After spending the majority of this year cultivating and developing their sound, London-based outfit Volleyball have now delivered their stunning debut single 'Slide'.
Marked as the first of six releases to come, 'Slide' sees them kick things off in stellar style. Channeling a rich and dense psychedelic atmosphere that also marries soaring guitar hooks and breezy vocals, their brilliant new effort cements them as an exciting and captivating group throughout.
So with the new single doing the rounds, we sat down with them to find out more about their background and what has inspired them most over the years.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
Rudi: Nirvana led me down the rabbit hole, I saw ‘Nevermind’ being talked about on TV and knew my parents had it on CD...so after tracking that down, it became a regular sonic guest in the house. My friend at school could play a few riffs - I think ‘Come as you are’ was the first he taught me. Love blossomed soon thereafter.
Hugh: I first started playing the cornet; that carried on for 3 or so years but fell by the wayside when I got into my teenage years. My dad is a great guitarist and always had (and still has) lots of guitars about the house so it was inevitable that I would eventually pick one up and start teaching myself albeit upside down at first as I’m left handed.
Tom: I started playing the piano at 4 teaching myself how to play Fireman Sam by rewinding the VHS and then running to the piano to copy it.
What has been the most prominent inspiration behind your music so far?
Rudi: There was a strong magnetism as a band for wanting to write songs all together. We've all written with various projects before, but as this line-up, we seem to have a real spark.
Thom: Yeah we have a great studio dynamic, it feels like we're all cells in a bigger organism and we all take turns at the helm without stepping on each other's toes. So it's probably that and Bob Mortimer.
What kind of music did you love as a teenager?
Thom: I was into the rock classics via my Dad, and resigned myself to being a rocker till my mate sent me a Squarepusher tune, and after a four hour wait to download it on dial-up over MSN at four in the morning on a school night, it completely blew my mind. After that all sorts, I was playing in jazz, improv, psych and folk bands and listening to early Caribou, Four Tet and Minotaur Shock.
Rudi: I went as far as Rage against the Machine and System of a Down. This slowly developed towards indie of the day - Arctic Monkeys, White Stripes type of thing. Backwards, I found Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin...which took me towards Jefferson Airplane and The Doors. Thom was also really into Sophie Ellis-Bextor's second album 'Shoot from the Hip'.
Hugh: All I did as a teenager was skate, as a result I got all my music from skate videos, ‘Yeah Right’ having the best in my opinion. I remember hooking up my mini-disc player to the TV and recording the songs on it, skate sounds and all!
Tom: For me it was loads of 60’s stuff, Motown, Beatles, pysch etc.
What do you find is the best environment to find inspiration for your music?
Rudi: We write from studios and home setups quite a lot to form initial ideas. Bringing in inspiration from phone recordings from general life and travels has been a really valuable approach for us. Balancing the high-quality audio world with the more imperfect can give great results. Musicians often have access to so many plugins and software instruments, sometimes the process involves processing them to get a level of distortion or degradation back in. I recently watched an interview with Stu from King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard talking about one of their latest releases, ‘Straws in the Wind’ - the main acoustic guitar was recorded via iPhone - sometimes capturing a moment is the most important thing - rather than having the best equipment. Although as I’m writing this, Black Friday looms and the endless equipment hole needs filling - and that is fun to do.
Hugh: At the moment being anywhere new! Or finding a new texture or playing a different instrument.
Tom: When I know I have nothing else to do and I have a clear space/mind. Or sometimes it can just come to me whilst doing something mundane like washing the dishes.
Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?
Thom: I've been revisiting a lot of stuff from two of my mate's projects, Hollow Hand and Clarence Clarity, also really enjoying Mildlife, Zomby and Sylvan Esso.
Rudi: I’ve been getting into Kikagaku Moyo, a Japanese psych band, who have really great jams and have an electric sitarist. Also, another dude called Sunny Colón who I’m just getting into - dreamy textures and melodies which fit perfectly but at the same time- kind of catch you off guard.
Hugh: In these lockdown times I’ve been listening to a lot of Tune-Yards, Kevin Morby, Anderson .Paak & Fontaines D.C.
Tom: Mr. Elevator, Good Morning, The Mattson 2 & Jack Name.
As a band, we regularly update a Spotify playlist called ‘Mindflowers’. Have a listen here if you reallllyyyy want to know.
How many of your songs have you written about people you wish you’d rather forget?
What has been the funniest moment in your career so far?
Rudi: The Last PRS royalty check in the post.
If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?
Rudi: Morgan Delt would be a cool show. Khruangbin on a slightly bigger scale. Love how they can get an arena full of people to sing along with guitar riffs.
Thom: Opening for Connan Mockasin or Infinite Bisous or someone from that crew would be really cool.
If you weren’t a musician, what other path do you think you might have taken?
Thom: I love creative writing and story telling, and when I was young I kind of reached a point where I was trying to write books at the same time as drumming and music. I think I made a subconscious choice to let music win that fight.
Rudi: Tom in the band does a lot of graphic design work, that seems to be the most viable non-music answer amongst all of us. He did our artwork, as well as for some bands we are good friends with - Cheriton and HiFrisco. Hugh had plans to become a balloon artist at one point. We have been diversifying our skill set over the past few years in order to stay sustainable as a band, so anything from photography to making and editing films would be other obvious choices.
And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?
Rudi: Keep going.
Volleyball's debut single 'Slide' is available to stream and download now. Have a listen to it in the player below.