By MAGGIE ANN WURST
For 21st Century Media
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, which is a concept that the members of the pop punk/alternative band Ultra Violet know very well. Originally formed in 2009 after drummer Stephen Vanyo had been inspired by “The Outsiders” movie played in his eighth-grade English class, the band’s first official show was on New Year’s Eve in 2011. From there, the band played local shows in the Quakertown area, but recently have branched out to larger venues including The Fire in Philadelphia and Planet Trog Entertainment Complex in Whitehall.
Recently, the members of Ultra Violet took a break from their busy summer to talk about their most memorable shows, their favorite lyrics, and how they overcome the physical distance between the band members in order to generate new music. All of the band members graduated from Quakertown Community High School in 2013 and although the band is currently active, each of the four members attends a different college or university during the school year.
Q&A with the band members of Ultra Violet
Dan Frasch, Vocalist
Question: What were the first events/venues that Ultra Violet played?
DF: Our first show was in Stephen’s basement, which was a great time and a great way to start out by playing for our friends and getting our material out. Then, we started to play local events such as Relay for Life.
Q: What emotions do your songs convey to your audience?
DF: We try to write our songs through experiences we have had, so a lot of [our songs] are relatable. Actually, a lot of our songs have to do with [our experiences] with girls. We have a pretty wide spectrum of songs that give a good variety to our fans. We have some fun songs, some slower songs, and some very energetic songs. We try to keep it varied so the crowd gets a different taste of us every time they see us perform.
Q: Which of your songs has the most meaning for you?
DF: My favorite song is “The Miles Between” from the EP that we just released titled Between You and Me. One of the most powerful lyrics in that song is “See past the miles between us.” That really rings true for me because I’m far away from all these guys. I always remember [the lyric] very distinctly from the last show before we left for [college] and it was weird because it was the last lyric I sang with Ultra Violet for nine months.
Frasch, 19, attends Rochester Institute for Technology where he is majoring in Civil Engineering.
Derrick Dieso, Guitarist
Question: How do the members of your band share and come up with new material during the school year?
DD: It’s very hard for us to get together and write, but Ian and I can write a guitar riff or chord progression that could be the base of a song and then record it on our phones. Then, we can get together during breaks [and put our music together]. We can all come up with ideas and hold onto them until we get back together.
Q: How has your fan base changed from the first shows you played?
DD: At a recent show at Planet Trog, a decent part of the crowd were friends that we had all met in college. I think it’s cool that we all have new friends who come out to support us.
Q: What bands personally influence you?
DD: Some of my musical influences are modern pop-punk bands like The Wonder Years and The Story So Far.
Dieso, 19, attends Drexel University and is majoring in Environmental Engineering.
Ian Painton, Bassist
Question: How did the band decide on the name Ultra Violet?
IP: I wasn’t in the band yet, and Stephen posted on Twitter that he would give someone 25 cents to come up with a band name. I was in my room and so I looked at a couple random objects and I looked at a light bulb and thought “Oh, light! Light comes from the sun, the sun emits ultra violet rays.” I posted it to Twitter and they took it.
Q: What is the interaction like between other local bands and Ultra Violet?
IP: I think the coolest thing is that every local band we’ve played with have been supportive. There are a couple cool local bands from the Lehigh area that are fellow bands. We have been fans of each other and we will listen to each other, which is very neat.
Q: What has been your favorite show so far?
IP: One of my favorite shows was when we played at The Lansdale Music Factory. I liked that show a lot because we had a lot of energy that night and the people that were there came with the other local bands, but they stayed to watch us. I guess they thought we were good because they wanted an encore. It was a really cool experience having people enjoy our music.
Painton, 18, attends Moravian College and is majoring in Chemistry.
Stephen Vanyo, Drummer
Question: What was your fan base like at the start of Ultra Violet?
SV: Our first fans were our parents, who we love very much, and our girlfriends were the second group to join, then our friends. When we played [our first show] in my basement, a girl said “Wow, you guys are actually good, you could open up for small bands!” and that was the biggest compliment at the time. We enjoy a fan base that is really engaged with us and who look forward to everything we do.
Q: How has your role changed in the band now that you are in college?
SV: As a drummer, I have always felt a bit distant from the writing process, but now I am taking a more proactive role in writing lyrics. Before, when I first started, I would write about girls a lot, and now I have been inspired by more things like anxiety, feeling like you belong, and other things. I think our next release will be more mature than anything we’ve done before and I think it’s because of what we’ve experienced in college.
Q: What are Ultra Violet’s goals for the rest of the summer?
SV: Our primary goal is to write, write, and write some more. Also, if the opportunity becomes available, play a couple of shows here and there. We haven’t set a release date [for our new album] but I would assume late winter or early spring.
Vanyo, 19, attends Loyola University and is majoring in Political Science.
Ultra Violet has upcoming shows at the Quakertown Community Pool on July 15, and on Aug. 22 at a location to be determined. To listen to their first EP, “Between You and Me,” visit ultravioletpa.bandcamp.com.