In between the release of a brand new single and gearing up for some awesome festival slots this summer, alt-rock band Vukovi managed to find some time to catch up with us. We chatted to vocalist Janine Shilstone about their debut album, women in rock, and the animal within…
You’ve just released your latest single ‘Animal’ and you say it’s all about being a bit wild – is your animalistic side an important part of Vukovi that you wanted people to see with this single?
We embrace being a bit weird, and slapping some paint on our bodies for the video was right up our street. Our live shows can get a tad wild at times as well and we bloody love it! We’re technically all animals at the end of the day, so fuck it!
What made you choose to release ‘Animal’ as the latest track to represent Vukovi as a band to people who may not have heard you before?
It’s fierce and dark with an ironic, fun element to it. It’s a step up for us in terms of our song writing and I think it grabs the listeners’ attention almost instantly, which is what we want, especially when it’s people that haven’t heard us before.
Your debut album is set for release later this year – what sort of thing can fans expect from your first ever full-length release?
I’d like to describe it as a roller coaster of emotions, musically. What the fuck does that even mean?! Ups and downs, with some surprises thrown in, but all the fun throughout!
What do you want to show on your full-length debut that you feel you’ve been unable to show with previous singles and shorter releases?
We want to portray our journey and progression as a band, and that it’s taken a lot of shit to get to this point but we’ve not even started yet. We want the listener to go away and think, “What are they gonna do next?! I want more!”
You’ve got some great festival slots coming up this year, including Camden Rocks and Download. How excited are you to play those shows?
We’ve got a sweet set planned for these shows and some audience participation. We want people to leave our set and remember it.
Some people may be recently familiar with you from your UK tour with FVK earlier this year. How did you find the experience, playing all over the country in some pretty intimate venues?
FVK were great to tour with, and after having a good couple of tours under our belts it actually felt relatively relaxed and we could enjoy it for a change. FVK’s tour manager sadly passed away shortly after that tour which we were all really cut up about, as he was the one that recommended us to the boys, and a good friend. He is extremely missed by us all but knowing he believed in us only makes what we do more worthwhile.
Has touring with other bands and having exciting festival slots lined up sparked any thoughts about you planning more headline shows across the UK in the future?
I think our next headline after this one will be after the album, which is exciting as it’ll be interesting to see if there’s been any progression in terms of ticket sales around the country, post-album.
It seems as though a lot more bands featuring female members are have been rising through the music industry in the alternative scene over the past few years, yourselves included. From an inside perspective why do you, as a band, think that might be?
That they’re just really good and maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact they’re female? I get that it can be a novelty to some people and I can’t change that, but artists should be judged on their music, not if they’ve got tits or not.
How would you say being a woman working within the alternative music industry differs, if at all, from women on the more commercial, chart-oriented aspect of the music industry?
I think in the commercial side of music it can be over sexualised but I get it- sex sells, I suppose, in ‘pop culture’. With my experience in the alternative side of music I’ve been lucky, and 99% of the time I’ve been treated with respect and praised for my talent and not how revealing my top was at a show. I love being involved in the alternative industry and find the demographic are usually more passionate about the music than the ‘image’.
What do you think the future holds for the ‘women in rock’ debate regarding equality, perspective, exposure, etc.?
I struggle with these questions because I grew up with two brothers and see myself as a man in a woman’s body sometimes! But anyway, the future’s bright! If you’re good enough, you’ll live your dream whether you’re a boy or a girl. Women just need to believe in themselves and when it comes to talent and creativity, there are no boundaries when it comes to gender. There is nothing a man can do in music that a woman can’t.
You can find out more about Vukovi here.