If one were to try to classify the genre of music The Visit plays, they would have a difficult time. With a chamber element and hints of a classical crossover, The Visit just doesn’t fall into any of the boxes. Their music is better described in adjectives – archaic, yet futuristic, at the same time; cinematic; transcendent. Their music is also best described in themes, of which there are a lot about birth, death, and life – like a visit – where you are continuously passing through doorways. Ultimately, how one was to describe their music is up to the listener, based on what they see and feel when they visit the world they create with their music.
The vocalist/cellist duo that is The Visit began as something very different than what they are now. In January of 2013, Heather Sita Black first approached Raphael Weinroth-Browne about doing a dance/cello piece together. Raphael agreed and they found they really enjoyed working together, and continued to get together, largely improvising as they went. Shortly afterwards Heather realized that she would rather sing than dance and the two of them decided that they would commit to planned pieces, as opposed to improvised ones and, from there, The Visit took form.
Raphael has a background in classical cello music and has been composing on his own for a very long time. His roots are in metal and he uses those roots to compose chamber music, classical music with a heavy music mentality. Heather has been singing since she was two and, while most think that she has been classically trained, she is self-taught, with only two months of opera training she took at the age of 21.
Both Heather and Raphael have been immensely inspired by Tigran Hamasyan, whose album Shadow Theater, they believe, everyone should listen to. While both are inspired by World Music, Middle Eastern and North African jazz, Raphael has a long list of metal bands that he is inspired by (Meshuggah, Animals As Leaders, and Opeth – to name a few) and a number of off-beat cellists (such as Giovanni Sollima, Rufus Cappadocia, and Claude Lamothe). Heather has been inspired by different genres of vocalists at different periods in her life; artists such as Bjork, Loreena McKennitt, Lisa Gerrard, Nina Simone and Edith Piaf are among the most notable.
Musically, The Visit has been doing things a little differently. With only two people, they need to create a lot of sound. While most female singers tend to be more breathy, Heather makes good use of her diaphragm and throat. Raphael opens up the chords on his cello, turning the sound of one instrument into the sounds of several.
When constructing a piece, Raphael usually comes with a nearly completed cello composition, with a general structure in mind, from which they will fill in the pieces. Heather will improvise on top of the composition, deciding upon vocal melodies first, then lyrics – making changes until, eventually, it becomes a song. The first piece of composition that would, eventually, become The Visit’s first piece, “Between Worlds” is “the most naive, a blank slate from which to build” says Raphael, and build they certainly have.
This November, The Visit will be visiting Prague, to play in the Nouvelle Prague music festival. Raphael travelled to Prague last year, with another musical group he is a part of, to play in this newly founded festival and thought that it would be a great opportunity for the Visit. At the time that they emailed the person responsible for coordinating the bands for the festival, they only had Between Worlds to send to them, but heard back right away. As soon as their music video, “Offering“, was complete, they sent that along to the festival as well.
The two of them waited a while after that, without hearing, and thought that performing at the festival may not happen, but all that changed when Raphael received an email early one morning. It was 8:30am when Raphael passed the good news on to Heather – they were going to Prague!
In addition to playing in the Nouvelle Prague music festival, The Visit will also be featured in a Prague music magazine and have their video played on Czech television. The festival will be covering food, accommodation, and travel within Prague, but the group is responsible for paying for their travel to get there.
In order to help raise money to pay for their airfare, they will be playing a show on September 5th at Pressed, with entry ticket sales going towards buying airplane tickets. The Visit also has an upcoming show at the Blacksheep Inn on August 28th, where they will be playing alongside Sundaraa, from New York.
Don’t miss your chance to experience The Visit – check out their music video below and attend one of their shows. The Visit also has plans to begin recording their first album, which they hope to release in 2015.