Storytelling Travellers: Madviolet

Some acts let an audience into their world during a live set. They bare themselves, exposing their beauty, talent and insecurities. Some have a story to tell of love, heartbreak joy and misery.

Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac are one of those acts. They’re storytellers looking for willing ears and open hearts.

How did you two ladies come up with your band name?

Lisa: We got it while on a writing trip in a campervan through America. One night we stopped in New Mexico fairly close to Roswell. We had an extremely trippy experience in a natural hot spring and just losing time. There was this woman, a hippy who checked us in at the hot spring; she was absolutely off her rocker! Her name is Violet.

Brenley: It’s like a live stage story that takes a long time! And there were no drugs involved!

You give off the impression that you’ve know each other forever. How did you two meet?

Brenley: We met at a place called The Green Room in Toronto. I was eavesdropping on a conversation that Lisa was having with someone. I heard her say the name MacIsaac. I recognized it from Craignish a small town I grew up in. It’s funny because I was just there and drove by their house. A friend told me, “You know, that’s Ashley MacIsaac’s house, and he has a sister who lives in Toronto.” Lo and behold, within three months, we ran into each other.

So Lisa, you’re Ashley MacIsaac’s sister! You must get a lot of enquiries about him in interviews.

Lisa: Oh yeah! Some journalist, not as much since we came into our own rite, would bring it up and it would become the topic of discussion. I usually ended up saying “You know what? Don’t go there!” But yeah, I’m his little sister. [Laughs]

Ok, point taken! Next question! I read you wrote your past albums in motor homes. Do you think the albums would be the same if they were produced in different environments?

Brenley: I think they would be different. Your environment has to do with what thoughts are running through your head. We don’t have any real structure or formula for writing.

What are some things that generally inspire you to write songs?

Lisa: Well our two records in general have some sort of relationship based theme. Finding love or being heartbroken. There aren’t very many happy love story songs on our albums. I think you only get a good song out of it if it’s heartache.

Brenley: A lot of our writing explores the idea of finding out whether you should throw in the towel or stick it out.

Touching back on your writing trips and producing album while travelling, are you going to make that a tradition in song writing?

Brenley: I’d love to. Just before we called you we were actually looking for a campervan for Australia. We’re going to be there for three months on tour. During the week things die down and it would be great to have a camper van and we’re about due for another record.

For two people who travel so much, what is your concept of home?

Lisa: Toronto is home; it’s where we both pay rent and should be doing our taxes. [Laughs] But I feel very much at home when I’m on the road. I enjoy the minimalist lifestyle, like just having a suitcase to live out of.

Brenley: We both get a little messed up if we’re home for too long and off the road. Maybe because we’ve done so much traveling in the last seven years, it’s become more normal for us. So, when we’re home we start to fret. There is so much going on here. We’ve been home on break now, it’s been good, but we’re really excited to get back out there.


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