Making the long journey from Sydney Australia to relocate in England, hardcore/punk band Villa Rise has immediately marked their arrival with the release of their mighty and impressive debut EP Wastelands. It is a release consisting of songs that burst with aggressive intensity, dark bulging riffs, thoughtfully crafted melodies. It also shows a band with a full confidence in their sound and skilled in bringing forth a varied and flavoursome array of ideas and sounds. We had the fortunate chance to talk to the band to find out more about Villa Rise, their EP, and reasons for moving thousands of miles?
Hi and welcome to The Ringmaster Review. Thank you for talking with us.
Firstly would you introduce the members of the band?
Yeah, we have Jarrod Martin on Vocals, Kyle Usher on Bass, Alex Wood on Drums, Ben Clink and Brendon Fameli of Guitar.
How did you all meet and what inspired you to start the band?
We all grew up in the same town, and knew each other from school or gigs. Basically we started the band out necessity really, we just knew we wanted to play music.
You recently moved to the UK, a bold and some would say brave move, what was the reasoning for this?
We basically just all came to a point in our lives where we wanted to experience new things and see the world. We were really lucky that all of us wanted to do this sort of thing at the same time, and so naturally the band continued and we were able to bring it with us.
Does the move reflect or say anything about the state of metal back in Australia for new bands?
Well, I guess you can interpret it that way and we’re sure a few people have, but the Australian music scene was really great to us and there are a lot of really talented bands and people doing great things. Being so isolated and so large are unique problems for Australian bands, but we wouldn’t say that that was the real motivation for moving, even if it did play a part.
What were your expectations or hopes before hitting our soil?
Nothing really, we expect a lot from ourselves and we have a pretty high standard of how we try to go about things, but whenever someone says they dig what we do, or whenever we get great opportunities like touring with Silent Screams or playing Ghostfest , it always comes as a bit of a surprise to us, we’re very grateful.
How do you think being here will help or inspire your music?
Well living together and having the freedom to write music at all hours has definitely made an impact, and being here has pretty much changed our lives, so naturally our perspectives on certain things have changed a little too. Hopefully for the best!
Do you fear losing your Australian fans by making the move?
No, we’ve had a tonne of support from back home since being here, we’re more focused on anyone appreciating what we are trying to do moving forward, whether they’re British, Australian, Chinese, whatever.
So far what has been the surprising positives being here and the negatives you were not expecting either musically or personally?
As we said before we never would have imagined we’d be playing such great shows so quickly, and we really have to thank Tom from Kings Agency for that. As far as negatives are concerned; sausages here are terrible, vegetables are expensive, and it’s hard to earn money to afford to buy any nice food at all.
You are just about to release your excellent debut EP Wastelands, so it must be an exciting but equally busy time for you guys right now?
Absolutely, we’re really looking forward to getting the EP out on this side of the world and seeing how it goes down. We’ve been working really hard to put our lives back together, and now that we’re about to really start playing some great shows it seems like it is about to pay off a little.
You are releasing it as a free download, what is the thinking behind that?
We just want people to hear it, as many people as possible. If 1 out of every 10 people who download it for free like it and come to a show, it will probably be more than if we were trying to sell an EP to an audience who have never heard of us. We don’t have much money to buy music these days, so bands that release music for free feature pretty heavily on our iPods.
Tell us about the concept/theme that runs through the release.
It is pretty loose based really, and it all comes down to the idea that there can be happiness in everyone’s life if they are able to see it and appreciate it. Obviously some people have problems with that and depression is a serious issue, and that’s not really something that we’re trying to comment on as such. But for the greater part we believe that happiness is a state of mind, and it can be within your control. Wastelands is pretty a story about a guy trying, and failing to come to terms with that.
For a first release it is quite an intensive project what inspired the idea and how much work went into planning how it would work?
We’d spent a really long time writing this, and the idea had developed over a long period of time. Concept records and bands like Defeater and Coheed & Cambria and blown us away, so some sort of concept wasn’t a conscious decision as such, it was just seemed appropriate at the time. We were writing those songs from a pretty frustrated place, and that’s where a lot of the abrasion in the sound comes from, but the idea itself isn’t meant to be a negative or angry thing at all. We also spent a long time producing this record at Def Wolf in Sydney and that gave us a bit of freedom to develop the sound.
You have written the songs to the theme or they were already existing songs which just naturally fitted the idea?
The songs and the theme pretty much grew together. We had a few instrumental tracks written before we really started working out the details of the lyrical content, but we had a pretty solid idea of where we were heading when writing it all.
The release and your music is a varied animal with many distinct flavours, what are the main influences that have inspired you?
Our main influences as a band are groups like Defeater, Comeback Kid, Alexisonfire and mewithoutYOU, but at the time of writing this record we were still interested in big sounds that band like Underoath do really well, and I think that comes across too.
Your bio labels you as a hardcore band but is that not too limiting a tag for your sound?
We don’t really try to get involved with genre tagging much, we’ve written 10 songs for an album later this year and they are very different songs to the ones on Wasteland. We write music that represents our state of mind at the time – and this varies, so Hardcore seems like an appropriately broad tag.
How does the songwriting work within the band?
We spend a lot of time writing music and doing a lot of preliminary demos so that we can go back and adjust things over time. The songs grow with us that way, and we think that it is the most honest way that we can write music, as opposed to trying to pick something in advanced that will unify any songs that we write for any particular release. We all get involved in writing as much as possible.
You have some big gigs coming up I believe?
Yeah, we’re about to head out on tour with Silent Screams & Our People Versus Yours for our first proper UK hit out, we’re so stoked for this. Then we have some other tours in the works, and of course Ghostfest at the beginning of July is something that we still can’t quite believe we’re lucky enough to be a part of.
What is next for Villa Rise?
We’re working on an Album for later this year, so hopefully all goes well and we can get it out and play some rad shows off of it.
Again many thanks for sparing time to talk with us.
Thanks for having us!
Would you like to say something to your new fans in the UK?
Thanks for showing us any support so far! We look forward to getting out there and having a rad time at a gig with you all.
And lastly we have to ask what are you missing most about Australia other than family and friends?
Sausages. Haha. Kyle and Jarrod miss tofu and watermelon, they don’t eat meat.
Read the Wastelands EP review @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/villa-rise-wastelands/
The Ringmaster Review 05/05/2012
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