On first listen, Vulgarians might sound like a band that your boyfriend is into, and the only time you hear them is when he has shotgun'd the AUX. Alas. But the more you hear, the more the melancholic, raw instrumentals slither their way into your subconscious, and you get past the fact they sound like the music at the end of 28 Days Later. Meet Ryan, Luke, Jodie, and Connor - four kids from Kingston upon Hull – the self-professed City of Culture. Or as Connor says, “the City of the patty butty” - whatever that might be.
So how did Vulgarians come into being? “We all kind of kept bumping into each other on the local scene, in different bands; and we all fancied starting a side project as we all wanted to head in a similar direction musically. That side project became the main project.. and here we are.” And with over 10,000 listens on their four tracks available on Spotify alone, the choice to focus their collective energy on a sound that boasts both maturity and depth seems like a worthwhile decision.
This hasn’t gone unnoticed, with the band currently touring with fellow post-punk rock band The Wytches. “We've known the Wytches guys for a couple of years now. They took us out on our first ever tour in late 2015 having only just really started,” explains bassist Jodie. “It's a privilege because the shows are always awesome, plus the guys are so nice/completely hilarious - they're so much fun to tour with. I think it's more fun touring as a ‘party’ as well” adds drummer Connor. “A family party!” interjects lead vocalist Ryan. “Covered in a bad buffet and a stench of pure excitement.. those Yaxley soldiers are my heroes”.
But which of these do the foursome prefer when it comes to touring? “Touring on your own is obviously still great, but, I think [with other bands] it's a case of 'the more the merrier'. There's nothing better than teaming up with like-minded folks and touring the country or whatever together. There's a real sense of camaraderie I guess” adds guitarist Luke.
It’s warming to see such an appreciation for fellow music makers from a band whose sound is both so indistinguishable from - yet separate to - a band like Wytches. The Vulgarian’s hold on musical maturity is something which will inevitably set them apart from others within the post-punk genre – they understand what their music stems from. “We love krautrock bands like Neu! and Can. Early post-punk like The Birthday Party, Bauhaus, and Sonic Youth” offers Ryan, who doubles up as lyricist. “I project nothing but misery and dampen the happy-go-lucky theme tunes we continuously beat out [into the lyrics].”
With poets such as the late and great Leonard Cohen and Elliot Smith amongst their inspirations - it’s easy to perceive why that might be. “The themes addressed in our tracks are often experiences we’ve stumbled across on a day to day basis. Conversations I’ve occurred with psychotic taxi drivers, or the mundanity of working 9-5 etc. I never attempt to try and directly approach the lyrics with this in mind, it’s just something I feel that’s relatable, and just generally quite amusing.”
And finally, the inevitable question. What’s in store for Vulgarians in 2017? “This year will see the release of our second EP 'Almost-Instinct, Almost True' (out on May 5th). Then we set out on our first UK headline tour in support of that,” explains Luke. “After that we'll hopefully be playing a few cool festivals, and then towards the end of summer we're going to be recording our debut album, with Matthew Johnson of Suburban Home, which is a massive deal for us. Then just more touring to see the year out I guess.”
Where: Kingston-upon-Hull AKA The City Of Culture
What: Brilliantly loud riffs and boastful drums combined with clever, relatable lyrics making light of the mundane.
Get Three Songs: Just listen to their 'Life's Successful Death' EP
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Words: Laura Copley