As far as introductions go, you can’t get more explosive than hotly-tipped Glasgow five-piece VLURE’s anthemic debut single Shattered Faith.
It’s a 3-minute-plus amalgamation of the quintet’s wide-ranging influences, culminating in a true statement of intent as they hurtle through visceral beats, euphoric, soaring synths and a powerhouse vocal performance from frontman Hamish Hutcheson.
The pandemic-enforced lockdown enabled VLURE to focus on their sound away from their revered, intense live shows. There was one burning question running through their writing process: How can they make it bigger and hit harder?
"Beforehand we were focused on a certain sound and now we’re going into the writing process with a much more open mind", Hamish told Daily Star.
"We’re going in and creating however we feel and whatever comes out of it, comes out of it. We’ve been able to explore a lot of different processes."
On choosing Shattered Faith as their debut single, guitarist Conor Goldie said: “The one thing we were aligned on was that we wanted it to be a statement. You can feel the emotion through it.”
Shattered Faith’s accompanying video is equally huge. Filmed on location at Oxford House and Pollock House in Glasgow, its atmospheric black and white cinematography perfectly fits the track’s imposing aesthetic.
It comes off the back of their equally large audio/visual introduction in 2020 with Desire, a track that firmly set the buzz in motion, leading to sold out shows at the legendary Brixton venue The Windmill.
Signed to London-based label Permanent Creeps, VLURE masterfully capture the essence of the club scene and post-punk as they seek to push boundaries further with every release. Simply put, they are one of the UK’s most thrilling new acts.
Daily Star’s Rory McKeown caught up with Hamish and Conor to talk about VLURE’s origins, Shattered Faith, their influences, the Glasgow music scene, selling out The Windmill, and getting back out on stage.
Hi guys. How can you sum up the past 12 months? Have there been challenges? Has it been fruitful?
Hamish: “For us as a band it's been pretty fruitful. We’ve had a chance to really delve into our sound.
"Beforehand we were focused on a certain sound and now we’re going into the writing process with a much more open mind.
"We’re going in and creating however we feel and whatever comes out of it, comes out of it. We’ve been able to explore a lot of different processes.
“The first lockdown was a really good time to recoup. Get some proper well needed rest before being ready to head to back to work.”
Conor: “Without saying it’s a positive because for society in general it’s been pretty detrimental for everyone, but for us on a professional level it gave us a lot of space to fill up the tank. We jumped in head first with a load of gigs so this has given us a nice bit of time to hone in on our craft and explore the art we’re trying to make.
"Our performances are pretty intense and connecting to the audience and having that vulnerability with the audience. Having that taken away from us was a big thing for us as well. It was how we can put that across sonically without having the performance aspect of it?”
Touring and performing live is relentless. Has this renewed your focus on the songwriting part of things?
Conor: “Once the theatrics and the performance side of things are removed, it’s not a veil you can hide behind. When it comes to songwriting, we had to condense we were trying to say and really get that across in three or four minute bursts.”
You’re releasing your debut single Shattered Faith. It’s massive and a huge introduction that mixes this post-punk vibe with a real industrial dance, synth sound. Tell me about how it was written? What did you want from a debut single?
Hamish: “It was written for a small tour we were doing back in January last year, before the pandemic. It was when we first explored this sound.
"It’s almost totally different now. We really delved into it and thought how can we make it bigger? How can we make it hit harder? How can we condense it into a real big burst?
“It really came to life over lockdown.”
Conor: “Sonically – we always spoke about this at the start – it was trying to blend our influences and make something new. When we were out doing shows it was very post-punk orientated. That’s the background a lot of us come from anyway.
"Myself personally and my brother Niall, we’re mega into industrial music. Glasgow has such a great scene for it. It was trying to find a way to blend those two things organically so it didn’t sound forced."
Did you always want Shattered Faith for your debut?
Hamish: “When we started the band we didn’t know it was going to be the debut single but as soon as we wrote it, we knew. As soon as it was written and we played it the first couple of times, we thought ‘this was the single’.”
Conor: “The one thing we were aligned on was that we wanted it to be a statement. You can feel the emotion through it.”
It’s self-produced too. Is the DIY ethos a big part of what you’re about as a band?
Conor: “Everything we make is on my laptop on Logic or on our drummer’s laptop on Ableton. We run it all through that.
“In terms of production, or the artistic direction and sound, we were all pretty strong-minded in that stuff. I don’t think we would work well in an environment with someone coming in saying ‘do this, try that’ unless it was with somebody we really respect on an artistic level.”
Hamish: “Yeah. It’s the same when we do our live shows – we want to take it up a level as much as possible. We’re very lucky to have Conor and Carlo who are amazing with the sessions on Logic and Ableton and can do a lot of this stuff ourselves. It’s something I’ve never experienced in a band before.
"For me, it was a big step up coming into this and something I’ve really cherished. It gives us that ability to do it ourselves and that’s where the ethos comes because we are five of us, we want to create it and be as much as involved in every single ounce of that creative process as possible. If we can do it ourselves, we’ll do it all ourselves. The creative process we will totally want to be a the forefront of that.”
Its music video is slick too, seeing filmed in a former police barracks and the grounds of Pollock House. It’s very film-esque. What was it like filming the video?
Conor: “We did it in Oxford House which is a listed building on the Clyde side of Glasgow. Our friend filmed it with her one camera. With Pollock House, myself and my brother, grew up around the corner. We’d been going there for years as children to visit it.
"We were there one day, me, Hamish and Carlo, and we were talking about it and we were looking at these places that would be class for the video. It just evolved from there.”
Hamish: “Cinematically this is what we want from the outset. We wanted it to come on the screen with the black bars top and bottom. We wanted to tell the story of the band. We’d released Desire before but this was people’s first kind of introduction to us.
"The story itself is running from your inner demons. We thought there would be no better place to get up at 6 in the morning and run in the dark when no-one was there. It was very creepy but the final product speaks volumes.”
Conor: “Carlo walked into Pollock Park through the Pollock end in the pitch black. He just walked through the woods. Probably not the wisest thing to do!”
Hamish: “There was no one else there. It was just five middle aged people in bright red jackets. It was very scary. I would not recommend.”
Are you guys fans of music videos in general? Are you thinking ahead for what you’re going to do next?
Conor: “The way we think about everything is we’re pretty intent on making a world around everything. We take everything as seriously as the music. Hamish takes his on stage performance as seriously as if we were sitting down and writing a chorus. Whenever we’re doing photos if we can get it into a line so it all evokes the same emotion and brings people into this space we’re trying to create. Any extension of the music we like to think of as an extra arm to it.”
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Tell me more about how you got together. How long have you been an act?
Hamish: “We’ve probably been a band for about two years now.”
Conor: “I always forget there’s been another year because of Covid. Covid year doesn’t feel like a year!”
Hamish: “Niall and Conor are brothers and have known each other all their lives. Carlo is from the Hague and came over to Glasgow eight years ago to do music. He came across Niall and Conor and played in a few bands.
“There was a time Conor put my old band on at a show in Glasgow. The story goes at that our mum was at the back of the room while I was on and said ‘that’s your frontman’ and Conor got in contact with me.
"From there Niall and Alex met at a party one time. They became pals. She’s classically trained in piano. She came down and that was it. We started hanging out and becoming pals.”
Do you have a mutual interest in the same music?
Hamish: “I remember Conor sent me a message when I was joining with a list of bands and saying ‘do you like any of these bands?’, and I was like ‘yes’, but I can’t for the life of me remember any of them as it was that long ago.
“We all had the same vision.”
Who are your main influences musically, personally, culturally? Is there anything that sticks out?
Conor: “For me, I listen to such a broad scope of music. Influences are just anyone who pushes boundaries, whether that’s in grime, hip-hop, post-punk, industrial music or even pop. For me it was to try and do something different to what people are trying to do, to push the envelope a bit.
"I feel like the post-punk world is amazing and I love so much of it but sometimes it can feel like a bubble. Everything aligns aesthetically and musically. It was our intention to burst the bubble a bit and step outside it. We started listening to a lot of Faithless records this year. We’ve been digging back into 90s acid and going through early Prodigy, trying to take as much as we can from that.”
It’s refreshing to see bands take sound further by combining the dancier side of music with the punkier, post-punk stuff. Is it exciting to see where you can take soundscapes in songs?
Hamish: “When I first started doing it the writing process wasn’t the most fun part for me but with this I’ve grown to love it. When you’re taking these things that don’t necessarily match, there are certain parts of it that link together but it's finding those parts, and that’s what’s exciting.
"You’re going through and trying but it’s not working but maybe three or four days in suddenly it all clicks and you can see everyone go ‘oh!’. There’s something so beautiful about that. That’s my favourite part of mixing two genres or finding different parts from different places. They shouldn’t always work but when you find it and it does work there’s something surreal about it at times.”
Conor: “It’s figuring out where the worlds meet and tying them together.”
“Once you burst the bubble, you don’t have much preconceived ideas anymore. As a band, we could probably go and try and anything after we’ve made our first proper statement. We could go and explore anything and maybe wouldn’t have the same struggle with that.”
Hamish: “We’re not set in our ways. We’re totally open to anything that excites us in terms of music. That’s the only way you can go forward. No matter if you have predominant sound in your music, if you stay totally true to it and go ‘I’m not going to listen to other stuff’ and close it off before you’ve tried it, you become stagnant. It’s about being totally open-minded with everything to do with it now and just letting your mind run, and every so often you’ll come across a bit of gold.”
Conor: “As long as we don’t start making a prog rock album I think we’ll be OK!”
You mentioned it earlier how different scenes in Glasgow have influenced you. What is the scene like there?
Conor: “Glasgow is such an interesting city. I have friends in big cities like Manchester and London and there are pockets and cliques and genre-specific scenes where people are doing different things within them.
"Glasgow’s creative community is so potent and so small. There’s probably 300 bands that are trying to do this as a career and we all end up in the same pubs every weekend. We’re all friends and know each other personally well.
"Everybody’s doing stuff that’s totally different at the same time. It seems like everyone at the level we’re operating at are doing their own thing.”
Hamish: “Glasgow is so densely populated in a creative sense that it’s like a melting pot. There are no boundaries. As Conor says, there are no specific pubs people go to for certain kinds of music. Everyone just goes everywhere.
"You walk up and down the street and find five in the one pub over a full week. You’ll have a psych night, a post-punk night, an industrial techno night, a pop night…you just get everything throughout the week. There’s just not the space geographically to have it everywhere.”
Conor: “Glasgow’s really inspiring when you look in the right places.”
You’ve sold out two dates at The Windmill in Brixton. That must be an amazing feeling for such a legendary venue. You must be looking forward to it?
Hamish: “We’re doing four dates over that time. Two shows in London on the same day – the matinee and the evening and they’re both sold out. When we got the news it was a great buzz. We’re looking forward to all five of those shows over the four days.
"We can’t wait to get on stage. I know we’ve talked a lot about how the band has progressed in terms of how we are looking into the writing and how we can portray our ethos and passion and energy releasing music, but there’s nothing like being on stage and being able to show it. It’s that burst of everything – adrenaline, anger and passion. Getting on there and letting it all go. It’s going to be unreal.
"We’re just buzzing to do it. We’ve got a day off in London the day Scotland play England at Wembley which we’re pretty buzzing about too! We can’t wait to get back out and doing it. It’s been such a long time coming. It’s time to get back on stage. It’s going to be fun, regardless.”
Conor: “It’s very exciting to look into the whites of people’s eyes again. It’s going to be a beautiful thing.”
Hamish: “From a distance!”
What are your next steps? Have you got a vision of where you want to take it?
Conor: “We’ve just announced Moth Club in November. We’re going to have a lot going on around that. We’ve got TRNSMT festival, which is a big deal for us up here. A lot of us grew up with T in the Park. It’s awesome to be able to do that.
“Keep on being active and to be able to show people what we are trying to say. Have fun as mates as well. Treat people well.”
Hamish: “First and foremost we’re five pals and we get to have fun and kick about. That’s all you can really do. As long as you’re enjoying it.”
The limited 7” vinyl release of Shattered Faith/Desire (Live version) is scheduled for May 14
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