Who needs to release an album anyway?
Today is Josh Baxter’s birthday, but his bandmate Ella Harris seems more excited about it than he does. “Do you want your present now?” she asks, rummaging around in her bag. PVA’s lead singer glances at the gift and then glances at me as I fiddle with the recorder. He thinks better of it. “Maybe we should wait until afterwards?”
With drops of rain falling, we duck inside a small South London bar, and drummer Louis Satchell heads over to buy Baxter his first Birthday beer. The Waiting Room, across from Deptford train station, is one of those kinds of coffee shops turned bars that doubles as a workspace during the day and a place to drink cocktails at night. It’s an area that means a lot to the members of PVA. It was just down the road from here at the Bunker where the band played a couple of legendary early shows. “We just suit the Bunker,” beams Satchell as he returns with an arm full of beers. “We headlined two nights there, and they were like these really sweaty, intense experiences. They were amazing.”
PVA’s reputation as a live band is undoubtedly one of the most significant factors behind the band’s rapid rise. However, having a continually evolving sound that’s as captivating as it is hard to pin down helps too. Rooted in dance music, their music mutates and warps around an array of genres, from ’80s synth-pop, Balearic house and nosebleed techno to brooding post-punk and industrial noise. The band are a refreshingly unique listen – both brutal and dripping in underground cool, but accessible and, most importantly, totally danceable.
Therefore, it makes complete sense when Harris tells me that she met Baxter at a party. “I just bumped into him at a friend’s house party about two years ago. I kind of knew him already, as Josh used to play in a band with another mate of mine, and we just ended up chatting.”
“I have to say it was pretty good timing. I’d just made some demos for what eventually turned into PVA,” says Baxter. “I was telling Ella that I was thinking of playing them live and she was like, ‘well, I’ve got this event coming up in about a month – shall we just play them there?’ We were like, ‘sick, let’s practice and make sure it’s done by then’.”