By Kieran Webber
The Virginmarys second full length LP hit the shelves last week and has been creating quite the storm and it is no surprise, ‘Divides’ was a thunderous rock ‘n’ roll album covered in raw unapologetic rage a no bars held rock album that will melt your face and blow your speakers.
We were curious to what was the infuence behind their second LP and find out more behind the wall of sound that is The Virginmarys, the band were kind enough to take some time to answer our questions.
CLUNK : First off I just want to extend a big thank you your way for answering our questions it is greatly appreciated and we are stoked, so how have you guys been and what have you been up to?
Ally : All good 🙂 We’ve been great thanks, really excited to have the new album out. We’ve been working hard perfecting it and believe that the rock scene is crying out for something as real and heartfelt as this.
Danny : Crazy busy for album release and working on sets for the upcoming shows……… also built a seriously impressive sand castle at the beach in Blackpool that I was particularly impressed with (I have pics).
Matt : Just been getting ready for the album release really. We’ve just come back to the UK off the back of a tour with Shinedown which was ace and are looking forward to touring the UK later in the year.
“I saw someone holding up a dog once…that was really weird….think that was in Switzerland maybe?? Or Germany??(can’t remember exactly) and someone eating popcorn once too? That’s a really weird thing to do at a rock show”
CLUNK : So what’s the story behind The Virginmarys, how did you form and why?
Ally : We formed in 2009 from a mutual love of music, me and Dan had been playing together in a previous band before I met Matt outside for a smoke at a pub. We all got together, hit the road, recorded songs, put super hero costumes on and saved the world.
Danny : Stars aligned and I met Ally now here we are. I think ultimately the reason we formed is pretty much the same reason as to why I started playing drums just to be part of music, the buzz you get is un-definable, well it is for me anyhow.
Matt : Like Ally says.
CLUNK : We were lucky enough to get a listen of your album which we love by the way! I am curious to know what was the infuence behind this album?
Ally : An ever crumbling society run by fuckwits with no heart or sense of what it is to live in the real world. Rather than take tax from big corporations they’d rather stop disability benefits to get some loose change for a higher calibre wine. The album is called Divides because were caught up in a world full of them. Rather than unite as people and think for ourselves were brainwashed with who to love who to blame, how to look and how to live. There’s a lot of anger and frustration on the album but there is also a lot of love and hope, we haven’t stopped believing in love and the goodness of people and how we can make a change if we unite and do something about it.
Danny : Boredom of listening to the same shit lyrics over and over on the radio, I think we’re a band that enjoy the sound of a guitar through an amp more than a synth through a computer, that and Donald Trump.
Matt : Couldn’t have put it better than Ally has!
CLUNK : Is there a particular track you really enjoy if so which one and why?
Ally : I really enjoy all of it, I’m extremely proud of what we’ve created on this. I’m really happy with the last track ‘Living In My Peace’ as I think it’s like nothing else we’ve ever done before and I love the epicness of the ending that just keeps building. Gil Norton (our producer) is the master of being able to layer stuff in a way that everything is heard.
Matt : It has to be Falling Down for me. I love to play this one live and think the energy and passion in the song really encompasses what we’re about.
Danny : Kill the messenger is pretty cool to play live for me, I’m a bit of a speed freak so all the fast ones.
“The album is called Divides because were caught up in a world full of them. Rather than unite as people and think for ourselves were brainwashed with who to love who to blame, how to look and how to live”
CLUNK : Can you explain to us how you go about writing and recording an album?
Ally : I will write as I go, in my head, write notes on my phone, sit with an acoustic in the bathroom at home (for the acoustics) or on the road. Then take them to the practice room to jam out and see where we get to.
Matt : Once Ally’s got together a tune he brings it into the practice room and we all jam it out. Me and Danny have our input and sometimes it may change the way Ally had initially intended the tune to go. But it’s cool that we all work together on them.
Danny : Pretty much what Matt said, sometimes Ally will bring the tune and it’s really simply played out other times it can take months before we settle on something that works.
CLUNK : With the amount of energy in your music I can imagine your crowds go wild, so has anything stand out ever happened at a show that has shocked you or stayed on your mind?
Ally : I’m not sure anything out of the ordinary has happened that I can think of.
We have incredible fans and a lot of them meet up before each show now, no matter how intense it gets everyone seems to look out for everyone else which is great.
Matt : I don’t tend to really look out at gigs and keep my head down. A friend of mine did tell me once though that he was getting into it in the crowd and someone tried to kick off on him! Thought that was a bit strange but I think all in all out crowds are pretty cool at looking out for each other.
Danny : I saw someone holding up a dog once…that was really weird….think that was in Switzerland maybe?? Or Germany??(can’t remember exactly) and someone eating popcorn once too? That’s a really weird thing to do at a rock show.
CLUNK : What artists or people have aided in shaping you on your musical conquest?
Ally : My brother, family and friends have helped shape me. I’ve had a lot of great advice from amazing and established artists, but I’m one of those people who will mostly do things their own way and just need my friends and family about for support and to keep everything real.
Matt : My family and friends have always been incredibly supportive so I’d say those guys.
Danny : Howard Hughes, Marilyn Monroe, Keith Moon, Karen Carpenter and Bono (that last one was a joke).
CLUNK : A lot of artists have explained a live performance as a different beast to being in the studio how do you view it and do you prefer one over the other?
Ally : Yeah it’s completely different. No matter how much you try you can never quite recreate the same sound and vibe from a live performance in front of fans in a venue.
You can do a great job of it of course but I think there is a different intensity. We recorded this album very differently than we did to the first and took more time with the layers rather than recording live. There is a time and a place for both approaches though.
Matt : Yeah, I guess so. Although I’d say that the pressure I put on myself to perform is equal in both situations. I don’t think I could choose one over the other because (as you say) they’re different beasts.
Danny : Yeah totally different, there’s a huge difference between ‘a great song’ and ‘a great record’ (Eleanor Rigby for example) I don’t believe you can ever get the same buzz playing a song in the studio to playing live…..Live wins.
CLUNK : You have played across the globe and seen many different locations and crowds but is there a venue or country that stands out for you, if so which one and why?
Ally : India and Japan are always going to standout in my head just because of the completely different cultures and vibes of the places. We’ve been lucky enough to have had some amazing experiences travelling in this band.
Matt : There’s two countries that stand out to me which are India and Japan. I think for me to see that we even have fans in places that are that far away was truly inspiring to me.
Danny : Norway is pretty awesome it costs £10 for a glass of beer but somehow they always seem to be the most drunk and rowdy crowd I’ve ever seen, Scotland is always brilliant…no one rocks more than Scottish folk (FACT).
CLUNK : Did you ever imagine The Virginmarys getting to the level they are at now?
Ally : Yes, we’ve all worked incredibly hard at it and you have to have that in mind to be able to keep going with it at that level. I hope that we keep heading in the same direction and become a headliner of massive festivals.
Matt : Yeah, of course. Otherwise I wouldn’t still be doing it! Ha ha.
Danny : I actually expected Ally to be Prime Minister by now tbh or at least hosting his own show…..the ‘Dicks’ show’ or something along those lines.
“India and Japan are always going to standout in my head just because of the completely different cultures and vibes of the places. We’ve been lucky enough to have had some amazing experiences travelling in this band”
CLUNK : Can you explain to us what it feels like?
Ally : It’s an incredible feeling to connect with fans, to know your music says something to people and to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s amazing to play music with your mates around the world. At the same time though it can also be tough to keep going making a name for yourself when money is not flooding in and there are a lot of tiring aspects to maintaining it. It was a choice in my head though and this is what I’ve always wanted to do.
Matt : At the moment, it doesn’t feel all that different from when we first started out to me. I guess you can see the crowds are bigger which is always an ace thing.
Danny : Playing music is still the same as it was when i first started out to me it’s indescribable unless you play tbh, it’s like having a third arm or a third eye I couldn’t imagine going back down to 2 now.
CLUNK : Lastly, what is in the pipeline for 2016?
Ally : Well the album has just come out, we’re going to be doing a lot of touring and spreading the love.
Danny : Ally Dickaty Prime Minister!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We will actually have the fairest country in the world when he gets in.
Matt : Hopefully some more touring and some UK festivals.