ARTICLE BY CHERYL CHENG
After more than two years on the road in support of debut album 180, Palma Violets were understandably burnt out. The extensive touring, including festival dates at Glastonbury, Reading, and Coachella, as well as numerous other shows worldwide, had taken a toll on the band members, who needed to regroup and learn how to write music together again for sophomore effort Danger in the Club. "With the first one, we were sat in a room together from start to finish and we wrote all those songs. It was very much at that moment in time," drummer Will Doyle explains to me on the phone from New York, where his band will perform at the Bowery. "For Danger in the Club, it was more about getting over being on tour for two years. These are campfire songs."
When listening to the title track, a rock 'n' roll number that ambles casually along to its booming chorus, it's easy to envision fans raising beer pints up in the air and singing along to the repeating refrain, "Give up! Give up!" It's a song "that sums up the whole record," Will explains. Danger in the Club is an album that doesn't take itself too seriously, focusing instead on basic three-chord pop songs about youthful exuberance and the titular club life. For a band whose debut album was widely praised, with The New York Times describing it as "raggedly charming" and Rolling Stone naming it one of 2013's best debuts, there could have been insurmountable pressure for the band to live up to 180, but Will dismisses this idea. "There could have been pressure if we rushed it," he mused, "but we took our time with it. We didn't let it get to us."
Another way to avoid pressure: retreat to an isolated farm in Wales, which is where the band members were able to find their focus. The distraction-free locale proved to be exactly what Palma Violets needed, as the band members reestablished their friendships and wrote several songs that appear on Danger. The album pays tribute to the remote locale with the first track, a cover of Dinah Shore's "Sweet Violets." "Where we stayed and wrote the songs in Wales, there was an old couple," says Will. "And the man thought we were called Palma Violets because of this song ["Sweet Violets"]. He sang the song, and we recorded it on a phone. It was a nice way to start the album."
This time around, the album also features songs about America, most notably "Hollywood (I Got It)," a fun, silly number ("Fresh fish, I got it!") that pays tribute to the well-known entertainment town. "Obviously we're not the first band to write about being in L.A.," says Will. "It was what we saw, you know, the glitz, the glamour. But just seeing it for yourself is a moving thing." Palma Violets have toured L.A. several times, opening for Franz Ferdinand at the Fonda in 2013, as well as performing at the EchoPlex, El Rey Theatre and the Echo. "L.A. is so fucking big and there are still loads to see. We've only been two or three times and each time we've been, we've seen something new," the drummer says, before quickly adding—like an L.A. native—"but as long as we're not stuck in traffic…"
Despite the exhaustive touring for 180, Palma Violets again have an extensive tour scheduled for Danger in the Club, with dates booked until the end of the year. But Will believes "there are ways with dealing with burning out on tour." He adds, reflectively, "We'll write more on the road this time so we're not just sort of stagnating. I mean, we're busy, but it's the best way to be." It's clear that the band isn't stopping anytime soon. Palma Violets will headline the Teragram Ballroom in L.A. on Friday, June 5, and tickets for the show are on sale now via Ticketmaster for $18.00 each plus service fees. Click here for more information.
The Scenestar asks Will to name his favorites of the moment.
FAVORITE DRINK "White Russian. I got into it from [The Big Lebowski]. I know it's cliche, but it's the simple things in life."
FAVORITE ARTIST Wes Anderson
FAVORITE FOOD "In America? Philly Cheesesteak."
FAVORITE VENUE "Madame JoJo's, but it's shut down."
FAVORITE APP "Simpsons Tapped Out. I'm thinking about getting rid of it because it's just a waste of time."