The Sound Alarm’s Alexandria Chong recently had the opportunity to interview Chicago-based pop/rock band Victorian Halls. They discuss the band’s Victory Records debut “Charlatan”, the Chicago music scene and even a fun fact involving the Sega Genesis. Check out the interview below!
Alexandria Chong: Hey guys! How is everything going? What has Victorian Halls been up to?
Sean Lenart: Lots of touring, and more coming up. We’ve recently done a couple of remixes that should be coming out soon.
A.C: For those who aren’t familiar with your backstory, how did your band come together?
S.L: The band got together a few years ago, and like most bands, we just started tracking and recording demos. Originally we just wanted to write and record music that compelled us; it wasn’t until a little later that we moved into a full band.
A.C: What is your favorite thing about creating music? What is most challenging?
S.L. Conveying exactly the emotion and feeling of a specific idea within a song, that’s both what I like and find challenging.
A.C: What drew you to the name Victorian Halls?
S.L: Early on we liked the imagery of it, but it’s interesting how quickly a name becomes the band and embodies a band.
A.C: What are your aspirations as a band?
S.L: To help people open up to new kinds of music. I don’t think we are necessarily the answer, but things have been static for so long, it would be refreshing to hear some variations on a theme.
A.C: Who in the band does the song writing? What are your inspirations?
S.L: I handle the bulk of song writing, but we’ll always work together as a unit. Hopefully we’ll continue to progress that way. Inspirations come from all over, authors like Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk. I find film, and cascading story lines within movies to be compelling, but everything comes down to personal experiences.
A.C: How would you describe the Chicago music scene? In what ways does being from Chicago influence you and your sound?
S.L: The more I’ve traveled, the more I’ve grown to appreciate the Chicago scene. The biggest influence, I would say would come from the weight and heaviness of the city. It is dark, cold, old, and simultaneously it is always changing and new. This bi-polarity and sincerity, I find to be compelling and unique.
A.C: What kind of feelings do you experience when you are up on stage performing?
S.L: There is this dormant adrenaline that book end’s performances.
A.C: For anyone who has never seen you live, what is a Victorian Halls performance like?
S.L: Energetic and reckless. It has always been intentional to try to convey another layer of the band live. It is very different from the record.
A.C: What is one thing about the other members of your band that fans may not know?
S.L: Mike plays NHL ‘95 for Sega Genesis constantly in our van.
Jordan has little adventures with whomever is on tour with us.
A.C: If you each had to select one role model in the music industry, who would it be? Why do you admire that person?
S.L: As a band, I say we collectively respect Brand New’s career. [It is] always changing, and never compromising, and successful.
A.C: How did it feel when your debut album Charlatan came out?
S.L: We were very excited for the record release. Between writing, recording, and producing the record, it felt like such an undertaking that I would say at the time of release, it was like a collective exhale.
A.C: Are there any songs on Charlatan that you are particularly proud of?
S.L: There is a song called “Upper East Side.” It is very different from the record, and was rewritten over the course of a day.
A.C: Who are some bands that you would most like to share the stage with in the future?
S.L: So many- Death From Above, Alkaline Trio, Cage The Elephant, Bayside, Group Love.
A.C: Are there any fun tour stories you can share with us? What is your favorite venue that you’ve performed at?
S.L: Post-show tends to be when the most fun happens. A couple months ago we visited the ocean, late night, and proceeded with campfire and songs. 0
A.C: Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers?
S.L: Come say hi at a show.
A.C:To end on an interesting note: if you were not a musician, what profession would you have and why?
S.L: I’d sell my world, and live on a small self-containing farm in the remote east wood.
The debut album from Victorian Halls, Charlatan, is available now via Victory Records.