TAKING us into the weekend...
are VICTORS, who have been discussing their latest track, Big City. I ask about the band’s formation and where they are headed; the music that drives them and how they all got together - I wanted to know whether there is more material coming along later this year.
I was interested to know what the music scene is like in Leeds and whether there are gigs coming; which artist they’d support on the road if they could and if there is much time to chill away from music – the guys each select a song to end the interview with.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey! We’re doing great, thanks. Our week has been productive - we’ve just come out of the studio.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
So. We are VICTORS. We’re a Pop/Electronic band from Leeds. In the band, we have Harry Irving (Vocals/Keys/Guitar), Simon Appleson (Guitar/Synth); Dom Brooks (Bass/Synth) and Leon Davies (Drums).
Big City is your new track. Is there a story behind this one?
Big City was literally written in one night in our apartment. I (Harry) wrote about regretting past decisions, staying up all night; sitting in parked cars talking stuff out - just real life, basically.
Is there more material coming later in the year?
Let’s just say....yes. Yes, there is.
How did VICTORS get together? Did you all know each other before starting the band?
Harry first came across Simon using online ads on Gumtree. After meeting up for a drink and having a few rehearsals together, things started happening very quickly and, at the beginning of 2016, ‘VICTORS’ was born. We then found Dom shortly after in the same way, by advertising online. Once we needed a drummer, Dom got in touch with Leon via Facebook and straight-up asked him if he wanted to join - it’s as simple as that!
Do you all share relatively similar musical tastes?
We all have a varied taste in music and I’d say we all appreciate a good song, whatever the genre. Growing up, Harry and Simon listened to artists such as Whitney Houston, Crowded House; Phil Collins and The Beatles. Dom, however, comes from a Metal background: listening to artists such as Black Sabbath and Metallica.
Growing up, Leon was exposed to a wide range of genres from his family so he would listen to Classic Rock (Led Zeppelin) and Jazz (Courtney Pine) which led to him listening to Prog-Rock artists such as Dream Theater, The Mars Volta & Frank Zappa.
What is Leeds like in terms of current music? Do people overlook it a lot do you think?
I’d say Leeds is predominantly based around an Indie/Rock scene - or at least it was during our formative years. Although, as the city grows, the variety of artists emerging range from Electronic, Psychedelic; R&B and Funk - hopefully it’ll continue to grow and thrive. We’ve got our eye on that Leeds arena.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in mind?
That’s a tough one: there have been so many highlights. Leon’s (drummer) first show with us was in front of 20,000 people in Leeds last December. We’ve also been lucky enough to have been played at NFL games, sparking our American fanbase; I guess our favourite moments are when we see people’s tweets about us or videos of them covering our songs and just showing support and love for what we do. It’s so humbling and mind blowing at the same time.
Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?
Harry: Frank Ocean – Blonde
Not because I necessarily love every song on it, but his art of telling a story made me really check myself as a song writer and storyteller - and the fact his voice is just amazing.
Simon: HONNE - Love Me / Love Me Not
The Jazz/Pop/Electronic elements have inspired me to learn to be a better guitarist and it has completely opened my eyes to new ways in approaching songwriting at a much more mature level.
Dom: Paul Simon – Graceland
I just love that chiller Surf-Rock vibe.
Leon: John Mayer Trio Live - TRY!
This album features three players who are really the best of the best. As a drummer, listening to Steve Jordan on this album really helped me develop as a player. No flashy fills needed, just straight up groovy ass playing.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail? Bon Iver is kind of a hero of ours so we’d probably ugly-cry if that opportunity came about. Rider-wise, some gin and ginger ale; a Nespresso coffee machine and an assortment of vegan snacks (three out of four of us are vegan/vegetarian). Oreos are also vegan - so lots of them will do.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
To be honest, we’re still fairly new as an artist but the best advice we could give from our own experiences would be: be prepared to work your ass off for years, constantly improving and bettering yourself; be prepared to be skint a lot of time and prioritise your art over almost everything else; seriously live and breathe it. Don’t get your hopes up too much about potential amazing-sounding opportunities and promises because it’s a fickle industry.
But, most importantly, love what you do and surround yourself with a team that believes in what you’re doing. If you do that then all these difficulties just become small hurdles that won’t even sway you from your path. That got super-deep at the end there.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
We have a few shows all over the country spread out throughout the year. Our next headline show is in our hometown of Leeds on Friday, 24th May at Hyde Park Book Club. Then, we’ll be playing: Huddersfield Uni Festival on Monday, 27th May; Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen in London (supporting Youth Club) on Wednesday, 19th June EskFest in the Lake District. On Saturday, 6th July Weightless Festival in Wakefield; on Saturday, 3rd August and many more to be announced!
Can you give us a glimpse of what life on the road is like for VICTORS?
We’re usually watching movies and snacking way too much - and laughing way too much at each other’s stupid jokes on the tour bus whilst dealing with sleep deprivation. Can’t complain!
IN THIS PHOTO: The Hubbards
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
We’ve played with The Hubbards a few times and we absolutely love them; genuinely lovely guys and they’ve got some absolute bangers. We’ve also been working with PIPPA lately which we’re so excited for. Go check out her stuff!
IN THIS PHOTO: PIPPA
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
You’ll find us doing two things: sipping a flat white or a long black in a coffee shop somewhere and having a Netflix and chill (the non-sexual kind btw).
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music – I will do that).
Harry: alt-J - Tesselate
Simon: Shura - BKLYNLDN
Dom: HONNE - Coastal Love
Leon: Tingsek - Let That Go