Luke Boerdam remembers three things about the last time he was in LA: Sunset Sounds Studios, In-N-Out Burger, and the Church of Scientology. As you can guess, latter was probably his worst decision on the list. He and his girlfriend-now-wife didn’t last long inside the building dubbed “Big Blue” before they got freaked out and decided to get the hell outta there. Boerdam says he even forgot his camera inside the building. “I was so creeped out by that place, honestly for a second I didn’t even care that I left it, I just wanted to get out,” the front man says in his thick, Australian accent.
Speaking of cults...Boerdam’s band Violent Soho amassed one of their own since their breakout release Hungry Ghost, a fervent mix of ‘90s alt-rock twang, punk aggression and dark, cerebral lyrics with humorous undertones. The Aussie four-piece rose to the top of the charts in their home country and created a strong following in the States as well. It’s been a long six year wait for LA fans since the band last visited the West Coast. Thankfully they’re returning to The Echo tomorrow (Aug. 27) armed with the new, even more successful album Waco, which Boerdam describes as the darker older sister of Hungry Ghost.
“Even some of the more major upbeat songs came across a lot darker,” Boerdam says. “Before it was called Waco, lyrically I explored the same themes as Hungry Ghost, like ‘fuck this world I’m gonna go into my own world and smoke a joint.’ It just kind of organically grew into that.”
Like most bands in the wake of a wildly successful album, Waco quickly morphed into a high pressure follow up situation that at times felt like it could make or break the band’s career.
“It was definitely harder than I thought, I came off of Hungry Ghost with all this confidence, but I also had all this time and no expectations,” Boerdam says. “It does change a little bit when you have all these people asking you what you’re working on.”
Last July with their trusted producer Bryce Moorehead [the same one they had for Hungry Ghost] the band—including guitarist James Tidswell, bassist Luke Henery and drummer Michael Richards—piled into the studio for nearly two months to record the bones of Waco. What emerged were a silo of explosive songs that pair wisecracking tomes about the ravages of growing up, the determination it takes to keep running wild and, oddly, a bit of subconscious fodder from the History Channel. Boerdam says one of his songwriting rituals during this record was playing his guitar with various Ken Burns war documentaries on mute.
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When the album came out last February, it debuted at #1 on the Australian iTunes chart and #1 on the ARIA Charts, an even better showing than the album that placed them in the spotlight. Whether its sold out tour dates or mega festival gigs in their home country, the evidence that the band has arrived is all around them. But for the most part, they’ve grown up enough and gone through enough in their personal lives (death of family members, birth or children, marriages) to realize the importance of keeping a healthy perspective on their success.
“That expectation does weigh on you, it didn’t effect us that much we know how to make a record...we just had this weight that we had to remind ourselves to shake off,” Boerdam says. With a month long US stint ahead of them (sadly, no shows in the actual Waco...sorry, Texas fans), the band are looking to stay focused on building their DIY fanbase brick by brick, show by show just as they did in Australia.
“Looking forward to doing that type of touring as a band playing every night you get so much tighter, we really like playing smaller rooms too that’s like our favorite thing, where the people are right in front of you and around you and that’s really the best.”
Violent Soho perform with Meatwave and Melted at The Echo, Sat. Aug 27 at 6:00 p.m. (event ends at 9p.m). $7.50-$14.50. For tickets, click here.