Chiara and the Vu

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chiara and the vu
Chelsea Lee caught up with Chiara and the Vu ahead of their performance at the Battle of the Bands final.

First of all, congratulations on reaching the final of BOTB! How do you feel about it?
Jack: Thank you! I feel like in the Semi-finals we weren’t really sure if we were going to get through, mainly because of the votes, but we’ve written a lot of songs because that’s obviously important for the Final. We have a five-hour practice on Sunday and more on other days, so we are practising a lot. I think I feel relatively ready.
Chiara: I actually think that last year we were a bit sad that we didn’t get through to the final but this year we’ve decided to focus on writing our own songs. It’s really more about us as a band and our music, what we play, what we like to write, so we’re pretty excited.
Tom: Leaving the competition aside, I think it’s really exciting to just be in the Final with all these bands. It’s going to be an interesting night of good live music. We want to win but still we’re really happy to make it this far. It is going to be good and we’ve worked hard for it.

Tell me about your name. How did it come about?
Jack: I don’t know really. ‘Chiara’ is obviously comes from our singer, Chiara and ‘the Vu’ bit sounded cool? The ‘Vu’ means seen.
Tom: Chiara and I both speak French and we thought ‘Déjà vu’ sounds nice and we liked the ‘Vu’ at the end.
Chiara: The problem with ‘Déjà vu’ is that it means already seen and we didn’t want it so we just took the ‘Vu’. It could be a game of words because my name in Italian means bright so maybe it could mean, ‘brightly seen’.

How would you describe and what artists have influenced your sound?
Chiara: This is a difficult question, but I think maybe Matt Corby.
Jack: We’ve covered two of his songs. It’s really hard because we all have different tastes, or preferred playing styles I’d say. It’s a wide variety. James is quite rocky.
Chiara: I think I’d say you [Jack] are more funk-indie. Trevor is more jazzy. Tom is more bluesy. And I’m more Soul-pop. Actually, our objective was to find our own sound.
Jack: When we write songs, we try to write something that is rhythmically interesting with drop outs and catches etc. I’m not sure who influenced that.
Tom: I would say we’re not inspired by one particular artist. We just jam and put everything that we can put in there, that’s what makes it exciting in the end. But probably Matt Corby.

How do you feel you have progressed/grown as a band since you first started playing?
Trevor: I think the main progression is our original songs. Our first few gigs didn’t have any at all. I think as we’ve gone along we’ve all found our feet a bit and our role in the band more.  I definitely feel a lot more confident as a performer on stage as initially, I was probably more like a statue on stage.
Jack: I think we’re a lot tighter. We’re not quite there yet but we’re certainly getting there, mainly by playing songs through loads.

What has been your favourite gig to play so far?
Trevor: The Enchanted Garden Ball because we had a really nice set, a nice meal and we all got to be in suits and look really cool.
Jack, Tom: The first heat of this year’s Battle of the Bands. They say the best gigs are the ones where you don’t have to think at all, and I feel like that was what it was like. When you play the songs again and again, you just don’t really think about it. We were a little bit nervous but we really enjoyed it.
Chiara: The European Ball was a lot of fun! We were meant to play for 45 minutes but we ended up playing for an hour and a half.  The crowd was so great.

Who is your current favourite band/artist?
Jack: Anderson Paak. He raps, plays drums, sings really well all at the same time and that’s really cool from a drummer’s perspective and he writes good songs as well.
Chiara: I’ve recently discovered Cigarettes After Sex and I think they’re very good. They have a chill vibe.
Tom: I just love Pink Floyd. For me, its special. I’ve been listening to them so much, and even still today, the message they deliver and quality of music is amazing and inspires me sometimes.
Trevor: Probably someone you haven’t heard before, but I would say Pat Metheny.

What is the next big thing for Chiara and the Vu after Battle of the Bands?
All: Recording our songs definitely!