Leah Hamer || October 23rd
On Wednesday 19th October, I was spent a solid three-quarters of a twenty minute interview talking about alien cults and the best piss up spots in Liverpool. This was less an interview, and more of a tour guide and history lecture. I blame The Vryll Society.
Huddled in the darkness of The Sugarmill’s dressing room, five scousers were sprawled out, listening to alternative-electronic music, twitching from excitement over the start of their UK tour. Within seconds it is apparent their bus will see the sight of many parties over the next few weeks, especially as they are sharing this tour with their Deltasonic friends, Hidden Charms. ‘We played with them years ago and we were mates before the label. We wanted to get a tour bus together but we weren’t allowed…for obvious reasons’ Drummer Ben laughs.
The Vryll Society was forged several years ago, after Michael, Ryan, Ben and Lloyd discovered each other whilst practicing next door to one and other, ‘We just knocked down the wall like Aerosmith and started playing together.’ Then they brought Lew into the mix and the line-up was complete, but they needed a name.
‘Me and my mate were watching a documentary called Ancient Aliens on the history channel and heard it on there.’ Ryan tells me before singer Michael continues, ‘I’ve read books on it, and it’s fascinating.’ It comes from an alleged secret cult, the Vril Society, who were said to believe in an alien master race and were active in pre-Nazi Germany. It sparks a very interesting conversation about UFOs and Ancient Egypt, before we realise that this is meant to be an interview.
Hailing from Liverpool, the boys have grown up in most musical city in the UK, and their influences show for it, ‘The Beatles.’ All could not have survived without the legends growing up, yet their peers at school did not show the same appreciation. ‘In school you’d get called The Beatles as a joke like. When you’re thirteen you think that’s funny, but now those people are bumming off The Beatles.’ Ryan says. ‘Yeah at our school guitars got smashed over your head if you liked them.’ Michael recalls.
The Bootleg Beatles were the first band that Michael ever saw, Ryan witnessed a Paul McCartney gig as his second show (after Dirty Pretty Things when he was fourteen), so it is clear how dearly the boys hold The Beatles in their hearts, as well as all other Liverpudlian bands. They spent all of their youth watching local artists like Strange Collective, Sugarmen, and Rongorongo.
Liverpool is the ultimate city for a young guitar band and the boys can’t help but give me their ultimate guide to surviving the town like a proper local. ‘Don’t go to Matthew Street. Matthew street is like going to little Italy when you’re an Italian American from New York. It’s great for all the tourists but locals don’t go there, unless you’re on a scum run.’ Michael laughs. It’s at this point I’m told the only place to be on a Friday night in the city is The Attic or The Jacaranda. Well, that’s my next weekend sorted.
As the boys scuttle of to begin preparations for their first show, I ran downstairs to catch local friends of the Society, Psyence. Swanky synths, tickling riffs and bang on drums, this is what I expect of Psyence, and they never fail. Each track is five minutes of sultry, electronic glory, a sixties groove bubbling in a contemporary vision. Final song Falling In Love Once Again, was without a doubt the heart racer, and if it doesn't make an appearance on their debut album, there will be riots. Tonight I witnessed Jamie Cartlidge, formerly of Shimmer Trap, join the psychedelic foursome. Jamie's talent is undeniable, and he still holds the character and charisma of a frontman, however he needs to crank up the volume. They've only been a five piece for a brief period of time, and as the dimensions have changed the band needs to adapt to his new position on rhythm, but within a few more gigs I have no doubt they will sound stronger than ever.
I caught up with Jamie and bassist Jamie Bellingham after their performance, ‘Tonight was so good. It’s been sick being in Psyence’ Jamie C smiles. ‘Nah, I’m fully regretting letting him in,’ Jamie B laughs. Big things are on the horizon for the lads as they hit up the Shine On Weekender and support Cast at Keele University in the coming weeks. ‘He’s not ready for what’s about to happen.’ After that of course they’re headlining Wembley and hitting their African tour, ‘Personally I can’t wait to play in Ghana, and the Hard Rock Café in Egypt…’ The rest is all top secret…
Next up were Hidden Charms who have perhaps the most accurate band name in existence. Gawks and open mouths are the reaction to be expected. They are comprised of Jesus lookalikes and gnarly mops and play Black Keys riffs and damnnnnn solos. They begin without a bass, relying solely on a bass synth instead, with which they have the capacity to create a rhythm like no other. Sweet streaky vocals in sync with the screeches of the guitar, this is silky magic. Their final track and new single I Just Wanna Be Left Alone is dirtily catchy and needs to be sung endlessly. The expression to 'blow your mind' was created in their honour.
The Vryll Society have an easy laid back attitude to life and music. A mellow and soft water dance, with sparks of fire and sporadic bursts of waving beats. The solo work of kings slipped in between minutes of calm psychedelia. The one to listen out for is A Perfect Rhythm, it relentlessly clutches onto your brain cells without mercy, and is as unforgettable as the five lads upon the stage.