Back in July, L.A. four-piece Transviolet got the ultimate shout out. Katy Perry made their haunting breakout song, “Girls Your Age,” her song of the day, specifically calling out the cautionary tale’s lyrics. The song, a cresendoing, synth-y ballad about growing up too fast, was a standout track on the group’s self-titled debut EP, earning a remix from Twin Shadow. The band, which consists of Sarah McTaggart, Judah McCarthy, Michael Panek, and Jon Garcia, have since taken their act on the road, opening for Mikky Ekko across the U.S. for the past months, and gearing fans up for their first full album since the quartet formed in Los Angeles. The four of them took some time to answer our questions, revealing not just what kind of people they were in high school, but a strong desire to make the world a better place.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
We are interested in challenging the status quo, and inspiring conversations that will help us overcome our differences. Too many times we let characteristics define, and ultimately, divide us. We are not the color of our skin or the amount of money we have in the bank. We are not our gender or our sexual orientation. We are all humans in need of love, respect, and acceptance. Everything else is a detail. That’s what the song “New Bohemia” is about. It’s taking a step outside of your personal bubble and looking at the world from an outsider’s perspective. It’s 2015. It’s time we live in a world where everyone is treated respectfully and equally. As said by the great John Lennon, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream, but a dream you dream together is reality.”
How did your career get started?
We have all been playing music in various incarnations for a long time, but Transviolet was born when Sarah lied on a musician networking site. She said she was based in San Diego, and Mikepan reached out to her because he thought she was in his “area.” In reality, she was 3,000-plus miles away in Grand Cayman. In spite of the distance, we decided to work together, and brought on Jon to play drums. We soon moved to L.A., invited Judah to play guitar and keys, and we’ve been working together ever since.
Where do you hope to be professionally in five years?
Sarah: Still making the music I love with people I love.
Judah: Somewhere I’ve never dreamed possible. World conquest, obviously.
What’s your next project?
We’ve been working on our full-length album, which will be released in the beginning of 2016.
What are you most proud of so far, in terms of your career?
Sarah: Quitting my day job.
What famous person, dead or living, do most wish you could have as a roommate?
Sarah: Musicians make terrible roommates, but I’d risk a messy house and stolen peanut butter to breathe the same air as Thom Yorke.
Jon: Freddie Mercury. I’d love to listen to him singing in the shower.
Judah: Growing up I always thought Ppanky from the Little Rascals and I would be best buds. So, him.
Mikepan: JesusWhat is your favorite driving music?
We all play DJ in the van when we are on tour, but lately Judah has taken over. He’s been playing The Japanese House, Aurora, the new Sufjan Stevens, and the new Damien Rice.
Whose career would you most like to emulate?
If you had to live in a past time, what do you think would be the most fun era and why?
Judah: Definitely the ’70s. The passion for music back then was absolutely unparalleled. I have a fantasy of going to see Def Leppard and just having my face rocked off so hard.
Mikepan: The ’80s, because mullets are fucking awesome.
Jon: The ’80s. Dancing all of the time, loud clothing, long hair, and leather.
Sarah: The ’60s. So I could go to every Beatles concert and Woodstock.
How do you wind down before bed?
Sarah: By watching one of my favorite shows, like Game of Thrones, House of Cards, or American Horror Story.
Judah: Tea, reading. I sound like an old man. I am an old man
When are you most relaxed?
Judah: Right before we go on stage. There is no drug on Earth like playing live. That brief moment when everything is quiet and we’re just mentally preparing to be everything except quiet.What kind of person were you in high school?
Judah: Moving around a lot in high school, I was the kid who had no idea who he was. I was the kid that would skip school to stay home and play guitar and learn covers all day.
Sarah: My family also moved around a lot, so I was always the new girl. It kinda sucked, but I think it made me more open-minded. Being constantly surrounded by new environments, people, and cultures forced me to challenge my own views and belief systems. I clung to music because everything else was a variable.
Jon: Skateboarding “cool kid.” I was a douche.
Mikepan: White, American, male.
What’s a serious side of you that people are unlikely to know about? Either in terms of interests, hobbies, or personality?
We have a serious issue with the fact that it’s 2015 and things like racism, sexism, and homophobia still exist. It’s appalling that we have been made to believe that police brutality is a “black” problem, and not everyone’s problem. It’s ridiculous that women aren’t being paid equally to their male counterparts, and that millions of girls are not afforded the opportunity for an education. We cannot fathom that anyone, in a world riddled with atrocities and suffering, would dare stand in the way of something as beautiful as love between two people, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. And lastly, we are outraged that our government isn’t taking meaningful action to address climate change and to implement clean, sustainable energy sources to secure the future of our planet.
What are some of your favorite Internet “memes” of all time?
The potential of the Internet is wasted on stupid shit like memes. Don’t get me wrong, we are all guilty of killing time by looking at mind-numbing nonsense, but I’m not gonna waste anyone’s time talking about it in a publication that has the potential of reaching millions of young readers. I once heard someone say, “Technology is advancing faster than our maturity to utilize it is.” So, I’ll leave it at that.
How do you hope to grow as a creative person?
We hope to be ever-evolving and remain open-minded. We don’t ever want to stop learning, or shut out new ways of thinking. We hope to inspire our generation to be critical of social norms that no longer serve the individual, and to be creative in finding solutions to the imminent problems that have been passed down to us.
If there was a phrase that you think best sums up your approach to life, what might it be?
Be open-minded; learn from your past, but don’t dwell in it. Love. Anything is possible.