The Virginmarys: Interview
The Virginmarys are back with a new album, Northern Sun Sessions and back in August we managed to catch up with them at a low-key acoustic performance at the Fab Café for FAB Radio.
The band have had a number of high profile support slots in the past with the likes of Skunk Anansie “that was a huge learning curve for us” as well as Slash who rates the band highly, Terrorvision, Shinedown, Eagles Of Death Metal, Queens of the Stone Age… the list goes on.
One of the best shows I saw them perform was a free show at the Band On The Wall promoted by Budweiser, it was packed and sweaty “that was a great show and was the last time I went into that venue, the stage is great there now.”
Changes have been afoot in the band, they are now down to a two-piece as drummer Danny Dolan explains “it is a lot less stress, from a creative point of view it is easier, I know exactly what I want to do with the drums and make them sound big and massive and Ally (Dickaty – guitar) takes care of the rest, it is easy!” The guitarist interjects “we have got one of our best mates playing bass when we go out on the road so it is the best of both worlds really and helps with the back catalogue too. As for the future, we will just have to see.”
How does a band keep the momentum going when they have had such a high profile career so far? “It is 100% passion” explains Danny, “we met at music college and thought we would just go out busking, and then go off to France, and in a way that attitude hasn’t really changed, it’s the same as whether I play a gig to one person or to 1,000 people, we have even played a gig to no people before today, just the bar staff, it’s still good though.”
But playing live is core to the band: “we’ve got November shows planned to promote the new record coming out, it is the most personal record for me and Al because it is the first time it is just us making decisions about what goes on the record by producing it ourselves.”
Their first album was produced by well known rocker Toby Jepson: “in the past it has been us writing the songs and then the producer decides how the songs are going to be arranged, what songs are going to be on the album, it is just us and that is going to come through on the record. Toby was amazing and was a big influence on us as he was all about try to capture the performances. Then we worked with Gil Norton on Divides and we are really proud of that too.”
“We could never have recorded this album ourselves to this standard if we hadn’t have worked with Toby and Gil as well as recording in different studios has been a good experience for us” adds Danny.
“We’ve done all the drums in one studio and all the vocals were done at Al’s house. We have spent a lot of time perfecting it, which has been amazing. I have been reading about Chris Cornell and how he used to record his vocals and he always used to do it on his own and I completely get why he would do that. He knows what he is capable of and what it is to sound like whereas a producer/engineer might be happy with one particular take but only he really knows what he can accomplish. And as a result of all of this we are really excited about the new album coming out.”
“The sound on the album is just going to be me and Danny, in a big room, pretty stripped down and raw. It will be louder than ever and really intense” Ally goes on to explain.
These are exciting times for the band, their new album is released on 16th November 2018 and the band play are on tour too:
Tue 20 Nov – The Louisiana, Bristol
Wed 21 Nov – Hoxton Sq Bar and Kitchen, London
Thu 22 Nov – Brudenell Community Room, Leeds
Sat 24 Nov – Club Academy, Manchester
Wed 28 Nov – O2 ABC, Glasgow