Interview with Bob Vylan, 2000Trees 2023

Interview with Jasmine Marceau.
Photo by Rebecca Marshall.

“We don’t really have anybody in our genre that we can look to… So it’s good that we get the opportunity to be that example.” Bobby Vylan

It’s Thursday, the first full day at 2000Trees, with hayfever in full force. We sat down with Bobby Vylan and Bobbie Vylan before they hit the Main Stage.

You’re playing on the Main Stage here at Trees later, how are you feeling ahead of your set?

Bobby: Pretty good!

Bobbie: We had a warm up yesterday.

Bobby: We played the Forest Stage, it was fantastic, really great crowd.

Do you have any specific warmups to get ready for stage?

Bobbie: Loads! Do you want me to list them?

Give me a couple!

Bobbie: Press ups, pull ups…

Bobby: We get the blood pumping.

You’ve got two sets here at Trees, and a playing a few festivals this Summer – do you have a preference between playing festivals or your own gigs?

Bobby: I think it’s nice that we get to do both. The Summer time is filled with festivals, and then later in the year, like this year in November we’re going to be doing a tour – so it’s kind of nice we get to do both. We’re not just a festival band!

You mention your tour later in the year, you’re hitting Europe right?

Bobby: Yeah we are! We’re going to Europe twice, supporting Grandson in September. And then we’re going back for our headline tour in October. The Grandson tour is quite long, our tour is a bit shorter but we’re going to some great places. We’ve never headlined in Europe before, we’re going to Amsterdam, Czech Republic, Paris, a couple of places in Germany and Belgium – so it’s a beautiful thing. We come back, and then we do the UK tour, so the end of the year is busy.

Good to be busy! You won a MOBO award for Best Alt Act at the end of last year, how did that make you feel?

Bobby: It felt good, really good, because it was the first time that award has ever been given. And we’re the first people to be awarded it, and that was the 20th year of the MOBO’s, so in another 20 years when they’re giving that award they’ll have to talk about the very first time, and that will be us. It’s a beautiful thing to experience, and for us to be able to do it on our own terms, without any label, it’s an unprecedented thing you know? And I think it’s a really great thing for other bands to see, and I hope it’s quite inspiring for other bands. We don’t really have anybody in our genre that we can look to for those kinds of things, we look outside of our genre for those sorts of things, a lot of it happening in rap music, but in rock music or punk music especially, there’s not really a lot of that. So it’s good that we get the opportunity to be that example.

Amazing – you do merge genres within your music, what would you say your main influences are?

Bobbie: Definitely grime.

Bobby: Yeah, grime music, punk music, rap music, jungle music.

Bobbie: Underground UK punk.

Bobby: Yeah, that’s what it is really. Whatever once was UK underground music, because some of them aren’t really underground anymore, that’s what influences it. Jungle, grime and garage, rap, punk music.

Do you play around with beats when writing or have concepts in your mind first?

Bobby: With the lyrics, I just kind of go with whatever springs to mind. I have lines written, they’re just everywhere, whether it’s in a notebook, scrap paper, on my phone, and when we’re playing a riff I’d think ‘Oh that would fit on this’. So there are little bits that are banked, and then it’s formed into a whole song. I’ve never gone in and thought I’d write lyrics about this thing, I don’t think it would turn out very good if I did that! It might be alright.

Where do you see yourselves in three years time?

Bobbie: Headlining here.

Bobby: Oh yeah. I’ll be acting, you’ll be seeing me on TV. What would you be doing?

Bobbie: Hopefully I’ll have a climbing shoe deal by then!

Bobby: I was gonna say, he’d have his own line of climbing shoes.

Bobbie: Yeah hopefully a climbing wall.

Bobby: [Turns to Bobbie] How often do you go?

Bobbie: At least three times a week.

Bobby: He’s so good at it. His finger strength is unreal, it’s insane what he can hang off.

He’ll have his climbing shoe deal, and I’ll be on TV, we’ll still be banging out incredible music and playing to beautiful people around the world, and hopefully still enjoying everything that we get to do.

Sounds like a good three years to me – thanks for taking the time to talk to us!

Catch Bob Vylan on tour in the UK and Europe later in the year, tickets available here.

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