If you’ve been waiting a while for a new band that has that kinda….. you know that sort of ‘beautiful filth’ in their sound to come knockin’, Dublin duo Vulpynes have essentially just kicked your door in, stormed through your front room, smashed your TV, taken your best booze and left through the back door.Simplistic but well-crafted songs with a real strength behind their sound, vocalist Maeve sings with more intelligence than all out angst, sounding like she’s more likely kill you slowly over a carefully planned fortnight than beat you to death with a club.Backed by Kaz’s drums that suggests she could easily do the latter, they’re fast becoming a force to be reckoned with.So for those who aren’t yet familiar, get used to these two….
Who are Vulpynes and how did you become a band?
We are Kaz on Drums and Maeve-Molly on vocals and guitar. We’ve been a gigging band for just under 2 years. We met on a musician’s message board when we were both looking for like- minded musicians to play with. Lots of people assume we’ve known each other for years but in fact only became friends when Vulpynes was born. Now we are a serious unit!
Who are your main influences?
Maeve: Some of my main influences would be Patti Smith, L7, The Cramps, Black Flag, Nirvana, Mark Lanegan, Brody Dalle, Joy Division. Whenever I’m asked that question I always feel like I’m missing loads of artists because I listen to so much music from different genres. I’m partial to a bit of Enya and Darkthrone too.
Kaz: For me, it would be a lot of 90’s grunge era. We always had Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Hole, Nirvana constantly playing in the house by my older siblings. Early Manic Street Preachers would also be a huge influence for me. NIN, Marilyn Manson…the list goes on!
How did you choose your instruments?
Maeve: I played guitar from a very young age, my Dad taught me when I was a kid. I’m not sure how I started singing to be perfectly honest, it just happened. I was always told I have a loud voice and decided to utilise it, haha.
Kaz: I can play a basic amount of guitar, bass, piano etc, all from growing up with these instruments always around the house. But I have my sister Lynn to thank for the drums! She used to come home from her drum lessons and teach me some drum rudiments, which I loved learning. I used to get her drums ready for her gigs, all packed up at the door, while she was at work. She brought home a drum kit, and then that was it! I continued to pick it up and drop it then for years, but only got serious about it in the last few years I’d say.
Describe your sound for us in one word
Did you find that sound easily or did you take time developing it?
Maeve: We didn’t discuss what our sound was going to be, we just started playing together and both really liked how it sounded and went with it. It was very organic and still is. I think the sound came to us! The one thing I have worked on a lot is my guitar tone. At the very start I only used a tuner pedal and would plug into whatever amp was there. I don’t think I could do that now because the songs wouldn’t sound the same, so that’s one aspect that has developed and I still treat it like a work in progress!
Kaz: Agree with Maeve. Our sound pretty much found us! Was weird but very cool and natural for us and It comes easy to us, we’ve never tried to sound a particular way, what comes out comes out!
Do you have a process to your songwriting?
Maeve: The songwriting process is always painless and quite magical! Often I would have an incomplete song with guitar parts with lyrics, then I bring it to the rehearsal room and Kaz adds her magic and we’d structure it out until it’s a song. Sometimes I’ll have a full song with lyrics written but it isn’t a Vulpynes track until it has Kaz’s drums on it. We’re lucky it’s just the two of us, we can finish new songs very quickly.
Kaz: We’re very lucky! We click musically so well. Maeve will usually have a riff she’s been toying with for a while, and we can kinda tell where the other one is going with an idea very quickly because we read each other musically so easily. If she doesn’t have lyrics written already, she’ll have ideas of lyrics straight away from the structure we’ve created and she’ll go work on them and they’ll be ready for the next rehearsal! With just the two of us in the band, it’s done and dusted quite quickly.
Maeve, your song O.C.D. is about your obsession with the number 3…. but you’re in a 2-piece band!? Doesn’t that mess with your O.C.D.!?
Maeve: You might think there are only 2 members in the band but there are actually 3! The third member is Mother Vulpyne, our silent member who manages all our affairs and makes sure that 9/10 everything goes according to plan. She really has our backs! So that’s the OCD taken care of in that regard.
Tell us about your best and worst gig experiences so far
Maeve: Some highlight gigs for me would be playing with The SoapGirls last year here in Dublin, the atmosphere was electric and they were lovely people. We love playing the UK whenever we can get over, the Loud Women gig we played in the Bird’s Nest last November was great, we met lots of nice people that had travelled to see us after which was a lovely feeling. One dodgy gig that sticks out in my mind was when the sound engineer was super hammered, he was tanking pints all night. He put a mental phaser/delay effect on my vocals that made me sound like I was singing through a broken vocoder, kind of like Cher on crack with loads of feedback. I remember thinking ah it’s probably alright, it probably just sounds mental in my monitor, but when I saw some of the confused faces in the crowd, I knew they could hear it too. Laugh or cry the choice is yours haha.
Kaz: Hahaha. Luckily there are more gig highlights than gigs where you want the ground to swallow you up!! There are venues I love to play here in Ireland, Fibber Magees and Sin E and Drop Dead Twice are some I like! But there is often gigs with no monitor for me where I have to lip read Maeve from the side, or just pray she’s playing the same song parts as I am! This is where rehearsals come into play big time, and you just have to get on with the show! All part and parcel of the gigging experience! And it’s good to learn something new from every single gig we play.
Do you share musical tastes and are there any bands or artists who you argue over?
Maeve: Ah yes there are lots we agree on, certainly from the 90s era. For example we have a mutual love of Alice in Chains, Hole and Soundgarden. We don’t argue over the bands we don’t agree on. I do know that I like the White Stripes and Kaz doesn’t and she likes Slipknot and I don’t, but we respect our different tastes. DON’T WE KAZ!!!??? ☺
Kaz: Exactly Maeve! Hehe. We meet somewhere in the middle with our love of music!
If you could add a third musician to the band and it could be anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Maeve: That’s a tough question, we’re always being asked if we’re looking for a bassist or another member to join the band and the answer is always no. So I’m going to take this opportunity to be super stubborn and say no, no one is joining the band, even if they are dead.
Kaz: Woah good question. But I agree with Maeve. The answer is NO!
There seems to be a powerful onslaught of female musicians taking place in punk and alternative music right now. Do you think it’s positive to highlight this as a show of support or wrong that it’s even highlighted, as your music should take priority over gender?
Maeve: It depends on how it is highlighted. You’re not empowering a musician if you’re using their gender as a selling point. Personally I’d rather hear and read about what type of music an artist makes, not what gender they are. We’ve been described as a ‘girl band’ more than once and it made us feel very uncomfortable. Are people going to expect a Spice Girls tribute act? It is positive to champion female talent but there’s a tasteful way to do it, which we need to see a lot more of.
Kaz: We are musicians, who happen to be female. Just the same as there as musicians, who happen to be male. There is enough room for everyone. And music is for everyone.
Have you encountered any sexism within the industry and do you think we still have a long way to go in that respect?
Maeve: I don’t think there is anyone who hasn’t experienced sexism at one point in their life, so the answer is yes. The way I see it is, if someone wants to lower themselves by making a sexist remark, they’re revealing themselves to be rather vacuous, so I do my best to avoid those type of people. The best approach is a cold hard stare, then write a song about them. A ‘female fronted’ anthem, haha. The other side of it is, we’ve had some incredible support from male and female promoters and musicians. The good outweighs the bad. The The SoapGirls gig I mentioned earlier was promoted by Peter Jones from Paranoid Visions and he specifically said he did not want to draw attention to the fact all bands playing on the night were female fronted, it was organic. More of that please.
Kaz: We’ve experienced a bit for sure. Nothing too mad. But we’ve had far more positive support from both males and females than put downs.
Are there any bands that you think are really killing it at the moment on the UK scene in particular?
Maeve: Oh wow, yes. Lots of fantastic bands in the UK right now. Guttfull, Kiss me Killer, The Blue Carpet Band, Grade2, Healthy Junkies to name a few.
What would you consider to be your ultimate goal with the band?
Maeve: My ultimate goal is to tour with the band full time, wouldn’t that be nice. All I want to do is play live, all the time. Forever. Thanks ☺
Kaz: Echo everything Maeve said there! ☺
Tell us the future of Vulpynes!
Maeve: 2018 is our busiest year yet and we’re loving it. We’re heading to the UK in May to play some cities we’ve never played before, Derby, Nottingham, Brisol and Kent. Then we are heading to Rebellion Festival and Outcider Festival in August. Playing Rebellion Festival is a huge highlight for us, the second we had a set together I thought right, I want to play Rebellion! We have some German dates booked for the end of the year too, and lots of other whopper gigs in between. We recently signed to Headcheck Records and we’ve had the most positive experience working with them. Mark is a legend and it really helps to have that support behind you. Our debut EP is out now and available from Headcheck Records’s website!