Hull based Vialetters formed in 2018 and have been lucky to enough to get their first batch of music released, and played alongside their favourite bands in the indie sphere such as The Big Moon, Blaenavon, Bloxx, Cassia, Anteros, they have played the main stage of our local Humber Street Sesh festival which attracts 35,000 people a year.

Ollie from the band was kind enough to answer some questions for us, here’s what he had to say.

How did you all meet?

“We really like to engage with the romanticism of how we formed, it was like something out of an 80’s American teen movie. In high school we used to stay behind after the day had finished and we would play in the music room for a few hours, a teacher called Mr Nicholson was the only guy to stay after hours and do extra work on his computer just so we could stay and be “supervised”. At the end of our final year we got asked to play the school prom which, when we were 15, was the epitome of cool when we had grown up watching Chris Columbus, John Hughes and the Weitz Brothers films. We came off stage literally glowing, that night was probably the closest to perfect any of us will get. For the past 6 years we have just being building on that raw version of Vialetters that played at prom. All I remember from that setlist is I Predict A Riot- Kaiser Chiefs, Use Somebody- Kings Of Leon, Johnny B. Goode- Chuck Berry, Brianstorm- Arctic Monkeys. Apart from that no one knew who we were for 5 years, we was just in band rooms playing music for the fun, and I like how authentic our motivations still are, we are still very selfish and we still do it for us”.

Who were your musical influences growing up?

“Growing up our musical influences were very much defined by our environments and mainly our social lives I suppose. I think we are most implicitly influenced by when we first turned eighteen and the excitement and simplicity of first going out. The only place we would ever go was this place called Welly in Hull that just played an amalgamation of indie pop and rock, and pop punk and just all sorts. Growing up it started to created this threshold of the types of tunes we wanted to create, these big anthemic big room pieces that could get places like Welly moving. I attach a lot of songs from there to some of my best and most vivid memories with my mates and we set out to do the same at the start. At the time it was like 2016, tunes I most associate with there are Time To Pretend- MGMT, Stuck In My Teeth-Circa Waves, Find Me-Kings Of Leon, Midnight City-M83, A-Punk- Vampire Weekend etc, just really cheesy hits from when we were teenagers. I love thinking back to those times”.

What made you want to be in a band?

“Our motives were really innocent and authentic going back to the very start. We were just 14/15 and started staying back after school just to play, because they had a drum kit and no one else did so we could actually play as a band. And it was so fun, because what’s cooler then been in a band at school? And we weren’t there because we felt we had to be in order to ‘train’ for the future or anything, but we genuinely would have rather been there then anywhere else after school because it was new and intriguing, and it was all for ourselves. We wasn’t bothered that no one would ever hear us or see us, we never thought we would do anything like play prom in the next few years. I remember just playing for maybe 10-20 minute songs just because we could, I think when your 14 there aren’t many opportunities for lawlessness, in music lessons you had set stuff to do, the same at home I could only play my electric drum kit before 8 o clock so it wouldn’t annoy anyone at night, this period after school was our little space to do whatever we wanted.

But we fully appreciate how easy it was for us to just walk into the band room at school with 4 other like minded people. We were 5 males, with male role models, in a male led music department. We’ve grown to learn that it was harder for girls to do that at our school because of the lack of like minded girls who wanted to be in bands because they lacked the role models like we had. And that is really evident at the lack of girl bands at a grassroots level and thus the professional level. So that’s something we want to push”.

What has been your best gig?

“It changes. Because when your band is growing every new gig your play is the best gig because there is more people, better new music, more confidence. So thinking about it contextually, it’s between 3. TribFest in 2018, it’s this small festival mainly of cover bands but they have a marquee for small local bands. We had seen our mates the night before in the headline slot and we was the only ones there watching because people are more bothered about the big cover bands. So we sort of just helped get them through it whilst we dreaded going on the next day, we camped over for it and travelled quite far so it seemed like a lot to give for a gig that was going to flop. We started playing literally just in front of our girlfriends, and half way through the first song people just flooded in from front to back and it became this really energetic and shared experience. It’s just the surprise and excitement of it that sticks with me the most. But we also played Bonus Arena in Hull which was amazing. We was the first act on and we said to ourselves we aren’t going on to fill the slot and be a novelty local act opening up, we wanted to go on and do a job and show our music could hold up in a big arena, and I really think we did that. It’s my favourite because it’s the most proud I’ve been of the body of work we had produced at that time, and the fact it held up in an arena when only a couple of years earlier we could barely hold up in Hull’s smallest venue was sort of validating to us that we are doing something right. Or it could be the 50/50 gender split event we organised and put on, it wasn’t advertised as that but it’s what we wanted to create behind the scenes. We created a mini festival with poets, pianists, musicians, artists, and it was a really refreshing, communal night in Hull, it was the last thing we did before lockdown happened, so it was a nice note to go out on”.

Can you tell us a bit about your music?

“We have spent lockdown writing for our next little ‘era’, apologies for the pretentiousness of that. Our first 5 releases are distillations of our lives from 18-20, and A LOT has changed in all our lives and our next body of work we produce will reflect that. We haven’t got any plans on how we are going to do any of yet, with our first output of music we sort of let each song take its own form and process on its own and we sort of just went with it, even if it was slightly edgy or uncomfortable to what we had done before. It will probably be another 5 songs, and we will go from there. But our producer moved to Canada which a thrown a bit of a spanner in the works so we are looking for a new one”.

Can you describe your music in 3 words?

“Teen movie soundtrack”

What makes your band stand out from others?

“Probably not a lot. It’s a very heavily saturated ‘market’ now anyone can get on Spotify, which isn’t a bad thing, why would it be bad to have more access to more art? But I do think it’s a bit pointless and probably a bit false to strive to be the most unique or to try and stand out from everyone else. I think we are naturally different because we spent 5 years just in band rooms without anyone knowing who we were just for the fun of it, the authenticity of motive still leaks through now. We do it all for ourselves, and if people like it then they like it. When we write or create visuals it’s because we did that for ourselves at that very moment and time, and we get a lot of satisfaction and release from that. In our own way we all have quite fractious energies and we have all naturally learnt to divert that into our art because we are diverting them together in the same 4 walls when we play. So probably our motives and selfishness”.

What are your plans for the rest of 2020?

“We had to scrap all of them really, and we aren’t making any new ones just so we aren’t sat stressing whether we have made deadlines or not. We want to get our vinyl sorted and our new line of merch out but that’s about it, we are writing a lot aswell but we have always sort of over done it when it comes to writing anyway”.

If your band had to be remembered for one thing apart from your music what would you want it to be?

“Just for being absolute legendsssssss”

Any gig’s coming up? 

“We had loads of gigs around the country sorted for this year but that’s all gone to tosh, so we really want to sort out a van in the next couple of years so we can make this happen”.

By Siân Parker