After just having finished playing a set to a packed out Big Top Stage at End of The Road Festival, I caught up with Josh and Ella of the London-based three-piece PVA backstage to talk about their festival essentials, who they’re listening to in the tour van and how they came out of the pandemic better than ever.
Callie: So, to start with…who are you? What’re your names and what do you play?
Josh: My name’s Josh, I play guitar, synth, a bit of vocals.
Ella: I’m Ella and I play guitar, synth, a bit of vocals and the drum machine.
Callie: Is this your first time at End of The Road Festival, what’s your impression of it?
Ella: No, I’ve been quite a few times. I came as a punter when I was like 17, I love this festival so much.
Josh: Yeah, I came 2019, the last one that was on, just on the Sunday – I had such a good time.
Ella: We had drunk so much Merlot and had so much fun.
Callie: How have the other festivals you’ve played this year been?
Josh: Greenman was our first one, we were supposed to play Latitude but I got Covid so we couldn’t do it. We played Greenman and that was amazing. On Friday we played Wide Awake which is a day festival in London and that was amazing. There were loads of our friends playing as well, it was so much fun.
Ella: Yeah, super fun! They’ve all been really nice. It’s been nice getting back to some sort of normality and being back in the fields.
Callie: If you’re heading to a festival what are the essentials you’re bringing?
Ella: Baby wipes, bag of wine.
Josh: This year I pushed the boat out a little bit, I’ve got a blow-up mattress. I went to Brainchild with our drummer and we were sharing a tent and literally shared a sleeping bag. It was so cold, and I was like ‘I can’t do this I want to be in absolute luxury’ so I brought my whole duvet, my pillow, got a blow-up mattress.
Ella: I had a nap on his blow-up mattress earlier and it was actually bliss. You’ve gotta be able to sleep well at festivals. You kind of forget and then you get there and you’re like ‘Oh God I’m sleeping on the floor for like 4 days?’. I thought I was going to get pneumonia on the Sunday at Greenman, I had to get all my clothes on all of the different parts of my body. I had pants around my wrist, socks around my ankles, a blanket around my head and I was shivering – felt like I was in Titanic or something.
Callie: You’re planning a dream festival and can put on any three headliners, dead or alive, who’re you booking?
Josh: Sophie for the Saturday.
Ella: I think on Sunday I’d want something like Aldous Harding or just something softer.
Josh:Maybe something heavy on the Friday? Death Grips?
Callie: Who’re you listening to at the moment as a band?
Ella: We’re listening to a lot of Little Dragon.
Josh: Sult as well, they’re about in South London, a production outfit band but very mysterious.
Ella: We all listen to different things but in the van, we listened to so much Cleo Sol on the way down cause our tour manager loves them. Josh always has a Hyperpop hour where he’ll put on like Charli XCX and Slayyyter ‘Daddy AF’ – it’s our favourite song ever.
Josh: It’s our anthem. We were gonna have it as our walk out song but we we’re like we can’t top it. You can’t play that song and then come on and play your set, everyone’s just gonna be like ‘put on Daddy AF?’.
Ella: Lots of Lynks too.
Callie: How’s the post-covid period affected you as a band? Has it affected you creatively at all?
Ella: I feel like we’ve actually come out of the pandemic a lot tighter. Actually being able to have the chance to have a break, reflect and upgrade our gear, upgrade the set, get a bit tighter and practice some more. And also work on ourselves too.
Josh: Yeah understand each other better and how we work. If we’re not playing shows all the time, then it gives us a chance to reflect on if we want to do this for any sort of longevity then how are we going to make that run well in hopefully a healthy way? Because the music industry can be so tough, and we need to look after ourselves and our friends and each other. Obviously, it sucks not being able to play loads of shows and stuff, but I think we feel stronger as a unit.
Ella: I just did loads of therapy and it was great. I feel so much happier and its way more sustainable when you’re a lot happier and emotionally and physically a bit healthier. The music industry is so hedonistic sometimes, like at festivals people go and get really fucked up for like four days – it’s so intense on your mental and physical health. I’m actually beginning to treat it more like work.
Josh: Yeah and making a point of communicating more as well. It’s part of a key to life and is something that I’ve been learning in the past few years and getting better at it.
Ella: Big DMC at the Big Top.
“Because the music industry can be so tough, and we need to look after ourselves and our friends and each other. Obviously it sucks not being able to play loads of shows and stuff, but I think we feel stronger as a unit.”-PVA
Callie: What’s the venue you’ve been looking forward to playing the most post-lockdown?
Josh: Fabric. I’ve never been there before.
Ella: Yeah we’re playing Fabric. I went and saw Sophie at Fabric and it was so sick.
Josh: We’re playing the Pitchfork London Festival. Anna Meredith is playing, Grove is playing. I saw Anna Meredith for the first time yesterday and it just absolutely blew my mind. There was a point towards the end of the set where I just had my hands in the air and was like ‘Oh my God!’ – it blew me away so hard.
Ella: The festival line up is so sick. They’ve got Giant Swan and Eartheater on the next day.
Josh: We’ve got a headline at The 100 Club with Fred Perry too on the 17th September which is going to be really good.
Ella: I’m excited about that one. The All Our Tomorrows Festival always have such a nice, curated line up. They have Queer House Party DJing, Lynks is DJing.
Josh: PaddywaK are playing live – it’s gonna be fun.
Ella: A big queer party at The 100 Club, pass it on.
Callie: What have we got to look forward to from the future of PVA?
Ella: We’re writing the album at the moment, just chugging along with that. We’re looking forward to upgrading the set a bit more, maybe adding some audio-visual elements. I guess I’m just really looking forward to just starting to tour. We never really toured before, before lockdown we were getting to the point where we were just about to start touring so I’m just looking forward to actually being able to hit the road for like a month.
Josh: We’re supporting Dry Cleaning next February which is going to be amazing and the album – you heard it here first.