Scotland, the land of tartan, Scottish Gaelic and a profound rock scene that has stood the test of time and yet ironically appears to be somewhat disconnected from the rest of the UK. As far as we know Scotland voted to remain in the union so we don't know what's going here, but let's not go down that road and instead pop open a bottle of Glenfiddich, cook a haggis and do some highland flinging as all this inertia can happen if Vukovi's Janine Shilstone makes it out of our interrogation, which she did.
Vukovi hail from both sides of Ayrshire (because naming the actual towns would get you all confused, so let's not go there) and are leading the rock revolution up in Scotland. Just like the Loch Ness monster is a fabled story told endless times, Vukovi have their own fabled story and are ready to unleash it on the world. Let the interrogation begin.
"Having that make-up definitely brings out an element of confidence in you as it’s like a disguise"
Vukovi's male members started off in a band called Wolves, but as Janine goes on to explain, not all was well in the camp: "things weren't working with their singer so our old drummer, who I went to school with. messaged me on Facebook asking if I fancied coming along for a jam", this ultimately led her to cement her place in this promising band as she goes on to explain: "I went along and we instantly clicked. Musically and personality-wise as well. We wrote a couple of songs, recorded one of them, and the next thing we knew it was getting played on Radio 1! At that point we thought "maybe we should take this more seriously?", before adding that Vukovi is the Serbian translation for 'wolves'. Perhaps we can call them the wolves of Scotland now?
Speaking of wolves, Vukovi have been challenging convention with their infectious style of rock music that will certainly leave you gasping for air whilst you groove the funk out of you. But Vukovi aren't the only rock band from Scotland to hit that perfect note, with bands like Franz Ferdinand and Primal Scream throughout history stamping their authority on the album charts and becoming the beacons of Scottish rock. But as generations come and go, it's the youth that deserve the most attention for they are the ones to refresh the scene, and so what bands in Scotland are making a name for themselves? Well given Scotland's relatively small size, it's rock scene is in contrast rather big and as Janine explains, Scotland has offered itself to the world of rock:-
"There are so many amazing Scottish bands right now that are showing the world how talented a country Scotland really is, considering its small size. You've got the likes of Fatherson, Model Aeroplanes, Chvrches, La Fontaines, The Van T's, Hector Bizerk, White, and that's just a handful. We’re very proud to call these artists our friends. "
Speaking of offerings, Janine has her sights set on the film industry and she cherishes the idea of having Vukovi offering themselves to making a sensational achievement. She is a James Bond fan and so naturally she wants to write a theme song for one of the eventual forthcoming films in the highly successful and long-living franchises, however she "would also love to have our [Vukovi] music on the upcoming film "Trainspotting 2"", adding that she had grown up watching the first film and listening to the music from it.
However she is less optimistic at the opportunity of entering Eurovision, adding the thought that many British music fans have, that is one of seeing the ESC as very political and somewhat of a joke. Aside from that she feels that "it's a great programme to watch on a Saturday night with your pals while getting drunk"; with the Ukraine winning with a highly controversial song, maybe Janine is on to something, I wonder if she would like the idea of a Rock/Metal-based Eurovision Contest?
Vukovi's latest single 'Animal' is out now and you can watch / listen to it here at their YouTube channel:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1TgTVXEpYQ&feature=youtu.be
So what is the meaning behind the song 'Animal'? Does it carry some sort of personnel connotation or is it about the species of the world (or maybe about party animals)? After all humans are animals, so in an indirect sense it is about the specie of the homo sapiens, but actually as Janine explains, ironically what I just said is not far from the truth:-
"'Animal' is all about karma and the 'animalistic' qualities of it. Once you're on its wanted list there's no escaping it. It's a feisty, energetic and powerful song to us, which I think musically reflects well with the meaning of it. All the lyrics I write are personal to me whether it's about my own experiences or experiences people close to me have had. This song in particular is far too personal to reveal but even if I did it would ruin the mystery of it!"
Make of that what you wish, Vukovi clearly have vision on the table and by connecting with their feelings, they manage to express themselves through the beauty of music and for this song, the artistic nature of make-up. Their tribal make-up used in the video looks remarkably sexy on them all, but at a timely cost and it's because of this, it might only see the light of day at big concerts as Janine went on to tell me:-
"We'd definitely consider doing it on bigger shows as a surprise, and it's well fun. Having that make-up definitely brings out an element of confidence in you as it’s like a disguise. Our friend who's a make-up artist didn't have a lot of time to do it, but she's a trooper and took about 40 minutes per person. Getting it off was amazing! Took about half an hour in the shower though, and another half an hour cleaning the shower!"
Aside from raiding the fancy dress store or buying lots of make-up from Superdrug, Vukovi have taken another bold step on their path to success as they were fortunate enough to be asked to support the vastly popular Nothing But Thieves of whom Vukovi are good friends with, but with this is British rock seeing a renaissance period?
"British Rock never goes out of style but I think right now there are so many good rock acts dominating the music scene, and I think in particular the younger demographic are swaying towards rock bands more so than your electro pop culture which I think is a good thing... Not that I'm biased..."
2016 bodes well with the band as they are ready to set Download Festival alight and record their album, Janine has one last message for those reading this and of course Vukovi fans, friends and families:-
"We love and thank everyone that's got us to this point in our career, whether you're a fan who's come to a show, bought our music, showed us your appreciation, or all of our team that believe in us every day and work just as hard as us. We hope that they feel just as much a part of our journey as we do."
Catch Vukovi live at the following dates.
1 – Leeds, Brudenell Games Room
2 – Birmingham, The Sunflower Lounge
3 – Chester, Live Rooms
4 – London, Camden Rocks Festival
12 – Download Festival
25 – Inverness, Ironworks
26 – Aberdeen, Café Drummonds
Vocals - Janine Shilstone
Guitars - Hamish Reilly
Bass - Jason Trotter
Drums - Colin Irving.
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