George Ward
George Ward

Freelance journalist based in Bristol. Can be found at the Grain Barge, Rough Trade or in his tiny basement bedroom writing for CLUNK.

Ahead of the release of their debut album ‘So Vanilla’, we had a chat with Speedy Wunderground-signed artist Viji

Speedy Wunderground has long been a well-respected name in the indie scene, with many artists from their highly popular 7″ single series becoming the most buzzy names in the UK (Squid, BC,NR, Black Midi etc.)

Now, with more of a focus on signing bands and working on full length projects, the label is becoming even more exciting. With excellent releases from Honeyglaze and Moreish Idols being recent standouts, their latest release comes from Viji, an Austrian-Brazilian artist whose upcoming album is as equally grungy as it is poppy.

‘So Vanilla’ is one of our most anticipated projects from this year so it was a pleasure to chat with Viji about the release, working with Dan Carey and her inspirations past and present (mostly past).

George: Can you tell us a bit about what your year’s looked like so far? It’s been a big one! 

Viji: It’s been substantial. I finished the record! We recorded it in November last year but the mix/master we finished in January. It’s been a lot of working on the record, creating all the content, shooting all the videos and bringing all the visuals to fruition. We really started playing live in March, going on tour with our friends which was really fun. 

George: How has it translated to a live setting? Has it been a challenge?

Viji: No, it’s been really fun actually! We’ve been playing mostly the new songs actually which is really exciting. I’ve switched my band around a bit and it’s really fun because they’re my friends. As a solo artist, it’s a struggle to translate it live with the right people. My friends have made it a lot more enjoyable. 

George: We love the album, it’s brilliant. Can you tell us about it, is there a concept? What should people be expecting?

Viji: It’s really not a concept album. It’s more of a collection of songs I’ve written over the last two years. The lyricism is definitely on the darker side, not to say that the music is. It’s mostly a guitar record, there’s only a few synth songs. 

George: It’s quite a varied record. How do you balance noisiness and catchiness?

Viji: (laughs) I don’t really think of it in such detail. It usually starts with guitars, either at home or in the studio in a writing session. It’s mostly because I sing very softly and the melodies I write are more pop melodies. It’s definitely not on purpose!

George: Can you tell us a bit about working with producer Dan Carey and how you got involved with Speedy Wunderground?

Viji: It’s amazing working with them, he’s such a nice person. We randomly got set up for a session two years ago. It was really funny because I didn’t really know who he was, he didn’t really know who I was, we just agreed to meet. For me, it was a few days after having a few other sessions with somebody else and I was very tired. So, I came to the studio and said ‘let’s just write a really chilled song!’. 

The studio is really fun, there’s so many things to fuck about with. Even though I was so exhausted it was so fun because he just totally went with the vibe. We weren’t here to write a hit song. It’s the last song on the record now. 

He’s always been so supportive of the music and the process and it’s such a natural transition working with Speedy Wunderground. 

George: What makes their style of production and recording unique to other people you’ve worked with?

Viji: I feel like the music I listen to is from the 90s and 2000s, so working in a space where it’s not all digital always helps. Not that I could necessarily hear the difference, I’m not a crazy analogue-head. It translates into the production and the rawness. Everywhere you go to the studio in LA, the sound is so heavily overproduced with effects. Working with Dan is so refreshing. 

We listened a lot to a record by that dog. called ‘Totally Crushed Out’ and this helped keep the rawness of the record. 

George: Are there any genres that you’re into which might surprise people when they listen to this album? 

Viji: Yeah! I feel like being a musician, you listen to all sorts. I listen to a lot of avant-garde pop and lo-fi hip-hop. Previously, with my EPs, I feel like you could hear it more. I listen to all sorts of stuff, I don’t only listen to the kind of music I make, it’s the opposite. 

George: Is there a moment in 2023 which is your standout moment so far?

Viji: I’ve loved working with all the directors on the music videos. I was getting to work with people who I’ve wanted to work with for ages. I also just got put on the 6 Music B-List for my new single which is super exciting!

‘So Vanilla’ is out on Friday 27th October via Speedy Wunderground.

Let us know what you think!