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(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #115: Ryan Ellis of The Vryll Society

By on Wednesday, 22nd February 2017 at 1:00 pm

As this year’s SXSW Music Festival rapidly approaches and our preview coverage kicks into high gear, we’re once again excited to bring you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2017 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions. The latest showcasing band to turn in their answers is Liverpool psych-rock five-piece The Vryll Society, who tapped guitarist Ryan Ellis to fill in the blanks. If you need a little background information on the band before diving in to his responses, our own Rebecca recently reviewed The Vryll Society’s new single ‘Sacred Flight’ right back here. Stay tuned also to our roundup of Northern English bands making the trek to SXSW 2017 here on TGTF next week.

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
Space Rock Sorcery?

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
I can’t wait to go and get lost in the night and then eventually find my way into a nice bar with a pool table. Also I’m gonna try some hot sauces, that’s right up my street.

Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
I’m hoping I get to go and see Temples, I’ve seen them once before they’re spot on. I’ve seen Nile Rodgers is doing a talk as well, so I’d love to go and wrap my ears around that.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
I think we’re cool on that topic, the weirdest thing is probably gonna be a pair of shorts with peacock patterns on them.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Oufff, I think it depends on the mood doesn’t it? Potentially a lovely cold beer that I haven’t tried and if I’ve already had a few then definitely a gin and tonic.

(If this will be your first time at SXSW) What have you heard about the festival? Are you excited / anxious / scared / etc. and why?
I’m more excited than nervous, I’ve never been to the States before so overall I’m buzzing about the whole thing. I’ve heard the festival itself is pretty cool, so that’s just a bonus too.

What is your favourite album from the last year, and why?
I think it’d be The Coral – ‘Distance Inbetween’. You know what you’re getting with The Coral; it’s always going to be great isn’t it? Ferocious sounds everywhere, it’s fantastic.

Now, let’s get into our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
I don’t know about actual first memory but I remember very well listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival in the car with my Grandad, coming home after school. I love them now, that’s probably got a big part in why, to be fair.

What was your favourite song as a child?
When I was a child it was probably ‘Here Comes The Sun’ [by The Beatles] or ‘Morning Glory’ [by Oasis]. I used to sing “All your dreams are made when you’re chained to the mirror and a razor blaze”.


What song makes you laugh?
A song that makes me laugh, James Brown – ‘Living In America’. It just reminds of that interview where he’s a bit worse for wear with those fantastic orange shades on.

What song makes you cry?
A song that makes me cry, ‘A Song With No Words’ performed by just David Crosby and Graham Nash. Unbelievable.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
A song that reminds me of falling in love. Ermmm, ‘I Believe In Miracles’ by Hot Chocolate.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
Listening to a lot of artists make me upset, especially when they aren’t here anymore and I won’t get the chance to meet them or see them.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
At the minute it would be ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’ [by Crosby, Stills and Nash].


Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
John Lennon, for now.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I don’t know, maybe something mad like a marine biologist or an astronaut, hopefully.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
I’d bring Jackie Gleason – ‘Music For Lovers Only’, maybe he’d let me bring some more in after that.

Thanks to Ryan of the Vryll Society for his considered replies, and to Matty for his kind assistance.


(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Single Review: The Vryll Society – Sacred Flight

By on Thursday, 9th February 2017 at 12:00 pm

The Vryll Society might just be one of Liverpool’s best-kept psychedelic secrets, although judging by the attention they’ve garnered from the likes of BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, this could be about to change. The band has released a bunch of singles over the past couple of years, including the hypnotic ‘A Perfect Rhythm’ out late last year. With their debut album expected this year, things are likely to change quickly for them in 2017.

‘Sacred Flight’ is the latest single from the band; released in late January, it’s the lead single from their upcoming debut. The tune is a track full of movement that is driven along with lead singer Mike Ellis’ entrancing, laid-back vocals. Ellis reminds me of fellow psychedelic rock lead singer Harry Koisser of Peace. Having just made that comparison however, the track has got something about it that makes it feel exciting and unique. It feels experimental without being too out and feeling inaccessible to someone that isn’t a diehard fan of the psych rock genre. It’s always great to hear music from a band that is trying to do something outside of the mainstream, instead of following in the footsteps of other bands who have made it big.

The song opens with a gently warbling guitar and fluid electronic sounds, before picking up with the introduction of Ellis’ voice and an inundation of synth babbling. Lyrics “please come back / soon come back / I felt the spirit go”, speaks to the transcendental and metaphysical nature of what I imagine the sacred flight to mean: some sort of out of body experience or spiritual journey (“leave this place on a sacred flight”). Ellis describes the track as a “motoric journey into cosmic space jolting atoms of sound from one galaxy to another before finally exploding into a jewel box of guitar frenzied litany”, which probably sums it up better than I ever could!


‘Sacred Flight’ is the latest single from Liverpool psych rock band The Vryll Society, out now on Deltasonic Records. Having previously supporting Blossoms, and appearing a number of festivals in 2016, their live shows are touted to be quite something. The Vryll Society will appear at SXSW 2017 in Austin this March, before returning to the UK for a few dates. Check out their full schedule here.


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