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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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!
Photography courtesy of Violet Vendetta and Serpent Ride