Honest, emotional, intense: three adjectives commonly applied to the live performances of Vlure – and we’d like to add ‘urgent, anthemic and impassioned’ to the list.
Vlure have been nominated for BBC Scotland Introducing Act of the Year 2023 and while they’re receiving applause and credits for standout performances at, among others, Pitchfork Paris, Cabaret Vert and The Great Escape, they are undeniably a slippery outfit in terms of definition.
Playing with genre can be fun, but bursting the bubble of genres can be even more fun.
When the MU dials in for a relaxed chat with singer Hamish Hutcheson in Glasgow, and guitarist and programmer, Conor Goldie, it becomes clear that challenging genre tropes is at the heart of Vlure, who cleverly craft post-punk, proto-techno and industrial-tinged 90s rave into tracks that are packed with hooks.
“Playing with genre can be fun, but bursting the bubble of genres can be even more fun,” says Conor. “People pigeonholed us at first as post punk, which we love and power to everyone in that scene – it’s amazing and it’s kicking off right now – but it’s maybe not who we are. It might shock people from those heavy post-punk shows to know that now we’re getting in the van and putting on Charli XCX,” he laughs. “We wanted to cast the net wider and not be afraid of casting the net wider.”
Born and bred in Glasgow
Both Hamish and Conor alongside second guitarist and Conor’s brother, Niall, grew up in Glasgow – what they say is a “deeply inspiring place to be”. They are joined by Dutch duo Alexandra Pearson on vocals and synths and Carlo Kriekaard on drums and production. Pre-Vlure, Conor was busy setting up parties and putting on bands in small venues around the city when he met Hamish and drummer Carlo, who were both playing in punk outfits in Glasgow.
Conor and Hamish recall those days of spit and sawdust venues, sticky floors and late-night gigs as a time of intense creativity and energy. A stew of genres – punk, techno, country and rap – swilling around with artists finding inspiration in each other’s music. It was a breeding ground for musicians to feed into broader influences, which has influenced Vlure’s fluid sound.
“When we were starting out, we were very focused on post punk, but even then there were elements of techno,” Conor considers, “and over the past couple of years we’ve had time to distil that. We’re into everything from hardcore punk to heavy dance music to pop, nothing’s off the table when we’re in the studio.”
Glasgow just bleeds creativity and you have to believe in what you’re doing up here.
Glasgow has a reputation for sporting the toughest of crowds. “It’s the city where comedians come to die,” reminds Hamish. This tough exterior is, however, simply a litmus test for authenticity, Hamish explains, “Glasgow just bleeds creativity and you have to believe in what you’re doing up here. Glasgow is, for a better expression, a no-bullshit city. If you’re being false or untrue you’ll get pulled out up here,” he warns.
“If you can show you believe in what you’re doing then people believe in you and they’ll give you that leg up. It’s a community driven city, it’s a very passionate place and everyone wants you to succeed, but you have to show you’re being honest with what you’re doing.”
Take it to the stage - performing internationally
Having learnt their craft in probably one of the toughest cities to earn your stripes, Vlure have emerged as a tour de force onstage. Their live shows are intense and emotional.
The band dig deep to find ways to connect on a level with their audiences, leaving reviewers scrabbling around in the thesaurus for alternatives to describe Vlure’s heartfelt passion. “Vlure stole the show,” says Clash Music of Vlure’s recent performance at SXSW in Austin, “with huge, profoundly ambitious anthems, crafted in sweat-pit venues but destined to end up in arenas.”
“Every time we step on that stage we leave absolutely everything out there,” says Conor. “It’s cathartic, honest, exciting,” adds Hamish whose live presence and profound lyrics drive the powerhouse of Vlure’s intense live performances. “We put so much into it it’s nothing short of a ball of energy for however long we’re on stage.”
The band’s driven, emotional shows have given Vlure a reputation throughout Europe, gaining notoriety and a solid fanbase in The Netherlands, France and Germany. “They really get it in Europe,” agrees Hamish. “With our dance influences and their dance culture I think they’re really honing in on us. There seems to be a market for us and real passion from the audiences.”
A headline slot at Pitchfork Paris saw Vlure play to a capacity crowd, and it was a memorable moment for Conor. “There was a queue down the street,” he recalls, “and there were people watching through the windows. As soon as we came onstage the whole crowd were giving everything from the first song. It was one of those moments when you just look at each other and it all felt a very long way from a wee studio on the Clydeside.”
Are you a musician who tours abroad?
Check out our advice for British musicians and bands who are being offered to perform gigs or tours abroad.
View the MU hub
Studio in focus, the spontaneity of writing a song
While onstage is where the band feel most
at home, Vlure aim to retain that raw emotion and impulsive drive when they enter the studio. Songs are largely written in a small home-based space before being taken to a Glasgow studio to be engineered.
The foundations of the songs are kickstarted by Conor and Carlo on Logic or Ableton. Niall and Alex will then get “stuck into it” explains Conor, who says “it’s where they shine the brightest”. During this process Hamish sits by and writes lyrics, as he finds inspiration as the music is being formed. “While they’re making the music, I’ll be listening,” says Hamish, “and there’ll be a bit that’ll catch my attention and I’ll think, ‘Yep I can get a hook over that’.”
The pursuit of spontaneity is always at the top of the agenda for the band, who are not exactly prone to chin-stroking contemplation. “It’s not like someone writes it on an acoustic guitar and then we play it live into a room. That doesn’t work for us,” says Conor. “We’d just end up jamming for hours. It’s nicer to have a vocal hook, or a synth hook or your topline.” Hamish adds: “If we spend too much time on it we just end up in a rut, in a loop, and the morale goes down. Usually, the best ideas come out when you just scrap an idea and move on and come up with something new. When you take the pressure off.”
At the end of the day music is a form of human communication. If you get too wrapped up in your art and start over-distilling it, you lose that line of communication.
“You can get too wrapped up in the semantics of looking back,” agrees Conor. “‘Could this be more polished? Could you change this chord, this lyric?’. It doesn’t always mean it’s going to be a better piece of music. Sometimes getting down what you have in that moment is the best way to do it. At the end of the day music is a form of human communication. If you get too wrapped up in your art and start over-distilling it, you lose that line of communication.”
It’s a formula that’s working out well for Vlure. Hamish says they’re “forever writing an album”. There are no plans on a release at the moment “but there is new music in the bank, which could be out over the summer”. In the meantime, take a listen to Vlure’s 2022 EP Euphoria to get a taste of what the NME described as “industrial bangers”.
What the MU means to Vlure band members
Vlure's membership of the MU is as important as ever when touring. “When we first got together Conor said, ‘join the MU because you get insurance’,” says Hamish. “One of our pals got their van broken into, so it was a real warning sign when we first started touring,” he explains.
“Obviously, there are a million benefits to being an MU member,” adds Conor. “For example, I keep meaning to get the hearing check. It’s also about being responsible. When we first started doing this we were like, ‘We’re going to do this as a professional career’. There were blinkers on and tunnel vision in that respect and we wanted to set everything up in place to do this as professionally as possible. Being part of a union is super important in that aspect.”