CC: How did The Virginmarys start out?
Matt: It started for me when I met Ally outside the pub having a smoke. We started to talk about our bands and then he said they needed a bass player. I’d never played bass in a band before, but as I had a couple of beers, I was well up for the challenge! After that, we met up for a jam (where I was a little less confident!) and here we are. We all kind of new each other from playing in bands around town and from me working in a bar in Macc. I had also recently shared a taxi back from Manchester with Danny after being out with a mate that I don’t think either of us realised we both knew!
Ally: Can’t say it better than that!
Danny: Haha. Oh yeah forgot about that shared taxi!…I think I paid for it and all?! Me and Ally had been playing in and around bands for a few years before this, but yeah nothing to add to Matty’s version of events. That’s how it happened:)
CC: What has been your favorite moment being a part of this band?
Matt: I think for me seeing the response of people to the music we make, and also I feel very lucky to have visited some of the places and countries that we have.
Ally: Definitely making the fans and seeing people affected so much by what you’ve created and performed. It really feels like being part of something. The fans we’ve picked up are unbelievable, it’s like an army and a family at the same time. Along with this, playing music with my best mates and travelling the world takes some beating.
Danny: Slash wearing one of our t-shirts in Manchester and being told I shouldn’t hit the drums as hard as I do by the stage manager at T in the park. haha:)
CC: Who are some of your early, and more recent, influences?
Matt: I think the people that influence me the most are my family and friends.
Ally: Neil Young was a very early influence to me as well as The Beatles. I listen to a lot of hip-hop for delivery and lyrical content, as it seems more relevant to what’s happening in the world….the good shit anyway. The likes of Run the Jewels, Oddisee, Pharoahe Monch. I’m really looking forward to PJ Harvey’s new album also, she’s amazing and Let England Shake was incredible.
Danny: The Beatles, The Who, and Led Zeppelin. More recently, anything with Josh Homme or Jack White in it:)
CC: Your new release, Divides, is out in early May, how excited are you to be putting out your second album?
Matt: Yeah, well excited! I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. If the response to the whole album is half as good as it’s been towards the two songs we’ve put out then we’ve clearly done something right!
Ally: Really excited, it’s the best work we’ve done and I don’t think you’re going to hear another album like this come out anytime soon.
Danny: So much work went into this record from all of us and working with Gil Norton was just amazing. As Ally says, ‘It’s the best thing we’ve ever done.’:)
CC: How does it differ from your first album release?
Matt: I think you can hear a growth musically and lyrically too. I think we were all conscious about not making a King of Conflict II and definitely think we’ve achieved this. I’d say there’s plenty to please the old fans and to welcome in the old fans too.
Ally: The whole thing is far more direct and cuts through a lot more. The lyrical content is different and the band as a whole is better. I really love our debut album and it’s not to say we won’t revisit some more of that vibe in the future, but this is a different album with far more of an edge to me.
Danny: I think it’s more alternative and punk inspired to the last one. It’s definitely, and always will be, a rock record, but there’s a lot more light and shade I would say. We wanted it to be a rollercoaster-ride rather than a roundabout-ride:)
CC: Will the sound be similar to the first two singles you released? “Into Dust” and “Motherless Land”
Matt: I reckon that they give you taste of what’s to come, yeah. I guess if you had an amalgamation of the two then you’d start to get a taste of what the album sounds like overall. There’s loads going on on this album. I’d say fans will know what I mean when they hear it. It’s a big journey from start to finish.
Danny: Actually, I would say “Into Dust” and “Motherless Land” are kind of on complete ends of the spectrum. So in a way, they are actually really good representations of what’s to come:)
CC: You recently ended your tour with Shinedown in the US, how was that?
Matt: Aye, it was great. The guys were incredible to us and we got an amazing response to the crowds that were there. It’s always a tricky one being a support act, especially to a big band like Shinedown, as their fans are super loyal and dedicated. That’s also part of the fun. It makes you play your best and then a little bit more as you know you’ve got to really work hard to win them over. We obviously didn’t win them all over, but we definitely made our fair share of new fans.
Ally: It was incredible, the guys were really cool and welcoming to us and there really wasn’t a gig that wasn’t great. They have really ace fans!
Danny: Honestly I think it was the best support tour we’ve ever been on. The crowd response was just unbelievable every single night and the Shinedown guys, from band to crew, were so welcoming and great to us:)
CC: What is the reception to new fans and those hearing you for the first time?
Matt: It’s been really positive. And what makes that even more exciting is that, for a lot of them, it’s based on the new songs we’ve put out.
Ally: It’s always really cool, some question what it is, like they’ve stumbled on a new genre. A lot of new fans say they’ve been waiting for a band to come along like us for years which is incredible.
Danny: Our show is always straight up in your face, high energy, rock ‘n’ roll, and I think anyone who goes to a rock show wants to see and feed off it. It’s always amazing to see the reaction of people the first time they see us. It’s normally in total shock:)
CC: Besides the new album, what does the rest of 2016 hold for The Virginmarys?
Matt: I guess festivals and touring. Just really promoting the new album as much as we can.
Danny: TouringTouringTouringTouringTouringTouringTouringTouring……and then more Touring:)
CC: Anything else?
Matt: As always, want to thank our fans for all their support and dedication…and definitely their patience!
Ally: Exactly what Matt says, it’s all about the fans!!
Danny: Couldn’t have said it better than Matty:)…..
Answers by Ally Dickaty (guitarist and vocalist), Danny Dolan (drummer), and Matt Rose (bassist and vocalist)
Interview and post by Corey Kleinsasser
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