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When vs When Not to Give In Q & A: Ricky Kradolfer from High Violet


Sydney-based indie-pop darlings High Violet are back making us blush with the music video for their single Give In, an upbeat rock number which they say takes cues from The Dandy Warhols and Best Coast. Made in collaboration with the film and screen students at Flinders University in Adelaide, the video shows the band rocking out, bathed in red and blue light and some very…lovely ruby red lips mouthing the song’s catchy AF chorus. We asked co-singer and guitarist Ricky Kradolfer when it’s time to give in and how the music video was almost lost forever!

When playing in a sports team, how big should the margin be before you throw in the towel?

When the margin gets really big between two teams, I’d like to see some of the school tactics come into play. Y’know, when you would be 10 – nil up in school yard soccer, then you would head the ball over the line while crawling on all fours, just to really rub it in?

Or when you’re getting thoroughly beaten in tennis, and you just start aiming to hit the opponent with the balls instead of trying making winners (actually we have Nick Kyrgios for that now, don’t we?). My favourite was the Australian rower (I think her name was Sally), when she just laid down in the boat, mid race. That was classic!

In order how competitive are the members of High Violet?

The band gets very competitive over a game of table soccer. There’s also a strong competitive nature in how long we can stay out after a show. Emily Retsas wins that hands down. She can easily do a full 48-hour party cycle, before she crashes, and Smem (Emily smart) is not far behind. Dan and I look pretty soft compared to those two.

You’re playing a show and it’s not going well, the crowd is restless, the band isn’t clicking, and you keep forgetting the notes. At what point do you just cut the set short, or do you soldier on?

Haha, that’s classic! You can’t just throw down your instruments and walk out in a show. People have come out to have a good time and want to be entertained. I mean, I’ve come close to throwing my guitar at Dan a couple of times, but never thought of walking out on a show.

Unless you’re Liam Gallagher…or Kings Of Leon…or Kanye…yeah, Kanye…I’m gonna let you finish Kayne, but T Swift would never walk out on her fans at a live show.

Looking back to your school/uni days, how much cramming is enough cramming before a test and when is dropping out of uni a serious option?

I’m glad you asked this question, as I’ve wanted to get this off my chest for a while. I was cramming once right before an exam (literally at the doors before walking into the exam) and the teacher came up to me and said “If you don’t know it now, it’s too late, you’ll never know it”.

I said, “f*ck that!”, and I kept cramming, reading notes, scribbling formulas on the inside of my arm (cheating only if you get caught.. also try the inside of your legs for those bathroom breaks), and y’know what? One of the questions in the exam, was the exact thing I was memorizing right before I walked through those exams doors, into the exams hall!

So no matter what anyone tells you… IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO CRAM and NO AMOUNT OF CRAMMING IS EVER ENOUGH!

Put yourself in the shoes of Donald Trump, a few weeks out from the presidential election and you’ve just been discovered to have made sexist remarks. At what point do you throw in the towel?

When the sex tape with the contestant from ‘The Apprentice’ surfaces and everyone sees how small his willy is…

You’re fighting a war as a general and your men are outnumbered, the enemy is closing in. What tactic should you use to turn the tide?

Have a giant front-of-house system set up (like Big Day Out style) and blast Kenny Logins’ Highway To The Dangerzone. There’s no getting beaten when Kenny is on your side. That sh*t can PUMP YOU UP! You can’t fight that. You can’t fight the Dangerzone.

While the front-of-house system is set up, might as well give ‘The Nutbush’ a crack. You can’t pull the trigger on a rifle when your arms are busy doing ‘The Nutbush’! Y’know what I’m saying!

In a fairytale situation as the protagonist, the princess is enslaved and the forces of evil are working to hunt you down. What do you do to make everything right again?

Make the princess a mixtape. Girls are suckers for mixtape. What? Yes they are. Tell me, you never made a mixtape for someone and not gotten laid from it?! Yeah, my point exactly.

For the uninitiated, how would you describe High Violet’s sound and live shows?

We’re not shy to say that we have a definite pop sound, but our live show is full of guitars and big drums (Dan just hits those things so dam hard!). Smem (Emily Smart) and I share lead vocals, even though she sings way better then I can.

We’re loving the music video for Give In, where did the inspiration for the video come from?

The video started as part of a collaboration with the film and screen students at Flinders University in Adelaide, as an initiative curated by Music South Australia, in an effort to create a synergy between the media students and the local music scene.

I’m a big fan of bringing different forms of the arts together, especially in South Australia (my home state). The clip was shot throughout an entire night, in the media lecture theatre at Flinders University, and was completed before class commenced the following morning.

Partway through the editing of the clip, the film student/director didn’t agree with our feedback and thoughts on the direction of the video, and stopped talking to us. Needless to say, thing got slightly awkward.

But the film school were really cool about it and the head of the department there, who was really supportive throughout the entire experience, managed to get the working files from the video director, made the exchange with Emily in a park in the city (I’m not even kidding), and Emily and her boyfriend (sorry boys, she’s unavailable!) were able to edit and finish the video themselves. She is quite the talented bass player, not just a hot set of red lips!

Lastly, tell us three things people should know before seeing High Violet live?

  1. Emily Smart really is a hell of a singer! She sings the hell out of the songs live, I do my best to keep up.
  2. I feel the songs come across a lot rockier live then on the recordings.
  3. I think we all feel most at home playing live on stage. You should come check out the show sometime!