VVOES is a Fort Worth based band made up of lead vocalist/guitarist Elijah Wichryk, lead guitarist Rene Floyd, drummer Ricky Williford and bass player Tyler Moore. The band started as kind of a joke band called ill smiths, but when people started taking them seriously and then expecting them to play sets of Smiths covers, they decided to go with a proper name. Anyways, their debut EP drops soon, and they’re playing around town pretty regularly, so get out and say hi to them. The guys sat down for the usual questions and this is how it went down.
Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?
RW: I used to sing with my mom all the time, but by the time I was in Junior High, it was decided.
RF: I started playing guitar because I broke my finger and needed an outlet for my boredom. I was also a band nerd. I played trombone and was a drum major. I have learned that no matter what I do – I will always play music. I found that out about 5 years ago.
EW: I played around on piano and keyboards as a kid and got my first guitar at age 16. Music is my drug and I want to be in and around it until I’m dead.
TM: I started by playing upright bass in jazz band in high school. Once I had gone on my first tour I was hooked and immediately knew I would always play music in some aspect for the rest of my life.
Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?
RW: Uhhh, dreamy Cheap Trick?
RF: We are calling it scuzz-pop or surf-gaze. It’s shoegaze inspired pop.
EW: Happy melodies with sad lyrics, with the reverb on 10.
TM: “Yes sir, you in the back. What’s that? You said you like being sad and listening to bands from 25 years ago? Well, this song’s for you.”
Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?
RW: Nirvana and the Melvins. Something about those bands always stuck with me. Best drummers of my generation.
RF: Nirvana is the reason I play guitar. My influences are wide ranging, but for this project, I like to listen to Wavves, Best Coast, and My Bloody Valentine for inspiration.
EW: the Smiths, the National, Beach House, Vivian Girls, Tame Impala, Stax Records.
TM: Joe Lally for showing how to not overplay. Dave Brubeck’s arrangements. Paul Westerberg’s songs about other musicians, for a good dose of awareness as a musician. Peter Hook’s chops and melody. Mike Watt’s vision.
Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?
RW: I really like “Arsonist of Hearts”. Has all the elements of a pop song, without coming off as corny.
RF: I really like when we play “Who Do You Know” Besides being a great song, it’s chill enough for us to listen to one another and create a nice dreamy soundscape.
EW: They are all personal in some way, but I like lyrics that are vague and open enough to apply to different situations. My favorites to play will depend on how I’m feeling at any given moment. “Who Do You Know” always feels good. I’m most into two new ones that we haven’t recorded yet.
TM: “Arsonist of Hearts”, ’cause it’s real fun to play.
Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?
RW: Thin Lizzy. No explanation necessary.
RF: Probably Nirvana – We may not have been an even match, but I was too young to attend a Nirvana show when they were playing.
EW: Tame Impala, the National, Alvvays, BRONCHO, the Smiths
TM: Cheap Trick, Richard Pryor, Harry Houdini triple bill. You like showbiz, right? Well, you got three generations in one night at the Staples Center right there, buddy.
Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?
RW: UMO is pretty new to me, and sick as hell. I wouldn’t call teenagesexxx local, but these boys from Waco are killin it.
RF: Whitney out of the Chicago area is my new favorite band. Local – Pearl Earl
EW: I’ve mostly been listening to a bunch of trap, rap and slow/dark/hazy electronic, and then favorites that aren’t new, but Spooky Black, Girls’ Names, Dawn Golden are a few.
TM: Protomartyr is going to be huge. My dudes in Pujol from Nashville are great. My buddies Andy Pickett and Jake Paleschic from the neighborhood both have just come out with superb new records.
Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?
RW: QOTSA’s Songs for the Deaf
RF: Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm
EW: I’m bad at decisions… The National’s High Violet
TM: Miles Davis’ Bitches’ Brew
Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?
RW: The way bands really support one another. It’s a network of really good hearted individuals.
RF: Favorite: the fact that any given night you can see world class bands without really trying. Fort Worth has some of the best bands around and hardly anyone knows. Least Favorite: Fort Worth has some of the best bands around hardly anyone knows. (Editor’s Note: I see what you did there.)
EW: I focus on the positives. The good energy and encouragement from local musicians and that there are so many venues to play at. There’s no hate in my blood.
TM: Favs: my friends. Least favorite: my friends
Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?
RW: Really stoked about the Under Where. It’s the sequel to the Wherehouse that touched all of our hearts the last couple years.
RF: Doublewide – Yoohoo Yeehaw
EW: I’m still bad at decisions… I’ve seen so many great shows at Trees and Three Links. 1912 in Ft Worth because it feels like being in a Nicolas Winding Refn movie. The Boiled Owl, because it feels like home.
TM: Three Links Deep Ellum. Best staff, best sound.
Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?
RW: Teenagesexxx and the Loafers have new albums out on Dreamylife! As well as Andy Pickett! Damn fine music.
RF: If you are into the blues, catch John Zaskoda whenever you can. He’s one of the best guitar players I have ever seen. I also really like Sealion, War Party, and Pearl Earl.
EW: Field Guide rules. I really feel Honor System, War Party and Rat Rios too. Pageantry is moving into a new level, definitely catch them if you can.
TM: Loafers and Teenage Sexx. Both Waco ex-patriates. I’m still bummed they moved to Dallas and not Fort Worth.
Me: And for shits and giggle, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?
RW: I haven’t seen any of the Star Wars movies.
RF: I lived in Alaska for 4 years.
EW: I just learned something about Rene. Thanks, Asa’s Records! I lived in Japan for 4 years. Ante up.
TM: I can’t stop watching Air Disasters on Netflix.
Much thanks to VVOES for taking the time. You can catch them laying down grooves for all your chilling needs around town. Their new EP will be available soon, but for now, here’s some of their demo tracks from their time under the ill smiths moniker.