The point that Pillay and Richards seem to keep circling back to is that, in a lot of ways, it’s a miracle that they ever managed to make a first record, let alone a second. Both had chequered histories when it came to committing, with projects left half-finished and releases restricted to the short-form. “I’d been in bands since I was thirteen, so by the time we made our first album, it’d taken me ten years to get there,” Pillay reflects. “It was a case of proving to ourselves we could actually do it.”
“You feel like you’ve got something to prove and that it has to be really strong, a statement of intent,” concurs Richards. “Especially because I had a bit of a track record of not finishing things. I was in another band where we recorded half an album, and then left it at that.”
What LP2 represented to Virginia wing, then, was the opportunity to broaden their horizons in terms of where they were taking their stylistic cues from, and which influences they were allowing to permeate the songwriting process. It’s for that reason that there’s so much variety on the album, especially by way of comparison to its predecessor, which they readily admit was much more limited in scope. “We were quite inexperienced back then, especially as Virginia Wing,” remembers Pillay, “and I don’t think we would’ve been able to pull off what we did here convincingly. I was just thinking the other day; we had this one song for the first album that sounded like we were trying to be Silver Apples, and I’m so fucking glad that we didn’t put that on the record, because we just would’ve sounded like we were ripping them off – we didn’t have the confidence to rip that kind of thing off. I think now, we’re a little more relaxed and confident, knowing we can make a record and the arse won’t fall out of it.”
“You can take some risks and not worry about, is this tasteful? Is it right? Is it you?” continues Richards. “I watched this interview the other day with Laurie Anderson, and she was saying that people are always telling you what ‘you’ is, and that you don’t always have to be ‘you’. The point she was making was that you can be as big as you want to be; not in the fame sense, but in terms of the net you cast and the ideas you have. You can get carried away, but better to be carried away than feel limited.”
As focus turns to 2017, work on their third album is apparently already underway along with a collaboration planned early in the year with XAM Duo, the side-project of MB from Hookworms. “It’s very spacey, very droney. They’re two very non-spiritual white lads trying to make spiritual jazz,” according to Pillay. Touring plans are beginning to fall into place, too. From the band’s perspective, the challenge in bringing Virginia Wing – and ‘Forward Constant Motion’ in particular – to the stage will lie less in trying to faithfully recreate the songs and more in making sure that whatever happens, there’s an authenticity to it.
“I’ve been enjoying performing live a lot more since it’s just been the two of us,” says Pillay wryly, “which is kind of ironic because there’s some songs I do fuck all on. I might just be pressing a button or something, but I don’t see the point in trying to play something for the sake of it, just to look as if you’re doing something up there. Some of these songs, you’re not going to be able to replicate them live as they are on the record.”
“I don’t think you should be held back by rockist constraints,” offers Richards. “You shouldn’t worry about people wanting to see the bass player playing the bassline. It’d essentially be that thing of when you were watching pop bands as a kid, and they’d be playing to a backing track, but one of them would have a guitar, which was supposed to give the whole thing an air of legitimacy, but was really just bullshit. A performance can be anything you want it to be, we think.”
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