Introducing: Violet Blend

Winners of the esteemed Great Music Stories ‘Band of the Year 2023’ (as voted by GMS listeners), Violet Blend are an Italian alternative metal band founded in 2014 in Florence. The band is made up of Giada Celeste Chelli (vocals and piano), Michel Agostini (drums), and Ferruccio Baroni (bass). Giada talks us through everything you ever needed to know about Violet Blend:

What are the origins of Violet Blend, how long have you been playing together?

I met drummer Michel Agostini in 2014 in Florence, Italy, my ex-producer introduced him to me because I needed a full band for the tour of my solo project at that time. Since the beginning, it was clear that there was an amazing chemistry between us and so we decided to form a band and started composing new songs together. It all started as a joke, we had a lot of fun playing and composing together, we had no idea that one day it would become something serious. In 2017, the bassist Ferruccio Baroni joined us and immediately after our manager, Lorenzo Fedi started working with us, that was the year when everything began. That was the time we decided to devote ourselves completely to the band. We released three albums and some singles over the years. The debut album “White Mask” (2018) exposed the fallacy of using social media to represent “the self,” and the sophomore record, “Demons” (2022), continues the journey by moving the focus to the more personal, internal mechanism we use to make our own tragic masks. We do this to represent ourselves favorably to others, as our fragile, raw truths remain fatally hidden. In 2023, we released “Live and True”, our first live album, it’s the complete recording of a concert we performed in Florence, Italy in 2022. We are currently working on new songs.

What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe Violet Blend?

We describe our music as a blend of different musical genres, forms, and styles. We mix metal, rock, punk, progressive, and classical forms that are part of our background and of course, reflect our tastes. We always try to paint a musical discourse of clear sonic eloquence with the right expressive power to describe and dissect feelings. The sound system, enhanced by the frequent dynamic and rhythmic leaps, leads along a tortuous path of feelings and confessions, under the guidance of the vocal melody which leads the listener towards heterogeneous atmospheres. We tell stories about fears, anxieties, broken dreams, aspirations, joys and hopes of our life. We also speak about the importance to stand and react against everything that hurts you. When people listen to our music we want them to feel understood, to understand that they’re not alone, that we all have dark moments, but we have to find a way to live well. Music can heal wounds, that’s what it does with us.

How did you feel performing your first gig as a band, and how was it?!

Our first performance together was in a cool music venue in 2017 in Florence that unfortunately closed some years later. We set the date directly with the owner, we were truly inexperienced and it was a real bet. I can say that we entered in an exuberant way into the musical scene of Florence, there were about two hundred people at that concert and it is not so common for our city and for the first date of a band.

We were at the same time scared and excited by the crowd that night, but in the end, we had a good performance. If I think all the things that happened after that first concert it seems they happened hundreds of years ago, but it was not.

The new music scene is bursting at the seams at the minute with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out to build a name for themselves?

In my opinion, authenticity is the fundamental value of any art form, it counts a thousand times more than originality, which is a false myth. When something is authentic it is real, reproducible, and recognizable. Authenticity springs from the soul and is self-sufficient, it does not follow stylistic rules but represents who you are.

What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?

We just released a live album called “Live and True”, an entire concert that we performed in Florence in 2022. The concert has always been one of the fundamental experiences and part of our work, an important piece to fully understand our music. During the performance, a deep connection is created with the audience and a synergy that cannot be reproduced in the recording studio. For this reason, we decided to release a live album, to share this experience with all our fans around the world. The performance is real and we wanted to leave it as raw as possible, “Live and True” is exactly the mirror of how we present ourselves to the public on stage. With “Live and True” we wanted to express and underline the importance of truth as the central point of our identity and our music. We live in an era in which everything can be artificial and manipulated, digital tools and artificial intelligence are taking over, and it is impossible to distinguish false from true, lies from truth. This is one of the reasons why we decided to release a live album, which is the essence of the truth, you can’t manipulate it, what you did during the performance remains.

In terms of a similar audience, which band out there at the minute do you feel Violet Blend?

We have had the opportunity to support many incredible bands, such as Garbage, Palaye Royale, Radiohead, Chris Slade from AC/DC, and others, it’s always a great thrill to share stages with your music heroes. I think that we might be better suited to opening for female-fronted acts, such as The Pretty Reckless, Halestorm, Evanescence, and Lacuna Coil, it’d be great to join one of these great bands.

Excluding yourself, which new band would you like to see break out and become a success?

I’d like to see an extraordinary Italian singer-songwriter emerge that I love, his name is Edoardo Michelozzi.

What are your first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?

I’m lucky enough to have always had lots of music in my house, my father has been collecting CDs and vinyls for a long time. I’ve always had an aptitude for music since I was a child. My parents brought me to my first music school when I was three years old and I started studying musical theory, solfeggio, and singing. After a couple of years I began to attend academic studies for saxophone (my first love and instrument), piano, and singing. My family always encouraged me to pursue my passions and follow my dreams, so I did it. I graduated twice in two different fields of Disciplines of Music in two different Universities, one in Florence and one in Bologna. I’ve also always had a creative talent since I was a kid, I’m a very curious person and I love art in all its forms. I use art to communicate, I think that music is just the best way to convey what I have inside, it’s my best medium of expression. I’ve studied it for a very long time and so I know how to shape it in my personal way.

I don’t know if there is a precise moment in which I said “I want to do that”, but I remember a precise moment in which we said to each other “We can do that”. It was when we supported Radiohead at the I-Days Festival in 2017. After that experience, we realized that we had a chance to make music in life and started fighting to make our dream come true.

What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?

Folkestone, an Italian folk metal band, here in Florence in December 2023.

What current social issues are you particularly passionate about?

We are very attached to the issue of discrimination and violence against women. We have promoted an initiative that aims to promote equality, defend the fundamental rights of women, and raise public awareness on the issue of the Gender Gap. The project is called: “La Donna Mobile (Fickle Woman) – Campaign against gender discrimination and Violence”. It is a non-profit project to promote equality, empowerment, education, and information, focused on the role of women in the world of work. The project is non-profit and is aimed at obtaining donations for the projects of AIDOS – Italian Association of Women for Development. We donated the rights to two songs “Need” and “La Donna Mobile” and organized an event whose proceeds were donated to AIDOS, with the patronage of the Municipality of Florence (Italy), the collaboration of the Riccardiana Library of Florence, of Verdi Theater – ORT Foundation of Florence, Viper Theater of Florence.

More than 30 testimonials participated in the campaign, women who in their lives and work have had and must face discrimination and gender violence and who wanted to make their contribution. They are all women who do “men’s jobs”, from the conductor Gianna Fratta to the Italian National Team soccer player Alia Guagni, from the Astrophysics Paola Santini to the only one Italian hospital chief Alessandra Kustermann and many more. We would like to invite you all to discover more by visiting the page: https://www.violetblend.cloud/ladonnamobileeng/

The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?

Maroon 5, I like almost all of their discography, it might sound strange but I’m very eclectic in music.

There were some amazing new albums released last year, what would be your album of 2023? 

I really liked “Bleed Out” by Within Temptation.

What does 2024 hold for Violet Blend?

We’re writing new songs now, and we’re taking the time to record the new album in the studio. It’s a long process because we always write loads of songs, and I’m never satisfied with any of it. So I pre-produce all the songs and then we decide which ones to keep and which ones to put apart.

We’ll be on tour soon too, a European tour will start in May 2024, and we can’t wait to get back to the UK after a long time. We’ll play in two Festivals in the UK in 2024, The Loverocks Festival and Wildfire Festival, we’re very much looking forward to it. We’re planning a lot of new things, including some new collaborations with other bands and artists. We’re very excited about this, you will see!

How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?

Yes, we are everywhere, we are present on all the different social platforms and it is very easy to find us, you just have to write Violet Blend, the two magic words.

Fan interaction is a really important part for us. Interacting with people helps you grow both as a person and as an artist, I think it’s important to understand other people’s points of view, then maybe it happens that you make a new friend. So don’t hesitate to write to us!

I attach a couple of links to make things easier:

Website

Facebook

Instagram

Spotify

YouTube

Twitter

Thanks for having me, it was a blast!

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