Vicious emoviolence act VOTIVE discuss “Towards the Pillory”, share top screamo records this year

4 mins read

Austin’s Votive has forged a path that seethes with raw, emotional intensity. The band’s upcoming LP, “Towards the Pillory,” set for release on July 12, 2024, via No Funeral Records, epitomizes their caustic and aggressive brand of emotional hardcore. Drawing from a diverse palette of screamo, crust, emoviolence, d-beat, and mathcore, Votive managed to craft a record that promises a blackened, chaotic experience delivered through ten relentless tracks that encapsulate their ethos.

Kyle Rotta, Rohan Lilauwala, Blake Given, and Eli Deitz converged in Austin after years of traversing North America’s underground scenes. Their previous affiliations—Respire, Gas Up Yr Hearse!, Portrayal of Guilt, and others—provided a fertile ground for their current collaboration.

Multiple members of the band have other projects that play longform and textural styles of music so early on we agreed on a “short fast heavy” approach to songwriting. In a live setting we typically flow from one one minute-or-so long song to another at a rapid pace. As far as sonic inspiration, there are a lot of German screamo, hardcore, and crust bands we all enjoy. Each of us have our own personal tastes and approach to our instruments that comes through in our sound.”

The album opens with “A Cross From a Faith That Died Before Jesus Came,” a metaphorical exploration of anxiety and depression.

“This song is about getting a reprieve from social anxiety because you’re too depressed to talk to anyone. This song is typically what we start our sets with and it made sense to have it start our record as well.” – explains Kyle.

Towering Mockery” evolved over a year and reflects the band’s distaste for the romanticization of mental illness in the screamo scene.

“It is the first song we wrote after we finished recording our Wilting EP so it’s seen a number of revisions over the last year.

The present form is partly inspired by Premutos: The Fallen Angel. I feel like people commonly associate screamo with a celebration of mental illness. Some bands and people lean into that and that works for them but it’s always left a bad taste in my mouth. You can still be honest a nd passionate without celebrating self-destruction.I think this is one of many instances on this record of a hopeful song about overcoming a struggle, no matter how insurmountable it may seem.”

In “Surrogate Body,” Rotta addresses the self-destructive need for stimulation and the belief in undeservedness, while “Lesser Replica” delves into the alienation and resentment felt after coming out as queer.

“I have stayed in situations out of a self-defeating need for stimulation and a belief that I do not deserve better. In “Surrogate Body<” I write about one such situation.”

“When I came out as queer I felt more alone than I did as a cis straight person. I thought I’d find a new community and connections that I’d been longing for. I didn’t. I grew resentful of people that are able to enjoy the familiar trappings of Austin queer culture. Later, I turned that negativity inward and wished I could change to be more like others. With this song I’m excising that thought pattern.”

Neither Seen Nor Heard” and its sequel “Vanishing Act” grapple with familial estrangement and the consuming nature of anger, providing a deeply personal look into Rotta’s relationship with his father.

“In many ways, “Vanishing Act”, is written as the sequel to “Neither Seen Nor Heard” although it’s happenstance that it ended up directly following its prequel. Here I’m confronting the anger I’ve felt towards my father and recoiling at the notion of it consuming me.”

The Secret and Unpronounceable Name of God” serves as a reminder to use isolation for self-betterment, resisting the pull to succumb to inertia.


Internecine Compulsion” critiques the destructive nature of holier-than-thou mentalities, highlighting the misery of constant adversarialism. “It is about people that make their whole life into a game of holier than thou one upmanship and how miserable you can make yourself when you’re looking for enemies wherever you can find them.”

Not One Word Worth Repeating” depicts the numbing effect of a dead-end job, and “The Undergrowth,” the album’s abrupt closer, examines the loss of self in codependent relationships. “Looking back on the lyrics I wrote I’m realizing how many songs are about negative experiences become more of a part of you than yourself. In this instance I’m writing about working a dead end job and being too worn down to feel anything about it, much less do anything about it.”

“I believe the last song song has been our set ender since we wrote it. I really like how abruptly it ends. Lyrically, this song is about codependency. Losing yourself in someone doesn’t have to be a romantic thing.”

Following the album release, Votive will support “Towards the Pillory” with a series of regional shows, culminating in a performance at New Friends Fest in Toronto.


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Their plans remain fluid, with potential future releases and continuous writing. As Kyle Rotta puts it, “We’re currently writing again and we’re not sure what that’ll end up as. Could be an EP. Could be a split. Who knows? Beyond that, more shows.”

To get yur creative juices flowing, Votive members also shared some of their top releases in the genre for the year, highlighting bands that have influenced their sound and ethos. Check out their list, along with their short commentaries below.

Kyle Rotta:

Missouri Executive Order 44 “Salt Sermon”

Unreleased but I (Kyle) did the art for this release and it’s a ripper. Very excited for it to be released.

Porcelain “Self-titled”

Our drummer is in this band. We share a practice space.

Respire “Hiraeth”

Our guitarist is in the this band

Infant Island “Obsidian Wreath

We got to play with them in April and they were incredible

Frail Body “Artificial Bouquet”

Incredible band and nice folks

Heavenly Blue “Heavenly Blue”

Undeniably one of the albums of this year

xHeartworksx “Demo”

Texas excellence

Very excited for new Blind Girls and probably other records I forgot.

Blake Given:

Thou “Umbilical”

(see IDIOTEQ interview HERE)

Awesome LP from one of my favorite heavy music projects. Got to play with them during Oblivion Access in Austin, and some of us will be playing with them again at Dark Days Bright Nights in Richmond.

Eli Deitz:

Knoll “As Spoken”

Thou “Umbilical”

Heavenly Blue “We Have The Answer”

Frail Body “Artificial Bouquet”

Othiel “We Will Be Our Home”

(see IDIOTEQ interview HERE)

December 2023, sue me.

Catalyst/Knumears/Vs Self/Party Hats four way split

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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