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Interview

LA Band VOILA Gives Inside Scoop About the Magic Behind Music-Making

As an up and coming LA band, VOILÀ is creating magic with its edgy style and heart-wrenching lyrics. The masterminds behind the music, Gus Ross and Luke Eisner, met through USC’s music industry program and immediately bonded over their similar taste in style. While pop music has a reputation of focusing on trivial subject matter, VOILÀ likes to explore more intense subjects that often don’t get media attention. For example, ‘Stand Tall’, was inspired by coming to terms with a loved one’s terminal illness.
Their most recent single, Anyway, is now live on Spotify and can be found here. 
Affinity: Talk a little about the inspiration behind Anyway!

Luke: It was inspired by personal romances that paralleled some of my favorites stories. In this case, ‘The Notebook’ and ‘Titanic’. Both are stories about lovers from two different social circles where her parents disapproved. So we had to come up with schemes. I grew up in Wisconsin which is of course notorious for its cold winters. So when the snow was falling there weren’t any places to sneak off away from parents to to steal kisses. So we spent a lot of time growing romances in the backseats of cars. We’d turn on the radio, go by the airport and watch planes come and go,  I remember my car even had a DVD player in the back. How romantic right? Except for the fact that all I had was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. So, I’ve probably seen that a thousand times.

Gus: For me, Anyway is a song about enjoyment and living in the moment. We make assumptions every day that impede our own happiness. Anyway allows us to dispense with them.

 

Affinity: It was mentioned each of your songs has at least one “tattoo-able” line. What are each of your favorite lines in Anyway?

Luke: I like the play-on-words/ double meaning lines! Like, “Silver spooning like you’re used to” and “Taking off your goody two shoes”. There’s also the ‘Titanic’ inspired line based on the fogged up car scene. “But I’ll tutor you in chemistry, we are opposites attracting, fire and water we are making steam in the backseat of your daddy’s Mercedes”

Gus: “Follow and be free, you’ll find a way.”

 

Affinity: How’d you chose the band name, VOILÀ?

Luke: We pulled it out of a hat! Get it? Voilà? Magic joke? But no, it literally means “there you are” which is what we want to achieve with our music. We want listeners to see themselves in our stories. We want to be a mirror, not a megaphone. Instead of capturing  your attention by just shouting things at you, we want to capture your attention because you see yourself reflected.

Gus: I changed the name five times. When we came up with VOILÀ Luke said that he’d leave the band if i changed it again, so it stuck!

 

Affinity: When did you each know you wanted to pursue music? What in your childhood helped shape that decision?

Luke: I had a pretty bad concussion when I was in 7th grade and during the healing process I had to lay low and live simply. The only stimulus that really didn’t make the symptoms worse were audiobooks and music. It was during this time I got fascinated with storytelling and started to have the time to notice  the intricacies of lyrics in songs. I realized good songs are good stories and that’s something I wanted to do forever.

Gus: I was given a harmonica at four years old and just never stopped. I used to sing and accompany myself on guitar at concerts in England and when I discovered Music Production I was totally and utterly hooked and knew that I had to incorporate what i already knew regarding live performance into the recording/production sphere.

 

Affinity: What’s been the best part of starting VOILÀ, so far?

Luke: We recently got to shoot a music video for our song ‘Stand Tall’ with my father. It outlined the real life story of his ongoing battle with cancer. Going through that process was really therapeutic for both my father and I. Music is always personal, but this one especially hit home and I feel so lucky to be able to have that experience.

Gus: Being able to work everyday towards a common goal and seeing different aspects come together visually and musically.

 

Affinity: If you weren’t in the music business, what would you each be doing instead?

Luke: That’s hard to imagine! I’m a massive Harry Potter fan so I’d see if Hogwarts was hiring. If that failed, I’d be an author. We also try to help people with our music, so if we didn’t have music I’m sure we’d try to find other ways to make a difference in causes we care about.

Gus: I used to want to be a professional golfer so that’s what I’d be striving for if music wasn’t an option. 

 

Affinity: Who inspires you the most? In anything, music or life.

Luke: I’m massively inspired by Dr. Seuss and Jim Henson. Those are people who work in the intersection of imagination and morality. I think we owe a lot of our sense of right and wrong to those individuals. The fact they could pack these massive messages into something so entertaining, concise, and easily digestible is pretty much exactly what any good song does. I also look up to Steve Irwin. I think he was so passionate with communicating. Musically my favorite artist is Elliott Smith. But currently, lyrically, I’m really inspired by Sam Hunt. I know that’s an opposite genre to us, but I think he is ridiculously clever.

Gus: I’m more inspired by the people around me than by distinct figureheads or famous artists. My family inspire me alot and, honestly, my drive is often fueled by wanting to do those who believe in me proud. I also feel responsibility to do everything I can to preserve and protect the nature we’re surrounded by. Music gives me a platform to do this and I hope than in the future I will be able to contribute in a big way.

 

Affinity: Where can people find more of your work and what can they follow you on?

Luke: I’d say you could follow me on bike or motor vehicle but I’m not that fast, so you could probably just follow me on foot.

Gus: VOILÀ on pretty much everything! 

 

Affinity: Are you working on any other exciting, forthcoming projects that you want your fans to know about?

Gus: We just finished up a batch of three songs that we’re going to be releasing over the next couple of months that we’re really excited about. We worked with some very inspiring and successful songwriters, producers and mix engineers so it’s going to be intriguing to see what sort of response they get!

 

Affinity: If you could give other aspiring artists one piece of advice, what would it be?  

Luke: It’s an oxymoron, but the less sleep you get the more dreams you’ll get.

Gus: Choose carefully whose opinions you take on board.

 

Affinity: Any last thoughts?

Luke: We are honored to be featured on your platform. I’m a fan of the support and awareness Affinity Magazine consistently gives to important issues like mental health and domestic violence.

Image Courtesy of Alec Morris

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Written By

Ariel Zedric is a student at Tufts University. When she's not studying, you can find her wandering around on her blog at arielzedric.wordpress.com. Contact via email at ariel.zedric@gmail.com or on Twitter or Instagram @arielzedric

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