Various Cruelties Various Cruelties…style and substances

Interview: Various Cruelties

Published on September 19th, 2011 | Jonny Abrams

Recent Vaccines and Mumford & Sons support act Various Cruelties release their third single “Chemicals”, another energetic blast of infectious, faintly Motown-y love-pop, on October 3rd – so, to celebrate, Rocksucker caught up with lead singer/songwriter Liam O’Donnell to discuss the band’s recent festival sets and forthcoming debut album…

How did your sets at Isle of Wight and Latitude go?

Isle of Wight was great – we played on the Big Top stage just before Brother and there was a good crowd in there, which was really good. At Latitude, we played on the Huw Stephens stage and that was great as well. There was a really good vibe at both festivals and we were delighted to do them, especially as we’ve only been going for a year. It’s a bit of a learning curve for us.

Looking at your tour dates, it seems you’ve got a bit of a week off before going back on the road. Are you getting much of a chance to relax, or are you having to do loads of promo like this interview?

There’s a fair bit of promo and meetings but I’ve had some time to relax. Hopefully I’ll have a good weekend before going on tour .

“Chemicals”, your new single, sounds great. Exactly what kind of chemicals are we talking here?

(Laughs) It’s kind of about letting someone go and embracing moments in your life, enjoying yourself I guess. Without wanting to sound too mushy, it’s about the forces behind attraction, why we do the things we do and how we all just want to have a good time and enjoy ourselves.

There’s a bit of a Motown vibe to your songs. Was that something you listened to while growing up?

I grew up listening to stuff like Oasis and The Smiths but the first thing I got into playing-wise was The Rolling Stones, which was passed down to me. I guess through that I discovered soul and Motown, Dylan and stuff like that. I think those records have a certain longevity to them – I always wondered why I found it so exciting even though it was recorded before I was born.

How close to completion is an album?

We’ve basically done it, to a certain extent. It’s just being mixed and mastered but we finished recording it about a month ago. It’s still in the process of being improved and whatnot.

Now it’s out of your hands, is it frustrating just waiting for it all to start happening?

It’s only been a month so it’s not too frustrating just yet. All being well, it should be out next year.

Are there any up-and-coming artists you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?

Yeah, there’s a guy from Leeds called Sam Airey who’s had a couple of plays on Radio 1 – I’m a big fan of his. And there’s a French band called M83 who’ve got a new album coming out [Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming on October 18th]. They’ve done a couple of records but I really like the new stuff I’ve heard of theirs. It’s sort of psychedelic electro-pop.

Finally, if I asked you right now to name your top three albums of all time, off the top of your head, which would you pick?

The Rolling Stones – Let it Bleed, The Streets – Original Pirate Material and The Strokes – Is This It.

Liam, thank you.

Click here to read about Liam’s love of Leeds United FC.

Various Cruelties release “Chemicals” on Monday 3rd October 2011 through Hideout Recordings. For more information, please visit

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About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.

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