Isolation and struggling
With a seventies hue that nods to the likes of Fleetwood Mac and The Mamas & The Papas, it’s a track that finds the Anglo-Scottish duo of Sam & Sarah Gotley entwined in a passionate duet and searching for sanctuary within the comfort of others.
Backs against the wall, but with hearts on sleeves, “Asylum” tells the story of two protagonists outcast from society for their so-called insanity, but who find love within the confines of the institution in which they are held and the troubling circumstances in which they share.
“The word mental health is thrown about a lot these days. As a society, we feel we are beginning to address the stigma surrounding mental health issues but we are still far from being fully accepting. “Asylum” is a song that focuses on the isolation of struggling with a mental health issue and the power of knowing you are not alone,” says Sarah Gotley.
Railing against discrimination, “Asylum” offers a wider message of hope in that ultimately it’s love that connects us all. Sounding out with a rousing repeated vocal refrain that sees the duo chanting: “they call me mad, I bet you know the feeling too…”, Sam Gotley explains of its finale:
“It’s intended to move away from that narrative and speak of us all as a collective: we maybe all feel in some way that we don’t fit in with the structures and “norms” that society dictates, and this song aims to unite the people and normalise that feeling.”
Finessing the track across several years, “Asylum” was initially recorded by Sam on just an acoustic guitar with its arrangements reworked and verses reconfigured until reaching its Goldilocks moment. Adding complexities with each session, the finished version glows a retrofitted aura; its multi-layered harmonies, humming Hammond organs, and the Laurel Canyon-esque echoes of its duel guitar strums, all heavenly hallmarks of that once seminal era for singer-songwriting.
With the pair completing the lyrics while on tour in Edinburgh, Blue Violet went into the studio with the legendary Rob Ellis (PJ Harvey, Bat For Lashes) to bring the track to its current transcendent form. Mastered by Mount Olympia Mastering, the track was engineered by Peter Miles and mixed by TJ Allen.
Blue Violet are husband and wife duo: Sam & Sarah Gotley.. Previously performing under the guise Broken Bones Matilda, the pair put-in noteworthy performances at Glastonbury, Belladrum, Pub in the Park, Carfest and Wilderness festivals to name a few before regrouping to form Blue Violet. Sarah, a Scot with Parisian roots, teamed up with Sam a few years ago and between then and now the duo have lived between London and Sarah’s childhood home in Argyll, where they have been busy writing their next chapter.
In November 2019, the Anglo-Scottish alt-pop pairing spent a month at Middle Farm Studios in Devon recording what would become their upcoming debut album with producer Rob Ellis (Anna Calvi, Marianne Faithful, PJ Harvey), with its spoils just beginning to see the light of day this year.
Setting out their stall with a series of sublime cover versions including “A Girl Like You” (Edwyn Collins) and “All I Have To Do Is Dream” (The Everly Brothers), the duo made their mark in 2021 with sublime debut single “Undercover”. Earning ‘track of the week’ on BBC Scotland’s Afternoon Show and praise from BBC Introducing; Blue Violet’s first original music saw them championed as being like the ‘Civil Wars meets the Black Keys’.
Releasing “White Beaches” over the summer, the swelling shoegaze-tipped second single received airplay on BBC 6 Music (Steve Lamacq) and was praised as “a hypnotic gem of wistful pop that creeps out of its shell in a mesmerising way” (Vinyl Chapters). Inspired by the causes of Greta Thunberg and Surfers for Sewage, it was a timely and universal rallying cry for the protection of our planet. With a diverse array of lyrical themes also at play on their upcoming album, expect intricately crafted, genre-crossing songwriting, delivered with a raw, beautifully anguished husk when their debut LP arrives soon in 2022.
Returning the new single “Asylum” this Autumn (out 12 November 2021), Blue Violet continue their upward trajectory with an enchanting folk/pop record of a classic finish. Already a live favourite, Sam and Sarah are currently airing “Asylum” on the road in the UK at a series of support shows with Daytime TV throughout this month.