What’s the significance of the name Red Vienna? Robbie: Vienna was one of the most beautiful cities in Europe that we visited while on tour with our previous band. When I got home, I did some research on the city and saw the term “Red Vienna” which was an effort in order to rectify many of the cities social crises. Some great artists and Art Deco architecture came out of this era in the city. It just had a really interesting meaning and the cultural significance seemed to resonate with us as a new band. It had nothing to do with politics, I think it just suited the vibe we were going for.
How would you describe your band’s music for any person who may have never heard Red Vienna before? Jahmeel: Aspects of it are heavy, but it’s also very melodic and melancholy. Robbie: The songs also have post-punk and shoegaze elements at times, but don’t necessarily fall into those categories.
What are your musical influences that shape the sound of, Red Vienna? Jahmeel: The Jesus and Mary Chain, Failure, Killing Joke, Bee Gees, Black Sabbath, and Fugazi, are all groups I would say have had a direct influence in some way on our songs. Devin: Interpol, Radiohead, The War On Drugs, The Stone Roses, Slowdive, and Wild Nothing come to mind.
Your new EP, Tomhet, is about to be released later this week and the two tracks have been released as singles the last few weeks. How has the reception been so far? Jahmeel: Really great! Seems like we’re reaching more people than ever before and the reactions have been really positive so far. Robbie: It’s been so great, the receptions to the songs have been so positive. I’ve had people tell me how beautiful, “Evelyn” is… I never saw it in that way as the topic is so dark. It can be a bit nerve-racking releasing your music to the world as everyone will have their own opinion on it. All you can do is hope people will enjoy it, and that has been the reaction so far.
The title track, “Tomhet” follows the subject of depression and hopelessness. If you don’t mind me asking, is that a personal subject to write about? Jahmeel: It was at the time I wrote the lyrics. Happy to say I’m on the other side of that.
Glad to hear you’re on the other side of it. How did the grim, yet haunting Robert Wiles photograph from 1947, titled “The Most Beautiful Suicide,” influence you in writing the song, “Evelyn?” Jahmeel: I was really struck by the photo when I saw it. It’s a beautiful image even though it’s also a morbid one. There was also the influence of New York itself and the fact that the photo was taken there. It’s such a special city and anytime I can put my thoughts there in a song I find it really inspiring. “The Dead Lines” off our album, The Book of Hours, also touches upon similar subject matter.
Are these songs just a taste of what’s yet to come in future releases? Do you happen to have any more music ready for the near future, considering Tomhet was only a two-song release? Robbie: We do hope to record new material in the near future. We currently don’t have any tour plans so, for us, it makes more sense to release a song or two at a time.
With Tomhet being of a darker subject matter, are there any positives you want people to take away from the EP? Jahmeel: That you’re not alone. I think most people experience the type of feelings I touch upon here. There’s a light up ahead.
What’s currently planned for Red Vienna for the remainder of 2020? Jahmeel: With the current situation in the world, the immediate plan is to work on more material at home. Hopefully, we can continue to reach more people with these new songs and videos as well.
Thanks for the time. With everything going on around the entire world right now, I hope you’re staying safe. Is there anything else you may want to add? Jahmeel: Thank you for the interview. I’d like to send our thanks to everyone who’s checked out the new songs and shown their support online. We greatly appreciate it. Stay safe out there. Robbie: I would like to thank all the fans out there and that we very much appreciate the support. Wishing you all good health and to stay as positive as possible. We have to get through this together.