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Interview: Victory Kicks
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Hi, thanks for having me! I always played a lot of music as a kid which I got into at school. Mainly it was Jazz and Classical stuff until I started playing drums as a teenager and got into a lot of the bands I liked through doing covers, sometimes pretty terrible covers, of their songs. I don’t play music full time. My day job is at a university and I fit music around that as much as I can. So if I wasn’t doing music my life probably wouldn’t be all that different, just quieter and without a place full of guitars and amps.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Alongside work, I watch films, read books and travel - I think it’s important to have different interests and different ways of spending your time - songs come out of that. I also spend quite a lot of time repairing guitars.
How long has your band been around?
Victory Kicks has been around since 2013. It began as a home recording project where it was just me playing everything. Since then it’s become a bit more of a collaborative band although I still write and record a lot of the stuff myself.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m based in South London and I’ve been playing shows around the city for a long time and have been influenced by bands I’ve played with and met over the years. But that said, a lot of the bands I love and am heavily influenced by are from the US.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
The name Victory Kicks just came out of some lyrics for a song I was working on. I was looking for a band name and googled Victory Kicks and nothing came up so I figured that would do… I’ve thought of much better names since but it’s a bit late for that. Sorry, that’s a bit of a boring answer - I should probably make up something more interesting.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
The best shows I’ve played were the two or three we played at the start of 2020 just before everything stopped. They were just such fun nights and we had a great time. I’m hoping when shows start up again they’ll be as good. The worst show I ever played was probably in a previous band when nobody showed up and we were basically playing to the sound guy and the bar staff… bit awkward. There are probably others that I’ve blocked from my memory.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
Easily my favourite venue to play at is the Spice of Life in Soho, London - it’s a brilliant place, the atmosphere is always great and so is the sound. Can’t wait to get back there. In terms of places I’d like to play, I’ve never played outside of the UK so really any shows in the US or in Europe I’d love to do regardless of the venue.
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
I’d love to be on the same bill as any of my favourite bands: Spoon, The War on Drugs, Wilco, The National, Death Cab for Cutie, Guided by Voices, British Sea Power… it’s a long shot I know.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
Hmm… I think it would be that making music should be fun. If it’s not fun, something isn’t right.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
How far back are we talking? Maybe, don’t book that show where only the sound guy shows up - it’ll be a tricky night. Or, maybe rethink your third album, it’s not as good as you think it is.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
It’s hard to pick, they’re all so great… kidding. I’m not sure about songs but I think the last album we released is probably the one I like the most and it’s also one I actually go back and listen to sometimes which I don’t really do with the others… not that they’re bad… I’m not good at this.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
There’s an old song called Promising Authors which I think is super fun to play live. I’m not sure whether anyone listening would agree with that. I haven’t got to play any of the new album live yet for obvious reasons but I’m really looking forward to that as most of the songs were written to be played live so there’s a half decent chance they’ll be good.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Most songs I’ll write on guitar and then record simple versions of which I then send to friends of mine who contribute parts. I don’t really demo stuff all that much, most songs just get gradually worked up into finished versions over a month or two of sending them back and forth, thinking and listening and seeing what else they need, what works well and what doesn’t.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I don’t really try to get any particular message across - I like the idea that different people will get different feelings and meanings from a song so I try not to think too much about that when I’m writing. All I try to do is write songs that mean something to me and don’t obviously suck.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Most of the time a disagreement in my band would involve a disagreement with myself so it’s tricky… I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been sacked only to wake up and find myself still in the band.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
Well, we’ve just put a new a single out called Mookie Betts which I’m in the middle of promoting. I’m also putting the finishing touches to the next one which should be out in a couple of month’s time and later in the year, I’m hoping the new album will be out so look out for that. In the meantime, you can find all our stuff on Spotify and if you like what you hear then there’s a fairly big back-catalog to keep you busy. Links to everything are at: https://linktr.ee/victorykicks