Viva City – Interview + Exclusive Free Track Download

Posted: June 2, 2011 in Viva City

“The best band I’ve seen all year” – Kissy Sellout (BBC Radio 1)

Buzzbands has been busy hunting down the best emerging music. We’ve been looking for bands and artists who we think have what it takes to break through to a massive audience. The good news is that there is plenty of good music from unsigned and emerging bands and artists out there. The great news is that there are some bands that stand head and shoulders above the rest. Plenty of bands have great songs, a great live show, a great singer or great musicians but there are only a few that have the full package. Buzzbands plan to feature only those bands who have the lot and then some.

We believe one such band is Viva City. The first thing that impresses is that their music stands out from the crowd. Their style draws together influences from eighties synth bands and blends this with sounds which would not be out of place in the latest underground dance hits from Deadmau5, Skrillex etc. This is all given a massive commercial twist by building the music around a classic pop melody. Oh and did I mention that these guys ROCK!

Viva City recently played Newcastle’s Evolution Festival. They walked on to the main stage like they owned it. They had the rock n roll swagger of a band already accustomed to headlining large festival stages.
There’s not many bands I know could go on stage at 12:30 lunchtime in broad daylight and have an audience surge to the front just by walking on stage. They topped that by getting a moshpit going within a few songs. In fact, the band had such an effect that the moshing continued for a good while even after they had left the stage.

Viva City have just released their first album and are about to undertake their first headlining mini tour across the UK.

Buzzbands spoke to Ali, Bruce and Trev to get the story.
Buzzbands:You recently played an awesome show on the main stage at Evolution Festival, were you guys feeling it too?
Bruce: Oh yeah we were feeling it! We knew it was an early slot, but equally an opportunity to leave an impression on fresh ears. We love playing in our home town, and the moshpit speaks for itself.
Trev: It’s always hard to open the main stage at a festival but we play every show like we’re headliners and I think the crowd vibes off that. We opened Rockness last year and went down a storm – really got the vibe going.

Buzzbands: Going back to the start can you talk about how you first got together and tell us a bit about your progress through to today?
Bruce: We met on the local music scene in Newcastle. I was interested in music production and getting involved in electronic music so I got talking to Trev and Ali about producing some tracks together. There was no long term plan really.
Trev: So we started working together to see what would come from our different musical tastes and got really excited with the outcome. We decided to take it to the next level which was live. Our progress has been steady, but it’s not been easy. Shows in LA and New York don’t just happen overnight – it’s through commitment, hard work and determination.
Ali: Our first break was in Holland – we collaborated on a track with Don Diablo, a big Dutch producer who got our music onto MTV Europe.

Buzzbands: Your music is very different to pretty much all the other emerging bands around at the moment. How did you develop your sound?
Bruce: Our sound is a natural development. We love synthesisers and big beats, but we also love indie rock. We mashed the two together without any rules or boundaries. Different is good, right?

Buzzbands: Listening to your music there’s obviously a lot of elements in there. Who or what would you say are your influences?
Trev: Apart from the obvious dance elements like Prodigy, Justice and Chemical Brothers, we love the 80’s electro sound of Depeche Mode and Gary Numan. A lot of it derives from messing around in the studio and listening to what’s hot in the clubs. So yeah, work for us involves going clubbing a lot!

Buzzbands: On the production side, the album is very well developed sonically can you talk us through the production process and the recording setup?
Ali: The production process starts in the studio. We don’t rehearse together and get a song brewing as most bands would do, we generally tend to jump on a vibe in the studio and run with it. The studio is practically littered with half cut ideas and I’m sure at some point when we stagnate we’ll return to the bin full of sketches, but for now we’re little engines. The inspiration comes from any place, there’s no formula to it and that’s probably why we ended up sounding as eclectic as we do in terms of genres.

Buzzbands: Do you have any favourite pieces of kit which you think are essential to your sound?
Ali: Gear wise, after all the hardware has died, I’ll still be ranting on about how good Spectrasonics Omnisphere is, if you can’t find a solid sound in there you need new ears. It’s so cinematic and dark. I can’t imagine a person sat in front of a CSI score not reaching for that synth, it’s got to be a prerequisite for the job. I think though, as electro producers, having plenty of guitars is the most important bit of kit, without that we’d sound like a million other producers.

Buzzbands: Who from a production point of view do you rate and/or would like to work with?
Ali: So many out there now. Hmmmm. I rate Liam Howlett, he’s getting on a bit now but his mixes still sound cutting and hard. I’d probably most like to work with a producer who’s nailed the ‘band’ thing though. Someone like Butch Vig (Nirvana / Pumpkins) as I’d love to bring more live instrumentation into the VC sound, but in a big, big way…. like Mr Vig.

Buzzbands: Not only do you have a very strong sense of identity musically, you also have a very strong sense of identity visually both on stage and in your music videos. What would you say are the reference points for your image. Are there bands you identify with in terms of their image or approach even if you don’t necessarily take your cues from them musically?
Trev: We all have a very strong sense of image coming from a wide spectrum of influences.
Bruce: Yeah, people like the Ramones, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Strokes, The Cooper Temple Clause bring out the rockier side of our image – leather jackets, skinny jeans.
Trev: We have signature looks that we’ve had since before the band formed. Bowie and Bolan have always been a strong influence on me. It’s all about glitter for me, but Bruce has the quintessential indie look whilst Ali tends to look like a vampire mod.

Buzzbands: You’ve played a few dates in America recently. What sort of a response did you get out there and how did it feel to be playing legendary venues like the Viper Room?
Bruce: The Viper Room was awesome – a truly special venue to be part of. We’ve played there three times now, so it’s kind of our favourite hang out in LA. The American audience are extremely warm to the band. They love the music – there isn’t many electronic acts out there so we stand out even more than we do in the UK! We were DJing in Hollywood a few weeks back, which was a perfect opportunity to spin our own tunes along with the newest UK sounds. They loved it!
Trev: Until you leave this tiny island you forget how influential British talent is to the rest of the world. When it comes to electronic music we are at the forefront. Dubstep is starting to brew in California and they cannot get enough of it!

Buzzbands: Where can people catch you live next?
Bruce: The UK tour has just been announced. We’re really excited to be travelling round the UK again – it’s been a while. We have the album out and some even newer songs too to share with the nation – it’s going to be wild. We’ve also got some summer festivals lined up.
July 14 Riverside Newcastle
15 Cape Stirling
16 Capitol Glasgow
17 Maggie’s Chambers Edinburgh @MaggiesChamber
19 Fibbers York @YorkFibbers

Buzzbands: What can fans expect to see and hear at your forthcoming live shows across country?
Trev: We’re best listened to on full blast, so they can expect to be shaking when they leave the venue – it will be loud!
Bruce: We will blow your ears off and you’ll wake up without shoes. That’s the VC way.


Buzzbands: Can you take us through the inspiration behind the album track by track?
Ali: Each in one word, I think it covers everything we’re all about; Betrayal, Paranoia, Overwhelm, Passion, Peace, War, Fire, Hate, Confidence, Sin, Greed, Midnight, Dancing…. pretty much a night out with us on tequila.

Crisis – Betrayal

Phobia – Paranoia
Flood – Overwhelm

Mynxx – Passion
Brother – Peace

Western Front – War

Heat it Up – Fire
Hex – Hate
Showdown – Confidence

Mad Love – Sin
Remove Money Maker – Greed
Switch – Midnight
Hot Wax – Dancing

With the advent of cheap home recording and the ability to get your music out to an audience on the internet on Soundcloud or other platforms, there’s a lot of bands making great music. What new music are you picking up on that you feel deserves a wider audience?

After seeing them at Liverpool Sound City, I feel The Chapman Family deserve more attention. They have a similar determined work ethic to us – they give it their all and blow people away.
Bruce: We played a NorthEast/Yorkshire showcase at SXSW with Pulled Apart By Horses in Texas – they were incredible – definitely worth a listen. The guitarist had to go to hospital after the performance after falling off the bar – anyone who goes through pain for their art deserves a mention. Van Gogh springs to mind….

Buzzbands: Viva City look to me like a band with a mission. Do you feel you’re on a mission, if so what is it and where do you want it to take you?
Trev: I’d say we do have a mission. We’ve put a lot of hard work into what we do to try and make the best product we can, not just in music but in our look and the design of artwork. Our mission is to keep on pushing ourselves to the limits – we’ll never be satisfied and always look forward.

Thanks guys. For updates follow Viva City’s Twitter feed @vivacityuk and check the website at: Phobia by Viva City is available now from iTunes for £7.99.

You can download an exclusive remix of Brother from the album Phobia below for free:

Western Front – Viva City from Viva City on Vimeo.


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