It’s been a good year for Anglo-Swedish band The Villainy, composed of Ted Morris (singer/songwriter), Henrik Palm (guitarist) and Marcus Carter (drums), with their first single, ‘Where The Beaten Go’ released a couple of weeks ago (July 29th through Man On The Moon Records). GIGsoup caught up with the band before their gig at The Troubadour in London.
How did you all meet?
Tom: We formed in 2013, when me and Henrik both lived in Stockholm and we started the band quite secretly. We didn’t really know what to do with it, but me and Marcus had been talking – by chance in a way, we’d been talking about him playing the drums with me when I did some solo work. Then Henrik and I decided to make something of the band, which was actually when we moved separate directions out of Stockholm. We thought, okay we should probably have a drummer. I was like, I know a guy – he doesn’t live here, but neither do we! So we did that.
I read that you got the band name from ‘O Fortuna’ (from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana). What was the inspiration there?
Tom: I’ve always really loved that piece, and it sounds so dramatic. I read about it, and learned that it was a poem written in medieval times by some monks. So when I read the English translation alongside the Latin, there was a line, ‘now through the game I bring my bare back to your villainy’, and I thought that was a pretty cool way to see fortune in that way.. So it derived from there.
How does the songwriting process work when you’re all based in different places?
Henrik: Ted really writes the songs – the lyrics and the melodies, and we take it from there. He’ll play it on the piano, or guitar, and then we fill in the gaps and adjust it. When it comes to how we work in the band, we’re very much in sync – we have understood the sound that’s right for the band, and we like it.
Marcus: More often than not, we’re pretty quick with the basis of a song. It’s not far from the end result, although we do lots of fine tuning on the way.
Do you think that comes from having the same taste in music?
Marcus: No, they hate music. I’m the one who’s listening to it non-stop. The very very latest thing I listened to was the new Bear’s Den album that I listened to on the plane on the way over. But I like everything. Henrik and I both like 80’s pop, so if we’re driving a long way, we end up taking over the radio and it ends up being cheesy 80’s pop taking over.
Tom: Nah, not, not hate. I rarely have time to listen to music – I find it gets in the way of my thinking. When I do have time, I have quite a wide spectrum, Bright Eyes, The National, I’ve been listening a lot to Drive By Truckers recently.
Are you impacted by the new Swedish bands that are coming over?
Marcus: We’re not a typical Swedish sounding band, and what’s going on is quite trendie – everything I hear seems to have cowbell. This is probably the reason we don’t get tha tmuch attendion in Sweden at the moment. We’re more like a classic sound, without trying to sound weird, so we just don’t quite fit in. Here [the UK] has been the place that’s picked up on us.
Tom: Music is a difficult and expensive sport, so we want to put our effort in where we’re listened to. Everything’s a long climb, and it’s frustrating, but we’re really happy to have had our song played on the radio here, and it’s tiny steps, but things are going in the right direction.
Did you enjoy making the video you’ve just released for ‘Where The Beaten Go’?
Henrik: We made it ourselves, and the logistics weren’t in our favour. So we recorded, and we sent files and we filmed. We had a budget of zero and from start, to finish, we did it ourselves. It’s analogue: we’ve fed it through VHS tape to give it that kind of look. I did all the editing, although people filmed in different places.
What’s next? Is it an album?
Tom: We’re album people. I’ve released two albums myself and I love the whole album format. When I listen, I want to listen to a record, an album, all the way through. I can absolutely see when I have some sort of sketch in my head, I know what kind of song it is. This is the second to last song, and it might not end up being so, but I can use that thought to help me write it. There’s a point in having those songs in that order, and those thoughts come up.
Marcus: That’s what we hope. We’re quite realistic in our expectations, so we’re happy with what’s going on right now. To be able to record them properly would be great, it’s the dream, so if the opportunity comes along then that’s absolutely what we want to do. The songs are there.
‘Where The Beaten Go’ is released on July 29th, through Man On The Moon Records.