A raw and minimalist ballad that tactfully grapples with addiction, self-destructive cycles and the powerlessness that comes with watching a loved one go through a hard time, “Rabbit Hole” is a shimmering and stripped-back sampler of the duo’s forthcoming full-length LP.
Gauzy and subtly heartbreaking, with a sound as tender and exposed as its lyricism, guitarist Sam Gotley began laying down the track’s foundations in the car after a long day at the studio. Speaking of “Rabbit Hole”’s inception, he says:
“This was one of those songs that exploded onto the page (I had to write and record voice notes frantically to get it all down without forgetting something), but it took a lot of fine-tuning to finish. This was an emotional song to record. Musically speaking, we kept things very bare and wanted to shy away as much as possible from electronic instruments and excess overdubs, so the end result is something quite natural using a lot of acoustic instruments, which the live room at Middle Farm Studios captured beautifully.”
Citing a series of vintage influences, including Nick Cave’s “Nobody’s Baby Now” and Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel”, “Rabbit Hole” contends with two differing perspectives: one spiraling and self-destructive, and the other determined to pick-up the pieces and cobble them back together.
And for all its vulnerability, the track proved an emotional one to lay down in the studio. Feeling compelled to retreat into herself and create an atmosphere where she felt completely alone with nobody listening, vocalist Sarah Gotley was “met with four weeping men in the control room” after she recorded the track’s vocals.
Expanding on “Rabbit Hole”’s backstory, she explains:
“To me this song is about protection. Whether that’s protection of self or protection of others. It has always felt like a very delicate subject to approach, being that so many people can relate to it on some level. So, approaching it with honesty, personal experience and sensitivity was the only way that felt right. Addiction from the viewpoint of someone who is on the outside looking in is such a fragile topic. Trying to address these emotions without feeling contrived, or playing on the pain of others for personal gain is difficult.”
Alongside this deft and delicate cut, Blue Violet have also confirmed the release of their Rob Ellis (Anna Calvi, Marianne Faithful, PJ Harvey) produced debut LP, set for release via Me & My Records on 29 April 2022.
Bedding down at Devon’s Middle Farm Studios in November 2019, the husband and wife duo recorded ‘Late Night Calls’ over the course of a month with a range of collaborators, including Rod Brakes on lead guitar and bass duties and Portishead’s Jim Barr laying down double bass on one of the album’s tracks.
Discussing their month-long residence, Blue Violet say:
“There was something very immersive and liberating about the session once down at Middle Farm. We literally slept in the studio – on top of the drum booth – ate every meal together and had the weekends to work on parts, or go and see nearby parts of Devon. Being on location like that and never having to leave the studio created a kind of intensity that leant itself really well to what we were trying to achieve. We hadn’t worked with any of the people we were working with before, and the collaborative process was very respectful. The music never really stopped, and everyone brought really cool ideas to the table.”
With the album’s earlier offerings boasting the band’s ability to navigate a range of diverse and delicate themes, Blue Violet’s songs have been likened to a range of musical greats, from the expansive compositions of shoegaze maestros Slowdive to the dusky mysteries of country-rock enigmas Mazzy Star. The band have also received airplay on BBC 6 Music (Steve Lamacq) and praise from the likes of Vinyl Chapters, who described last summer’s “White Beaches” as “a hypnotic gem of wistful pop that creeps out of its shell in a mesmerizing way”.
Touching on themes including beauty and heartbreak, love and salvation, ‘Late Night Calls’ spins absorbing narratives as it traverses genres, and exemplifies Blue Violet’s expert abilities for crafting intricate songs and subtly-experimental sounds.
Ahead of the forthcoming release Sam and Sarah Gotley explain:
“All in all, the thing we enjoyed most while recording the album was the opportunity to be experimental with sound on top of the structures we had already put in place during the writing and pre-prod processes. We got very lucky to find a like-minded team of people to work with and a beautiful location to match. Coming off the back of a good couple of years in our previous band Broken Bones Matilda, we had no idea that our goals and choice of music we wanted to make would change, but it feels like this album is the start of something long and fruitful and that we’ve found out who we are and what we want to say.”