Hey Violet Take Us Through Their Bombastic Debut Album
Go inside 'From The Outside'
Photo by Corey McLean
I challenge you to find a debut album as explosive and technicolored as Hey Violet's From the Outside. Imagine if Karen O got her hands of '80s-tinged synths and sprinkled in enough sub bass to scratch the little EDM itch we all have—that's From the Outside. It pulses with cheeky hooks and middle fingers to the status quo. Lead singer Rena Lovelis' voice is arena-shaking. It's difficult to describe what "it" is, but Hey Violet has it. Find out why below, as the group takes us through each and every track. You're in for one hell of a ride.
"Break My Heart"
Rena Lovelis: I remember going through a really hard time in a relationship and singing this song as hard as I could onstage to the point of tears. This song quite literally got me through a heartbreaking time.
Casey Moreta: “Break My Heart” is about loving someone so much that you want them to break your heart. You’ve gone through all the stages of love, like the kissing phase and honeymoon phase and after you've felt every way they could love you in the relationship, you finally want to feel how it feels to miss them. So you want them to break your heart.
Miranda Miller: I remember playing this song on our first headlining U.S. tour and hearing people sing along for the first time. It definitely made me cry.
Nia Lovelis: I’ve cried nearly every time we've played it live. Something about it just hits me in the stomach every time I play it.
"Brand New Moves"
RL: Sometimes I moonwalk while “Brand New Moves” plays.
CM: This one is special because it was one of the first songs we put out when we were transitioning to a more pop sound. We were really happy to see how much the fans reacted to it.
MM: We almost always start our live sets with this song.
NL: I love opening with it because of how reliant it is on the groove. Iain and I connect a lot during this song because it's so drum and bass centered.
Iain Shipp: A sultry song about reigniting an old flame set against subtle synthesizer licks and grooving bass line. One of my favorites to play live.
"Guys My Age"
Rena: The other day a 50-year-old hit on me at the post office and this song started playing in my head. We wrote this song about a year and a half ago, and it is still so relevant.
CM: “Guys My Age” is really fun for me to play live. It doesn't have a ton of guitar in the recorded version, so I kind of get to experiment with guitar parts when we play live and find cool effects and things that blend nicely with the song.
MM: Filming the music video for this song is one of my favorite memories. I definitely cried a lot because it was our first full-on professional music video and it felt incredible!
NL: We wrote this one in Palm Springs. The first version of this song is sooooo different than how it sounds now. We ended up changing the structure of the song a couple of times along with the lyrics. But Rena’s demo vocal ended up being the final vocal, which I think is pretty cool.
RL: I think everyone has a "hoodie," whether it's some sort of material attachment or an emotional harboring of feelings. We can all relate to this song in some way.
CM: “Hoodie” is about breaking up with someone and not entirely being over them. So you keep the hoodie they left behind as a sort of memory of what you had.
NL: This is another one that just hits me really hard. The melody in the chorus makes you feel this longing for somebody you don't have anymore. This one was kind of a game changer for me. When I play it live, I play the verses and the bridge on an SPD and my KT-10 trigger. I’m always super nervous that I’m going to hit the wrong pad and it'll sound ridiculous. So far, I haven't screwed it up too badly.
MM: This one always brings me back to high school.
CM: “My Consequence” has always reminded me of an epic '80s ballad. It's got big guitars and synth parts and translates really well live.
NL: This was one of the last songs we decided to put on the album. It was a toss up between this one and another song. I remember we were all sitting around listening to both songs and we all suddenly just went, "We definitely want this one." I love the essence of nostalgia in this one. The pre-chorus always takes me back to all these adventures I went on with my friends when I was 16.
CM: “O.D.D.” is really an anthem for everyone who feels different. And I think the message is that whoever you are and whatever your background is, you're allowed to feel like you don't belong, and that's okay.
NL: This song means a lot to me because I know it's connecting with our fans. I was bullied a lot in school, and it was really hard to deal with because I didn't know if it would ever stop. We wrote this with our stories in mind, but mainly because we wanted our fans to know that they aren't alone. The reaction we've gotten is so beyond incredible. Fans have sent me messages about how it's helped them cope with the things going on in their lives and honestly, I don't think there's a better feeling than knowing something you've done has helped someone else.
"All We Ever Wanted"
RL: I love this one and the many incarnations of it up to the final studio version. So many demos are sitting on my phone of this song that it's hard to keep track of them.
CM: “All We Ever Wanted” is such a blast to play live. It’s like an EDM tune with real instruments, and it's so fun to get the crowd to jump in time to the song. It kind of makes me feel like Zedd onstage. [Laughs]
MM: I have at least five different versions of it just on my phone, too, and they all sound totally different. Sometimes we listen to the old demos for fun.
NL: When Rena and Casey came back from the studio after writing this, they played it for us, and we got SO EXCITED. It definitely reminds me of when we first started hanging out with Casey and we'd drive over Benedict Canyon at two in the morning to hang out on Sunset. We wouldn't really do anything interesting because either nothing was open or we were too young to get in, but I vividly recall blasting Arctic Monkeys and Rena hanging out the window with me yelling at her to get back inside... ahhh good times.
IS: An ode to satisfaction and most likely the song with the highest energy on the album. I have a bizarre mental image of a bank robbery gone awry every time I listen to this song. The tellers turning the tables on the would-be burglars, exploiting the ensuing chaos, and taking the money for themselves.
RL: When we were writing this song, we wanted something that would capture the essence of the "fuckboy." This song really delves into the type of guy we all know and hate.
CM: I feel like this one is quite self-explanatory, but just in case... it's about "those" types of guys who text girls "you up?" and spend all their money on flashy clothes but can't afford to put gas in their car. Basically, guys who have no respect for women
NL: This song was written pretty early in the album-writing process. We always thought of it as a bridge from our old stuff to the new songs we were writing. We walked into the studio that day, and our producer asked, "Have you guys ever talked to a fuckboy?" And we went off for an hour about all the little things fuckboys do that annoy everyone. It’s a little less serious than the other songs, if you couldn't tell by the ridiculous rant in the bridge.
RL: What's funny about the intro to "Unholy" is that Julian, our producer, hit one wrong note while playing it, and we loved how it sounded, so we made that little piece into the keyboard intro for the song.
CM: “Unholy” is, I think, the darkest song on the album. It’s very eerie especially with the slightly detuned piano intro and low sub bass riff.
MM: This one's my favorite song on the album. I LOVE playing it live because of the piano riff. And the drums are pretty killer.
NL: I’d never written a song like “Unholy” before. Even though it pushed me far out of my comfort zone, it was still one of my favorites to write. The premise of it is that you're fantasizing about somebody else while you're in a relationship. It keeps the theme of this fantasy land, while also going a little darker and embellishing the story a little more.
"Where Have You Been (All My Night)"
RL: MY FAVORITE SONG ON THE ALBUM! This one has such a desperate, lonely feeling that evokes nostalgia in all of us. For the longest time, I was singing, "Where have you been all my life" until someone corrected me. It only made me love the song more.
CM: This is the song where the album title comes from. It comes from the phrase, "I’ve been watching all the lovers from the outside."
MM: Reminds me of a classic '80s movie or the "San Junipero" episode of Black Mirror. It also features my favorite synth sound on the entire album!
NL: This is my favorite song on the album. I listen to it constantly... maybe too much? I feel like I use the word nostalgia a lot when describing the album, but this song is the reason why. It makes me feel like I’m in a different time when I listen to it. Miranda and I talk about how excited we are to play it live all the time.
IS: An ambient soundscape as a backdrop against the themes of isolation present in the lyrics. The little synthesizer licks between phrases solidify its retro wave sound. Easily my favorite on the album.
"Like Lovers Do"
RL: Every time I sing this song, it makes me imagine an old-time movie in sepia set in a bar where everyone is smoking. The whole song is me imagining what COULD happen in a new relationship with a man I meet at the bar; i.e. passionate love, resentment, keeping secrets, ultimately to his demise when I hire someone to end his life. The end of the song flashes back to being in the bar where I take the chance with this guy despite what I imagined could happen.
CM: "Like Lovers Do" is one of my favorites. It very reminiscent of My Chemical Romance's song "Mama" and is very macabre.
MM: I've always loved the idea of performing dark cabaret, so this song is one of my favorites. Every time I hear it, I picture a dusty old room with wooden floors or an old music box, and Nia and I always talk about performing the song with a string section one day.
NL: “Like Lovers Do” is so different from all the other songs on the album. It has this creepy/circus-y vibe to it, and the lyrics are so descriptive that you almost see it in your head as if you're watching a movie. Anytime I listen to it, I imagine an old '20s bar with flapper girls and audience members smoking cigarettes inside, while you and this other person make eye contact from across the room. The whole song is a fantasy. It’s almost up to you to decide whether you and the other person ever actually meet because the lyrics are just explaining the possibilities of what could happen if you both go home together that night.
"This Is Me Breaking Up With You"
CM: Being the final track on the album, we thought it'd be cool to pay homage to our roots in rock and go back and make something reminiscent of that. It’s got a very punk '70s vibe to it.
MM: Our accidental ode to our old sound. Every time we play it in the car, we go crazy.
NL: We wrote this song at the very beginning of the album writing process. It’s a little bit angsty and in your face obnoxious. I think everybody completely forgot about this one until we were deciding what to put on the album and we all got excited thinking about playing it live.