VOWWS Sound Off on the Dreaded '80s Retro Label: “I Fucking Hate Genre Descriptions"

VOWWS is a little tired of some lazy comparisons.
VOWWS is a little tired of some lazy comparisons.
Photo Courtesy of the Band

The sound of Australian-turned-LA-transplants, VOWWS, is a guitar-heavy, strung-out take on industrial music with nods to your favorite '80s goth kings. Thing is, they didn't exactly plan it that way.

“If I go to another DJ night and they play the fucking Cure I'm going to kill myself,” laughs Rizz, one-half of the duo, after being asked about her love of the '80s by one too many music journalists.

“I think when you use the equipment that was made in that era, it's going to sound like a lot of the bands [of that era]. There are certain drum sounds that will always sound '80s, but it's because of the technology. We don't want to sound like those bands, you know? But we do,” she laughs.

“What makes us a little bit different is we don't listen to any of that shit. I think that's what sets us apart slightly from the other bands that are like, ‘Oh my God, I love Depeche Mode!’ And then they write an album and it sounds like Violator and it's like, what's the point? Do something different!’

“I fucking hate genre descriptions and how limiting they are.”

Rizz’s defiance may be due to the fact that, while VOWWS debut album, The Great Sun, has drawn some inescapable parallels to Depeche Mode and others, the '80s electro undertone is one of the lazier comparisons one can make. There are hints of Nine Inch Nails and '90s industrial in the music, and the album even surprises with a cover of Roy Orbison’s “Crying.”

“We're children of the '90s," Rizz says. "Both of us separately, we grew up on grunge, and Nirvana was a big deal. That's what got us both into music, just that kind of angst and passion.”

After playing in different bands together for years, she and her writing partner Matt splintered off to form VOWWS.

“The two of us had really good writing chemistry and we started making music as a two-piece. But you know, you can do anything these days, and we actually fell in love with the programs and drum machines and samplers, and it kind of opened up a whole new world of what you can do and how you can present the show, and you have a lot of control over the sound."

“I fucking hate genre descriptions and how limiting they are.”
“I fucking hate genre descriptions and how limiting they are.”
Photo Courtesy of the Band

VOWWS' foundation as a traditional band still comes into play during the songwriting process. Rizz says she and Matt still write all their music on guitars and keyboards first before running anything through a machine.

Upcoming Events

While the band pushes back somewhat on the '80s niche label, VOWWS has embraced one of the decade's figureheads on the song “Losing Myself in You,” featuring English singer, songwriter, and producer Gary Numan on vocals. The collaboration came about because their ex-manager knew someone who knew Numan’s manager. “So we wrote this song with him in mind and they sent it to him. We don't have any money or anything, but he listened to it and was like, ‘Yeah, I love it. I'll do it.’”

The band went seven months without hearing from Numan again and thought he'd forgotten about the whole thing. “And then Christmas Day we got an email in our inbox and it was Gary Numan’s vocals. It was really cool. He was really gracious and he promoted it. I wish we had a story about us all getting high in the studio and laying down tracks and stuff, but it was all very clinical and [via] email. But to this day it's pretty cool. If nothing happens, that guy thought we were cool. Gary Numan thinks we're cool.”

VOWWS upcoming concert at Gramps will be in celebration of a new print publication emerging in the Miami music scene, Too Much Love. The new monthly is helmed by local music nut (and frequent New Times contributor) Flor Frances. "We wanted a music magazine we'd like to sit down and read ourselves," Frances, who first started Too Much Love as a blog in 2013, tells us. To help celebrate, Frances and company will be handing out 400 free Peroni beers, and she hopes to throw some sort of music event like this with each issue release. Local acts Astari Nite and Virgo will also be joining VOWWS onstage. "We wanted a different approach from what's out there," Frances says, "more like how Rolling Stone was in the '80s or '90s."

VOWWS. 11 p.m. Friday, November 18, at Gramps, 176 NW 24 St., Miami; 305-699-2669; gramps.com. Tickets cost $5 via Eventbrite.com.

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Gramps

176 NW 24th St.
Miami, FL 33127

305-699-2669

www.gramps.com


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