Formed just over a year ago, UK melodic hardcore/screamo newcomers Vales have achieved a hell of a lot - having already released an EP, toured internationally, signed to 6131 Records, and with the band touring and recording in the US next year, their success doesn't appear to be grinding to a halt. Punknews interview Faye Turnbull caught up with the band ahead of their set at Hevy Fest in Kent, where they got talking about their accomplishments, a recent lawsuit which forced them to change their name and being part of the emerging 'UK swell' scene.
For those who arenât familiar, can you give me a rundown of Vales? Chlo [vocals]: We started in February last year and just kind of started touring, weâve played over 100 shows now. I donât really know what we are, screamo/melodic hardcore, I guess.
Ben [guitar]: We just wanted to play some sweet music without any preconceived ideas of what we were going to do.
Youâve recently had to change your name from "Veils" to "Vales", can you tell me the story behind that? Chlo: Thereâs a band called "The Veils" that are technically more well-known and established than us - theyâve been a band 10-years and recorded loads of albums - theyâve got a "The" before their name, we didnât think it would be a problem.
Nathan [bass]: We had been a band for a couple of months and I saw one of their CDs at the library, and we didnât really think about it, since we were a little band touring around England.
Chlo: We got an email from their manager threatening legal action if we didnât change our name, and weâve got no money, so we just had to suck it up.
Have there been any major ramifications of changing your name, like reprinting records/merch, etc? Has it cost you anything? Chlo: It hasnât cost us money; itâs just cost us a bit of time. Our record came out two months late, because we had to get our artwork changed and everything like that, so that was a bit annoying, but everythingâs changed now.
Youâve just signed to 6131 Records, which is a pretty big deal for a UK band. How did that come about? Chlo: They emailed us saying they were really stoked on what we were doing. We had a few Skype calls with them and they were genuinely excited about our band, and you could tell they really wanted to help us. It was really exciting.
You havenât been a band for very long, yet youâve achieved loads in that timeframe. What have been your highlights thus far? Nathan: Touring Europe with The Long Haul.
Chlo: Maida Vale was amazing and we got to play one of Unbrokenâs last ever shows. Weâve just had such a good time.
Nathan: The highlight is probably every single person weâve met, like weâve made so many friends.
You see bands all the time that just keep going for years and years, still stuck in the same position and donât really seem to progress. What do you thinkâs drove you to achieve all of this in such a short time? Ben: Itâs just hard work; weâre constantly on tour. We live in Cornwall, which is so far away, so we have to make a bit of an effort just to get anywhere. Weâve never been able to play one-off shows, like in London or Southampton. We always have to make a weekender or a tour out of something, because of the distance, so pretty much everything weâve done has been a weekender or a tour.
Thatâs what I was going to mention, you donât hear about many tours or shows hitting Cornwall. Chlo: Yeah, itâs not easy down there. You donât get your big bands like your Defeaters anywhere near us, so we really have had to get out there and make our own name for ourselves. Instead of jumping on big shows and stuff, weâve just had to get out there and go touring on our own, but itâs been cool, because weâve met loads of people.
Iâve found that a lot of female-fronted bands are usually known as, "Oh, that band with the girl singer," but with Vales, I haven't came across that. Chlo: Yeah, itâs cool. The only times Iâve ever heard it mentioned, itâs always been in a positive light, like from girls saying itâs really cool. For me, itâs no different. I just feel like a guy, really. [laughs] I donât feel any different.
Ollie [drums]: We never think it until someone says it.
Nathan: Yeah, it always feels really weird when someone describes us as a female fronted band.
With a lot of female vocalists in hardcore, a lot of their voices are screechy, but your voice is so powerful and beastly, how did you find out you could project such a mammoth vocal? Chlo: I donât know, really. All of the inspirational people who I look up to are like Greg from Dillinger Escape Plan and Jake Bannon from Converge, and their voices are hench as fuck. I donât copy them, because I sound nothing like them, but Iâve never looked at female vocalists.
You just released the Clarity EP this year, are you writing anything else at the minute? Chlo: Yeah, weâre going to be recording our new record in LA, which sounds insane when you say it and tour America for four weeks. Thatâs sort of the plan, but at the moment, weâve literally got nothing booked until next year, so weâre just getting on writing it, which is really alien to us, because all weâve done is toured, so itâs strange.
Nathan: Clarity just sort of happened, we didnât really just sit down and say, "Right, weâve got to write a record." The songs were just written, but this is something weâve got to do now. Weâre releasing an album with a record label and itâs a bit strange to us.
Thereâs definitely a lot of melodic hardcore vibes to your music, which isnât all that common any more, will you be continuing on with that sound? Chlo: Yeah, weâve never really wanted to be a certain genre. Like weâre writing at the moment, and the things that are coming out are still us, but itâs definitely a progression.
Ollie: Every band progresses, not like change their style of music, but just get better as musicians. Weâll change, which will always be for the better and not to fit with a style of music. Weâre writing for us.
Youâre part of this emerging and growing scene in the UK, which some refer to it as the âUK Swellâ, can you explain what it is? Chlo: Itâs literally just a group of friends, we donât see it as anything else. Itâs just a group of people. Itâs just the Tangled Talk and Holy Roar bands, bands weâve ended up on tour with.
Are there any bands you'd like to spread the word about before we finish? Chlo: The Long Haul, definitely. Theyâre an incredible band. Hospitals, amazing melodic hardcore. Single Mothers, theyâre amazing.
You mentioned a US tour before, so what's next for Vales? Chlo: America will be the beginning of next year and then weâll come back around the release of the record to do a UK and European tour, and then back out to America later on in the year, but weâre not touring the UK until next year. It feels really strange.