some level, it may affect the way I approach or write a song, but it’s very rarely the core meaning of any of the songs… perhaps with the exception of a song called ‘Liberate’ that we are re-recording for the next album. But that was originally written in our teen angst driven days back in ’06.

Having kept V.V. going for 12 years now, how would you say your original vision or goals – if there were any – for the band have changed?

Gallup: I would say everything has remained exactly the same… except the lineup. I am now the only person in Violet Vendetta who has been here since day one. The second longest serving member (Tommy Vendetta) left the band after our tenth anniversary show in December 2014. It is without a doubt my project now. But I have always wanted V.V. to be a band rather than a solo project, unlike Serpent Ride, which is just me. But my vision and direction for the band has never wavered. For better or for worse, I am still here 14 years later, trying to make this work, because I believe it is truly worth something. In the words of Winston Churchill, ‘Keep buggering on.’

You said that you’re working on the band’s first full-length album?

Gallup: That’s exactly what’s next. The plan to go in and record a full-length album has been in the works since 2005. We have put out EPs and demo albums over the years, but for whatever reason, whether it be a money issue, lineup change, or busy personal lives, we have never been able to get the album done. It’s unintentionally become our Chinese Democracy. The planned track listing has also changed drastically over the years, to a point where it would actually be more like a ‘best of’ from our catalog of maybe 50 songs from over the years. But the time is now… or never. We go into the studio this month – December 2018 – to begin work on the album.

What are your thoughts on the traditional album format? Do you consider it a still viable format for releasing music?

Gallup: Personally, I love the album format. I think it is a vital and important way of releasing music. Rather than just singles or EPs, which are fine for what they are, but they are never quite the ‘art piece’ that albums can and should be. As ‘artists,’ that’s exactly what we are meant to do… create art pieces. And then perform that art onstage. But I do honestly think the reason that ‘the album’ seems to by dying off could be the fault of both the listener and the band/artist, in some cases. The listener, for being able to cherry pick a few songs digitally from an album, or maybe downloading the album for free… in which case, it becomes harder for the band/artist to record future music due to lack of income. Or the artist for not wanting to put the effort in to making a whole album, only for it to be downloaded for free, which is understandable. In some ways, making an album these days would be like building your own car from scratch, making it just the way you want and being so proud of it… only to leave it in your driveway just to be stolen by someone.

 

 

What have you found to be the most challenging aspects of performing live?

Gallup: Getting people to put down their iPads and come outside. In a time where you can download or stream a film for free, get food delivered to your door, and communicate with your friends via your phone, I find that its becoming increasingly hard to get people to come to the shows. It’s a shame, but it is what it is (and what it is, is shit).

Any other plans in motion?

Gallup: The plan is to get as much of the V.V. album done as possible before my work dates with The Cure start up again next year. And to hopefully get a few shows organized for Serpent Ride, for which I already have a live band ready to go. Either way, I will definitely be releasing more music in 2019!
 

 

Violet Vendetta
Website, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, YouTube
Serpent Ride
Facebook, Bandcamp, YouTube

 

Photography courtesy of Violet Vendetta and Serpent Ride

 

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