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An arrangement of frequency and energy has defined Rock Violinist Emily V.

Posted: September 18, 2023
Spectrum - any of various continua that resemble a spectrum in consisting of an ordered arrangement by a particular characteristic (as frequency or energy).

I think this portion of the definition defines Emily V and what she brings to her performances. An arrangement of frequency and energy. It has been the mainstay of what has brought her back to Guitar Thrills Magazine a total of 3 times since it’s Inception. Throughout efforts, we have been able to convince Emily V of the important of interviewing with Guitar Thrills Magazine. Thus far, she has accommodated our requests. Lucky for us, we have arranged for several intriguing interviews.

Over the course of several years, she has brought energy to each live performance. Only Emily V can tell you if she has lacked the enthusiasm and energy for a specific performance. However, to the trained eye and ear, she hasn’t missed a beat. She continues to put in a high level of consistency that resembles the spectrum that we referred too.

As mentioned, we had a previous opportunity to speak to her this year. The topic entitled Your validity as an artist will be tested. Make proper use of sounding boards. How?

The question was posted to her as how she effectively uses them. This is what she had to say:

I have been extremely knowing in my visions since being a young girl. I can remember growing up and knowing exactly what kind of clothing and fashion I liked and dressing myself very creatively. I am creative in literally everything I do. When I get a chance to redecorate a room, I get a vision and stick with it and create it. When I get an idea for a dish of food I want to make, I see it through to the last detail of my vision. When I get the itch to change my hair color, it turns into an artistic endeavor. When it comes to music, it is no different. I hear a song on a drive, and it can spark an avalanche of ideas and imaginativeness. If someone could crack my brain open, it would see every detail, from the arrangement and different instruments, to what the venue looks like, the lighting, the stage design, how the audience feels and what outfit would be designed for it. I have at times “talked” my ideas out with various people and support in my life, but typically, I am already “in” the vision and know exactly what I want to produce. This could come off as sounding “self-absorbed”, but I do believe that this is the very definition of an artist. Artists are here to create what they feel and see and dream. The world can either love it or hate it, but it doesn’t stop the artist from manifesting art. Therefore, I believe that the artist should be confident in what they do themselves because that is what creates authentic voices.

We also asked her about confidence:

There seems to be a large percentage of artists that lack confidence in themselves to make the right decision. Do you believe this could help or harm a musician?

This is a great question and very much is what I was touching on in the last response. Sometimes there seems to be young artists that lack the confidence in their creations and decisions. Sometimes teams of people take over to produce a product for consumption. In my opinion, it is taking the art out of the artist. Instead of something imperfect, raw, and intriguing, it can become “too perfect” and “soulless”. I think in the end, the audience can feel that they become disconnected to what the original message was supposed to convey. Also, when you create something in your own confidence as an artist, it will naturally attract an audience. Pave your own path and do what you feel because that is what the world needs now more than ever!

The growth that Emily V has experienced is the result of hard work and implementation of the rules that she has established for herself. I don’t believe anyone would disagree with her energy or confidence level. Everything that she has talked to us about is apparent in her work on stage or in her video productions. I want to get into our latest interview with Emily V, but I must cover some main points about this phenom.

ABOUT EMILY V

L.A. Based Rock 'N' Roll Violinist, Emily V, is one of the most unique, eccentric, and exciting violinists of our day. Her style is commonly described as a guitarist taking the lead much like Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, and Warren Haynes. She currently performs as an exciting solo experience, along with her explosive drummer, Kyle Hughes, while looping her instruments and creating a rock n roll drama that unfolds before the audience’s eyes and ears. She has toured the USA and been a featured performer at festivals, clubs, business conferences, and private events.

She began playing violin at age eleven and has been an unstoppable force since. Awarded a scholarship in Violin Performance, Emily studied Classical music, Theory and Composition, and World Percussion music (African and Brazilian) at Cal State Long Beach. Emily’s love for Rock and Roll, and Blues music began to show when she would sit in with musicians at venues in the Los Angeles and Orange County area. This led to performing both as a solo and side musician for over 15+ years now.

Emily was the electric violinist in the rock super group The Kevin Sousa Band. Emily has also toured with the iconic, world-renowned punk band The Adicts and has performed with Walter Trout (The Walter Trout Band, John Mayall (Canned Heat), Lukas Nelson and The Promise of the Real, Willie K, Johnny Avila (Oingo Boingo), David Shelton (Don Felder), Stevie (Crosby, Stills, Nash, David Gilmour, Loggins and Messina), Wade Biery (Joe Cocker, Roger Paltry, Don Felder), Jorgen Carlsson (Gov’t Mule), Travis Warren (Blind Melon), Todd Wolf (Beth Hart), Jimmy Paxson (Stevie Nicks), Mike Malinin (Goo Goo Dolls). Michael Leasure (Walter Trout), Matt Hughes (Warren Haynes), Donovan Frankenreiter and Steelheart. In between touring with other artists, she continues to have local residency gigs at venues in her home area. Emily is “Not Your Typical Violinist”.

Undoubtedly, there is more to Emily than what you see in her live performances. Let’s jump into the interview and discover some of the characteristics that we have yet to uncover.

INTERVIEW WITH EMILY V AND GUITAR THRILLS MAGAZINE

GT: Hello Emily. Wow, it is your third time interviewing with Guitar Thrills Magazine. You are the first artist to accomplish that. I almost feel that we should present you with an award or plaque of some kind. 😊 Seriously, though, it’s a reflection of your talent, that we have come back to you often for an interview. You continue to have an impact on the music Industry, even though you are not the typical violinist. What specific things do you contribute to your longevity in the music industry?

Emily: I think my title: “not your typical violinist” really says it all. I believe in being unique and different then what one expects to hear or see. This creates curiosity and a cult following among fans that want to see where I will go next. But truly it is not being different to be different, it is my authenticity that creates the uniqueness that then creates the following, if that makes sense. This is vital to creating a long and fulfilling musical career. We’ve talked about it before, but if you can be courageous enough to be yourself, you’ll attract your perfect followers and career.

GT: I think it’s appropriate to conclude that you are an energetic performer. What do you do other than your connection to your fan base, that gives you so much energy to perform? Is it in your work-out routine, dieting, DNA, what gives?

Emily: I would say that the adrenaline has a lot to do with my energy as well as my pure love to perform…. But, yes, I would say there are other factors. I have generally been an active and athletic person most of my life. I enjoy and am consistent with workouts from my home currently, but I have gone through tons of different phases, classes and gyms to keep myself physically healthy. Even my current workouts go through fluctuations, as I am sure most musicians will relate. Sometimes I am extremely busy with local shows or tours and recording and can really only fit a 20 minute workout in here and there. Other weeks, I can fit in 4-5 workouts a week, consisting of low impact cardio and weights, mainly. I am also a big advocate of walking as much as I can, walk to the coffee shop, walk to the grocery store, walk to the beach. It all adds up to being strong and energized on stage. Of course, also, I am very good about my diet and eating as clean as possible. This is also a challenge on the road, but as most musicians do, I have come up with some of my own little tricks to eat as best as possible while traveling. Most important of all though, is getting some sleep and that is the toughest one by far!!

GT: Honestly, it certainly has worked for you. I have skipped over countless violinists because they don’t have the same vibe as you do. They claim that they are rock centric, but I think it’s just a PR Gimmick. To me, a musician must come off with a naturally born inclination to accommodate your skill set. What is it that has made you so unique, and authentic?

Emily: This is a great question. In my opinion, being “rock centric” is a vibration from deep in your core. I also have seen many violinists who claim this title of genre. For me, it needs to be something that pumps through your veins. I grew up on classic rock even though I was a classically trained violinist. There is a swagger to the greats that we all go to time and time again. Bowie, Hendrix, Page and Plant, The Stones, Chris Cornell, to name a few of my faves. I do remember in college studying music, I tended to hang with the drummers and percussionists a lot (more so then the string players actually). I studied and took percussion classes in world music as well. We had many conversations about feeling and timing with music. I remember hearing the difference between a classical violinist’s timing and a rock guitarist’s timing. To me, this is a very important trait of a true rock n roller. Classical is very “on top” of the beat and rock and blues can be at the backend of the beat. I think rhythm has a lot to do with it. I’ve learned to feel that and push the band to follow me in creating rhythmic ideas that come out of the violin solos just like our great classic rock guitarists did. I feel like there is such an authenticity to the classic rock musicians that we continue to quote. It is a feeling and passion that creates sweaty, bending notes that land with a grungy, dirty aesthetic that lights me up! I strive for that every time I channel my influences on stage. I like to play with the pressure of my bow and how I slide in or out of notes. This is so special to the violin because we have no frets, so you can really emulate anything: voices, saxophone, guitar bending, you name it. I also believe there is an art to creating tone. Just like guitarists, I like to mess with different types of pedals and effects (without overdoing it) and adjusting my EQ to have a warmer, girthy tone rather then a shrill, sparkly one that I don’t care for in a violin tone.

GT: In the last interview, you mentioned “you must be self-sufficient in your own creative process”. Have you continued to be self-sufficient in your creativity, or are you looking for inspiration or other outlets to help you with your creativity?

Emily: There is inspiration in everything I do. I can find it everywhere! Sometimes, I like to play a different instrument I may not be as “schooled” in. This helps me get out of my head about music and more into just what I’m hearing and feeling. A good movie soundtrack will invoke ideas, but the inspiration doesn’t have to just come from other musical sources. It could be the way the sun is setting or some other random event. It could be a conversation you’ve had or a dream you dreamt. It could be how the soap bubbles dissipate in the bathtub. Literally, if you pay attention, I think you can be inspired everywhere you go!

GT: That is some excellent feedback. The kind of responses I could anticipate coming from you. Next, I would like to get into your latest release. It is a cover called Sober from the band Tool. Excellent choice. I can hear Maynard Keenan singing in the background. At least in my head I hear it. 😊 Why Sober?

Emily: I first played a version of Sober with The Kevin Sousa band. He was a mentor and like a big brother to me. I had decided to arrange my own version when I started my solo show last year. Every time I did it, the audience’s jaws were on the ground. I thought, “you like that? I haven’t even perfected the arrangement yet..” I decided to really put more effort into the arrangement and one day, out of the blue, I thought “I am going to record and shoot a video for this epic song!!” From that very moment, I started putting together the team to help me record the song and get the video filmed with my vision. It was a big undertaking. In the process of doing this, Kevin Sousa passed away. It was jarring and extremely heart breaking for all of us that were his band and family. It crushed me to the point of not knowing if I could manage my sobriety (I am just now sober ten years!). As I was ready to shoot the music video, I thought about cancelling the project. I meditated and thought deeply on it, I decided that Kevin would want me to continue to keep going, so I did. Kevin Sousa was also sober (he was sober for almost 13 years). It was something we did not know we had in common when I joined his band, but we did find common ground over our sobriety that deepened our friendship and working relationship. The video is in memory of Kevin Sousa. It was extremely cathartic and healing for me to go through this creative process during such a painful time in my life. It really came full circle, my connection to Kevin and our connection to sobriety.

GT: The video to the cover was creative. It also had a dark appeal to it. Can you tell us about the message that you were sending? Why the blind folds, etc.

Emily: My take on the song is a struggle with ones “sobriety”. I don’t believe this is confined to drugs and alcohol either. I think we ALL have struggles and pain and trauma of some sort. We are all healing our own DNA and recreating our own stories. Some of us are “blind” to it and some of us are “blind” because of it. When something literally grips you, how do you set yourself free?? Truly, it is up to you to regain your rights to your humanity. I wanted to convey this in the video with the duct tape and the blind fold. It is very opposite to the strong and capable imagery of myself performing the song on violin. Here is a part of what was written about the video that is on my YouTube channel: “The sensuality of her passionate playing become the yin to the yang of the crumpled, duct taped bound victim fighting for life. The storm and heartache of distant thoughts of clarity can literally take over. What is real? No one can save you but yourself. You have to keep getting up and fight for your own life because nobody else will. Do you choose to be defeated or do you choose to break the binds that suffocate you?” In shooting the video and moving through my grief of Kevin’s passing, I realized I was living this video in real time. It has been a powerful, raw, healing and extremely eye opening process for me and even though the video is “out” now, I am still moving through this process. I hope this inspires others, I hope it helps others and I hope you find that even if this is painful or difficult that, you too, can help yourself. This doesn’t mean don’t ask for help, it means, you’re the one to make the decision to start the process of healing from whatever it is you need to heal from.

GT: Perfect elements to add to the video. It was another way you made the song your own. Have you ever met Maynard Keenan? If so, what kind of person is he? Some say he is a recluse.

Emily: I have not met Maynard Keenan in person. I hope he is reading this now though. It would be an incredible meeting and I would love to share with him how he inspired me as a musician. I love Tool!!

GT: Tell me about your guitar playing skills. Would you feel comfortable if you were strictly performing with the guitar?

Emily: I taught myself guitar when I was around 15. I did this strictly to be able to know what guitar chords people were playing so I could really learn to improvise with people on my violin. When I was around 16 or 17, I decided I would save up all my money and buy myself one good acoustic guitar. That is what I did and that is the guitar you see me playing in the video!! I’ve played my whole life but I have never taken lessons. I can play chords but I am not currently proficient in lead guitar at all, although, I would love to some day learn to play flamenco style guitar and infuse that with some rock edge!

GT: What other projects are you working on currently?

Emily: I have original music that I am getting ready to release in 2024 at the latest. I am also working on some new looping covers to release. I have tons of new projects and music I have been working on. I continue to meet new and inspiring musicians to collaborate with as well. This next year is going to be a very exciting one!!!

GT: You know, I think the next time we interview you; it will have to be for the cover of our magazine. How would that sound to you?

Emily: Oh my gosh!! That would be such an honor! I would LOVE to be part of your cover!!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me for a third time! It is not taken for granted and you have all been so amazing to me. From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate it.

GT: I look forward to it. I already have some ideas on the concept. I will have to share them with you at another time. We look forward to chatting with you again. Undoubtedly, we will continue to keep tabs on your success. Thank you for taking the time to provide us more insight into spectrum of creativity.

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