Student band Violet Honey self-releases ‘The Legend of Sorth’ EP

Sophomore Juan Bernardo Tobar, Ian Wilson ’11 and senior MacLain Christie (from left) make up post-progressive band Violet Honey.

What began as a mythological story and an idea for a song is now a fully-fledged rock band known today as Violet Honey. Comprised of sophomore Juan Bernardo Tobar, senior MacLain Christie and Ian Wilson ’11 and former Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year student, Violet Honey self-released their first EP, “The Legend of Sorth,” on Friday, Sept. 21.

The band came to fruition in March when a show  held at Christie’s house needed an opener for the main act, rock band State Champion. Christie approached Tobar with an “epic idea,” around which they formed a song.

“The birth of the entire ‘Legend of Sorth’ [EP] was [based on] this idea ofsomeone like a demigod [climbing] up a cliff and [hammering] down a metal pipe into the ground,” Tobar said. “That was Pipe Man, and eventually that became the entire ‘Legend of Sorth’ album.”

This first song, performed at a house show, was a 20-minute epic titled “Pipeman.” With Christie on lead keys and lead vocals, Tobar on bass keys and Wilson on drums, the band performed “Pipeman” mostly as an experimental piece. The song is included ontheir EP, although it is now only a seven-minute track.

Violet Honey — which was without its current moniker at its start — was originally just intended to be a “one-show band” according to Christie.

Now, when talking about their goals and hopes for the future, the band emits an aura of seriousness that it was without in its beginning.

“I want the Violet Honey name to be associated with a different kind of music and a very special, distinct sound,” Tobar said. “I believe the amount we grow, the support we get, and the amount of following we have is completely dependent to how hard we will push.”

After their first show in March, Violet Honey continued to write music and play together. They performed with another campus band, Khat House, which has since disbanded, at their CD release show last spring and they recently recorded, mixed and released their EP.

The band recorded the EP in Todd Union in WRUR’s production studio. Over the summer, Christie and Wilson ­ — while Tobar was back at home in Ecuador — recorded and mixed the three tracks that make up the entirety of their EP: “Sorth,” “The Temptress” and “Pipeman.”

“Recording, and to a great extent, mixing, were huge learning experiences for me,” Wilson said. “Generally, I’m pretty proud of the product, but knowing what I know now, I think the next one will come out even better.”

After recording, Christie and Wilson mixed their tracks in Logic, a digital audio workstation product used for recording and mixing. Both had prior experience in recording and mixing, but they still faced some challenges during the process.

“In some cases, we would get deep into a recording session and realize that the tempo wasn’t quite right or that a transition needed to be completely changed,” Christie said.

After a lot of time spent recording, and even more time in the mixing process, the band sent their tracks to a mastering engineer for the final, polished version.

With their mastered mixes, they then gave the public an opportunity to download their album for free during a 30-minute window on their Bandcamp webpage.

Christie, Tobar and Wilson all expect to stay in the Rochester area for the next year, so the band intends to keep playing together. With their first EP out, the band now has plans to play shows within the Rochester area, as well as go on local tours around Buffalo, Syracuse and Ithaca. Wilson noted that they “have the beginnings of two additional sets of songs that [will hopefully] turn into albums.”

The band’s music is influenced by multiple artists, such as Porcupine Tree, Omar-Rodriguez Group, Pink Floyd and Tortoise. Violet Honey’s “The Legend of Sorth” EP explores the bands more experimental nature, with a more post-progressive rock sound, infused with an array of metal, jazz and funk.

“We want to create music people can literally see, in color and beautiful shapes, as it comes out of the speakers,” Tobar said. “I want a future generation of musicians to be inspired by us.”

Mariner is a member of
the class of 2015.



You can contact Natsumi at nmariner@u.rochester.edu.

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