In this edition of “Bleached Meets” I had the opportunity to speak with upcoming Indie artist: Vraell. Based in the UK, the singer-songwriter is gradually gaining attention for his Indie Folk & R&B sound, displayed on both his singles “Fall” and “Gain”. In today’s interview, we got the chance to discuss the inspiration behind both singles, his take on writing lyrics, and much more!
Before we begin, would you like to introduce yourself?
A: Hey! I’m Vraell and I am a musician and producer currently based in Leeds, England.
Before we talk about your recent debut, I would like to discuss what influenced you to do music. Who were some of the artists (or genres) you grew up listening to?
A: I remember listening to a lot of Smashing Pumpkins and Coldplay when I was very young – but there was always some folk and soul in there as well – Otis Redding, Nick Drake. Those were my earliest memories of music I grew up with. Once I started learning classical guitar I started to gravitate towards more guitar based music, and then during secondary school I started to listen to a lot of Jose Gonzales and Ben Howard. I think that started to influence me more, and so by the time I had left school I had moved past playing strictly classical and wanted to start writing my own pieces/songs.
Your sound has been described as a mix between R&B and Indie-Folk; would consider this an accurate description? How would YOU describe your sound?
A: I don’t know really, I heard someone the other day say that it was chillwave folk, but Indie-Folk probably makes more sense. I listened to a lot of Bon Iver and M83, and I like creating similar dark atmospheres and pads that sit under my guitar textures. In the last year or so though I’ve been really into Rhye and Novo Amor, so I feel like my sound has developed over a very long time of absorbing different elements of my influences. The most enjoyable process for me is creating atmospheres that propel a song, and RY X is another artist I love who does that really well.
“It is important for me to have lyrics that have meaning and purpose.”
Although you only have 2 songs out, your lyricial abilities have been complimented by musical platforms like Hillydilly. When you decided to be a musician, how important was it for you to be able to write meaningful lyrics? Up to this point, what has been your source(s) of inspiration?
A: I wasn’t really a lyricist until recently actually! I mainly wrote instrumentals for people and ambient film soundtracks – and I still do. But since starting to write songs, I now appreciate good lyricists way more than I did before.
It is important for me to have lyrics that have meaning and purpose, but also allow enough space for interpretation by hiding some of it behind different types of imagery. Because I’ve always lived in cities, I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy as a sort of escapism from the busyness of my environment – I draw a lot on the otherworldly atmospheres that those stories create with their use of language, so that influences my lyrics hugely. As for artists, IDER and RY X have been real inspirations – I think they are some of the best songwriters about at the moment.
“I think it is important to surround yourself with people who are honest with you and will push you”
Let’s talk about your debut! You released your first song, “Fall” in November; how has the reception been so far?
A: The reception’s been great, but to be honest I’m genuinely surprised that it got any attention at all! I was just experimenting with some sounds as a little side project which ended up coming together as ‘Fall’. I decided to put it out on Soundcloud just for the sake of it, then out of nowhere HillyDilly found it, and it’s all been gradually developing from there.
For those who have yet to hear it, can you briefly explain what the song is about?
A: It’s about quite a dark time in my life with someone who was very toxic to me, and the song is about that internal conflict that is always resonating within you: The struggle of wanting to leave them and embrace a necessary period of solitude without them, but also being scared of what’s on the other side of the loneliness.
I think the song for me embodies the idea of being alone as a scary but necessary thing sometimes, and that we shouldn’t shy away from it because often solitude is an important part of personal growth. I want people to listen to this whilst they’re hiking or going on long walks, because for me at least that’s when I would be at my most introspective.
Can you remember the process of creating this song; and do you remember how you felt listening to the completed version for the first time? How did you feel knowing that this would be the first song people discovered you from?
A: Listening back to it I feel it’s a glimpse into how I felt at the time of conception. It’s a very vulnerable song but I didn’t fully understand it until people started to listen to it and say how it made them feel.
Do you think the release of “Fall” was more nerve-wracking than the latest release of “Grain” or were you just as nervous/excited?
A: Not as much, because I didn’t know where the project was initially going to go. I guess the obvious nerves come into play when you start wondering how the second release compares to the first, and whether people will like the next song as much as they did the last.
“ I want to make music that allows people to take a second to breathe and delve into themselves”
Can you briefly talk about the creation process and backstory of “Grain”. What inspired the song?
A: I usually start the writing process with a guitar idea that can carry the song. If I don’t have that, the song gets scrapped. With ‘Grain’, I had a guitar idea that sounded quite haunting and decided to go with that. It’s essentially about how you can develop feelings for someone, but then realise that they don’t feel the same way, and so you have to embrace their truth rather than your own. It’s about putting aside your desire and trying to love that person in a way that helps them flourish on their own path, but with it comes a level of sadness as you watch from a distance.
Have you gotten the chance to perform either of these songs live yet? Do you want to?
A: I do really want to, and I’m currently in the process of getting a band together. It might be a little while until you see us on stage as I want to work on it until it’s absolutely right, so for now I am content with just continuing to write.
As an upcoming artist, what part about being a musician do you feel excites you (or gratifies you) the most? (Examples: creating music that connects with people; meeting like minded individuals, being able to express yourself through music, etc)
A: Definitely the connection, there’s so much noise at the moment and I want to make music that allows people to take a second to breathe and delve into themselves. I guess what gratifies me the most is hearing what people envision when they hear this song, and some of the images are beautiful.
We’ve gotten 2 songs from you in 2 months, do you think you may release a project, or mini project within the year; or are you more focused on finding an audience first? What are some of your goals as an artist for 2019?
A: I’m in the process of writing an EP that I’m hoping to release this year. I’ll probably put out a couple more singles in the coming months as it is still very early days.
Before we end the interview, is there anything you would like to tell your supporters?
A: Just thank you so much for the support, I really didn’t expect there to be any of you out there, and I hope to bring you more of my music soon.