As life returns to semi-normality, the latest Scotsman Session provides an opportunity to reflect on one of the positives of lockdown. White Beaches by Anglo-Scottish duo Blue Violet evokes peaceful coastal walks and the wider reconnection with nature valued by so many during the last anxious 18 months.
“In our song, white beaches are a metaphor for anything idyllic,” they say. The track was initially inspired by Greta Thunberg’s climate strikes. “We wanted to put forward the message that our planet is there to be enjoyed by everyone, not just the privileged, and also talk about other climate change issues that we are all facing, such as the responsibility we have to keep the planet beautiful.”
Blue Violet are one of an encouraging number of new musical acts to emerge during the pandemic, handily avoiding the logistical issues of lockdown creativity by being married. Franco-Scottish singer Sarah Gotley grew up between Argyll and London, while husband Sam hails from the West Country. They first met at school in Bath and became a couple long before they began collaborating musically.
Sam was a seasoned player but Sarah had to be coaxed on to the stage, making her live debut in a New Orleans dive bar to an audience of single figures. Their pre-lockdown outfit Broken Bones Matilda paved the way for the indie Americana sound of Blue Violet.
So far this year the couple have showcased their good taste in cover versions, releasing renditions of Edwyn Collins’ A Girl Like You and a French language interpretation of the Everly Brothers’ sublime All I Have To Do Is Dream, as well as debuting their own track Undercover and now new single White Beaches.
“We live together so writing has been easier than it must've been for some bands over the last year and a half,” they say. “We've gone through creative spurts where we've written a lot of new songs and then equally found it very hard at times to find the motivation to play music.”
Along the way, they have recorded a good album’s worth of material, produced by PJ Harvey wingman Rob Ellis, which they have been sitting on until live music resumes. Now that they have some shows on the schedule – not least supporting another Anglo-Scottish band, Daytime TV, on their November tour – they can look forward to fixing a release date.
“Lockdown has been a very mixed bag,” they say. “It definitely feels like there is a big void to be filled, and our favourite way of communicating with fans has had to take a back seat. But now things are starting to move in the right direction, venues are opening up and people are getting out there to enjoy seeing their favourite bands again.
“It's a huge thing to all be going through collectively and we hope that maybe White Beaches might provide a bit of hope to anyone feeling deflated, as one of the core messages of the song is unity and what we can achieve if we pull together.”
Blue Violet play the Liquid Room, Edinburgh, 4 November; Ironworks, Inverness, 5 November, and King Tut's, Glasgow, 6 and 7 November, www.blueviolet.uk
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