VLURE: Glaswegian post-punks relishing the return of sweaty club ragers
Each week in First On, we introduce a shit-hot artist you’ll see opening the bill for your favourite act. This week, Scottish industrial post-punkers VLURE reflect on reinventing their sound during lockdown, their emotional return to live music and Glasgow’s supportive creative scene
For VLURE, live music isn’t a luxury: it’s a necessity. The Scottish industrial post-punkers, who hail from Glasgow’s flourishing after-party and club scene, are revelling in the long-awaited return of gigs. “Playing shows is an emotional release for us all,” says guitarist Conor Goldie, dialling in from his city’s Botanic Gardens and joined on the call by vocalist Hamish Hutcheson and keys player Alex Pearson. “It’s a beautiful part of what we do, and we try to make it an experience.”
When lockdown hit last year the five-piece, who pride themselves on being a live band, were forced to put their high-octane on-stage theatrics on pause, but took the opportunity instead to reassess their whole musical approach. “At first, we were coming up with sad piano ballads or weird ambient instrumentals that had lost our energy and vigour,” Goldie explains. “The tone was existentialist, but performing again brought back our energy. In the end we looked at dance music and the art of building and releasing tension, and managed to work that into our angry Glaswegian post-punk.”
And it worked. After waiting for a “light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel moment”, the March release of their hard-hitting, anthemic debut single ‘Shattered Faith’ provided some much-needed catharsis after months of uncertainty. “No-one wanted to sit at home listening to big dance tunes,” Hutcheson says. “Holding back until people could harness its rebellious energy and reclaim their youth felt right.” This anthem of rebirth and self-discovery is itching to be thrown about packed-out venues, matching Echo & The Bunnymen’s grandeur with the angst-filled upheaval of The Murder Capital with an added splash of SCALPING’s electronic chaos.
This energy continues on their new single, the bolshy ‘Show Me How To Live Again’. Hutcheson’s callous snarls of “save me from this misery” and “at the end we must begin again” are a brazen call-to-arms against the early nights and sit-down shows that the nation has endured due to the pandemic. Pitted against foreboding synth melodies and broody techno-rave beats, it’s a refreshing take on the genre’s typical lashings of raw passion and desire for change.
“We were going off genre tropes, but now we’ve crafted our own ecosystem that gives us our own space,” Goldie explains of his time getting into 90s rave and industrial techno with his brother and bassist Niall Goldie. “Post-punk was a blueprint that we started to build upon and bring our own influences to.”
From Pearson’s background in classical piano, orchestral harmonies and structural theory to Hutcheson’s poetry and high-energy on-stage persona, this blend of each member’s interests has made VLURE’s multifaceted sound work. Though with so much genre-hopping going on, it’d be easy to get bogged down in the minute details. “I don’t feel like a song’s ever finished,” Hutcheson says, laughing. “We have a rule where if we’ve spent two nights in the studio and we’ve not added anything of note, then it gets put to the side until someone has a new idea.”
Goldie adds: “A lot of our upcoming releases are the ones that we’ve written quickly, as it’s where we’ve been most honest. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves, but over lockdown we’ve learned to not over-polish. Production is a huge part of what we do, but we’ve learned to keep the humanity and intensity over anything else.”
This focus on honesty runs deep into the band’s foundations. Proud Glaswegians, the group have nothing but praise for their hometown and the artistic and musical talent it’s birthed (including the recent barrage of avant-garde guitar bands such as Walt Disco, The Ninth Wave and Lucia & The Best Boys). Pearson is quick to admit that she couldn’t imagine being anywhere else: “[Glasgow] constantly punches above its weight when it comes to its output in art.”
Goldie continues: “If people don’t feel something from what you’ve made straight away, they don’t buy into it. There are no nuances of something being cool or hyped – it’s either good or shit.”
With the nights reclaimed and the dancefloors of the UK open once again, VLURE are back in their element. Quick to reject the possibility of a return to socially distanced shows, they’d much rather embrace the surrealness of their recent full-crowd gigs. “Being able to patrol [the crowd] and go head-to-head with folk felt like a moment,” says Hutcheson. “It was so surreal – a total fever dream.”
But their love of live music delves deeper, with VLURE’s gigs offering an emotional outlet that you can’t experience anywhere else. “Our shows are my therapy session,” Hutcheson concludes. “I get to tell my problems to a room full of people and they have to listen because I have a microphone. So much emotion was built up [that] by the final song [of their first show back] I broke down. I need this outlet.”
Having poured so much passion, creativity and honesty into their work, it’s only right that VLURE are now packing out the spaces they hold so dear. With their hard-hitting blend of electro-noir-glam, industrial-rave and post-punk – a sound that’s simply designed to be blasted out in-person – we’re all winners here: no venue is safe.
VLURE’s new single ‘Show Me How To Live Again’ is out today