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You've definitely heard one of Transviolet's songs before: "New Bohemia" was the soundtrack to a ubiquitous Google Play commercial and "Girls Your Age" is a huge hit, especially online. Katy Perry and Harry Styles even tweeted about it.
But, chances are, you may not be familiar with the band's unique story. Made up of Sarah McTaggart, Judah McCarthy, Jon Garcia and Michael Panek, Transviolet wouldn't exist if it weren't for the internet and its power to connect people across the globe.
McTaggart posted a listing on a website and Panek reached out with some sample tracks, asking if she would want to sing on them. She was in Grand Cayman and he was in San Diego. Long story short, Panek got two of his buddies from high school to hop on board, they all moved to the same city and Transviolet was formed.
We caught up with Transviolet after their set on the first day of Governors Ball in New York City and talked about that unique way of forming, performing during the day and why their fans randomly bring watermelons to their shows.
See photos of Transviolet performing:
Check out our full conversation with Transviolet from Governors Ball below:
Loved watching your set earlier today! How did you guys feel it went?
Sarah McTaggart: We had really low expectations because it was our first festival besides South by Southwest. It was also the first show of the weekend, it was early and looked like it was going to rain, so we were worried there weren't going to be any people there -- but there were people there! It was good; it was fun.
Judah McCarthy: People were singing along and dancing ... there were like eight guys without shirts on! [Laughs] That was definitely weird for noon, but it went really well.
So, I first heard of you guys when I heard "New Bohemia" in that Google Play commercial. How did that opportunity come about?
McTaggart: It happened through our management, but we didn't even know it was going to happen. We were in the UK ...
Jon Garcia: We were at the club KOKO in London. It was our first London show for the Halloween Ball. We were sitting in the dressing room having a conference call with our manager, and he was like, "You guys are getting this Google spot." We were like Whatttttt?!
McTaggart: I was watching "American Dad" when I first saw it, and it didn't even hit me that it was on TV. I was like, Who put this on?! I thought maybe my boyfriend had played it on his iPad, but then I realized it was actually coming from the TV.
McCarthy: I actually never saw it on TV. I saw it on YouTube, but I don't watch a lot of TV.
Did you notice any sort of change to your career after the commercial started airing? Did more people reach out to you?
McTaggart: We definitely got some more movement in our Twitter with people just being like, "Hey! I saw your song in the Google commercial! We love it."
McCarthy: We played the James Corden show right around the same time, so it really started to get a lot of airplay and movement online.
Let's go back to your set earlier today. How do you prep for a festival set versus a regular show?
McTaggart: We approach every show the same way and just give it our all. It doesn't matter if we're playing for 10 people or 2000 people, we're gonna try to rock the stage and have a good time. We always want to play our songs the way we always play them, which is with as much energy as possible.
Garcia: I think the one difference for me is that it's easier for me to get into it when I see all of these people that came to this festival to see so many bands, yet they chose to be watching us for that moment in time. That makes me jump a little more and play a little harder.
Michael Panek: Playing outside is definitely different, too.
McTaggart: Yeah! Playing outside during the day is definitely different, because you can see everyone.
Panek: Playing at noon is so strange -- playing during the day is almost unnatural. Pretty much every other rehearsal and show and recording happens at night time, which is when you feel the most creative and open. Playing during the day requires some faking it for a second, before you work your way into feeling it.
Have you guys had any particularly memorable shows?
McTaggart: Yeah, I think our first show in Glasgow was really special. Our second show was also really special, as well. We just did our first headlining tour in the UK, and it was the first time we were able to play venues for people that were just there to see us. Whereas before, when we were usually playing as an opening act, you kind of have to win over the crowd. This was the first time where we showed up and people were excited to see us and there was a line with people bringing us gifts and art and stuff. It's like, "This is real! This is awesome!"
Glasgow is also really crazy, too, because they always have these chants they do before you go on.
Transviolet, all together: [Chanting] Here we, here we, here we f*cking go! here we, here we, here we f*cking go! [Laugh]
McCarthy: They threw glow sticks, frisbees, beach balls everything with notes on them.
McTaggart: We also once got a watermelon in Glasgow. [Laughs]
Garcia: They asked us what our favorite fruits were, and I told them watermelon. Sure enough, they showed up with a watermelon.
How did you guys initially form? What do you think the key to working so well together has been?
McTaggart: We actually met online! The guys all know each other from high school, and they found me online. I put up a profile on a musician networking site not really expecting much to come out of it, but then Mike hit me up and told me he really liked my voice and asked me to sing over some of his tracks. I really liked what he sent me -- it sounded really fresh and original and had good vibes, so we started working that way together, sending tracks back and forth to one another over the internet from two different countries. I was living in Grand Cayman at the time, and he was in San Diego. Jon hopped on and started playing drums for us, then we all moved to the same city together, and Judah came on as well.
Our dynamic is really collaborative, and I think why we've been successful is because there are no divas in this group. Everyone is open to hearing each other's opinions and ideas, and there's no overriding and stupid ideas. No dumb answers.
McCarthy: Well, there are a lot of stupid ideas, but we don't judge each other for them. [Laughs]
McTaggart: Yeah, there are a sh*t load of stupid ideas. We're full of bad ideas, but eventually those good ones come around.
Another one of your hits, "Girls Your Age," was definitely one of those good ideas. When did you all first know it was going to be a hit?
McTaggart: There was definitely controversy around the song just between us when we wrote it and the people we showed it to. They were like, "Uh, it's cool but we don't really understand it. What genre is it? Where do we place this? What do we do with this?" We were like, I don't know, but we think it's cool, and we want to put it out there. So we did, and we're glad we did.
One of the first signs of it being successful was just seeing it on Spotify and seeing how strongly people reacted to it from young people especially.
McCarthy: It also went number one on Hype M, which is crazy. It's a website that I've known forever, and having one of our songs on there was pretty surreal.
Panek: Even when fans come up to us, and we ask them what their favorite song is, most of the time it's "Girls Your Age."
McCarthy: Then, of course, we had Katy Perry tweet us and Harry Styles tweeted a lyric. Seeing something like that, for whatever it's worth, kind of validates what we do.
It's seeing your peers respect what you do and liking what you're putting out there.
Transviolet, together: Exactly.
McTaggart: People that we respect love our music.
McCarthy: People that we love, when we hear one of their songs, we're like, That's a great song. So to hear them say it to us is really awesome.
See some of the best style from 2016 Governors Ball: