Artist-to-artist interview: alternative darkwave acts NOW AFTER NOTHING and VIOLET SILHOUETTE

7 mins read
Violet Silhouette
Violet Silhouette

It is always exciting when two artists who share common ground get together for a discussion. Today, we are pleased to bring you an artist-to-artist interview featuring two darkwave bands: Now After Nothing and Violet Silhouette. This conversation, focusing on their inspirations, influences, creative processes, and experiences in the music industry, coincides with the release of new tracks from both bands, which are out now, this Friday, July 21.

Now After Nothing, a band known for their melodic fusion of darkwave and rock elements, are about to release their ambitious cover of The Cure’s “All I Want,” coinciding with The Cure’s biggest tour of the year. Having received glowing feedback from Lol Tolhurst, a founding member of The Cure, this cover stands as a testament to the band’s musical prowess.

The band’s lead vocalist, Matt Spatial, recounts how this song left an indelible mark on his early songwriting attempts, leading him to record this cover as a homage. While waiting for the release of their debut EP later this fall, Now After Nothing will be gearing up for their first live performance in January 2024.

Now After Nothing
Now After Nothing

On the other side of this intriguing conversation is Violet Silhouette. Cool and captivating, they’ve garnered attention for their unique blend of darkwave, post-punk, and industrial sounds, evoking influences from Cold Cave, Drab Majesty, and Nine Inch Nails. With their upcoming EP set for release in August, they’re releasing their latest dance-punk single, “Hierda Demoniaca.”

The song serves as a romantic exploration of the darker aspects of depression and failed relationships. As they unravel this personal journey through their music, Violet Silhouette continues to make a name for themselves with spontaneous, energetic performances that embody a spirit of defiance.

Violet Silhouette interviews Now After Nothing:

Dan (Violet Silhouette): I love how the cover came out! As a Sonic Youth fan, what elements of that band do you feel influenced you the most?

Matt Spatial (Now After Nothing): Thank you! Yes – Sonic Youth (and My Bloody Valentine) are among my favorites and their influence is probably always there to some degree in anything I do – even a cover of a song by The Cure. Both of these bands were masters of the wall-of-noise sound which creates a thick, full sonic atmosphere. In any song I write/record, I tend to gravitate toward trying to create a similarly thick and full sonic atmosphere, just to a lesser degree than these bands’ signature sound.

When approaching “All I Want” it already had a bit of Sonic Youth-ish guitar work and my aim was to play off this and create a more brash version of the original version, much like when The Cure plays this song live. As a result, the guitars are a little more upfront and noisy than the original version. Kudos to my guest guitarists on this track – Mark Gemini Thwaite (Peter Murphy, Gary Numan) and Howard Melnick (Astari Nite).

Dan (Violet Silhouette): What’s a song that anyone reading this needs to listen to right now?

Matt Spatial (Now After Nothing): I’ve been on a big Switchblade Symphony kick again lately and the song “Dollhouse” is one of my favorites from Serpentine Gallery. I wish these talented ladies were still performing together!

Dan (Violet Silhouette): When you take your studio tracks into a live setting, what kind of changes and challenge do you experience?

Matt Spatial (Now After Nothing): I’m still figuring some of this out! All of the songs were created within the studio with myself playing most of the instruments and tweaking/adding as I went along. Because of this I had the ability to add multiple layers of guitars, vocals, etc and all of the ear candy I wanted without much thought about how to pull it off in a live setting. So, the biggest challenge has been getting all of these nuances and added parts covered. My goal has been not to run backing tracks so we’re working on setting up things that Michael can trigger with drum pads and I have been switching on/off between bass guitar and (2nd) guitar as the song calls for (and having our soon-to-be-named synth player cover the bass parts when I’m on guitar.)

Dan (Violet Silhouette): As a former South Floridian, what bands or clubs had an influence on you?

Matt Spatial (Now After Nothing): Squeeze – 100%! Damn, I miss that place. Still today, Squeeze is one of the best clubs I have ever been to. The vibe/atmosphere of the club – largely driven by the music/DJs, the decor, and the physical layout of the space – was like no other. Or maybe it was just the debauchery that took place behind every hidden corner of that building – ha! Sullied or not, it was ‘home’ and a staple of the dark music scene. Great location too. Kind of hard to find, almost hidden under the Andrews Ave. bridge and across from the prison, which was always a great reminder to not drive home drunk. It was also adjacent to the legendary New River Studios (also RIP). So many good times from that era. As a young, somewhat naive kid just trying to find my place in the scene, everything and everyone I encountered there really had an influence on me and opened my eyes that there were other misfits out there like me – far different from the world I was living in day-to-day at a suburban high school.

Funny story… Squeeze was almost exclusively 21+ save for a few show nights. I was underage but because my band at the time was playing there every so often, I was never carded at the door (RIP Willy) on nights I wasn’t playing. Willy never knew me by name, just by face. A couple weeks after I turned 21, I had cut all of my long hair off, which drastically changed my appearance. Willy no longer recognized me and thus began carding me despite having let me in the club for the past 3 years when I was underage. Go figure.

Can’t recall the exact year it closed but sadly, the building was torn down and is now some kind of riverfront yuppie restaurant with a tower of condos on top :-(

Dan (Violet Silhouette): As writers/performers/producers of your own songs, when do you know a song is done and ready?

Matt Spatial (Now After Nothing): I don’t think I have ever felt like a song is “done” as even after mix and master I usually hear a thing or two I may have done differently – ha! But generally speaking, when I first write a song based on an initial guitar or bass line, I quickly get a vision in my head of what the whole song is going to sound like. From there it’s just a matter of getting it out of my head and into my DAW. Once the sound coming through the speakers matches the sound in my head, then I feel like it’s ready.

Now After Nothing interviews Violet Silhouette

Now After Nothing
Now After Nothing

Matt Spatial (Now After Nothing): I love the mood you’ve created with your song “Hierda Demoniaca”. I’m hearing elements of bands like Cocteau Twins and Depeche Mode. Who would you say are among your favorite artists/inspirations? Are there any artists you draw inspiration from that we, the listener, might not have suspected?

Zaii (Violet Silhouette): Depeche Mode and Cocteau Twins are certainly inspirations for us — their ability to really shape sound that transports you someplace else, or evoke a certain feeling of nostalgic emotionality. We’re big, big fans of Industrial, Darkwave, and Synthpop. Me and Dan actually met at a nightclub (Respectables Street) where we were both DJing and bonded over our appreciation of these genres we heard in each other’s sets. An unsuspecting inspiration for me is the Romantic Latin-Pop Ballads of the 70’s and 80’s from artists such as Camilo Sesto, José José, and Julio Iglesias.

Matt Spatial (Now After Nothing): Technology has evolved to where recording music can be done in an infinite number of ways and every artist seems to have their own process. Tell me about your recording process. Also, what is your studio setup and what piece(s) of gear is a Violet Silhouette “must-have”?

Zaii (Violet Silhouette): I start out a lot of these songs in a bare-bones, intimate fashion — alone with an acoustic piano and my favorite brew. I look for that raw emotional connection first, then follow it into the next stage which is creating textures and soundscapes around the primary melodies; the “skeleton” of the track is created and shared with the rest of the band for further evolution. Along that process, interesting things, ideas, and visions leak into our minds; shaped and informed by an entity we call “The Silhouette”. This is where the process can sometimes take an interesting direction that no one in the band ever really anticipated. We celebrate ambiguity and the ever-morphing process of songwriting, even if it presents us with the feeling of not being able to “touch the bottom” sort-to-speak. Some “must-haves” for us is definitely a Korg Synthesizer (at the moment we are exploring the Minilogue), a vast array of reverb and delay plugins and pedals, and good beer.

Matt Spatial (Now After Nothing): You have a new EP, “Feverblue”, coming out soon. Aside from “Hierda Demoniaca”, what can we expect from the EP’s other songs?

Dan (Violet Silhouette): Our last single, Strange Wind will be on it. The other 5 songs all come from different places, so you’ll hear the pendulum swing from the experimentation and highs of “Pinkish Mountains” to the clawing shakes of “Pure Machine”. All the songs are best listened to loud, from twilight-early morning hours.

Matt Spatial (Now After Nothing): As a South Florida native myself, I recall a humorous feeling of irony being in the goth/darkwave scene while surrounded by palm trees, sunshine, and the unbearable FL heat. The heat alone was enough to drive me out of the state – ha! What do you do to keep yourselves sane in the Sunshine State?

Zaii (Violet Silhouette): We don’t. But making music and sonic textures that make you feel like you’re somewhere cold helps. To add salt to the wound, I’m a former linecook that had little reprieve from the scorching heat for 4 years straight. My vacations (in the rare chance that I could escape into one) would always be somewhere with snow.

Matt Spatial (Now After Nothing): What’s next for Violet Silhouette and when can we expect your arrival in Atlanta for a show with Now After Nothing? ;-)

Dan (Violet Silhouette): We have some California shows that we are announcing soon. In 2024, we are working on doing 2-4 shows in different metro areas and making some festival appearances around the U.S. As for Atlanta, we can definitely make that work in Fall/Winter (have your people call my people).

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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