Vryll Society interview: A Perfect Rhythm

We caught up with Vryll Society to talk Scouse institutions, independent venues and their much-awaited debut album.

Amelia Ward

Last updated: 4th Sep 2017.
Originally published: 31st Aug 2017

Image: The Vryll Society (credit)

A sense of community is always magnified within the arts scene, and this couldn't be truer in Liverpool, a city where music is deeply entrenched and where artists tend to build up fiercely loyal followings. 

Experiencing this first hand is The Vryll Society, who are well and truly riding the wave of anticipation for their debut album. With its release imminent, and the new psych-pop single 'Shadow Of A Wave' receiving widespread critical acclaim, this band is one that definitely knows how to play the long game.

We caught up with them ahead of their Musicians Against Homelessness gig and part way through their residency at The Magnet to discuss the resilience of independent venues and scouse institutions.

Firstly, congrats on the new single. With only 4 singles since your debut EP in 2015, you've built your reputation on being a great live band, but 'Shadow Of a Wave' seems snappier and more direct than previous releases. What's caused the slight change of direction?

I don't know if it's a change as such, I think the best bands are able to lend their hand to anything. You need direct snappy songs as much as you need more experimental left field tracks. When you've got both that's when you can cause some serious damage.

For anyone who's not familiar with it, can you tell us about your Magnet residency?

It's us calling on loads of cool bands we know into a three part residency, where we can both try things out and have a bit of fun with it. We've got an album coming out, so it's been good to try out new songs in a live setting. So far it's been a really productive thing.

A big topic at the moment is music venues being forced to close down. Which venues have you been most gutted about losing?

In Liverpool, we lost The Kazimier which should be classed as a cultural genocide of the highest order. It was replaced by horrific post modernist student flats... a true scandal.

Which is your fave independent venue outside of Liverpool and why?

King Tuts Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow is magic. What a place, great sound, great stage and the people are really friendly. There are others as well, The Deaf Institute in Manchester is cosmic, as is Brudenell Social Club in Leeds.

You've had a lot of support from the BBC, how instrumental do you think that has been in your success so far?

They've been great and long may it continue, we can't wait to give them more material to play. Huw Stephens, Janice Lang, Steve Lamacq; they've all been good to us. Dave Monks as well on a local level. He's the guy really who took it from a local to a national level, his input can't be understated.

SXSW earlier this year must have been a big one for you, what were the crowd like and how does the festival as a whole compare to British festivals?

There wasn't that much difference to be honest, apart from the accents! It was a little bit more geared towards the artist though, they made sure our stay was comfortable and everything was for free! In the UK, you get treated like a bit of a turd sometimes. There's your dressing room, there are your drinks, now do one!

You've played with bands that have blown up really quickly and then changed their sound, like Blossoms. What effect do you think that taking it slower, with maybe less available financial backing, has had on your music and on you as a band?

We're not really a pop band or a singles band. Although we can do that, we're more of an album band. We would have liked to have put this album out straight after the first EP but financially we couldn't do that. Thankfully though someone has seen the massive potential we've got and now and it's full steam ahead.

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That well-paced approach also seems to be the way you are handling the recording and writing your debut album - is it deliberate to be more measured and patient with it? Can you talk us through the creative process?

Well, the fact that it has taken a bit longer means that the standard is going to be a lot higher. So it might be a blessing in disguise in some ways, there is a sense of us liking to take our time and getting it right and I think the album is going to benefit from that.

So the creative process goes like this, I come in with chords and a melody the band put it through the factory and it comes out as a Vryll Society song or the band jam and I'll put a melody or lyrics over it.

You must have been spending a fair bit of time in the studio, where are you recording and what's an average day like? 

We're in for about three weeks recording the album, we're doing it in Parr Street Studios. It's where we've recorded everything else, so it seems right to record the album there. An average day is the same drum beat or the same guitar line being played over and over and over again!

What's the rest of 2017 have in store?

Recording the album and we have a mini UK tour in the autumn.

You seem to take inspiration from more than just other musicians, your live shows, for example, are quite visual. Who or what would you say are your biggest non-music influences and why?

Stanley Kubrick, Jean Luc Godard, Salvador Dali, The Beat Generation, Hunter S Thompson... anyone who's cool really. The reason why is probably because in art terms they're the best and that's the bracket to be in, to be honest. 

Evol presents the Vryll Society summer residency tickets are available from the box below.

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