Turning violet Violet
Gig Seeker Pro

Turning violet Violet

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Band Rock Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Echo Chamber: Turning Violet Violet"

Our first Echo Chamber shoot with an out of town band. Exciting! Sara from Turning violet Violet emailed me in late April complimenting our blog (flattery gets you pretty far when you don’t get paid for blogging) and threw out the idea of shooting a video when they were in town for a show. Interesting idea. The Philly band would be in early on a Saturday afternoon before their evening show at Brillobox. Brandon, Sara’s husband, was from Pittsburgh, was a Steelers fan, and the whole band would be in to visit with the family and had some time to kill before their show. Everything sounded awesome. I gathered the troops to see if it would work. Todd was in. Justin, unfortunately, was busy packing his life away for his imminent move to Portland, OR (we miss you JA). Hmm. Well, with Justin moving soon, we might as well live dangerously and see how we could scrap some sound recording equipment together. Sara and I emailed back and forth to figure out the details, finally talking in person as the band pulled up on a sunny and warm Saturday afternoon in May. She was carrying an accordion case. I liked that.

The band piled out of two or three cars, luckily finding parking spots on the coveted Regent Square side street. Instrument cases piled high. Cymbals flashed in the afternoon sun. Clear containers filled with bells, cords, and glockenspiels rattled up the wooden steps as we loaded things into the apartment. David and Dani were hanging around after an impromptu band meeting. They split for lunch while I started to stress about space and sound. I had asked the band if they had any experienced sound guy friends in the area. They replied, not really, but brought a friend who had helped with recording. Interestingly, it was Jake, one of our Twitter friends. We laughed about internet friendships. He helped me set up sound equipment. The band was more than eager to try out these newly re-arranged tunes. With clicks and hums of an accordion, the band began their first song, surrounded by sunshine in my apartment.

They were on. The band was executing perfectly, smiling and joking with each other in between takes. We discussed Philly and Pittsburgh rivalries. We talked Penguins. We rapped about Steelers. I sweated over the sound I was recording. Without Justin around, I felt vulnerable. I had no real clue if what I was recording would even be useable. I hoped. I prayed. I checked the mic placement, pretending that I knew exactly what I was doing. Jake sat beside me and listened to the mixes, confirming my assumptions and making me feel a bit better. It would have to do. It made it almost unbearable that Turning violet Violet was playing so well. Their songs were terrific and I couldn’t have been happier working with a band I’d never really heard before. I was having tremendous luck and only hoped that that very same luck would translate onto “tape”. We would see. With bells and glockenspiels primed, the band began “Pink Sky”

I was so impressed. This band knew their shit and made it look easy. We did a few takes of each, but really, each one was just turning out to be better than the last. Todd was feeling it, moving deftly in and out, between players and around mic stands. No false steps. No lazy camera work today. I had commited to my mic placement and would have to deal with the consequences. So be it.

The band was happy with their two songs and eager to get on the road and visit some family before their evening gig. Home cooked meals. Nap time. I could sense the nervousness and excitement as they discussed their evening show, promising to put me on the list. I told them I’d love to see them in full form. I promised. I followed through. We shook hands and the band drove away in two cars back across town, their heads filled with set lists and song lyrics for the evening show. - Draw Us Lines

"Emerging: Turning Violet Violet"

Turning violet Violet is really into their food. "We're really just a food club that knows how to play music," says drummer Brandon Gulish at a pre-practice meal. Tonight's menu includes the ultimate array of culinary comfort: chili, cornbread and pumpkin pie. The band (Brandon and Sarah Gulish, Steve Wittig, Jeff Scott and Sarah Pisano) and Jeff's wife, Rachel, their unofficial manager, relax with wine and playful conversation.

Sarah G, lead vocalist, contributes to most of the songwriting, which is slowly becoming more of a collaborative effort. But in college, when songwriting was more of an experimental art form than a passion, her songs were sort of awful. "Every song sounded like a musical theater scene between a good guy and a bad guy," she admits. Brandon fervently nods his head in agreement.

Although they didn't know it at the time, TvV began as a blueprint when Sarah G (at the time, Sarah Allen), Sarah Pisano and Brandon met at Temple University. The Sarahs had a few classes together and eventually were introduced to Brandon, a friend of a friend. After graduation (and Sarah and Brandon's wedding), they collaborated with bass-player, Steve in 2008. A series of arduous and unsuccessful attempts to secure a guitarist eventually led them to Jeff in late 2009. A show at the North Star Bar in January sealed the deal.

n August 6 they released their first EP, Fierce Remains on CheapO Records. They were one of the many artists featured at the annual Dewey Beach Music Conference back in October. "We're big fans of community-oriented [events]. There's something gratifying about other musicians we respect enjoying our music," Brandon says.

Later that month, they recorded a live studio session with Radio 104.5, performing an original song and a hauntingly beautiful rendition of "99 Red Balloons." After the session, in a symbolic attempt to personify the song, they planned to release a red balloon together outside. But Brandon had his own plan. As they counted down to take off, he popped the balloon and their dreams of making a poetic statement.

TvV has a dark comical approach to music with their name (it's a Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory reference, natch) and the sinister cartoon album artwork, done by Philly artists, Donna Collis, Dean Harris and Dustin Ream.

The instrumentation on Fierce Remains builds in layers and aggressively complements the vocal variations. The combination of Sarah G's whimsical voice and the dramatic effect of Sarah P on viola gives TvV that little something extra that can't quite be explained. To hear Sarah G put it, "The combination of all of us doesn't sound like anyone else."

Later this month, they'll play their first college show at Gordon College in Boston and then head back to the North Star Bar where everything began. Along with working on an LP and continuing touring, TvV is looking for new ways to improve their sound like recording their practices and finding new influences. "I can't remember not doing this so much. I just want to build a melody," Sarah G says as the rest of the band collectively make their way to practice. - Origivation Magazine

"Turning violet Violet, an earnest sense of urgency"

Sarah Gulish is really, really excited about her band Turning violet Violet, and she has every right to be.

With two new singles dropping in June and an E.P. under their belts, T.v.V. is only just beginning to fashion a place for themselves in Philadelphia and beyond.

“The first seeds of the band were planted when I met Brandon Gulish when I was a freshman at Temple,” Sarah explains. “We didn’t decide to start T.v.V. as our own project until after we were married and had taken a little break from playing together.”

One by one, other members were settled into place. Not long after they officially formed in 2009, they began to record their first EP Fierce Remains.

The songs on that EP, as described by Sarah herself, are a combination of all of the different musical backgrounds that the group is versed in, largely “punk, classical, straight rock and roll and funk.”

They blend standard rock band instruments with classical strings, piano and banjo.

Someone looking for a quick and easy genre classification might classify Turning violet Violet as “chamber pop” but that would just be lazy. The songs on Fierce Remains brim with an earnest sense of urgency. And yet none of them seem to be racing to a rushed finish.

As for touring, T.v.V has the same aspirations as most other bands. But they are smart enough to realize that first, a band must build up a sizable enough hometown following. And in a city like Philadelphia, where it seems like new bands sprout from in between cracks in the sidewalk everyday, it can be a rough task.

“We are playing a few out of state dates in the early summer,” begins Sarah. “But in a lot of ways, we are still just finding our niche in the Philly scene and making connections.”

Speaking of connections, Turning violet Violet will be co-hosting a release party with East Hundred at Johnny Brenda’s on June 11th, where they will be releasing two digital singles off of their upcoming full-length.

When it comes to what sets her band apart from every other struggling band the world over, Sarah isn’t really bogged down by the sometimes terrifying thought of what makes a band original and worth seeking out.

“I think that at the end of the day, you need to make music that you believe in and not worry about how different or original you are,” acknowledges Sarah. “We might add some Willy Wonka audio clips or sparkly outfits to our live show to ramp up the originality but we hope the music speaks for itself.“ - Jump Magazine

"Turning violet Violet: You Have Fashioned"

The trick to making chamber-pop work is amping up the pop. Philly quintet Turning Violet Violet seems to know this. Their debut EP, Fierce Remains (CheapO), offsets the dreamy swoons of its viola with some peppy handclaps, a couple guitar hooks and some strong, lovely harmonizing. "Gang vocals," they call it. "You Have Fashioned" is a sneaky little asymmetrical power-pop tune; an unironic cowbell and a dah-duh-duh dah-dah chorus spring up between dense, head-scratching lyrics. "My brain's as big as your brain, but if you keep turning this vice you have fashioned, my will grows either way," sings Sarah Gulish, somehow blunt but sprightly. "My heart's as strong as your heart, but if you keep tramping, bruising and stamping, I won't tell footprints from veins." It's weird, but it sounds so sweet. Repeat listens are demanded and rewarded. - Philadelphia City Paper

"With Turning violet Violet, expect unexpected musical shadings"

By Craig Ostroff
Managing Editor

What do you get when you bring together five people from Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware, all with differing backgrounds and experiences with various musical genres and instruments?

You get one of the most unique bands to appear on the Philadelphia music scene in quite some time.

What began as a seven-person unit has experimented, added and subtracted, refined and rehearsed, and now Turning violet Violet is taking the local music scene by storm. With its creative and hypnotic arrangements and clever lyrical storytelling, the band is finding success far sweeter than any Wonka Bar from the movie that inspired the band’s name.

“My husband and I had played in a few different bands together,” said lead singer Sarah Gulish, a Horsham native and Lower Moreland High School teacher. “When we started dating, that’s what stopped our musical creativity, because we were so wrapped up in this new relationship. Then about a year into our marriage we decided we really missed it and we want to get back to it. So we started experimenting with our bass player [Steve Wittig, of Phoenixville], and that’s when we decided to make it a project and go from there.”

The early days, clearly, were a work in progress for the band.

“When we first started playing, we had seven people onstage,” Gulish said. “I would get depressed after every show because I didn’t think it represented what we wanted our art to represent. It was chaotic, and I wasn’t comfortable being a frontwoman at all.”

With four set members — Gulish on keyboards, acoustic guitar, clarinet and lead vocals; Brandon Gulish on drums and saw; Sarah Pisano on viola, auxiliary percussion and backing vocals; and Wittig on bass, hand percussion and backing vocals — the current incarnation of the band took its form when guitarist Jeff Scott joined the group in December.

“Once Jeff came along, and the unit was tightened and the music got so tight, it makes it so much easier to enjoy it,” Sarah Gulish said. “Because you’re not worried about the details, you’re just trying to sell it. Especially to a new crowd. I think we really enjoy playing in places where no one’s heard of us before. You want to surprise them.”

It hasn’t been too difficult to gain new fans. After all, it’s easy to see a female lead singer and instruments one wouldn’t expect from a rock band and dismiss it as a novelty act.

Then, Turning violet Violet begins to play.

“We played a show [recently in Wilmington, Del.] where … there was an instant skepticism around us,” Brandon Gulish said. “And that happens with a female-fronted band, we’ve got a viola player, it’s a very different thing. We’re a style of band that didn’t really play there that often. And 10 notes into our first song, it was dead silent — we had them. I’ve never sold anything so decisively.

“You never want to show your cards. We love waiting till the absolute last moment and then being in front of people and pulling out something they never saw coming. There’s not a better feeling to see the crowd go from super-skeptical to seeing their faces really just lost in music.”

Fans in Philadelphia have already experienced the musical magic of Turning violet Violet. Now the band will venture into the suburbs, with a show Aug. 13 at The Note in West Chester, performing on the same bill as fellow local favorites East Hundred, and Aug. 19 at Puck in Doylestown. It will mark the first chance for many to catch a glimpse of a band that proves you don’t need typical instruments, or similar backgrounds, to make up a pretty impressive rock band.

“Sarah [Pisano] had never been to a rock concert until we were 21,” Sarah Gulish said. “She was more into classical. And that’s a really good thing. Her ideas are so different from what mine will be, or Brandon’s or Steve’s. It’s helpful bringing together so many different ideas.”

“I love that these guys have different things that blow their hair back,” Scott said. “And that’s great, because my tendencies are going to be totally different. I think that’s why it’s hard for even us to classify ourselves. Those worlds all come together and it’s clicking, but they’re totally different genres.”

The band released its debut EP, “Fierce Remains,” Aug. 6 at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia. While they’re thrilled with the four-song disc, they’re even more excited to get it into the hands of the fans. The CDs are available at live performances and can be purchased online at the band’s Web site (www.turningvioletviolet.com) and in the very near future through online retailers such as iTunes and Amazon.com.

“The whole process has been longer than we thought, it has been harder than we thought and it has been better than we could have imagined,” said Brandon Gulish. “It has been so much fun to go into a studio and work with an amazing producer [Al Bogusky]. We grew so much as a band. We came in as musicians and came out as a band. I couldn’t be more proud of the efforts.”

The five members of the band are all in their mid-to-late 20s, and all hold day jobs in addition to their band responsibilities. While the ultimate goal is to be able to trade in those weekday jobs for the lives of full-time musicians, they’re just happy to be able to make music.

And they’re thrilled that they’re being so warmly welcomed to the local scene. And hoping it will lead to bigger and better things.

“Right now, because we’re so in love with the band and the process, we’re really rethinking our priorities and every week, every show, every new song, the band becomes a higher and higher priority,” Brandon Gulish said. “We’ll ride this as far as we can take it.”

“We are all pretty happy in our day jobs, we all really love what we do, so we’re blessed in knowing that whatever happens, we’ll be happy with what we do,” Sarah Gulish said. “But it all comes down to, would you rather be creatively making and playing music with five people you really love, or doing something else?”

“We’d all love to do it full-time,” Scott added. “We’re always just champing at the bit to get out of work to write music or practice together. But if we knew we’d have our day jobs in five years, we’d still keep writing and performing, because that’s what we love to do.” - Montgomery News

"Turning violet Violet: Eat. Play, Love"

When I go to the band’s website I am immediately drawn in.The screen loads and there is a movie of the band messing around in some basement and playing funky instruments,an accordion and old violin.A shot of someone holding a polaroid of the band.A scene of someone loading 35mm film into an old cameraIt’s all very trippy and fun and kind of old fashioned and fresh all at the same time.”How original”I think.The music,songs from their debut EP “Fierce Remains” on the Cheapo Record label is a perfect soundtrack to the film, simple songs with sweet harmonies played with whimsy and verve.Think Incredible String Band and The Roches with a dash of Laura Viers thrown in.I get to chat with Sarah Gurlish who founded the band with her husband Brandon in advance of their EP release party at Johnny Brendas next Friday,August 6th.”My husband Brandon and I have been playing music together for the past 7 years.This incarnation of the band became complete with the addition of guitarist Jeff Scott in December.”"Our influences come from a lot of different places.Sarah Pisano who plays viola in the band was only playing classical music before she joined us”.The quintet is rounded out by bassist Steve Wittig.The creative process is a total collaborative effort at this point.”Someone will bring something to rehearsal and we flesh it out as a band”.Sarah writes all the lyrics however.”It’s kind of intimidating and still pretty new for me.I am still a bit unsure about putting my feelings on paper.I listen to someone gifted like Colin Malloy from The Decemberists or Dylan and realize what a amazing craft lyric writing is.”For the recording of the EP the band worked in the Villanova studio of producer Al Bogusky.”He is a real experienced guy,a drummer who has played in lot’s of bands,he pushed us to get things tight and it payed off.The work we did in pre-production made the project really easy. We basically just had to press record”.”The comfort they felt in the studio is evident on the EP.I ask about plans for touring.”We all work day jobs so it’s a bit hard.”In the meantime they have dates booked regionally in the Philly area as well as New York and Baltimore.The band has been rehearsing heavily in preparation for the upcoming shows.”We love to be together.We eat dinner and then practice for hours.We love to play together.”This certainly bodes well for a young band.My last question is about the name.”My husband loves Willy Wonka.”Oh,of course,the always gum chewing Violet Beauregard who turns purple after chewing the purple gumball.I should have known.It makes sense. - Tri State Indie

"Turning violet Violet EP Release Party"

Philly's newest indie band that sparkles, Turning Violet Violet, has been hard at work since emerging as a trio in 2008. From innovative chamber pop with multi-tiered instrumentals to soothing melodies with jazzed out classical undertones, their music is a seductive moonlit serenade for the senses. And they came across a double rainbow when they rounded out their lineup with the viola and unique voice of Sarah Pisano and accomplished guitar work of Jeff Scott. They will be releasing their first EP, Fierce Remains, four ballads that weave tales of how four characters struggle with illness, haunting dreams and other anxieties as well as featuring a collage of work from some of the bands favorite local artists. They'll be throwing their release party at Johnny Brenda's tonight before embarking upon a supporting tour. They've also enlisted this evening the help of electro-experimental darlings Gemini Wolf to ensure that things get extra trippy. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 9pm, $10, 21+ - Bill McThrill - Deli Magazine

"Interview: Turning Violet Violet"

One of our happy new finds in the Philly music scene is Turning Violet, Violet — an indie outfit around a couple of years now that merges chamber-pop, jazzy textures, and quirky, literate storytelling in sharp and elegant arrangements. And, of course, they’re named for a line about Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. TVV has been playing around town a lot lately, including a gig at the North Star this past week, and they’ve got a show lined up at World Cafe Live in December. We caught up today with singer/songwriter/keyboardist Sarah Gulish:

When and where was the first show you played as a band? Any particular memories of that performance stand out?
Our first show as a band was actually a high school graduation party. We were hired to play covers and entertain the guests for three hours. It was a hilarious situation — the band was situated behind a cluster of bushes so no one could see us anyway. Once in a while we would hear people clap after we finished a song. We played a lot of Coldplay and Beatles, at the request of the mom.

Your music has a kind of theatrical quality about it — if you had to liken your band to any musical or play, which would it be and why?
Hmmm…this is a tricky question. And, I have to say that this question has brought back some painful memories for me. My husband Brandon (our drummer) and I have been playing music together for about six years in a variety of different bands. When we were just friends playing with another band, I used to play the songs I had written once in a while. He always made fun of my music, saying it sounded too much like musical theater with extreme emotional highs and lows. I was so self-conscious that I didn’t start writing again for a few years, hoping my music was less cheesy and more grounded. He likes it much better now. But, if I had to equate us to a musical, it would probably be West Side Story. Bernstein had a love for orchestral instruments, storytelling, and irregular meters and our music definitely shows that off as well.

What goes through your mind while you are up on stage performing?
When I’m performing I usually try to think about the people watching. I wonder if they are getting our message and whether they are engaged or not. That’s the beauty of performing — it’s different every time because you are gearing it towards the people who are there. I also try to really think about the music, what it means, and how I can bring that out. Oh, and sometimes I wonder why Brandon is always wearing ties.

If you could invent a new Willy Wonka candy along the lines of “Exploding Candy for your Enemies” or “Invisible Chocolate Bars for Eating in Class,” what would it be?
Since I’m a teacher and hate kids eating in class, I definitely would not be a fan of the latter. It’s too sneaky. I would probably invent a candy called “No Gut Choc-lut” and I would eat it all day, everyday.

What are the pros and cons of being a band in Philadelphia?
Being a band in Philadelphia is great because it’s a city of neighborhoods. Each venue has a different character depending on its neighborhood. It’s also nice that it makes the city feel small and networking is definitely possible. The hard part about being in Philly is that there is so much to choose from in the way of the arts that local music has a lot to compete with.

What’s the most satisfying and meaningful part of making music — writing and recording it as a band, or performing it in front of an audience?
The whole music making process is satisfying in different ways. I love the initial creative process in songwriting when I have an idea or a musical thought and I am able to share it with a bandmate to turn it into something real. However, playing in front of people is a high that can’t be reproduced. You have been living with this music, day in and day out, for months, and finally get to share it with an audience. It’s much different then performing classical music, which is how the violist and I were trained, where your audience knows what piece they’re expecting and want to hear your interpretation. When you perform original music, you are sharing a new, unique sound-world to a room of people who get to decide what they think about it. It’s very exciting to try and “sell” yourself in that way.

What’s the one question about you, your music, or your band that you wish fans would ask you after a show but don’t?
I wish people would ask specific questions about the songs and what they mean. A lot of our music is based on telling other people’s stories and the words can get lost during a live show. I would love to talk more with people about the meaning behind our music.

Name three other bands you’d like to hear cover your songs, and why?
Definitely Grizzly Bear. I think they are extremely talented and would take our music in an insane direction. The Decemberists would be cool too — they definitely have the ability to have a similar instrumentation and are really gripping storytellers. And lastly… hmm…I guess Bob Dylan, because he’s amazing.

What would have to happen for you to consider this band a “success”?
We have been and will continue to be a success if we love what we’re doing and others love listening. It doesn’t matter if it’s large or small scale. Sure, it would be great to quit our jobs and make music 24/7, but until it becomes our full-time job, it will continue to be our passion. - Philadelphia Weekly

"You should know: Turning Violet Violet"

As far as characters from “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” go, I’m most definitely a Veruca Salt fan -- and for years I was also a big supporter of the music made by the musicians of the same name. But now, as the weather starts to change and I begin to embrace my inner fat girl, I’ve also chosen to embrace a new band, inspired by another of the film's spoiled brats: Turning Violet Violet.
This five-part pop folk-funk act is chock-full of adorable members, two of whom are married (the other three of which are quirkily still available ... call me), but all of which lend their unique musical talents to the band. With hints of accordion, plucks of violins and leading sounds from keys and drums, they come across as a funky kid-sister of Irish folk band The Coors — let’s just call them Coors Light.
Virtually unknown in the internet music world and with only a four-song EP under their garterbelts, I was on the fence about even mentioning them just yet. But the more their single “Suzanne” resonated through my earphones, the more my inner Violet shut my mixed feelings up by saying “Can it, you nit!” So can it I did. It being my insides.
Chew on their harmonica-drenched song below and maybe you too will switch your fave Willy-mate from Veruca, Augustus, Mike or Charlie to the brightly exploding sounds of Turning Violet Violet.

- New York Post


2012: Double Cure LP

2011: Split album: "Pink Sky" and "Blue Beside Me"

2010: Fierce Remains EP released on August 6th

-"Suzanne": streamed on New York Post

-"I saw you in a Dream": played on Y rock on XPN and streamed on their site

-"You have Fashioned" streamed on City paper



Turning violet Violet (who borrow their name from Brandon's favorite movie of all times) have graduated from an emerging pop rock outfit into a fixture in the Philadelphia indie music scene. After their 2010 and 2011 releases, they sharpened their live edge playing with Glasvegas, Oh Land, Mr. Dream, and many others all over the east coast. After spending months writing and recording, TvV is touring throughout 2012 to promote their latest independent release, Double Cure.

Double Cure, recorded at Miner St. Studios with Brian McTear and Jon Low, is the band's largest release to date. It charts the stories of five individuals through first person narratives displaying struggles with death and living.

TvV blends powerful guitar driven hooks with catchy vocal melodies and swooning viola parts to create a unique and compelling sound. Their live show is known for high energy performances and powerful vocal harmonies. Their recordings and live shows have gained press and acknowledgments from media outlets including The New York Post, Philadelphia City Paper, Y rock on XPN, Ticket Magazine, Deli Magazine, and Philly weekly, among others.