Some weeks ago, I was made aware of The Violet Tribe (see this post) and have since gotten into contact with the ladies. They have graciously agreed to give an interview and share some information about themselves, The Violet Tribe, and their other projects. This interview is actually a translated version of the original German one, which can be found on my German steampunk blog.
But now, on with the interview:
Traveler: When did you found The Violet Tribe and when did its members start dancing Tribal Bellydance?
BIANCA: We’ve been plotting devious things since the remarkable summer of 2009. One reviewer of our first CD had this to say: „Ravishing Collection of Curios“: It sounds like two tracks are playing at once.
No better way to describe it!
ARZO: Well, I was inspired to start Tribble Dance when I was watching this episode of Star Trek TOS. You know, the one with the cuddly little furry animals. That’s quite a while ago… 🙂
SVAHARA: I’ve started in 1999 dancing bellydance and have been teaching it since 2005.
ANNUN: I’ve been dancing since I was 16, but got into Tribal Bellydance only in 2005.
Traveler: Is the name connected in any way to Rachel Brice’s The Indigo?
ANNUN: No, that’s because of the band Violet. Biance has worked with the band as a singer and musician for many years, just like Dr. P. The Violet Tribe is the daughter of Violet so to speak.
SVAHARA: Bianca likes to dance and she wanted to combine dancing and music. It is fairly common for dance ensembles rooted in American Tribal Style to call themselves tribe. And by the way: Indigo is blue-purple, violet tends more towards magenta *removes scholarly glasses* 😉
Traveler: How did you get together?
ARZO: Bianca picked us up from the steet, tempered us with rapidly changing temperatures and finished it of with good music.
BIANCA: Yep, I couldn’t stand their slacking anymore! 😉
Does the tribe have a fixed set of members or is there something like a core with varying guest musicians/dancers?
ANNUN: Yes, there is a core but we like to invite other musicians and dancers.
Traveler: Where can we find you on the web? (Note, all sites are in German, since the Violet Tribe is a German band)
SVAHARA: On MySpace, Facebook and pretty soon, we will also have our own homepage. 😉
BIANCA: The domain is already online, but it is referring to our Myspace Page: www.thevioletribe.de .
ANNUN: I’m a freelance dancer, lecturer and choreographer, you can find me at www.henneth-annun.de
BIANCA: Lily also works as a freelance dancer and lecturer, she’s online at www.bianca-stuecker.de. It is a rather spartanic site. Only my CV, Projects and upcomming shows are on there. It will be completely redone, though.
Some info about my dancing is also available here: www.bianca-dance.de. And the band violet has its own page, too, of course: www.violet-net.de
Traveler: Are there any other projects you are involved in andif so, where can we find information about them?
ARZO: Oh, I’ve got a bunch. The tribes Terpsichoré and Verdandi, Gothic Tribal with Penthesilea, Gogo Dance with Flesh & Blood. Also some solo projects regarding Gogo, Burlesque, Pole Dance and Postapocalyptic… I’ve tried to collect the most important ones on the site of my dance school.
BIANCA: Apart from TVT and Violet there’s the medieval music ensemble Violetta, I’m performing together with Dr. P, my electro project VaNi, I hardly have time for this one, unfortunately. 2007 my first novel „Schaulaufen für Anfänger“ was published in paperback by Fischer and right now I am working on my dissertation at Folkwang University of Arts in Essen in music. I’ve worked as a choire conductor for a few years, and for the future, I’ve planned workshops for medieval song. The links are on my site.
Traveler: How did you come with the idea to fuse tribal bellydance and Steampunk?
BIANCA: Rather unspectacularly in my case: Via Abney Park.
SVAHARA: If you want to develop your style and you already love vintage, the next step is the Victorian Age. And since I love movies with an apocalyptic theme and Rock and Heavy Metal, I feel right at home with steampunk.
Traveler: Would you call yourselves steampunk bellydancers?
ARZO: Ummmmmh… yes? Yes!
SVAHARA: Not exclusively. A lot of other styles influence my dancing: Gothic, Orient, Pop, Zirkus, the 1920s, Baroque, Burlesque, Balkan, Gypsy, Pirates, Flamenco… Just to name a few. We are rather multi-facetted and use everything which inspires us.
ANNUN: To be honest, there is no definition how Steampunk Fusion Dance (or what ever you want to call it) is different from other Tribal Fusion Bellydance styles. Is it enough to dress up steampunk style or dance to steampunk music? I guess, things are still developing.
BIANCA: Such a definition is also missing for steampunk music, the one unifying element right now is the theme and the lyrics and not the musical style, I think.
Traveler: Who came up with the idea for The Steam Song?
BIANCA: I wanted to do something steampunk themend, because, as far as I know, there wasn’t anything like it in Germany. The album was a pure musical playground, so a steampunk piece had to be on it, since this was something new, untested, unconventional and therefore very intriguing.
Traveler: Are there any plans for more steampunk themed material?
BIANCA: We plan very little – that’s the beauty of it! Steampunk still has a lot of potential, especially in the dancing scene steampunk costumes are really en vogue right now. Via the visual component, musical inspirations can always come in. And if you are listening in real close, you will hear some steampunk elements in Grand Hotel
ARZO: There are some more steampunk-compatible musical pieces, like „The Mad Professor´s Had An Overdose“. I also have the desire to dance to the ticking of a clock. A lot is coming for our listeners… We have not exhausted the potential of our inspirations, yet.
Traveler: Where do you get the inspirations for your music and costumes from?
ANNUN: We are a rather spontaneous and every single one is a constant inspiration to everybody else. Sometimes all it needs are weird conversations on Facebook. That’s how we came up with the name of the title „Schleifchen aus Stahl“ (“Ribbons of Steel”)! It began with an idea for a cool, metal-like outfit, like the one we had seen a fellow dancer wear and we had the idea to create something similar for a photoshoot. The next thing was “But please add ribbons.” “Ribbons of Steel.” And tadah! That’s the title (OK; this was a heavily abridged version of how it went 😉 ).
BIANCA: Actually, it was like this for the whole „Grand Hotel“ album: Everybody wanted a specific theme they would interpret in dance and then I started arranging the music. That was one great experience! Via the keywords from “outside” a number of songs were created I would not have come up with without the inspiration of the tribe. 🙂
SVAHARA: Books, movies, dreams, other artists, music… I wanted a baroque piece on the CD and also wanted a fitting costume. I was looking for very specific fabric: I thought of golden and dark red velvet, like I’ve seen in movies. I could not find anything, so I created something myself: I took an old lace blanked, prayed it with gold colour, put some glittery fake jewels on it… Done! 🙂
Do you feel a special connection to the gothic or another scene? Are there any differences within the tribe?
BIANCA: I was socialized dark from a very early age, and even though you don’t see it every day anymore, there will be no change in my feeling of belonging to the gothic scene. This is simply something that’s not going away 😉
ARZO: I’m definitely gothic, too. And in my case this means allround-gothic: medieval, industrial, electro, Trauerweide (untranslatable, sorry), Neoromantic. (but please: No red wine and bad poetry) When the Zwischenfall (a popular alternative/gothic club in Bochum, Germany) burned down, a big part of my youth went with it.
ANNUN: There are some differences. Concerning music, I’m listening to everything, and preferences change, depending on how I feel and where I am in life. Apart from this, I belong to the dance scenee, i.e. oriental dance and Tribal Fusion Bellydance.
SVAHARA: I guess, everybody’s focus is slightly different. But everybody can work with everybody else and this adds to the dynamism and creativity of our band.
Speaking for myself: I like the gothic, steampunk, medieval and vintage scenes.
Traveler: Thank you ladies, for your time, we will surely meet again online and I will be in touch concerning the European Steampunk Convention.