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Violent Soho’s Luke Boerdam talks control and illusion ahead of their heavily anticipated fourth album WACO.

Since the release of Hungry Ghost, Violent Soho has been climbing up the ranks. The Brisbane band went from playing small rooms to selling out venues across the country. Their success took eight years of hard work, but once listeners started to connect with their music, this created a bond difficult to break.

It’s been less than three years since that much loved album and the pressure was on to deliver another one. This Friday fans can get their hands on WACO. The title references the 1993 massacre near the city of Waco, Texas where a siege occurred between religious group the Branch Davidians and law enforcement.

We chatted to lead singer and guitarist Luke Boerdam about the dark themes on the album and meeting Zach from DIIV.

TEO: What is the meaning behind the album title WACO?
Luke
: I went through heaps of different album names; I was really drawn to that one. I felt like it described the music best because the album’s a bit darker than the previous record. For some reason I came upon that story and that word early on in the writing process. Album names are tough because you go through months and months of recording; well how the hell do I describe this?

What was the writing process like for this album?
It was different from last time; last time we were all still working jobs. We were always going to put out another record but we just took our time amongst other things. It was three years between records. It had this nice flow approach. Whereas this time, obviously, there’s a lot more urgency to get another record out.

Can you elaborate on the dark themes on the album?
For me [WACO is about] control and illusion. If you think about the Western world, we live in this insanely rich country. We have great resources, education and health. Really there’s this whole third world out there, which is basically supporting us and building everything we buy. I just find it fascinating.

Humans create these illusions so they feel like they have control over their lives. Whether we’re given religious illusions… so we can make sense of who we are, why we’re here and what we’re meant to be doing, when the reality is usually much darker. It’s really dark to think of a world without Gods… to think of the billions of people in poverty. If they didn’t exist, the way we live wouldn’t exist. To a degree there is nothing you can do about this, you don’t have control. A lot of the songs are about these illusions.

Did you feel any pressure to one-up Hungry Ghost?
There’s always pressure. You always wanna beat your last record, as a writer you always want to do better. In terms of music industry, management or our label; nothing like that. They just basically let us be. They know we have enough drive in us that we want to make it better, so they just leave us alone. If there was any pressure, it was just personal pressure. If you’re trying to one-up a record it’s pretty tough because how do you quantify that? What means it’s better than the last record? It’s different. That’s just how it is; it’s a different record.

What inspired the album artwork for WACO?
We just wanted it to be minimal. This album feels like a mature older sister to Hungry Ghost. I wanted the artwork to reflect that, to be dark with two colours only. The guy throwing the punch, I can’t really explain why that image is the image. Originally I had some dude in a crown but to Pedro [the artist] and I, it felt right to put it in the letter form. It just kinda worked.

What has been a highlight for you so far this year?
I got to meet Zach from DIIV, which was pretty cool. I was kinda scared to meet him; I’m a big fan of that first DIIV record. He was a little bit shy I guess. I just went up and spoke to him at the last Laneway. I got enough nerve to go up to him. He was a really nice guy, just awesome. We’re both big fans of guitar pedals obviously, so we talked about gear for an hour. Meeting him was pretty rad.

Violent Soho’s album WACO is out 18th March, with the band touring throughout May

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