‘Radio’ is the latest release from synth-pop duo Infra Violet. The Northampton, London, and Brighton-based outfit make sleek-sounding songs to soundtrack long nocturnal drives. New Boots strapped on some leather driving gloves and asked our passenger Beth Munroe some questions.
New Boots: How did you guys get together?
Beth: Infra Violet is coming up to it’s one year anniversary in May. At the beginning of the first lockdown, I got a message from Toby Campen wanting to set up an ’80s synth-pop project. From the moment we started we got on like a house on fire, and the songs just came pouring out. We didn’t even meet until November for a video shoot, after we’d already released two singles together!
How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences for this project?
’80s synth-pop, heavily inspired by the Synthwave movement, but still with the freedom to experiment with rock and pop influences. We’re inspired by acts like CHVRCHES, Gunship, The Midnight, and The Naked and Famous. Though my style is to play around with diverse guitar and vocal layers, which comes from a range of other songwriters like Tash Sultana, Lorde, and Newton Faulkner.
What was the reaction like to the singles last year, ‘Polaroid’ and ‘Water’?
We were so taken aback, honestly. We were both concentrating on our own things, and at first we treated Infra Violet like a fun little side project. But once we saw the overwhelming outpour of positive feedback we realised we had something a bit more special on our hands. We’re incredibly lucky.
Tell us everything about this new one, ‘Radio’.
‘Radio’ was our chance to show the other side of us. We slowed down and took a step back from the sugary pop, and came up with something more sleek and melancholy, influenced by traditional synthwave and ’80s soundtracks, like 2011’s Drive. ‘Radio’ is one of those songs that just effortlessly fell into place like it had always existed. Toby mentioned the brief of writing about a night drive, and within minutes all the lyrics just fell out of me. It’s a story of people who mean a lot to each other, and have a beautiful history together, but deep down, they know that this drive is their last moments together. It’s a universal feeling: to look at someone who we used to know so well, but now the only thing you have in common are the songs that meant so much to you both at the time.
Have the lockdowns helped oil the cogs of Infra Violet, and helped the creativity side of things?
I think it’s safe to say that if lockdown hadn’t happened we wouldn’t have Infra Violet, or at least nothing like it is now. I was about to spend Spring & Summer 2020 touring internationally as a solo artist, and pre-covid Toby was busy working in sound design & production. We lost a lot because of lockdown, but it did gift us time to really concentrate on this. At this point we have a backlog of dozens of songs, and even more ideas, and that’s down to the time we took to explore creatively without rush, and to churn out ideas without distraction. It’s been an incredibly productive time.
Will there be live shows? Is that feasible, recreating the sounds from the recordings?
Yes, absolutely. I can’t say too much right now, but we’re extremely lucky to have some great people stepping forward to help us, and we’re currently talking to lay down the plans for live shows and tours later this year. We both have a long history of playing live, and we’re confident we can do it together. We have some practicing to do, but we have the equipment, we have the experience, and we know we can get together a really tight set.
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
I’ve been listening to The Naked & Famous’s new album Recover a lot recently. They’re one of our main influences, and it’s a fantastic album. So melancholy but still hopeful, all underlaid by gorgeous beats and slick production; it’s brilliant. It’s the anthem 2020 needed, it sums up the year we’ve had perfectly.
What is your burning desire for Infra Violet in the future?
The momentum has been building nicely, but it’s all been so contained with lockdown. We’ve been pressing against our confines for a while and we’re finally getting ready to hatch, and show the world who we really are – what we’re really capable of. We’re preparing for another music video as soon as restrictions lift, and after that, for the second half of this year, we’ll be releasing our first album. Hopefully followed by touring, live shows, and some exciting promotional opportunities. By the end of this year we hope to be an established underground name within our genre.
And quickly, any solo project news to share?
Yes! I’ve been hiding away and working on my guitar playing, going back to my fingerstyle roots & writing a lot of material along the lines of Andy McKee, Newton Faulkner, Jon Gomm etc. I have a new EP in the works, but I’m taking the time to make sure I get it right and make it something I’m really excited and proud of. I’m hoping to release it by the summer.
‘Radio’ is out now via the usual digital platforms