It’s not supposed to sound pretty. Richmond band VV’s shambolic no-wave performances have made a mark on the local DIY scene this year.
The band’s raw, anarchic intensity takes more from 80s punk outsiders like Flipper, Stick Men With Ray Guns, and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks than anything in current scene. Those influences may be more incidental than intentional, however.
VV’s rudimentary punk noise is partly a result of their inexperience. Guitarist Kelsey Hulvey and drummer Rachel Harper picked up their instruments only a few months before starting the band.
“I knew a couple basic things, like how to make a power chord and what my strings should be tuned to,” Hulvey said.
The band’s musical limitations haven’t held them back though; if anything, those barriers have made for more interesting, idiosyncratic songwriting. Their primitive style stands in stark contrast to the polished and well-rehearsed songwriting that dominates Richmond’s punk scene.
“We’re not trying to adhere to anything or sound like anything in particular,” Hulvey said. “We’re starting with a blank canvas every time we write a song.”
According to the band, they construct their songs around a lyrical fragment or idea, and work on the music and lyrics collaboratively. It can be an exhaustive process, but the autonomy that it provides is worth the effort — and keeps them from falling into a formulaic rut.
“An important part of our band is doing what we want and carving out our own space,” Hulvey said. “I don’t care how other people receive it. It’s important that we’re creating something that we like, that’s important to us.”
VV will be performing live on WRIR 97.3 next Thursday at 5 p.m.
Music Sponsored By Graduate Richmond