Vamoosery, the groundbreaking female-fronted alt prog rock band from Coventry, UK, have just released their long-anticipated debut album, ’Moving Forward’. Louder Than The Music chatted with Sheridan (Vocals), Joel (Guitarist, Keys, founder, producer) and Kevin (Drums, Percussion, producer) about the album and their plans for the future.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourselves and how you got involved in making music?
[Sheridan] We are a female fronted alt prog rock outfit who has journeying with faith at the heart of its expression. For us, the word "Vamoosery" means to go and rebuild the nations. The band was initially created for a competition and post competing it had a few shifts and changes and ended up with the name and sound we hear today.
[Kevin] We’re based in Coventry, UK and made up of former Nexus-ICA students. We have a unique approach to our sound that isn’t always easy to pin down. There’s catchy pop hooks, soaring guitar solos, lots of drums and energy yet some really soft, heartfelt moments in our music. Some compare us to Evanescence or Paramore (probably because of the powerful female vocals) whilst others enjoy the progressive rock sensibilities in our music. Whatever your taste in music, I think there is a bit for everyone in our sound.
Tell us about your new album 'Moving Forward' and what the inspiration behind it was?
[Sheridan] Moving Forward is an amalgamation of fan favourites and never-before heard songs, various collaborations and a testament of hard work. As an album it represents where we have been and where we are going from here with God at the centre of all of it.
[Joel] It’s the culmination of a long journey. Lots of individuals involved in the process of bringing these songs to where they are. Ultimately we wanted to give the fullest expression we could to songs that mean a lot to us and that we have also seen impact people during live shows. We were very particular in solidifying arrangements, ensuring the lyrics and associated imagery authentically communicated what we wanted, and at every stage of recording/mixing. It's been a real passion project.
Which is your favourite track on the album and why?
[Sheridan] My favourite track would have to be "Moving Forward Part 1: Fire” just for the sheer power of change it represents both musically and metaphorically for us. It was written and finalised when our line up went through some changes and can also ring true for anyone going through a big change in their life.
[Joel] Which is your favourite track on the album and why? Broadly, as a song, I would say "Moving Forward Part 1" - for the same reasons as Sheridan. More specifically in terms of how the songs are represented on the album though I've come to like "Trust in You" a lot. There's a lot of fun ear candy and layers that we added to that one.
[Kevin] I tend to enjoy the songs we haven’t released as singles the most, ha! Overall, it has to be ‘Solid Ground’. This song took on a whole new lease of life in the studio and I have very fond memories adding intricate layers of synths, percussion, and vocals alongside these huge-sounding wall of guitars! There’s a bit everything in this one and it’s super catchy. Absolutely my favourite and yet the hardest one to pull off live.
What message would you like people to take from your music?
[Sheridan] All is not lost. Hope is here. God is in your life. Walk in freedom.
[Kevin] Wherever you are at in life, whatever you have been through, no matter what questions you still have, you are not alone and there is always Hope. As cliché as that might sound, it is 100% true and this album instills that truth through it’s music without ignoring life’s challenges. There is so much strength in choosing to hold onto that hope, getting up, and going again, pressing forward in the midst of your journey, even when every circumstance around us says otherwise. Keep pressing on, keep choosing to move forward into the unknown and keep the faith.
[Joel] There’s a sense of plight in some of the songs, but ultimately a fight and a hope. The theme of the album is "Moving Forward", and so the emphasis is pushing through to a stronger place. I know people have drawn encouragement from that in the past and hope they continue to do so, although ultimately I think art is broader than any single meaning the artist intends. I'm sure these songs can speak to people in ways we maybe hadn't considered, and that shouldn't be discounted.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
[Joel] There are a range of influences across the band which I think gives us a unique flavour, but also makes it hard to pin down. Broadly we define ourselves as progressive rock, but there's elements of pop, metal, and even some electronic stuff. As a guitarist I've drawn a lot from Roine Stolt, Jason Martin, Jimmy Page, Micheal Weiss, and Steve Howe, among others.
[Sheridan]I personally have a variety of influences. Singers like Hayley Williams, Amy Lee, Lacy Mosley, Jessie J and Beyonce to name a few. I also have a dash of musical theatre that has influenced my power with my vocals, whereas Dream Theatre helped me find my rocky side.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
[Kevin] Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters could be a lot of fun. He’s always been a huge influence on me in terms of his songwriting and general love of music. Lots of different favours and approaches but always very much Dave. Martin Smith would also be great. Is not Investigate by ‘Delirious?’ one of the greatest songs ever written? (not to mention Stu G’s guitar solo). His Army of Bones project is also criminally underrated.
[Joel] I'm not sure about a specific songwriter, but there are some engineers/producers I'd like to work with. Rob Aubrey was high on my list but he actually mixed this album! In terms of Vamoosery specifically, I think Richard Mouser would also be really cool to work with.
[Sheridan] Lacey Mosley. Even if it just to find out how she writes lyrics, what she uses for her inspiration and how she puts that into song form.
How would you define success in your career as an artist?
[Sheridan] I find success to be a very vague term. Most people would assume being famous and earning lots of money as success, but if our music can touch a handful of people, or speak to someone who is mentally on the edge of their tether, or help someone to heal from their past and change their lives for the better, then, in my eyes, we are successful.
[Kevin] My answer to this has probably changed a lot over the years. When we started piecing this album together way back towards the end of 2018, I had no idea that the journey we were about to take would have so many twists and turns, tragedies, struggles, pandemics etc. It was like we were living out the very theme of the album in real time. Naturally my perspective has shifted and getting this album over the finish line at times has felt near-impossible. Success for me therefore, in terms of us releasing this album is knowing that I did absolutely everything I could to help put together the best album and release plan we could with what little resource we have. It’s easy to get lost in things like streaming numbers, gig opportunities, income etc but at the end of the day, knowing I did my best to serve this band and the music, and having the opportunity to present that to people, that is success.
[Joel] For me success is making the music I love for people that love to hear it. I think it's better to be authentic and only attract a few, than to compromise on your vision and pull in many.
What is your favourite album of all time?
[Joel] Tough to pick just one! Probably a tie between The Underfall Yard by Big Big Train and Old by Starflyer 59.
[Kevin] Pulse by Pink Floyd is my fav live album of all time. Fav studio album of all time? A tie between the self titled Traveling Wilbury’s album, Master of Puppets by Metallica, and Dark Side of The Moon.
[Sheridan] I'd have to pick "Pretty Odd" by Panic! At the Disco. When it was released, the public had seemingly already positioned the band into a specific genre or scene, but this album just shattered those expectations. It boldly introduced new elements like a twominute country song and tracks with more abstract lyrics, showing that you don't have to conform to expectations in your creative and musical expression, even if you're already perceived in a specific way.
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?
[Sheridan] Gratitude by Brandon Lake. When you've nothing else to give, just throw up your hands and praise the Lord.
[Joel] Any given day the answer could change. Today I'm feeling "Funeral for a Friend/ Love Lies Bleeding" by Elton John.
[Kevin] In Christ Alone by Stuart Townend.
What does the next year hold for you?
[Sheridan] The specifics of next year for me are a bit unknown. I'm a mother to a 2 year old so my focus is very limited. BUT I would love to write more music with Vamoosery, advance in my sewing and release some personal music along the way!
[Kevin] There are so many unknowns on the horizon but that’s ok. It has taken a lot to get to this point of album release and right now I think we are just pleased to have got this far. With that being said, there’s been a bit of a pile up of music projects from those in the Vamoosery camp so I expect you will hear some more individual flavours next after this album. I have a solo project (K.A.B) releasing our first album in just a months time and we are doing a live gig alongside Vamoosery on the 1st December to celebrate the release of both albums which we are really looking forward to. We’re also trying to persuade old members of Vamoosery to join us for a one-off performance as well. Come join us, it’s going to be a fun celebration.