Vuvuvultures’ volcanic mix of indie, electro, unforgettable vocals and art show has made them one of the most dramatic live bands around, and they’ve just released their debut album Push/Pull. They are always inventing stuff whether it’s themes for their The Island club nights, tunes, or a junk-art drum machine. Vuvuvultures are Harmony Boucher, Nicole Bettencourt Coelho, Paul Ressel and Matthew Christensen. They invited us to their studio to talk us through their sound and their amazing collection of kit. More pics of Vuvuvultures live here.

Energy Snake

Crackling unsounds

Vuvuvultures have been attracting plenty of attention with their fuzz-heavy, bleep-tastic, genre-mangling pop, which they themselves describe as ‘the sound of dirty bikers eating microchips’. We talked circuit-bending, blowing up instruments and the quest for the ultimate sound. They’re proud of messing with sound through pedals until it becomes ‘unsound’.

Much as they love to spend time in their studio torturing synths to find out what happens when you solder this bit to that bit and push the wrong button, playing live is equally important to them.

It’s just a massive performance, really, whenever we play. It’s our chance to get out of just doing admin for the band and actually get to play. Because it feels like 80% of being in a band is actually everything else besides getting to play.

Their love of performance means their videos are unforgettable too featuring everything from evil insects to eerie special effects. Their latest is for Steel Bones.

Vuvuvultures say that a live show should always be a real event.

Especially in London, like we’re playing the same city over and over, we don’t expect people to come and watch the same thing. If we want to go for a night out we want it to be like, a fully rounded night out and really fun, so we try and create that every time we play so people know, even if Vuvuvultures are playing and they think, we’re totally fucking sick of that band, it’s going to be a really fun night.

They run The Island, a themed club night in a variety of edgy London locations, complete with props and sets. As bassist Nicole says:

The whole thing about The Island, we don’t really know what it is, it’s just like a way to express our and all of our friends’ interests in a night, so we just build stuff, project things, create a theme and a little world that you can just escape in for a night, that’s kind of the vibe. Making something out of nothing because we have nothing but want to make something. It’s not just us, well as far as The Island, it’s a lot of our friends as well.

Vuvuvultures don’t mind admitting that their musical style is hard to pin down, as all of them are influenced by different musical genres. When it comes to songwriting, they tend to start with new sounds rather than a melody and lyrics. Paul says:

I think every new song we do always feels like it doesn’t fit with anything we’ve done before until we do something new and then it’s like, oh that all fits, but this doesn’t so I think it’s, oh, just a process. I mean the more we play the songs the more they sound like us but they always start from like weird sounds. It works though, because we have all these kind of really interesting sounds and ideas but the songs only really come alive on stage or when we’ve been rehearsing them for ages and we actually play them, and then go back and think oh we’re going to put that on an album or keep it or whatever, I think it’s a good process.

Having their own studio space helps with that. Nicole explains that, as well as having a lot of equipment, the band are ‘very needy people.’

Having that place we go to twice if not more a week to either rehearse or write it’s like, you can feel a bit homeless, creatively if you don’t have that space that you know is there. You just walk in and it’s like, all our stuff’s here, we can start experimenting with the sound we can start just chatting and getting ideas for a party, all these crazy things in the room, you know. Having a home for four ADD people is really important. I would say. We feel very fortunate, though, we were lucky to get this space.

As it’s their studio they can take things to bits and put them back together again to make something new. They created a drum machine called “Itchy” out of studio debris, and recorded the sound. Or unsound! It had got a bit bashed up but they showed us how it works, “Hi Hat” and all.