Interviews

VOILÀ Talks Their Lyric Obsession and Songwriting Process with Latest Release ‘Anyway’

With an EP in the works, and opening for other large pop acts such as Kesha and Shawn Mendes, VOILÀ is positioned for a big year ahead.

Comprising of lead vocals Gus and primary lyricist Luke, VOILÀ is a dynamic and refreshing pop group that is positioned for mainstream breakout. With an ambitious attitude and undeniable charm, the promising young act first combined Luke’s tenacity for songwriting and Ross’ love for production when they met as undergrads at USC. Since then the group has released a number of emotive singles, making for thoughtful pop tunes that recount past experiences from heartbreak to personal triumph.

Having the ability to relate to their audience on a personal level, the group takes inspiration from cinematic narratives like “The Notebook” translating character roles into captivating pop hits. Their latest release “Anyway” recounts forbidden love, the perfect anthem to what is a recurring theme in a summer whirlwind romance. With an EP in the works, and opening for other large pop acts such as Kesha and Shawn Mendes, VOILÀ is positioned for a big year ahead.

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Girl Underground had the opportunity to catch up with the emerging pop duo, touching upon their influences, sound, and more.

How would you describe your sound?

Gus: I would say that we love starting the songwriting process with a guitar hook and a vocal melody that work together. Then once we’re happy with that we build it out from there. Essentially then we can make it rockier by adding more and more layers, or focus on intertwining some more electronic elements and then it tends to lean more pop.

Luke: Our sound is just us wearing a broken heart on our sleeves. We view VOILÀ as the “rockiest thing you’d hear on pop radio” rather than “the poppiest thing you’d hear in rock.”

Who are some of your influences/inspirations?

Gus: Luke and I both loved Avicii when we began working together (we played an arrangement of “Hey Brotherat our last show actually), and we both played in bands growing up. So that marriage of melodically driven anthems with guitar heavy ballads is what really inspired us in the first place. In terms of someone else specifically we met The Fray last week and I’m a huge fan of theirs so I’m going to say The Fray! Their songs are so strong.

Luke: I am obsessed with lyrics so I’m inspired by literature. I like romantic books and poetry mostly. Something about dialog and little nuances in descriptions can unlock a memory from my own life, and that can inspire a song. Thank goodness for the kindle, otherwise I’d have to lug around a bunch of Nicholas Sparks books to the taunts of my buddies, haha!

Where does the name VOILÀ come from?

Luke: It means “There you are” which, if you look at it literally, we hope can be understood as you can see yourself in us, which is the goal of any good storyteller. We believe a good communicator acts as a mirror not a megaphone.

Gus: It comes from me changing the name four times and Luke threatening to leave the group if I had another change of heart regarding the name, aha.

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What is your songwriting process like? What do each of you bring in the process of collaboration?

Luke: There’s no specific way we go about things! Just like stories, we never start them the same way. Just like authors start stories anywhere from an ending, a character, or a plot line, or a setting we start songs sometimes from a lyric, a relationship, a melody, or a guitar line! You never know! However one thing that stays consistent is how we work. There’s this theory in screenwriting that in any successful partnership you need an inputter and a pacer. So, basically one member has to be able to sit still, be hands on and detail oriented and the other has to look at it from the big picture and communicate ideas with the inputter. Gus is the inputter and I’m the pacer.

Gus: Normally it stems from a voicenote or a guitar melody that one of us is hooked on and we cut that and think up the accompanying vocal/guitar part and get that part sounding exactly as we envisioned it. From there I feel like having something sounding good really early on in the songwriting process inspires you as writers to push on. It gets the song wrapped up in a really efficient way as you’re able to feed off one another’s enthusiasm for the song, right up until you decide there’s nothing more that can be done! (Which is never… aha)

How did the song “Anyway” come about?

Gus: I got the chorus melody stuck in my head one evening and cut the vocal parts as soon as I could. Then when I showed Luke the next day he had an immediate story and vision for the song that he wanted to tell. Picturesque romance met by this hooky refrain gave me the feeling of joy and ecstasy, but the story took a more ominous route when everything was said and done which is what I love about the song. It isn’t what it says on the tin!

Luke: I had a relationship of sneaking around a girl’s father who didn’t approve of his goody two shoed daughter hanging out with ripped up and drawn on converse shoed, me. Being from two different sides of the tracks, plus the disapproving parents, made me feel like I was in some of my favorite stories. Romantic classics like “The Notebook,” “Titanic,” and even “Romeo and Juliet” are the root. It’s that kind of story that “Anyway” tells. It was really fun to put together the double meanings and turns of phrase for this one.

Stream “Anyway” below:

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Mariana Martinez is a music enthusiast, writer, and dancer currently studying at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. Mariana has channelled her love of music through writing musician interviews and working for KOXY Radio. When she is not DJing as Funky Mar, you can find her front row at any show. She is excited to be a part of the Girl Underground Music team as a contributing blogger. mariana@girlundergroundmusic.com

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