Local Listen — Violet Pilot Emulates and Electrifies on Debut Album

Violet Pilot tells yet another tale of music in the time of Corona, but their story starts a bit more abstract than some. While most pandemic-era bands were formed from pre-existing friendships to create and produce their pandemic-era albums, rock ‘n’ roll foursome Violet Pilot came together somewhat more coincidentally and serendipitously. During what vocalist and guitarist Michael Kirkpatrick dubbed the “Ronnasance,” he started playing with local musicians who lived within the same 15-mile radius. According to him, these creative sessions sprung from an open calendar, geographical convenience and a desire to make music.

Violet Pilot

Photo courtesy of Violet Pilot

From these sessions, Violet Pilot was born in 2021, consisting of Kirkpatrick, guitarist John Hartman, drummer Sean Macaulay and bassist Jo Asker. As their friendships grew, so did their sounds and songs, the culmination being the band’s newly released debut album, Glad We Found You. It’s easy to blame the pandemic for temporarily stomping out the fire that is the live music scene, but as Kirkpatrick expressed, “without the pandemic-induced slowdown, these players would not have come together to experiment with sounds.” Thanks to the pandemic, he and Macaulay found each other and thus were given an opportunity to write together.

Glad We Found You is an ode to the band’s obsessions with album format, rock ‘n’ roll and their desire to make an emulative creation of their own. Violet Pilot sought an engineer who could “marry Hartman’s gnarly electric guitar playing and Macaulay’s monstrous drumming with Asker’s lyrical upright bass and Kirkpatrick’s acoustic guitar,” landing upon Andrew Berlin, who “affirmed the band’s choice on day one.” Recorded at the Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Kirkpatrick’s seven songs and the three co-writes between Kirkpatrick and Macaulay were brought to life. Described as “heavily dynamic and not exactly ‘genrefied’,” Glad We Found You is a striking, emotive and transcendent debut album.

Having taken the fast lane to its fruition in the past few years, Violet Pilot is focusing forward. Their first and foremost goal is to continue developing their sound — “making more music and integrating Asker’s compositions and Hartman’s riffs to further explore elements of song,” said Kirkpatrick. From there, they’re looking at more long-term and abstract goals of writing, rehearsing and taking their music on the road. Their vision for future live performances includes supporting their rock ‘n’ roll heroes and entertaining large stages. In the meantime, Violet Pilot is not wasting any time, heading back to the studio this winter to work on a sophomore album and to gear up for a 2023 summer tour.