VILIVANT – The “Running On Empty” interview

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2023 is off to a flying start for Julia Gentile. Her project, VILIVANT is about to release a full album, Running On Empty, and has a tour planned to promote the record, stopping at Montreal’s Piranha Bar on April 15 with support from Astral Gates and Late Night Trouble.

Vilivant Montreal Piranha Bar

Julia tells me the album began during lockdown when many musicians were re-evaluating where they fit into the music scene.

“The first single that I released back in the summer, Running On Empty, that was the one I first started writing. And I wrote it because, you know, COVID was kind of just starting. Everybody was in lockdown. We weren’t able to really go anywhere or perform for that matter. So I was kind of in a little bit of a stump, and I’m sure a lot of artists could relate to that, so I wrote a song just kind of, you know, writing about how I was feeling at the time. I was running on empty. I didn’t really know what I was wanting to do with my life at the time. Music was kind of unknown because of what we were going through, and I just felt empty. I didn’t really have any inspiration except for writing that song. And then once I finished writing the song, I was like, you know what? I’m sure a lot of people can relate to that. So I started writing a whole album kind of relating to that theme of, you know, feeling like you are running on empty, trying to get outta that stump, trying to kind of make your way towards the light.”

Produced by Sam Guaiana (Juno Nominated band Silverstein) and recorded at Studio 21 Sound, the album also touches on themes of heartbreak, feeling pressured, and coming into oneself. 

The empowering anthem and explosive music video for “DROWN” sees VILIVANT defining their signature sound. Sonically reminiscent of fiery female vocalists Taylor Momsen (The Pretty Reckless), Lzzy Hale (Halestorm) and Simone Simons (Epica) and visually packed, the video was filmed in a mansion from a historical time period in New Tecumseth, Ontario, following a young Gentile who is held back by a strict “prim and proper” family in a society that rips apart imperfection.

Gentile explains, “The modern Victorian era has always represented obedience to me. I feel setting the scene that way gives the audience an idea of what’s to come. I wanted to write an anthem for those feeling pressured to act/appear a certain way in order to please certain people. I guess you can say this is a song to empower those that need a little push getting out of toxic situations.”

Though live shows were at a standstill during the pandemic, VILIVANT continued to play at virtual festivals. During this time, she was selected as a Top 5 Regional Finalist for Jim Beam’s National Talent Search and won the Toronto Region with her live off-the-floor performance video of her song ‘Stabilized’ and was also given the opportunity to open for Canadian award-winning rocker Lee Aaron at the sold-out El Mocambo. After receiving the Juried Sound Recording grant from FACTOR Canada, she got to work on her full-length album with the help of Guiana. 

Watch our interview below:

During our conversation, it’s clear that Gentile is more than ready for this new chapter in the story of Vilivant. Her music has progressed immensely since her first release back in 2019 and the new album has a sound made for big stages, so catching her Piranha Bar show might be the last chance you get to witness Vilivant in an intimate venue.

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=Vilivant Running On Empty
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