Get yourself in a scuzzy groove with fuzzy garage pop band Virgin Kids.
With a stand-out name and a sound to match, raw-edged garage pop rockers Virgin Kids have got the whole DIY, IDGAF vibe down to a T. With influences including scuzzy/psych rock legend Ty Segall and Jay Retard, it’s not surprising that Virgin Kids (who have been mates since they were actual kids) have a sound that perfects a scrappy yet subversive garage punk vibe that is the stuff of indie rocker dreams. Despite jamming away in their bedrooms, they’re a world away from teenager amateur indie pop, and are instead pumping out gritty, fast-paced scuzz sounds that are more American West Coast than they are West London.
Virgin Kids debut LP “Greasewheel” (picked up by legendary Californian record label Burger Records – a sure sign that they’re on the right path for fuzzy pop rocker greatness) is full of hazy guitar riffs and lo-fi vocals, pulling heavily from that addictive West Coast soft rock, mixing in with their jangling basslines and rolling drum beats – think FIDLAR if they had grown up in London. Full of soaring highs and speeding guitars, Virgin Kids are a little more than experienced on the scuzzy garage pop front; it won’t be long before they’ll be leading the charge.
How would you describe your sound for us in 4 words?
Playful fuzzy garage pop
The name Virgin Kids definitely stands out. Where’d it come from?
The name originally came from a series of comic strips that I created, which were based around a group of adolescent boys finding themselves in awkward predicaments. About the same time I was writing some music on my own and thought the name would work as most of my lyrics were based around the same theme.
You get compared to The Black Lips a lot. What artists do you think have influenced your sound the most?
When we started out as a full band we were listening to a lot of garage bands from the west coast like Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees and Jay Retard. Collectively one of our favourite bands is The Clean, an amazing band from the 80’s based in New Zealand, their song writing is so simple but effective. The Kinks are also a major influence on us.
You guys grew up together. What role do you think that’s played in the way you create music together?
I think its played a big role, Paul and I have been playing and writing music together for nearly 10 years now, although our tastes have changed so much since we first met, we’ve grown and evolved together. There’s definitely a creative understanding of how we each work and a chemistry that only comes from playing with someone for a long time. I think it comes across in our live shows; we always just try to have fun when we play and I think the band close relationship is obvious to anyone who sees us play live.
“The worst thing anyone could ever describe us as is a “lad band”, so as long as you don’t take that away from our music, it’ll all be good.”
Talk us through creative process for your album Greasewheel. How do you collaborate? What are some highlights from recording?
Our songs usually start from a small idea, normally just a little verse and chorus, something simple and then we all work together on filling it out and developing that idea into a song. Greasewheel was a funny one, we originally planned to just record a 4 track E.P. yet after two days we came out with a full album. Our two friends Rick James and Tony Price recorded and produced it in the basement of a pub in Stoke Newington. Because we weren’t in a studio we got to spend more time on the post-production side of things finishing a lot of it in our bedroom, it was a really relaxed process, which made it easy and enjoyable as we weren’t staring at a clock thinking “shit we only have two hours left to finish this!” We just wanted to recreate the energy we have when we play live and I think the mix of recording in a basement and in our bedrooms with two mates made this possible!
What are the best things about getting up in front of a crowd? Your live performances sound pretty intense.
Playing live is definitely our favourite part of being in a band, its just so good to be able to play your music and see an audiences reaction to your songs, our music is meant to be danced too. We try to give everything to our performance and make it as high energy as possible. There are a lot of bands who go for the straight faced all in black moody show and although we respect that, we’re pretty much as far from that as we can be, we always have a smile on our face, we love a good crowd surf and cant say no to a stage invasion!
The music video for “Be Your Friend” is pretty funky – can you talk about where the ideas came from?
All credit for that video must go to Colin Greenall who directed it. The only input we gave was that we wanted something fun and we had no money! Considering that was his only brief we think he did an excellent job. The set he made was just incredible, the attention to detail he put into it like the cute little drum kit and the posters on the wall were awesome. It’s so inspiring to see someone put that much time and effort into a personal project.
It feels like youth culture is really at the center of your music. Can you talk about what your experience has been making your way in the industry as a young band?
When we started out we’d play as many shows as we could, at one point we were averaging about 3 London shows a week maybe even more. This was great for us as it meant we were able to really nail down our live set but most importantly we got to meet so many new people and other young artists. We’re all quite social people, we love a chat over a pint in a pub with a stranger and I think just being nice and friendly to people we’d meet at shows certainly helped us. London is full of so many rad kids doing inspiring things, all of our friends have a similar mind-set to us and are creative in a variety of different ways. Youth culture for us means being brave, doing something creative and putting yourself out there.
What kind of messages do you hope people can take away from your music?
That our music is inclusive; it should be fun and enjoyable for all, rejoicing in the weird and wonderful parts of life. It’s music made by outsiders. The worst thing anyone could ever describe us as is a “lad band”, so as long as you don’t take that away from our music, it’ll all be good.
You’ve got a London date coming up. What are some things on the horizon that you guys are psyched about?
Obviously we’re psyched to play our biggest headline show to date on the 17th November. We will have another new video out very soon for our song ‘Bruised Knees” and then we start working on this backlog of new material we have. We want to release a series of new singles next year before heading into the studio to cut a new record. Oh, and obviously we are very excited about the new Star Wars film coming out in a couple weeks!