Exclusive Interview with Sarah McTaggart of Transviolet
Transviolet is a band full of passion, great vibes, and fantastic music. They recently played at South by Southwest, and are currently playing at The Satellite in LA every Monday during April. Their most recent song, New Bohemia, has started some incredible and inspirational messages on social media. TNWU recently chatted with lead vocalist Sarah McTaggart about her run in with Blink 182, #iamthenewbohemia, and more!
You guys had a concert Monday night, how did that go?
We did. It was a residency. We really didn’t know what to expect because we’ve only had like three shows in LA. We’ve been over in the UK, so we’re like, “This is just an empty room.” (laughs). It was awesome, it totally exceeded our expectations. It was a packed house and the opening bands were amazing. Grizfolk killed it. HAWAI played, too. I’ve never seen them play live and they were incredible as well. Our friend strangeheart came to play and it was a lot of fun.
Speaking of concerts, you guys just played South by Southwest and you did nine shows?
Yeah, we had nine shows, I think like 12 interviews or something, and five photo shoots in four days (laughs). It was a little bit insane.
Wow. How did you make each different?
It was a lot of fun. We had some acoustics, well not acoustics for us, we never really do completely acoustic, but we had some broken down stuff at different venues. We’re playing on these huge stages like the Budlight stage, and the Playstation stage, and the Hype Hotel stage. Then we were playing on smaller little ones like Neon Gold. It was really cool, it was definitely like a band boot camp. We were hustling to be ready to play on time. It’s always set up quickly in five minutes and then go on and play. Then grab all your gear, and run a mile, literally, on foot to the next gig and play again.
That’s amazing. Have you been there before?
No, that was my very, well, all of our very first times. We had no idea what to expect. We had our friends in other bands telling us, “Just be prepared, it’s crazy, it’s sweaty, it’s dirty, it’s insane, it’s kind of a clusterfuck, for lack of a better term.” It was really, really fun, and we enjoyed ourselves.
Did you guys get to attend any concerts while you were there?
We were pretty jammed as far as schedules went, but we definitely stuck around to watch the bands before and after us. We got to see Jack Garratt who played after us at the Playstation house. He was incredible. We also saw AudioDamn! who played before us at the Playstation house, he was great, too.
Then, for FLOODfest, which was probably my favorite show of the festival, we played before Peaches. I don’t know if you know who Peaches is. When I was in college, that was like our anthem. Going out, we’d put on a Peaches CD, so playing right before her was amazing. I got to see her perform and that was my first time ever seeing her perform in the flesh. It was definitely an experience. She had blow-up dolls and she was sticking her hands through them, and DJing with the blow-up dolls on her hands, and climbing up the rafters and literally walking in the crowd, on top of the crowd. We’re holding her feet and she’s just insane, she’s such an incredible performer. We got to discover some really cool new acts as well. Sevdaliza played right before us at that FLOODfest show, she was really amazing.
We got to play with some people that we played with previously, like Declan McKenna and Grizfolk who were also so talented. It’s so amazing that Declan is having some success now, with the radio and everything, he’s just so talented. If you haven’t heard of him yet, you need to look him up. He’s a 17-year-old kid and he definitely reincarnated from some amazing 60’s or 70’s rock star. (laughs).
I heard you guys got free PlayStation’s at the Playstation tent?
We did, yeah. The guys were all way more excited than I was because I don’t really play any video games, really. I guess I’m going to have to learn now.
You guys have a new single called “New Bohemia.” Can you tell us a little bit about it?
We do! “New Bohemia” is a mindset. It’s the idea that each individual has the power to change the world. We want to inspire young people to step outside of themselves, to be inspired and to know that you’re more than your skin color, you’re more than the place you were born, you’re more than your gender or your sexual orientation. These are things that describe us and by no means are we saying to erase your identity or anything like that, but don’t let those things divide you, either. Don’t think, “I’m white,” or “I’m black,” or “I’m gay,” so that means that I can just do this, or this, or these are the only things that I am. We’re all so much more than these little things that we use to define us.
I really liked seeing all the fan responses to the song. Do you have a favorite fan response that they’ve tweeted or sent to you from it?
Yeah, we started this really cool thing called “I am the New Bohemia.” Seeing the videos was so inspiring for me because we started this, and obviously, to me, I had it in my head as to what the “New Bohemia” meant to me and seeing fans personalize it and take it a step further was so inspiring. We had girls saying, “I’m not my stretch marks, I’m not the size of my waist. I’m not my sexual orientation or the stereotypes that go along with it. I’m not any little mistake, I’m much bigger than that.” It’s just so cool to see these young people, and they’re all so young. A lot of our fans are 15-16 years old and I remember how I was when I was 15 and 16, so to see these girls be so brave, and so strong, and look into a camera and make these very powerful affirmations, it really moved me. It made this movement that we started so much bigger than what we originally intended.
Exactly, I really enjoyed seeing everybody’s tweets and their responses to that. Going off that, what does Transviolet stand for? What are you guys trying to promote with your music? Along with the #iamthenewbohemia hashtag, because you guys are doing some really awesome stuff.
I would just really like to inspire people to find their own voice and to find something honest and authentic within themselves, and not be afraid to express it. Unfortunately, our generation has been labeled as this generation that’s entitled, and doesn’t give a fuck, and is all about partying, and whatever. All that stuff is fun and I’m definitely not one to turn off the radio when a party song comes on or when we’re out. At the same time, we are so much more than that as a generation. I’m not afraid to say that I do give a fuck about what’s happening in the world and that I do give a fuck about our generation. I just want to empower young people to find their own voice, to find causes that are meaningful to them. It’s going to be different for everyone, so just find something that moves you and inspires you. For me, right now, what really inspires me is the movement by Malala. She’s started this whole movement about girls continuing their education beyond puberty and it’s really hard in third-world countries for them to continue.
Also, people like M.I.A have stepped in and started making similar marks toward this like, “Hey, you live in the year 2016 and it’s ridiculous that there’s still girls out there that aren’t getting an education.” This is half the population, how can we expect our society to move forward if we’re holding 50% of them back? Stuff like that. That’s just my thing that personally moves me, but everyone needs to find something that moves them. It doesn’t have to be … You don’t have to take some big, grandiose action, it could just be small actions. It could be bringing awareness to the situation or if you can give five dollars to a foundation like the Malala Fund. If you can, go to a protest or if you can donate your time to the organization. It’s such a big thing if we can all just find some little ways in which we can help.
Everyone does have the power to change the world and create our own reality. That’s the main message of this band is that you do have control over your reality. We are all actively participating in creating our reality, whether you choose to act on that knowledge or not. Your choice to act or your choice not to act has dire effects on our future. If you choose to be active, you can make a significant change. It might not look like it at first, but every little person is important. We’re cells in this much bigger organism on our planet. We do have a big effect on creating what our world looks like.
Yeah, that’s amazing and powerful. Do you guys have plans to go on tour soon?
Definitely, we’re going to be back in the UK in May. We’re doing our first headlining tour in the UK. We’re going to hit all the same spots when we were touring with Twenty One Pilots and also adding some new spots. We’re going to Brussels as well this time. This month we have a residency here in Los Angeles. We just did our first show Monday night, which I told you about. Then, we’re going to be at The Satellite every Monday night. Our local hometown people we’re here! Then May we’re going to be back in the UK, hitting up our UK lovers.
Your song was just played on Supergirl, which is awesome. Do you know how that came to be, how it ended up on the show?
(laughs). I’m not really sure. I don’t know the inner workings of how all those things happen, but we have a really powerful management team. They’ve been really good about finding the right fit and the right homes for our songs and things like that. I’m sure it was one of them that figured it out and put it all together.
Is there any show that you would just fangirl over if you heard your song on?
Oh, my god, so many. I’m such a fan of Game of Thrones, but I don’t really think they have songs playing during that. Game of Thrones or House of Cards, American Horror Story, that would be incredible if there was ever … Any of those shows. Those are probably my favorites right now.
I heard you were on Now That’s What I Call Music! 57 and you said that your ten-year-old self would be so proud.
Oh, my god, yeah. (laughs).
What else would your ten-year-old self just go crazy if she knew right now?
We’ve been on some lineups with some of our idols. For some of these upcoming festivals, we’re on … There’re other people on the bill that I would probably have died if I knew that we were going to be playing alongside with them. I forget which festival it is because there’s so many bands in each one, but at one of the festivals, we’re going to be playing with Blink-182, which is like, insane. I was so in love with them when I was ten. Also, we ran into them at a rehearsal studio a few months ago. It was one of those moments, and I don’t get starstruck, I’ll go up to anyone and be like, “Hey, I’m a big fan and yatta yatta,” but I literally saw Mark in the hallway and just froze. (laughs). I couldn’t do anything. I was like, “Oh, my god, Blink-182 is in the same building as us.” Then, Travis Barker walked out right past me and I just could not find the words, I was completely speechless. My ten-year-old self would have flipped out if she knew that I was going to be in the same room as Blink-182.
Mine too! If there’s anybody in the world that you could go on tour with, who would it be?
That’s such a hard question. Man, I would really like to go on tour with someone like alt-J, just because I want to see what they’re like in person and I’m such a huge fan. Also someone like Lana Del Rey. They’re my contemporary favorites right now. I just want to hang out with them, see what makes them tick and pick their brains. Also, we have some really good friends that are in the music industry and that are doing really well, and I just know that if we went on tour with them, we would have the best time. Joywave are some of the boys’ high school friends, like life-long friends, so we are going to be supporting them in June for four dates and I’m so excited to go hang out with them because you know when you hang out with someone, like high school friends, you totally get an insight on who they are more. I’m interested to see what it’s like with the boys and their high school friends.
Then, also, we have some friends in a band called Saint Motel who are just incredible and I know it would be so much fun to go on tour with them, as well. I know that would be a really good time.
Is there a certain place that you haven’t been on tour yet that you’re just dying to go to?
Definitely. I really want to go to Asia just because I know the culture is so opposite of ours. I want to experience that. Also, Australia, I’m just dying to go to Australia because I hear it’s amazing, and the weather’s incredible, and the people are so friendly. Yeah, those two are the ones for me.
Our site is called Talk Nerdy With Us, so what do you nerd out about?
Ooh, what do I nerd out about? I really like animal facts, just fun facts about animals or biology, things like that, they really interest me, like how cells work or how parts of the body work. I could tell you every muscle in the human body. Just because I nerd out about stuff like that, anything to do with life, or the human body, or animals. My boyfriend’s always making fun of me because we’ll be watching something and he’ll be like, “What animal is that?” and I’ll know what it is. (laughs). He’ll be like, “How do you know that? You’re such a weirdo.”