Face to face with Villiers

 

Villiers

Haunting and mesmerising sound from Villiers can hardly leave you indifferent. Influenced by the likes of Echo and the Bunnymen, Editors and Glasvegas to name the few, Villiers create the music to be remembered. Ben Earnshaw (vocals/guitar/synths) talks to Rock Britain about the band’s new single ‘Dancer’, the importance of music and books as inspiration.

– Your single ‘Dancer’ is out. Now when it’s been some time since its release, how would you estimate the reaction to the track?

– “The reaction to the single has been phenomenal. Because it’s our first ever release, we didn’t really know what to expect.  For it to get so much attention from major radio stations and influential blogs in such a short space of time is above and beyond what we first anticipated. Also releasing it with the help of a great label such as Jack to Phono records has given a huge opportunity to create a buzz, which we intend to follow up with our next release”.

– How does ‘Dancer’ reflect your present stage as the band? 

– “I think ‘Dancer’ reflects the dawn of a new era in essence. We’ve released three EP’s prior to this single, which have followed different routes, but with the new single it reflects how we have evolved and matured as a band. We have spent the last few years searching for our own identity through music and finally we have arrived. The decision to use of Synthesizers over guitars felt much more natural to us and has proved to be the best option.

– At the end of June you played a hometown show. With hometown shows being special, how was the gig at The Grand Venue for you? 

– “It was great and it always brings out the best in us. I think when you play your hometown you always want to do something special with your set and so for this we invited Nick Gizzi to play keys and guitars with us. It was great to hear the tracks, particularly new ones being played to their fullest. Often we have to leave some parts out when we play live versions so it was great to have every base covered.

– Books inspire a lot of bands. What role do books play in your creative process and songwriting? Have you got any especially inspirational books?

– “Literature has only recently become an influence on the way we write. I read J.G.Ballards ‘High rise’ and George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen eighty-four’ as part of some research for a film project I was working on. From reading these amazing stories, I started writing songs that told stories of dystopian places and characters and that naturally lead to the dark synth sound we now have.

– Villiers formed in 2011. Now, looking back at those times when you were just beginning to form, what was the most memorable and important moment of those early days for you? 

– “I think that the most important moment was getting our first ever airplay on BBC Introducing. It gave us that sudden realization that maybe we were good enough to give it a real go and we haven’t looked back since”.

– What would you like to learn as a musician?

– “I want to experience as much as I can. If there’s one thing I have learnt already it’s that the music industry is your friend one day and your enemy the next. I guess when the opportunities come around you have to seize them and make the most of them”.

– What album can you call your personal most favorite album of all times?

– “I always find it so difficult to pinpoint which one is my favorite but I think that ‘This light and on this evening’ by Editors is definitely up there. It’s very experimental with its concepts and has some amazing atmospheric tracks. It creates this image of Dystopia in your head, which is definitely something we want to emulate. I admire Tom Smith so much as a songwriter his songs are definitely one of the reasons I started writing.

– What are the ups and downs of being a musician in our time as you see them? 

– “I think that the uncertainty and unpredictability is definitely a massive issue in the current music industry scene. Bands need more than just great songs to make it anywhere. A lot has changed since the boom that alternative bands had in the early noughties but thankfully most of the bands that thrived in that era are stronger than ever. However, negativity aside I think being a musician in this day and age is definitely as exciting as ever. It is ever growing and always changing.

– Finish the phrase: Music for me is…

– “Music for me is life. It’s a part of our lives every single day from what we listen to on our Ipods to adverts on TV. You can’t escape it and that’s what makes it such an important part of life. It gives people a chance to express themselves and to say things that they can’t say face to face or In conversation.

– What’s the best thing about being in Villiers?

– “I think that best thing about being in Villiers is the relationship that we have not just as a band but also as friends and siblings. We’ve known Dan (Drums) for years and obviously Daniel and me are brothers so we have that sense of togetherness that some bands don’t. It’s not always plain sailing, we disagree and argue like most bands but it’s the passion and enthusiasm that fuels this, we want to succeed and take our music around the world and not look back in twenty years and think what if?”

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