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Interview: VICTORS

Just a couple of weeks after the release of I’ve Been Missing You, Leeds-based VICTORS spoke to Turtle Tempo about the intimacies of being the four-piece known for their incredible streaming success. We chatted to lead singer and guitarist, Harry Waterhouse about childhood pipedreams, finding band members on Gumtree and why he’ll never have an office job. 

So, you released I’ve Been Missing You a couple weeks back! How are people responding to it? Is the reaction what you’ve expected? 

Yeah, it’s been really positive so far – we’re really happy with it! It’s probably our favourite song we’ve written to date. We’ve been maturing quite a lot recently, as a band and as artists, and it’s one of our favourites so we were quite excited to get it out there. 

But yeah, the response has been great, everyone’s loving it. We’ve had some great reviews, write-ups and the streams – it talks for itself really, it’s all gone really well. 

So, classic interview question, how did the band come to be? How did you all meet? 

Well usually with bands, there’s this nice and cool story behind it. But I met our guitarist Simon on Gumtree when we were advertising that we wanted band members. We messaged him because he looked the part and looked like he was good enough – so we met him in a bar in Leeds and talked to him for about two hours about what we wanted and what sort of music we wanted to play. 

We then met our bass player through messaging on Facebook because he’d seen the adverts that we wanted people to play! And we’ve had several drummers in and out who didn’t want to do it anymore. But we’ve finally settled on Leon, our new drummer, who started at the end of last year. 

But yeah, we all met online and we all just wanted to start a band but there wasn’t any kind of romantic story behind it. We just met online which is quite a modern way of doing it. 

Very Rock and Roll! So, you all knew that you wanted to do music from a young age? 

Personally, it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do since I was very, very little. There’s pictures and videos of me since I was like three years old holding a drum or guitar of some sort. I don’t really know what else I’d want to do! 

So, an idea I’ve been floating around recently is the idea of musical influence versus artists influence. So, is there any artist that has influenced you because of their personality, character etc. – rather than their music? 

One big one that springs to mind for me is Frank Ocean. He’s a big hero of mine, musically as well – but I don’t write anything like him. My music doesn’t sound anything like his and it’d be weird if it did. It’s more what he stands for as a black, gay artist in American – it’s more his personality as well as his music that stands out. 

Yeah, I’d say he’s a big one that stands out, I don’t write anything like him but I listen to a lot of his music and he is a big influence on me. Both musically and culturally and what he stands for. 

It’s interesting that you say he influences you musically without sounding the same. I think there’s often a discourse that musical influence must be reflected in having the same sound. 

Yeah absolutely! This is more the storytelling side of it that influences me. Because I write just about all of the lyrics, occasionally the lads give me a line or verse that they’ve written, but just about all of them are just me. Over the last couple of years, we’ve been trying to develop my skills of being able to tell a story rather than sing the same wishy-washy old love stories that you hear all the time. And he’s the one that you listen to and you can see he really tries to paint a picture which is what I’ve tried to bring into my art. 

Would you say that telling a story in your music is your main intention as a musician? 

I try not to just make things up – but sometimes you have to, sometimes you’re just telling a story that you’ve created! But a lot of what I sing about and what I write is based on what has actually happened in my life and about real people I’ve met and had anything to do with. I think it can come across a lot more real if it means something to you personally as well. If I’m singing about something that has actually happened to me, it comes across as more believable. 

Absolutely! So, you mentioned earlier that the band kind of came in dribs and drabs but for you personally and as a band, what would be the thing that shows you’ve made it?

I mean the main thing would be that you just want to play to loads of people. Like that’s the dream – walking out on stage and there’s thousands and thousands of people there to see you! It’s a good question because maybe when you were younger that was the dream but as you get older you realise there’s a lot more to it. 

It’s a lot more business-like most of the time. Basically, being in a band, once you try and make it, does become like running a business as well as the art side of it. It wakes you up to how hard it is and how hard you actually have to work for it. I think nowadays I want it to be my living so I don’t have to work part-time. I mean we all obviously want to be the biggest band in the world and I think if you don’t have that in your head you’re not going to be as good as you can be, I think you need to have in your head that you want to be the best you can be.  But yeah, my dream now is just to be able to live off it – so it’s my income and I don’t have to work, because obviously it is work but it’s something you love. 

You mentioned the business-side of things and I think that’s important to mention in this era of music. So, your song ‘Tonight’ had over a million and a half Spotify Streams which is obviously huge, but for you as a band – there are so many things you have to consider above just streams right? 

Yeah, I mean you hear like ‘Oh they’ve had over a million and a half streams on a song, that’s fantastic!’. And not to take it away from us because we’ve done really well, we’re all really proud and we’re only building from it. But you do realise that it’s not everything! Like if you think back to when you were a little kid, if I knew when I was younger I’d have 1.6 million streams on one song I’d be like ‘Oh my God, I have made it’. But you haven’t! It’s just the start of it. 

Yeah 100%, but it’s still obviously a massive thing! 

Yeah definitely and we’re all so proud of it! Having so many streams and we’re still quite early on in VICTORS so we’re not taking it away from ourselves. You’ve just got to be realistic and see it as something to keep building on. 

So, you’re going to keep building on it and seeing where it goes – but do you ever think you’ll reach a point where you’re like ‘We’ve done what we wanted, let’s call it a day and do something else’? 

Like I said earlier, I can’t imagine – and I never have been able to imagine myself – and I think the boys are the same, we can’t imagine ourselves doing anything else. Whether it’s being in a band, production side of things or even doing PR – just something to do with music. 

I think that I get the most out of playing my own music. Like you could be in a covers band and make money doing weddings and that’s a great way of making a living. But for me, what I get out of it – really is in the creative side of it, writing and expressing myself through it. So yeah, life can get in the way but I can’t see a point where I’d be like ‘Yeah I’ll call it a day’. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Couldn’t imagine being in an office or anything. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do and it’s very hard to see past that. 

So, would you say that the creative side of things are the most rewarding part for you? 

Yeah – just expressing yourself through music and art! Nothing quite like the buzz of being on stage and seeing someone enjoy something that you’ve written. And I love it when people come out after shows – and on social media, when they message you and just talk to you to say how much they love your music! It keeps you going and makes you remember why you do it. Because you can go through stages of the band where maybe things are a bit quiet and you feel a bit down about it but you have that lift and it reminds you exactly why you’re doing it.

I agree! It’s like interacting with fans brings you back down to that level they are where you can see that they are there, they’re listening to you and they care about what you’re doing. 

Yeah and it’s quite easy to forget that, if you’re in a quiet stage. You’re like ‘Oh, nobody cares about us’or ‘Nobody’s listening to us’ and then they message you and they come up you and you realise that there are people there and it really gives you drive and makes you keep going! 

So, last question, what can we expect in the near future? Anything exciting happening over the next few months? 

We’ve got quite a booked-up summer for festivals and little shows! We’re playing a lot throughout July, August and September with some shows in the UK as well. I can’t really say a lot about that because it’s not really announced but we’re looking forward to getting on the road and playing cities we’ve not played before. 

We’ll also be going into the studio to record another single we’ve got ready and that’ll be out in like September time maybe. So yeah, we’re just really looking forward to playing some really great shows and recording some new music really. 

Well, we’re certainly excited for VICTORS promising future and we can’t wait to hear what’s next for them. In the meantime, you can listen to I’VE BEEN MISSING YOU down below and follow the band on their socials: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify to keep up to date with new music and tour dates. 

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