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Saturday, 15 October 2016

Band Spotlight: Vrona (Interview)



"Expect something in there from almost any genre you can think of laid over a constant theme.."








Vrona from Brighton, East Sussex, UK are a diverse textured progressive instrumental act to keep an eye on, after seeing them myself live at this year's Mammothfest in their hometown I caught up with guitarist, Jack Baker to ask about how the festival was for them, how they came to be and much more! 



Firstly you have an interesting band name, can you tell us how this came about and what it means?

Sure! It essentially came around by the idea of not wanting to be limited by our name, if a band called Daisy and the Chitty Chums put out a pornogrind album itd just be weird, same story with a band called Guttural Decimation throwing out a jazz-funk album, so in that sense having a fairly open ended name like Vrona appealed, especially with the groggy weird nature of what we do where we could put pretty much anything in the middle of a song and it wouldnt be a huge surprise. Leading on from that though, Vrona is a loose translation of a kind of bird from Polish, I think it might be a crow with the basic idea being that a bird can look down and see something new every time it passes over a city because of its view, theres always something changing. Thats basically the aim of our sort of stuff, to have such massive textures with layers spanning for miles that you can listen a hundred times and still notice something thats fresh and exciting.

You formed as a band only last year, how did you all come together to create Vrona?

We all met at random intervals at university, I was in a lesson with Connor, I met Mat before we even started uni at some party, and me and Dan met through playing a Placebo tune for an exam at some point it ended up with me needing ears on a song I was writing, getting Connor over, then about a week later Mat asked me if I wanted to jam. Connor got dragged in to that and Dan got a phone call at 2am from me and Mat because well, he was the best drummer we knew that could do the stuff we were thinking of!

How would you best describe your music to those who are not familiar?

Proggy, ambient, rhythmical weirdness that gets brutally heavy because we love it. Also expect something in there from almost any genre you can think of laid over a constant theme because well, theres a lot we listen to and love!

Your debut EP, "A Lapse in Time" was well received, what was the recording and writing process like for this?

Stressful and time consuming! The writing was fairly natural really, two of the five tracks were old ideas from Jacks laptop that we all tweaked and made a bit more us, and the others were written in a room jamming away. It all came together naturally in the end but the initial month or two of trying to write this kind of music together, where were still feeling out each others strengths and weaknesses as musicians/establishing a musical dynamic was stressful and straight up demoralising at times, but ridiculously rewarding in the end. Recording was all a blur, tunnel visioned and the single most time and energy consuming thing I think any of us, especially me and Connor, have ever done, but the end product is something were stupidly proud of!

What is the most challenging thing about creating new material?

Just the nature of what we do means that writing anything takes absolutely forever, and we get so bored so easily that well spend an entire day messing around with an idea in as many ways as we can, throwing different rhythm phrasing at it, different beats, different layers on top writing something under 7 minutes is a struggle in this band!

So you have been busy touring and playing festivals this year, including Bloodstock festival UK on the Jager stage in the summer, how did this feel to play such an established popular festival, and what was the reaction like to your set?

Bloodstock was a complete head trip. After every gig we sit there and rip in to each other for a good 20 minutes about what went well and what went wrong so we can improve but after that we just sort of sat there in a stunned silence which should let you know what the reaction was like! I start the set with my head down so flicking it up and seeing a rammed tent was a shock and a half. If theres any footage youd probably be able to see me do a little jump! The entire day leading up to our set though was basically me and Mat sat around breathing heavily, somewhere between the most excited weve ever been and wondering if we need to run to a grotty festival toilet.

Speaking of festivals, most recently earlier this month (October) you played a sold out show at Mammothfest in Brighton UK on the Rikstock stage for emerging artists, how was this for you, especially knowing it had sold out?

Mammothfest was another highlight of the year, the amount of work everyone on the team puts in is absolutely unbelievable for no reward at all other than gratification, and knowing it had sold out thanks to their efforts is great, especially with the kick its given Brightons metal scene. The crowd were awesome too, tonnes of energy in the room for 2:15 in the afternoon!

Vrona performing on Rikstock stage at Mammothfest Brighton 2016 - Photo Credit to Luke Bateman

How was the overall festival for you and who else did you enjoy seeing on the line-up?

The festival as a whole was incredible, and personal highlights for me at least, were Venom Inc, Hell Puppets, King Leviathan and Conjurer. The latter three are in my honest belief, the best bands on the UK underground circuit at the moment, every time seeing them is like some sort of religious experience! Special mention HAS to go to Eastern Front though honestly, how people so lovely and happy can put out such a venom filled stage show is beyond me, Im 99% sure my brain is still splattered somewhere over the back of the Green Door Store. Fucking incredible.

As a band that hail from Brighton, how crucial do you think Mammothfest is to the local and South coast music scene?

Crucially crucial! Its given the scene such a massive kick, and year on year its growing at a rate that means soon underground bands such as ourselves could be on a bill with some of the biggest bands in the world, nobody does as much for the metal underground as people like Steve from Mammothfest and Simon Hall from Bloodstock, but Bloodstock is all the way up in Derby, having something that the Southern bands can get to easily is amazing!

Following on from this, how important do you think it is for smaller bands to have the opportunity to play at festivals amongst well known heavyweight bands?

Id say its important in the sense that it puts you in front of a large crowd and on a bill with bands that could well love you and plug you on their own pages, case in point being Tony Dolan from Venom Inc. He absolutely adores Hell Puppets and is forever telling people about them! Its not the most important thing in the world, you can still get your music and brand out to people with hard work anyway, but its definitely something to aim for, and a massive opportunity when it does happen.

You are currently an instrumental act but I hear you are thinking of possibly getting a vocalist, is that correct?

"To a degree, we're not looking for one by any means however it's been something we've never ruled out if someone was interested and fitted the music, sure why not!"

Are you currently working on any new songs?

Yeah, but its a long, slow and sometimes very painful process. The cathartic release is second to none though, weve got no idea when itll get released, but it wont be until were 100% satisfied!

What else is in store for Vrona this year and the near future?

Writing for the rest of 2016 with a show in December so we dont forget how to play the material from A Lapse In Time! As for 2017, plans are starting to be put in place, nothing we can say yet but its just a bit bloody exciting.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thanks for the interview, sorry for waffling on, thanks to Mammothfest for having us and all their hard work in making it a sellout, and dont eat yellow snow!




Be sure to check out their music and keep updated on any news:

https://www.facebook.com/VronaOfficial/



Photo credit - Luke Bateman: www.lukebatemanphoto.com



2 comments:

  1. maybe i want to eat yellow snow though you aint the boss of me.

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  2. I had the pleasure of seeing Vrona play in Manchester, and talking to them afterwards (the bassist mostly).
    Great musicians and genuine people!
    I also rate 'A Lapse In Time' as quite promising for a debut album.
    Granted that Prog Metal has been done to death in the local scene, Vrona bring something fresh.

    ReplyDelete