Greasewheel out March 11th 2016 via Burger Records (US) Fluffer Records (UK).
London based garage punk trio Virgin Kids are all set to release their debut album this month. Which means they will have made one step towards their goal of winning the 2040 BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography (according to their Facebook page). In anticipation of the release Overblown’s Gabriel Ebulue had a chat with the band about what their interests are other than making a damn fine sausage casserole, cross knitting, and equestrian sports (once again, Facebook).
Virgin Kids was originally Asher’s bedroom project. What made you take the leap from a solo hobby to a full-fledged band?
I started Virgin Kids with the intention of keeping it as a solo project as I was playing drums in another band H.Grimace at the time. I wanted to have a project of my own and thought I’d be able to play with drum machines and loop pedals. As I continued to write I soon realized I needed a real drummer and bassist to work with as there was no way of capturing the energy I wanted with machines.
You are likened to everyone from The Black Lips to Jesus & Mary Chain; I can even hear a little Ty Segall in there somewhere, but what would you say is the biggest influence on your band?
Yeah those are definitely some bands that have influenced us over the years, we all listen to a pretty varied selection of music from pop, hip hop, RnB to punk and hardcore. One band that we really got into whilst recording this album was The Clean. Their production and the simplicity of their song writing is soooo good!
Since the early 2000’s there has been a strong garage rock revival in the U.S and bands such as Thee Oh Sees, Davilla 666 and King Khan & The BBQ Show have carved out a scene that is still strong today. Do you think there is a similar scene in the U.K? If so, do you consider yourself a part of it?
Maybe not to the same extent as in the U.S. but I think that garage music and that kind of rock revival is certainly present here. Those bands are amazing and I think they have had a huge influence on the music that is coming from U.K bands now. London bands like Abjects and Thee MVPs come under that bracket and they’re good friends of ours so in that sense I think we’re part of a scene.
Your debut E.P was raw, fun, fuzzed out and loud, what can we expect from your debut album?
Our debut EP is certainly a grungier version of what we are now. There was about a year between the two recordings and during that time we focused more on our song writing skills along with playing live which made us focus on hooks and melodies more. You should expect more upbeat songs on Greasewheel!
Burger Records are one of the most important record labels and front-runners in the garage scene, what was it like when you found out that they would release your debut album?
We got a text during band practice that burger wanted to release the album, we all dropped our instruments and hugged each other, we were very happy to say the least, they’re one of our favourite labels!
Songs like ‘Cracks In A Colour’ have a very resolute sound, especially the guitars and the vocals. Was it a sound that came about naturally or was it something that you worked on and aspired to create?
In terms of vocal and guitar sound it was something that took quite a bit of work and refining to get. I had in my mind what I wanted to achieve, I toured the States for a month with my old band H.grimace and was just blown away by the sound that the bands were coming out with and wanted to create something similar myself. It took a lot of experimenting with different effects and pedals and even guitars till we got close to how we wanted to sound.
You have the energetic sound of rock and roll rooted in the U.S, but you also blend in flashes of psychedelia that sound very British. As far as countries go, what would you say has had the biggest impact on the way you play?
Probably would have to say the U.S, not to belittle the British music scene but in terms of what we are trying to create I’d say its more leaning towards American roots, but with a British twist. Lets face it Americans were originally influenced by the British Rock n Roll scene they just one upped us and now were trying to beat that!
You have been on the road for quite some time opening for garage favourites such as the Jacuzzi Boys. What was it like playing to audiences that were not familiar to you?
Ah it was amazing! It’s always great to get the opportunity to play in front of a larger crowd. We all really enjoy playing to a crowd who know nothing about us; it gives us the opportunity to surprise them. Discovering a band by seeing them live is the most organic way to finding new music, something people should do a lot more of!
What do you enjoy most about being on the road and performing and what could you do without while on the road?
Probably the best bit is getting to experience being a musician full time, as we all have day jobs and lives outside the band. When we are on the road we are able to just focus on music and whatever show we are playing that night rather then what we’re gonna cook for dinner or what time we will finish work! In terms of the drawbacks, only one of us drives, which sucks. We need to find us a driver!
Your debut album, Greasewheel is out now, and already getting a good response, is there already a second album in the works? And what does the future hold for Virgin Kids?
Yeah we’re writing a lot at the moment we’ve already got about 8 new songs in the pipeline for the next album, we’d like to try get 12 or 13 down and then the plan is to record in the summer. We’d like to be a band that puts out a constant stream of material.
Follow Virgin Kids on Facebook.