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Local Rockers Made Violent Grab for the Brass Ring

Andy DeLuca

In the Pink

Hiding behind sunglasses to mask their Friday night hangovers, Joe, Rob and Justin, A.K.A. Made Violent, walked into Buffalo’s favorite dive bar—the Old Pink in Allentown. It was Saturday afternoon on a sub-zero day in February.

Andy DeLuca
Andy DeLuca
Andy DeLuca
Andy DeLuca
Andy DeLuca

They look like total rock stars—ripped jeans, grungy t-shirts, denim jackets; a rock n’ roll lifestyle driven by loud guitar music. The band appears to have all the elements of “the next big sensation.” We’ll get an indication of whether that’s possible soon.

Made Violent released their debut self-titled EP last month on a Columbia Records sub-label, StarTime International.

Sitting with these guys at the bar it’s clear they’re very comfortable together, cracking jokes, making fun of each other the way long time friends do. Not surprising since drummer Justin Ace and guitarist Rob Romano met on a school bus in junior high school and soon after started a band. They met bassist/singer Joe White at show they were playing a few years later.

“Joe was in another band that opened up for us and we thought he was a great guy. We invited him to hang out and jam and realized we worked well together,” said Justin.

Made Violent is gearing up for two performances at SXSW and the band is tuning up their show with concerts in four other cities first, starting with a 6pm hometown concert at The Studio at Waiting Room this Friday March 6th.

“This will be our first time headlining a show in Buffalo,” Justin says as he sips his afternoon PBR. “It’s going to be a great show. We have a lot to bring to the table this time around.”

What they bring to the table is quite different than the Made Violent of two or three years ago. After adjusting their line up the band completely reinvented themselves.

“We decided we were going to write songs that we wanted to hear and give it a fair shot,” said Justin.

“We went to this lake house in Rushford the fall of 2013 to write our asses off,” Joe said. “There was no running water, minimum heat and no wifi or cell phone service. It was just us, with our instruments.

“We already had a few ideas going into it individually, but when we all got together, we collaborated and came out with something entirely new.”

The band came out of the experience with the song “Wasted Days.”

“We recorded ‘Wasted Days’ at Quiet Country Audio with friend/engineer Paul Besch,” Justin tells me. “Once it was finished, we waited and released it at midnight on New Years, 2014.”

The response they received was not anticipated by anyone.

“It was crazy to see how many people loved it,” says Justin. “We just did it for fun. Writing songs that we wanted to hear. We never thought people would like it immediately.”

The song was a less-is-more guitar driven rock and roll track with honest lyrics and a catchy chorus: “Talking to myself but no one’s ever listening.” Just the kind of song that can surprise an artist with its unexpected popularity.

“We wrote and recorded the song ‘Inside Out’ shortly after. Once we released it, various college radio stations began to stream it and that’s when labels started reaching out to us.”

“I remember driving back from a show we had in Asbury Park, New Jersey” Joe says. “We were stopped at a McDonalds when we received a text from our manager at the time saying: ‘Columbia Records says hello.’”

With attention from labels both nationally and internationally, MV began performing showcases in both New York City and overseas in London.

“Our A&R rep, Austin Rice, actually flew in to Buffalo to see us when we performed with a band called The Orwells. That was one of the shows that secured ouR future as a band,” Joe says.

“After going back and forth between phone calls and multiple showcases, we eventually decided in September of 2014 to sign with StarTime, which is an Imprint of Columbia Records.”

Our conversation is briefly put on hold when “Heading For the Light” by the Traveling Wilburys comes on through the stereo of the bar. “What a great fucking song,” they seem to say in unison.

The bartender comes over to offer us shots of Jameson. “I’ll take Fireball,” Joe says as a joke.

“Nothing like rock n’ roll and Fireball,” I say before slamming down whiskey at 2pm.

“After we signed our contract, we headed back to the cabin to write for our EP,” Justin says. “That’s sort of our thing. We isolate ourselves in the middle of the woods with cheap warm beer and write music.”

They headed back to Quiet Country Audio in the countryside of Alden, New York to record their five-song EP.

“It was a very comfortable process,” Joe says. “We didn’t have anyone looking over shoulder or telling us it had to be a certain way. We were in full control.”

Audio engineer Paul Besch says the experience of recording the band was refreshing and exciting.

“They are the perfect example of what you hear is what you get,” Besch says. “And what you get is a fucking party. We never went into making a record that was something they wouldn’t be able to pull off live. Our goal was to capture that raw energy they have so recording usually included a lot of Bud light, weed, and loud ass guitars.” (Rock writers would pay for quotes like that!)

“With recording MV the goal is simple,” says Besch. “Make it a party. For my job, that means experimenting and trying to out-do our last recordings. We’ve done everything from running drum microphones through guitar amps, throwing guitars across the room, or even having Joe scream into a guitar pick-up and delay pedals. They are always pushing me to try and reinvent my recording style while keeping true to their sound and vision.”

These guys know what they want when it comes to their sound and vision.

“I have always noticed their ability to perfectly execute their vision,” said Besch, “It’s something that takes more than hours of practice. A lot of artists struggle with getting it to sound the way it does in their head, but with MV it’s like their hands have a direct line to their soul.

“When they come into the studio there is never any confusion on what we are going for and that plays a huge part in the final outcome. You can hear their confidence and unfiltered emotion in the music. They are genuinely having such a good time, it’s hard not to get infected by it.”

Made Violent has a clear and simple path; they just want to share their music with as many audiences as they can.

“I’ve always dreamed and fantasized about this,” Joe tells me as he gets up from the bar to leave the dark and fuzzy coziness of the Old Pink and head back out to the sub-zero wind outside. “We all quit our day jobs to pursue a career in music and by no means are we trying to be rock stars. We’re just a group of guys playing music.

“It’s worse than a heroin addiction; Once you start playing music, you can’t stop.”

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