Home of the Boiled sweet and white telephone boxes, Hull has a rich history of producing musical talent, including the likes of The Beautiful South, Mick Ronson and The Fine Young Cannibals. Among the fresh new bands on Humberside are indie-rock up-and-comers Vialetters, who’s latest single Ulysses bares a stadium-ready sound with an excitable edge.
Drawing comparisons to Sam Fender & Nothing But Thieves, their spellbinding combination of ambient chorus, billowing drums and hauntingly ethereal vocals has put them centre stage in what is a very competitive genre. With an impressive 3 headline shows this year, filling a 200 capacity venue twice, as well as opening the Bonus Arena in front of 2000 people, the boys have matched the bravado heard in their latest record, developing a pedigree of playing in-front of large crowds in the process. Off the back of such a successful campaign, we caught up with them to talk about the origin of the band, pushing for gender equality in their home town and their next move….
We’ve got Hull-based Vialetters with us today, hi guys, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. The band originated in a garage up in the north-east of England, did you start by talking about inspirations and influences or was it a case of constructing your own sonic identity from the outset?
We started making music in school band rooms and in ell’s garage and pretty much confined ourselves there for years. The genesis of us making music were formed from very selfish intentions just to make it for ourselves, what we ended up creating sonically was just a distillation of of ourselves and our lives at that time. I’ve always said we have written soundtracks over the movie of our lives without it sounding like a soundtrack, so sonically the music we made in the garage was a very raw underscore of the stories we was writing about and the sound fit the pictures so to speak. I was always very envious of how music can really depict a moment in time, it feels like a pretty frivolous reference but pop punk in the American pie movies for me really sums up that era of been an American teen in the early 2000’s. We wanted to create our own world like that, the music we was going to make in the garage was going to be our life from 2017-2020 I suppose.
After supporting the likes of The Big Moon, Blaenavon, Bloxx, and Cassia, you’ve managed to build up an impressive set off streaming figures, if you could choose one artist to go on a worldwide tour with, who would it be and why?
I could name countless people, but right now I would love to go on a world tour with Georgia. Her lives show were set to be amazing this year on the back of her album Seeking Thrills, I would love to live the vibe I think she would create beforehand aswell. She writes and produces everything she does I would love to pick her brains about her process and she looks like such a laugh.
You’ve pushed for 50/50 gender split events in your hometown, how important do you feel it is to offer equal opportunities to all and what do you feel the industry needs to improve on in this sense?
So this was an issue that was invisible to us because we was so wrapped up in our own band for the first couple of years. We literally walked into this band we have so easily, 5 like-minded lads who wanted to play music, cause lads in bands were cool at school because we had male band role models. It’s that simple. But my girlfriend is a musician and really wants to be in a girl band, she has struggled a lot for a few years ago just to find 3 more female musicians who feel like they can perform on our local circuit. But the fact is, girls at a grassroots level just don’t have enough exposure to female bands. At the time, I remember Hands Off Gretel made a statement on their Instagram, telling the horror stories of all the sexual verbal and physical abuse they had received as a female fronted band on stage. So why would girls get up and formed bands together when that’s happening?
There was a lot of stick for Leeds and Reading this year for their lack of female artists. Fair enough, completely agree. But the onus is not just on festival organisers to make that happen. We all have to support female artists at a local and grassroots level. And that doesn’t just mean showing up and clapping at the end of each song, it means outing the people that shout sexist or misogynistic things in the crowd, it means outing people that grab girls when “moving past them” in the crowd. So, we do what we can as a band. At a headline gig at one of Hull’s venues, projected on the background was “PLEASE DO NOT PUT YOUR HANDS ON GIRLS INAPPROPRIATELY TO GET PAST THEM IN THE CROWD”. And you felt an almost uncomfortable energy in the room for a brief moment. Good, cause it made the people who knew they had done that look at their toes for a few seconds. It was literally putting it in their faces, DO NOT DO THAT. We also put the message up about supporting local female artists.
In terms of the 50/50 gig, we did not market the gig as that, because gender equality is not a marketing tool. However, we did organise it for that purpose. We created a mini festival with comedians, local artists, spoken word poets, pianists and bands. We strove more for 50/50 then we did for anything else, and we still didn’t reach it, which said a lot to us. We are going to continue to push this as our main message.
Lyrically, you focus on writing about what you call ‘the catastrophic nature of youth’, could you explain what you mean by this?
I think from about 14-20, everything that happens to you is either the best thing to ever happen or the worst. It’s a very fractious, but really in the moment period of life. It feels like everything is either falling down, or its not. Our lyrics are based on very nonchalant and unimportant things in comparison to greater the issues with humanity. And we do consciously veer aware from the direct mentioning of darker themes, but rather let them permeate our music just slightly. It’s a very self obsessed form of writing which we are well aware of, but I think we are all self obsessed to an extent between that age cause that’s how and when we formulate our identity and self of belonging to the world.
Ulysses is one of my favourite tracks of the year and I can’t wait to hear more, do you guys have anything exciting to announce or is it matter of going away and writing more content?
Our vinyl E.P will be out very soon, we are just in the process of organising that. And we are ahead of the next couple of e.p’s that are going to follow, we know what direction they are taking and just excited to get them going really.