Hey Violet’s livewire 2017 debut From The Outside holds up as one of pop’s under-the-radar gems from recent years, and fortunately, the L.A. band is keeping busy. Today (Oct. 18), they’re releasing a glittery new single called “Clean” along with a homemade video that shows just how much creative energy vocalist Rena Lovelis, guitarist Casey Moreta and drummer Nia Lovelis are willing to expend — even at risk of losing their minds, or something even worse.
“The ‘Clean’ video took two days to film, eight to 10 hours each day,” says Moreta, noting some scenes necessitated close to a thousand shots. “At the end of the first day, there was a big earthquake which ended up moving the set and all the props around. Luckily, we had taped the majority of the stands holding everything up, so nothing got too messed up.”
The self-produced “Clean” video marks the fourth single Hey Violet has released this year, as lively tracks like “Better By Myself” found the band honing its pop-with-rock-instruments formula (the Lovelis sisters previously played in the hard rock band Cherri Bomb and experimented with pop-punk on early Hey Violet songs) alongside lyrics that reflect its members’ maturation toward their mid-20s.
Released through Captiol and 5 Seconds of Summer‘s Hi Or Hey imprint, From The Outside put Hey Violet on the map and spawned three songs that charted on Billboard’s Pop Songs chart: “Guys My Age,” “Hoodie,” and “Break My Heart,” which peaked at Nos. 20, 33, and 37, respectively. Meanwhile, the band’s lineup was shaken up: In 2017, keyboardist Miranda Miller left amicably, and earlier this year, bassist Iain Shipp exited amidst sexual assault allegations. But, now a trio, Hey Violet remains headstrong.
“We have a really hard time waiting for things to happen so when we’ve got a day or two, we’ll just try and crunch out a bunch of ideas,” Nia says. “The only way we’re ever satisfied is if we’re being creative, being productive. Pushing this whole thing forward.”
Watch the “Clean” video below — premiering exclusively on Billboard — along with our recent conversation with Rena Loevlis on life after From The Outside.
What caused the DIY look of this video?
We’ve always loved being really hands-on with whatever we’re part of. Casey and I took the reins on this one and it’s really exciting what came out. It was so meticulous. As far as the DIY aesthetic, we got some inspiration from Instagram. There’s this page @velvetcoke, and it had this picture of Jayne Mansfield and her Pink Palace, this 40-room mansion. Nia showed me this photo of her in the bathtub of this little pink room and that was the huge inspiration for the claymation Casey and I did. It was just supposed to be my little world, where I’m cleaning off in the bathtub. We took the thought [of “Clean”] and made it a little literal.
What inspired the lyrics?
“Better By Myself” was the first song that we released which I wrote most of the lyrics to. And then, we released “Close My Eyes,” which I wrote a lot of the lyrics to. And then, “Queen of the Night” and “Clean” were pitched to us by other writers.
The three main writers and producers on “Clean” are Ingrid Andress, AJ Prius and Derek Sutherland. We just heard the song and we were like, “This is incredible.” When it first got to us, it was a little left field of what we’re used to — it’s very in-your-face happy. But I had this interpretation where it’s me trying to prove I’m okay when I’m not deep down.
Are these new singles going to be part of your next album?
Actually, we’re testing the waters, just seeing where these songs are going. I’m hoping that we get an album out. I see that hopefully in the near future. We have a lot of songs in the works, but there are no plans for an exact date for an album yet. So I’ll shut my mouth on that one.
Are you open-minded to other release formats, like EPs or just continuing to drop singles?
Oh, absolutely. I’m the kind of person that’s like, “Go, go, go. Let’s do this.” Anything that gets the songs out fast is going to make me super happy. I just want to give… There’s some fans that will tweet me like, “Can you leak the song? We heard it live and we want to hear it.” I probably shouldn’t say this, but I’m so tempted to just make a fake account and leak the song. I swear I haven’t done that in the past. I swear to God [laughs].
Are you sitting on some unreleased songs you’re really excited about?
There are a few that are in the works. A producer emailed me the other day like, “Oh my God, remember this song?” And I was like, “That’s an incredible one.” It gets a little mish-moshy because there are so many songs that we’ve written that once we start focusing on a few, you forget how good the others are. So there are definitely a lot of those where I’m like, “We definitely can’t forget about that one.” There are probably five to 10 like that, and I’m hoping some of those become an album. But again, there’s nothing solid yet.
Have there been any talks of new tour dates?
As soon as possible. We’re actually looking to possibly get on a fall tour or maybe [a tour] early next year. We’re looking for tours to get on either as an opener or co-headliner. Honestly, I would be really happy with doing anything. I just love playing shows. That’s when I feel the most alive.
How are you guys adjusting to life as a three-piece band?
Honestly, I feel like we have such a solid foundation as a three-piece. There aren’t too many people or too few people. The three of us have been solid for so long: Casey has been with us [since 2013], and obviously I’ve known Nia since I was born. We have a really solid foundation of being able to work together… It’s not really an adjustment, it’s more like just another growth for us.
Do you have any favorite albums or songs from this year?
I have really, really been digging “Señorita” by Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes. And randomly, I’ve gotten really into exploring Eminem‘s discography. That’s so like… I don’t know… he’s obviously not a pop band…
Yeah, that’s a mood.
I know, it’s such a mood. I’ve been like, “Oh my God, I’m the real Slim Shady! I’m going to stand up!” [laughs] But yeah, I’ve been exploring his discography because if I ever got the chance to feature on one of his songs or have him on one of our songs, I think that’s when my life would be complete. Like, just kill me right after that, because it won’t get any better than that for me. So note that. [laughs]
But anyway, I’ve been exploring like a lot of different rap songs. Like Tech N9ne right now, and Eminem and Biggie. And I’m really digging “Circles” by Post Malone right now. I’m actually doing a writing session today, so they’re going to ask me, “What have you been listening to?” And I’m going to be like, “You don’t want to know because it’s not pop.” We’ll see what happens with that.