Victoria Llewelyn – The Interview

It is my pleasure to turn the tables on one of the most amazing and hard working individuals in the music industry today.

An established freelance music journalist and reviewer for several mainstream publications in the rock and metal music scene, she also works with UK and international bands and artists covering everything from media and promotions to tour management and bookings. Add to this that She works with both new and established (and some very famous) bands to support their progress in the UK and overseas, plus she has overseen some really successful events and works on the Midnight Tornado Touring team to bring international bands over to the UK for tours and festivals. Add to all that the fact that she manages NWOBHM band Airforce and sleaze rockers The Suicide Notes. But that’s not all, she can also be seen on Pete’s Rock News and Views with her own section of interviews, music reviews and gig reviews, plus interviewing some of the most exciting artists on the scene on her Sunday Sofa section.

So it was with great surprise that we found the time in her very busy schedule to learn a bit more about what drives her and what life is like being VICTORIA LLEWELYN.

photo credit Lady Gigger We Bleed Music Media

PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself in music.

Victoria: I sat across the desk from the careers adviser when I was getting ready to leave school, and she asked me what I planned to do, so I told her I was going to move to London and write for Kerrang!  She gave me a look and told me I needed to go to college and re-sit my maths GCSE instead. I always wanted to be a writer/journalist and the only thing I really ever wanted to write about was music. I wasn’t interested in doing maths and work experience at the Evening Post like she suggested. 

I was talked about a lot at school because I started going to gigs at the age of 14, and people seemed to find this quite scandalous, but I had mates at University so if there was something on at the Union I’d be there with my fake ID and my battle vest on! My first gig was Little Angels at Bristol Bierkeller and I remember thinking it was the best experience I’d ever had. I had no interest in anything else after that, it was all about who’s playing when and how could I get to the show.

I wasn’t a popular kid so getting into rock and metal gave you a sense of belonging, it was, and still is, quite tribal in some ways. People describe it today as being a family. To me back then, it was a comfort, an empowerment and a life force that was always there no matter what got thrown at you. As a teen I loved fashion, so I embraced the glam rockers with the crazy clothes, wild hair and makeup, and that attitude of kicking back, standing up for yourself and giving the haters the middle finger. I’d trawl jumble sales and second-hand clothing shops for fabrics, and I’d make my own outfits up if I couldn’t find what I wanted. I’m sure a lot of people thought I looked crazy in my torn-up jeans and fishnets and scarves and hats, but I loved it.


PD: What are your dreams and goals?

Victoria: I’m living them right now.   I wanted to be a music journalist, go to gigs and review them for the press, go to the Kerrang! Awards and the Classic Rock awards, interview my heroes and find out about their careers, get backstage and aftershow passes to meet and chat to the bands I love, and I’m doing it.   My goal is to keep going and climbing higher, taking it as far as I can.   I don’t ever want to stop, it’s too much fun!


PD: How do you promote your services?

Victoria: Up until now it’s been word of mouth, mainly, when the CC festivals came to an end I spent a few weeks talking to people about what else I could get involved in and I had a lot of artists contact me directly to ask what I’d be doing next and would I be interested in working with them.  This inspired me to take things forward – I tried out a bit of everything from promo, bookings, interviews, YouTube videos, music reviews, so that I could find the area I wanted to go into, which turned out to be journalism and band management.   I’m meaning to set up a business page on Facebook and I have a logo being designed to make things a bit more official.   I feel that if you go out of your way to meet people at events, network, know your stuff and come across as friendly and professional then you’ve promoted yourself, and it works.


PD: What’s the best thing about what you do?

Victoria: I get to talk to my heroes, there are times when I think that if someone had told me when I was a 16-year-old smoking out the back of Swansea College that I’d be face to face with the band on my T shirt one day living in their world and being an integral part of what they do I would have burst out laughing.   And aside from the bands I get to meet amazing people, rock and metal fans are the best kind of human beings, they care about each other, it really is like a family.  


PD: What is the most outrageous thing you’ve ever done?

Victoria: I’ve done so many outrageous things, define outrageous! I’ve never stuck to the societal norms.   I had a part in a horror movie once where I was naked and covered with miles and miles of cling film stuck on with this combination of treacle and fake blood. I was supposed to have been cocooned by an alien queen. That was fun, but very cold and took about five showers to get it all off! I did a photoshoot where the makeup artist turned me into a female Pinhead character from Hellraiser which was published in Twisted Edge, I use it as my profile pic on Facebook every Halloween just to make people jump. 

I crowd surfed directly over Karen O’s head once when she came into the audience at a gig, nearly took her out with my trainer which could have been awkward.   There’s nothing else I can say that’s remotely printable, that’s just rock and roll!


PD: Have you ever been in a band, if so, what instrument did you play? 

Victoria: I’ve never been in a band. I was a good singer when I was a teenager, and I did have vocal coaching so I could have taken that further, but I was bullied at school around that age, and it destroys your confidence. I’m a natural performer and would have loved to have been involved in a band but I could never approach anyone for fear of being put down or laughed at. I always gravitated towards musicians and performers however, all my friends were in bands or creatives of some kind, and I felt a natural connection to people like that. My favourite place to hang out at that age was the old Picton Music store in Swansea, I’d just wander in and listen to people picking up the guitars and testing them out, I’d chat to my pal Steve who worked there, I’d be there for hours when I probably should have been in college lessons. It was my happy place.


PD: What’s your outlook on the record industry today?

Victoria: I feel sorry that it isn’t what it was back in the 80s and early 90s; I was interviewing Ricky Warwick recently and he made the point that to make it remotely financially viable you had to be in at least two or three bands these days instead of being able to focus your attention on just one.   So as a musician you’re working twice or three times as hard and getting less results.   It’s disheartening.   I have mixed feelings on the whole Spotify vs physical product debate – I love vinyl as much as anyone but if I need to find out about a band I don’t know very quickly, being able to stream a few songs directly from my office is invaluable.   I wish the streaming sites paid artists a lot better than they do, it would make such a difference to them.


PD: What was the best gig you’ve ever been to?

Victoria: I saw Van Halen when I was out in Tasmania years back, that was one of the wildest shows I’ve ever seen as I don’t think they had too many bands like that out there at the time, so the excitement level was off the scale.   Nine Inch Nails with Jane’s Addiction in Manchester 2009 was very special as I have a long love affair with both those bands and to have them on the same bill was the stuff of dreams.   And whatever you think of the pre-show antics, Guns n Roses do the best live performance of any band I’ve ever seen, when you eventually get them onstage.


PD: What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Victoria: Probably – if it seems too good to be true, it is! Keep that in your head and you’ll find it easier to stay grounded. Also, to never buy clothes unless they make you feel like doing a small dance on the spot!

Since I’ve been working in the music industry there have been lots of well-meaning people offering advice but there are only three of them that I really do listen to and trust. Paul Newcomb, who manages Spike, is a very good friend and he’s my go-to person when there’s anything I’m not sure of in terms of providing the best service to the bands I manage. He’s got so many years in the industry, what he doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing. Mark Lacey from PowerPlay and MGM who I write for also has been tremendous support with taking the journalism up to the next level, I’ve learned so much from him about how to research properly and how to structure an interview to get the information you need. He’s made me believe in myself and given me the confidence to go after what I want. And Christian Kimmett who books all the bands for Bannermans, apart from being a shit-hot bass player he really knows his stuff when it comes to live events. I can run an idea past him, and he’ll tell me straight away if it’s worth doing or not. There’s no bullshit with any of these guys and I’m proud to call them my friends, I couldn’t have got here without them.


PD: What song always brings a smile to your face?

Victoria: ‘School’s Out’ by Alice Cooper, my daughter used to sing this on the way back from her nursery when she was a toddler. Also, Faith No More’s ‘Just A Man’. It’s such a powerful track, gets right into your soul. And there isn’t a rock and metal fan on this earth that can’t help grinning when you hear the opening bars of ‘Welcome To The Jungle’.


PD: What are some of your pet peeves, what really pisses you off?

Victoria: There are a few people I’ve come across in this industry that massively overestimate their importance, and that annoys me as essentially we are all here to support the same goal and that is to keep the scene alive.   No one’s getting paid a fortune and no one part of it can work without the rest.   Bands need stages to play on so need venues and event organisers, event organisers need promoters and advertisers to put the shows on, shows need press to generate interest, press need new music and co operative bands to speak to so that they can write features people want to read.   We all have our part, and we all need each other, so be a team player!


PD: Who is your musical hero?

Victoria: Without a doubt, Alice Cooper.   For him to be in his mid 70s and still performing the way he does, still bringing out new music, still coming up with ideas for the stage show, the energy and positivity he has, his love for his wife and family, as a human being he’s an example to us all.   I love all his music from the very early 70s stuff right up until today.  He’s an icon and one day I’m gonna interview him!  It’s my mission!


PD: What is your proudest moment in music?

Victoria: I was immensely proud when I did my first festival, the Crazy Cowboy festival in Reading with Alec MacKechnie in April 2022. I had zero experience but had great planning skills and an ear for a decent band. Alec took a leap of faith with me, and I’ll always be grateful to him for the doors that opened as a result. I loved bringing Pearler over from Swansea, I booked RANSOM for their first ever originals gig and now they are playing all the major festivals and doing really well. I wanted South Of Salem and learned how to get around booking agents to get them! I wanted Gypsy Pistoleros to headline and I got them too. It was the first big event post-covid and we were concerned that people would still be anxious about coming out, but we had a great turn out and I remember thinking we’d pulled off something really special. 


PD: Why should bands seek out your services and how can they contact you?

Victoria: Until I’ve got the business page up and running it would be via my personal page on Facebook or I can be contacted by email at


PD: How is 2023 looking for you?

Victoria: 2023 is looking like the most promising year I’ve ever had! I’ve been gradually building this business up for the last two years or so by flying under the radar, watching how things are done, making connections, talking to people, seeing what works and what doesn’t. I’ve also put myself forward as being someone relatable and trustworthy so that people feel reassured working with me despite the fact that I’m relatively new. To see some of the plans I’ve been working on for so long finally come to fruition has made me happier than I’ve ever been. My journalism has improved massively thanks to practice, reflection, self-criticism and some expert guidance, and I love managing my two bands, Airforce and The Suicide Notes. I’m a natural organiser so I love making plans with them and actioning things, arranging shows and publicity, liaising, all the stuff they generally hate doing themselves I love! When you attend a show that you’ve been a significant part of setting up, and you see the audience smiling and dancing away, loving every minute, the feeling of joy and pride in what you’ve helped to do is immense.

My next big project will be Station 18 Festival at Hangar 18, Swansea, as part of the Midnight Tornado team, three days of looking after bands and co ordinating the event and catching up with all my Swansea friends.

I’ve plans to see a few of the big ones this year, Motley Crue and Def Leppard, Guns n Roses, Hollywood Vampires. I’m helping out with running tours for Hearts and Hand Grenades and Fugitive this year so far, and there’ll be others, but I can’t disclose them yet! Also really looking forward to catching up with Tyla and the guys from Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour in April, a night with T is never to be missed!

There are a few award ceremonies to cover in the pipeline too, and possibly another big live event to set up but I can’t say too much about them yet.


PD: Any final words?

Victoria: Yes. It’s never too late to get what you want. I wanted to work in the music industry since I was 12 years old, and I had to wait until my late 40s before I finally got there. I’m in the right place for it now, if I’d done it when I was younger, I’d have been emotional and chaotic. I love it that my daughter goes to school and tells her mates that her Mummy’s going to be appearing in a music video today or that she’s coming with me to a music festival next holidays. I love not knowing what opportunities are round the corner, and there is always something to put my energy into, so don’t ever give up on your dream – know what it is and go achieve it.

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Find out who is on Victoria Llewelyn’s Sunday Sofa this week…

One thought on “Victoria Llewelyn – The Interview

  1. Awesome interview!!
    Very proud of how far you’ve come since those “picton music days” back in the early 90’s

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