The sensational up-and-coming UK band, VUKOVI is causing a stir in the music industry. Freshly signed with Sharptone Records and with new music on the horizon, their genre-blending sound and thought-provoking themes have captivated audiences worldwide. Beyond the stage and studio, VUKOVI's passion for creative expression has led to visually captivating music videos and a devoted online fan community. In this exclusive interview, we dive deep into their journey, from unexpected moments during their record deal to the inspiration behind their upcoming releases. Get ready to discover the essence of VUKOVI's artistry and the exciting future that lies ahead for this extraordinary Scottish band.
With new music on the horizon, can you give us a glimpse into the themes and inspirations behind the upcoming album? Any particular experiences or events that influenced the songwriting process?
So at the moment, we are still very early into the process of Album 4! But Janine and I while on a mad 3-week writing session together locked in a friend's flat (while they were away on tour) a few months back basically developed a full look and mood board for what we want it to become. From album art itself to single art ideas, fonts, to the number of songs and working titles, etc!
We’re taking our time with writing so it's gonna be so interesting how the songs develop as we go, we have a couple tracked so far but often the best ones seem to come out last so that’s super exciting. CREEP HEAT actually isn’t going to be on the new record either, we just really wanted to put out new music with Sharptone haha! Album 4 will be very very fresh!
Congratulations on signing with Sharptone Records! How does it feel to be part of such a renowned label, and how do you think this partnership will impact your music and career?
It's honestly a dream label for us. It's one of those where if you’d said to me at the start of lockdown you’ll be signing to Sharptone after all this I absolutely would have been like “no chance” haha! They are genuinely a label (with a roster) we have looked up to for years, so when we found out they were interested it was just a no-brainer for us. The folks at Sharptone as well are wonderful. Like super passionate and supportive people. I think for us it just finally gets us access to a more “worldwide” rollout with our music and opportunities if you get me, which is something we have been chasing for years!
Your band name, VUKOVI, translates to "wolves" in Serbian. Can you share the story behind choosing this name and how it reflects the band's identity and music?
Ok, so band names right…..one of the hardest decisions when starting a band usually haha. But for us, we were so lucky. Basically, VUKOVI before it was VUKOVI was called Wolves, and it was a band I had been asked to join play guitar in when in university. After a few shows, we decided to find a new singer! Our drummer at the time had actually gone to school with Janine so he asked her to come in to audition. Janine is a crazy talented musician so it was a yes from the first practice, but obviously, this was gonna be the start of a new band so we needed a new name. The story goes our bass player at the time Jason decided to google translate “wolves” and that was where he discovered VUKOVI, as it's Serbian for wolves. He literally came into practice the next day, suggested it, and we all loved it! Like there was no debating, it just sort of instantly stuck.
As an up-and-coming UK band, what do you believe sets your music apart from other bands in the alternative/rock genre? How would you describe the unique sound of VUKOVI in words?
The sound where it's at atm is literally just years of trial and error. You learn so much after putting out 3 EP’s and 3 albums in terms of what works, what doesn’t, what characteristics you want to keep, and what ones you want to lose. It's a tough question really because it's something that’ll always be changing. We are always learning something new every time we write a demo never mind a fully completed song. So I suppose in a sense that will always keep the music fresh for us, but also for the listeners! I try not to worry too much really about how we set ourselves apart. I just want to DO and work and improve our craft rather than worrying too much about what makes us different. I think in making sure as long as we are excited by it that will come across in the music and be an attractive quality!
Live performances are an essential part of connecting with fans. What can concert-goers expect from a VUKOVI show? Any memorable or crazy moments you've experienced while on stage?
We really always want every show to be different. We want there to be a sense of chaos and excitement and an element of who knows what will happen if we can haha! Crazy moments yes! So we literally just had one. We were playing a festival in Spain called resurrection fest.
The biggest outdoor stage we’ve ever played and our first time getting to play to a Spanish crowd so we were super excited. But 3 songs into our set the stage generator blew and the whole stage lost power, like LITERALLY everything. Initially we just all thought our in ears went down, so we were all looking at each. So we stopped playing as the PA was literally off, and Janine had no way of talking to the crowd…… band's worst nightmare, but we’ve actually had similar things happen like this before so we are weirdly used to it haha. So Janine just literally went into the crowd on someone's shoulders and managed to get everyone chanting and singing while we waited at least 5 minutes until we had power back. It was honestly fucking amazing and actually MADE the show for us, as the energy for the remainder of the set was bonkers!
Being signed to a major label often opens up new opportunities. Are there any dream collaborations or tours you hope to be a part of in the near future?
Yes absolutely! We were lucky enough to get one this October which is supporting BABYMETAL for 3 UK shows which is honestly so class, they are incredible and we were already big fans. I think like most bands we’d love a ridiculous arena support tour, simply just cause we’ve never done one haha! That’s just an experience I want us to have! Collabs wise I think we’d love to do a track with Jordan Fish of BMTH, guys a genius frankly, and a constant inspiration to us over the years.
We actually started a collab with Wargasm but we never finished it so I don’t think that version will see the light of day, but absolutely something id love to get going again in the future if the timing was right.
As musicians, you've likely faced both triumphs and challenges along the way. Can you share one particularly challenging moment you've encountered and how you overcame it as a band?
That’s a good question. There’s obviously all the usual up-and-coming band stuff like dealing with money and keeping it going which I'm super proud of us for pushing through as fuck me was it hard at times, but I think the biggest hurdle for us was when our drummer and bass player left. VUKOVI was originally a 4 piece until 2018. But unfortunately, in 2018 we had a really tough lull of a year and they both decided to leave a few months apart.
I think I sort of saw it coming so I was prepared a little bit for the news, but pushing past that and finding our feet and continuing on was the best decision we ever made. The old members are 2 of my very good friends as well so it was tough losing that at first but I completely understood why they couldn’t do it anymore!
Beyond the studio and the stage, how do you guys unwind and recharge creatively? Are there any hobbies, activities, or even places that inspire you outside of the world of music?
We’ve both recently been watching so many films. Like honestly marathons of movies! Like were are both huge film lovers, but recently we have been powering through films that have been awesome. Me, personally I am a huge gamer. I have been since I was 6 and got my first Sega mega drive. Like I could die happily playing games haha. They honestly mean so much to me, they are like my THING outside of music. Like I follow all the gaming news, I like to be in the know of what’s coming out, what’s actually happening in the business, you name it, I'm obsessed with every element of it. It's something I often feel very fortunate to have found at such a young age, and that goes for music and games. They are just such deep arts to lose yourself in and I'm so thankful for finding them.
As you continue to grow your fanbase and perform for larger audiences, how do you keep the live experience intimate and authentic, ensuring that your connection with the audience remains personal and meaningful?
One way we deliberately try do this is by not over-planning the live sets too much. Like we have a setlist that we usually stick to and a couple song intros etc…..BUT we kinda like to keep moments between songs far more personal. Janine won’t rehearse what she’s going to say or how she’s going to act, she’ll simply feed off the crowd and sort of keep an eye on what’s happening during the show so it's a very genuine reaction you’re getting and crowds can feel that, they aren’t stupid and this helps make the shows so much more special! I actually get excited even just talking about that, the unknown of a VUKOVI show is such a driver for us!