MUSIC FEATURE: Five Minutes With…Wallflower
Wallflower release their debut album Teach Yourself To Swim later this week, delving deeper than before to create a very personal record that remains true to who they are – something of great importance to the alt-rock quintet. We caught up with vocalist Vini Moreira-Yeoell ahead of the release to discuss the band’s aims and influences, growing up in a musical family and more.
Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself and your band.
I’m Vini and I sing and play guitar in Wallflower. We’re an alt-rock band based around the South of England who are in the process of releasing our first full length album called Teach Yourself To Swim. At the moment things are strange and unusual as we are a good two months deep into a national lockdown so we are mostly just doing our best to adapt to the world around us, whilst we put out new music that we’ve worked so hard on.
How did the band form and how long have you been together?
The band formed in the typical manner most bands do; we were just a few friends who had very common musical interests. We’d always been in different bands and became friends from playing shows on the same bills in our younger years, and had always wanted to sit down and write something as a unit.
Eventually things started to come together and we started gigging and releasing music here and there, we’ve been doing that for the best part of five-six years now – but things never really felt like they ‘started’ until our drummer Charlie joined and we released our EP Where It Fell Apart in 2017, taking us all the way up to now where we are releasing our first album.
Can you remember the first time you realised you wanted to make music?
It was probably from watching my Grandad play keyboard and seeing how much joy it brought him and others. Music has always been a big part of my life for as long as I remember. My parents met at a Queen gig and I was raised on so many different genres, thanks to my parents and older brothers’ eclectic and varied tastes. The first time it ever occurred to me that I could make music myself was when my grandad lent me a keyboard so I could learn, and it’s all been downhill from there…
Who and what are the band’s main influences?
As a group of five people we have a fairly ranged music taste across the board – we are open to most genres and usually find most of our influence comes from artists who are passionate and sincere in the art that they create. Bands like Paramore and Radiohead come to mind; they are two bands who are so musically different from each other but have both evolved, adapted and changed so much over their careers, whilst still staying true to their core values and delivering so much sincerity and passion in their performances and musical output.
What do you aim to achieve as a band?
Following on from our influence, it’s always been so important to us to put music out there that feels true to who we are and what we do. If our music can excite and inspire anyone in the same way the songs that we love do for us, that’s always going to be a step in the right direction. We’ve always wanted to make music that feels timeless and isn’t pigeonholed into a certain era or scene – I hope that in years to come we can look back on the music we’ve made fondly, and not regret making artistic choices just because that’s what would give us a quick boost in popularity in that moment in time. It all comes back to being sincere and true to ourselves.
Our album Teach Yourself To Swim is due for release very soon and is a perfect representation of those aspirations and goals. When we first took on the task of writing this record we very quickly realised that there are so many paths we want to go down musically, it was so much fun to not be scared of trying out new things and figuring out ways of still wrapping everything together in one neat and tidy bow. It goes past just the song writing too, this record has been completely funded by us and released by us – we’re still an unsigned band. It definitely makes it more difficult to be heard sometimes, but having complete artistic and creative control over this album’s release has been so crucial for us. It makes everything matter so much more, I almost end up treating it like life or death sometimes!
For those who are yet to see you live, what can they expect from a Wallflower show?
We’ve always aimed to put our all into the live sets we play, whatever the size of the stage and the crowd. Live performances are always the rawest and most vulnerable representations of any band, and you are always given a good opportunity and insight into what that band is about when you see them perform. We always put a lot of time into making sure our performances feel real and dynamic, there’s a lot of effort put in to making sure that every instrument and sound you hear is as organic a performance that the amount of limbs we have allows, and we are not just a group of people playing along to a full backing track.
Our aim is to always make sure people come away from a Wallflower set feeling like they connected with what we are doing when we play – when we finally get given the opportunity to be back on a stage again we hope that we can take our performances to the next level when it comes to the live experience, so it always feels new even to the people that have seen us a million times before.
What’s next for Wallflower?
It’s pretty hard to say right now as we don’t even know when we’ll be able to comfortably walk out of our own front door! What I can say is that we have been given a great opportunity during this isolation period, to spend a little bit more time on putting stuff out there that isn’t just new music and that’s been really fun. We’ve started working on a podcast centered around music gear and equipment, we’ve been releasing some homemade covers for charity and we’ve got some more stuff in the pipeline. Hopefully we’ll be gigging again soon and we’ll probably even writing some more music. Who knows?
Wallflower‘s debut album Teach Yourself To Swim is due for release on 5th June 2020, available to pre-order HERE.
Wallflower recently launched their Isolation Covers series, which features covers of Bon Iver‘s Hey Ma (HERE) and Coldplay‘s God Put A Smile Upon Your Face (HERE). All proceeds will go to mental health charity CALM during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The band have also released the first episode of their new video podcast, The Load In, which features a chat between the band and Kris Coombs-Roberts from Funeral For A Friend. Check it out HERE.