Locked away in their subterranean rehearsal space in Liverpool for more than a year, The Vryll Society have been creating a complex body of work, to stimulate both the soul and mind. The Vryll Society have recently released their debut single ‘Deep Blue Skies’ on visionary label Deltasonic. They were discovered by label owner the late Alan Wells, and what a discovery this band are. I recently had a chat with Mike Ellis from the band.
Hi Mike how’s it going?
Hi I was just finishing off a song we are going to record next week for the EP, there is an extra verse needed, just to get the balance right. The problem is, It’s quite an old song and I’m tying to get my head back in the zone, when I first wrote the lyrics for it. I’m trying to get my head into how I was feeling a year ago, but I think it’s coming along ok to be fair.
What is the song called?
The song is called ‘Cosh’ as in a ‘weapon’, I didn’t come up with the title it was our bass player, it’s actually got nothing to do with the song (laughs) he kind of shouted it out, but it sounds quite subversive so I thought, I’ll let him have that one, he doesn’t get many song titles.
How did the Vryll Society get together?
We were working in a separate project, me, Ryan, Lloyd and Ben, the project reached the end of its course, We decided the music was moving in a different direction. We knew Louie anyway from going out and partying and being around other bands, we knew he would say yes to joining. He brings a lot to the table with ideas and stuff, so he is a good addition. We stayed in the rehearsal room for the last 18 months crafting our sound. It’s really starting to come together, it’s moving in the right direction, definitely.
How did Alan Wills discover the band?
He discovered us when we were working on the project we were doing before The Vryll Society. We worked with him for a few years and he got us to the stage we are at now, although he can’t get to see it unfortunately (Alan Wills was killed in a cycling accident at the age of 52). The end product is his reward for sticking with us, he really put the work in with us. At first we were a really young band around 15, musician wise we weren’t the best but we had lots of fire and lots of spirit. It was all about getting the musicianship up to scratch which we have managed to do now.
Where did you get the name the Vryll Society from and what does it mean?
Its originally a book called ‘The Coming Race’, it was written in the early part of the last century, there is a group of people who live underground called ‘The Vryll Society’, so we kind of grabbed it from that, but it’s kind of got Nazi connotations, but we don’t mind that cos we’re not Nazis. There is also a night in Liverpool called ‘The Vryll Society’, every time we would go there on a night out I’d be like “That’s a great name I’d love to be called that“.
When the opportunity arose to pick a name, someone mentioned it, and I was like “ Yeah definitely! that’s it, that’s the one”. I’m looking forward to the German tour and the Israeli tour, it’s going to be interesting. As long as we don’t start goose stepping on stage I think we’ll be alright.
You are on Deltasonic started by Alan Wills, it’s a pretty cool label to be on with bands like The Coral as label mates.
We were kids when that was all happening, it wasn’t until we started meeting James Skelly, we were like wow! I was watching them on Top of the Pops when I was 13, it’s quite strange really. We think now, that we are equal if not better than them, if I’m going to be honest (laughs) if your not willing to be better than them then what’s the point?
What other bands influence your sound?
We have got a lot of different influences whether it be the music, the visuals, or the lyrics, but if we are just talking music, there’s lot of different bands like Funkadelic, Stereolab, DJ Shadow, Can, Neu, Pink Floyd, Aphrodites Child, lots of different stuff. The cool stuff really! The more expansive the better we don’t write simple, stuff cos it’s boring.
Your influences certainly reflect in your music ‘Deep Blue Sky’ is a fantastic track, it takes the listener on a journey, there is lots of twist and turns in the music.
We didn’t want to make things standard. It’s just boring, you are insulting your listener.
We don’t have the “That’ll do” attitude we work on a track for like 12 months until it’s right and it’s going to hit the right spot in the human psyche. You are insulting people if you’re not willing to put the effort in, it’s going to sound really boring and I don’t see the point.
What way does the band approach song writing ?
We jam or I will come in with an idea or anyone of us, then it gets put in a mixer and whatever comes out, comes out. We don’t struggle for ideas, we’ve gone for quality over quantity, we could write hundreds of songs, but there’s no point if none of them are any good, there’s not one of our songs that I wouldn’t want to use as an album track or a single. They are all of the highest quality, that’s what we are looking for, and it’s going to show when the EP comes out. There is 4 tracks and you will see, the quality of them is really high. If it’s not the best then it’s not good enough, that’s been the ethos.
When will the EP be released?
We are spending 6 days in Parr Street recording and you will be able to hear the lead track off it in the first week of September, then we’ve got a UK tour in October, which is top to bottom, unfortunately I don’t think we are going to Ireland but I’m sure we will get there at some point. I’m sure when the fan base gets bigger we will get there. Louie in our bands second name is McGuinness so I’m sure he will fit in perfectly.
There is a lot of stuff happening for the band with the new EP and upcoming tour how does it feel to be a young band in today’s music industry?
I reckon If your not very good you will find it hard because the stakes have been raised, you just have to be brilliant, which I don’t find a problem. If it means that the stakes have to be raised higher then that’s a good thing and the music will be better, but it also means that some bands who have come out like Temples, Toy and Wolf Alice, they are pretty big at the moment, but if they had come out ten years ago, they would have been absolutely huge! There’s loads of great bands everywhere. We don’t find it a problem, I don’t moan about it, it’s not an issue.
Liverpool has always produced great bands.
Yeah buts it’s strange because we don’t take any of our influences from Liverpool one bit. Echo & the Bunnymen are probably my favourite Liverpool band, just because they don’t sound like a Liverpool band at all. I like the la’s and I like The Coral but I’m not overly fanatical on that Liverpool sound. We love the Beatles all the way through, particularly the later stuff where it got a bit more expansive, The White Album, Revolver and stuff. It’s a good place to be, I’d rather be here than Leicester, no disrespect to Leicester.
What music is the band listening to at the moment?
I’m listening to a lot of the French band, Air, they’ve got a lot of good albums, I’m working my way through those at the moment. Ryan is listening to Tame Impalas new album obsessively. Ben is listening to the craziest 70s prog stuff he can find, the rarer the better. He got one today and put it on and it was dreadful! We are into loads of different stuff, we absolutely love our music. I love my music my books and my films the whole package really. Because we are working class most people think we are all kebabs and lager but it’s not the case we want to push our music as far as possible.
Catch The Vryll Society live, dates BELOW:
Fav Band(s): U2, R.E.M, The Stone Roses, Oasis, The Verve, The Charlatans, Happy Mondays, Mansun + loads more
Fav Album: Achtung Baby - U2
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