You get a sense that The Violence, as a record and as a project, is something that Darren Hayman is very proud of, and he’d be right to feel that way.»
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over the past four years, ex-hefner man darren hayman has been releasing records about lidos, dogging and russian space dogs. he has played gigs in libraries, observatories and remote hebridean islands. in all that time, however, hayman's real focus has been on this, a 20-song, double lp chronicling the 17th century essex witch trials during the english civil wars. the record constitutes the third part of darren's essex trilogy, the previous two albums, pram town and essex arms, dealing with the new towns and suburbs and the lawless countryside. 'i have been drawn to my birthplace because it is both familiar and alien to me,' says hayman. 'essex is so close to london yet so remote from it in many ways. i want to be both brutal and tender about the place in my songs.' 'it's easy to become trapped by your own tropes. i write easily about modernity and pepper my lyrics with slang, brand names and colloquialisms. i wanted to write about something in essex's past that spoke of its strangeness and also forced me to write in a language suitable for another period.' between 1644 and 1646, approximately 300 women were executed for witchcraft in the eastern counties of essex, suffolk and norfolk. matthew hopkins was the self appointed witch finder general who travelled east anglia and helped small communities to rid themselves of these lonely, widowed women. the album deals with fear and isolation, the way we use our own terror in times of trouble to lash out at the weak, and how societies persecute otherness and outsiders.
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