Interview with John Sibley of Victory Kicks and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD. What type of artist are you?
JS. Broadly speaking Victory Kicks is an indie/ alt-rock band. That’s how it sounds on record and how it looks at a gig… but in fact it sits somewhere between a solo home recording project and a collaborative band… it’s a fairly fluid thing which changes from song to song and from record to record. Some songs are just me playing everything, some involve good friends of mine from other London based acts. The basic idea is to write and record as much music as possible.
PD. Tell us the brief history of yourself.
JS. I grew up on the Isle of Wight then moved to London when I was 18. I always played a lot of music as a kid, lots of classical stuff and jazz before I started playing drums as a teenager and got into alternative music – I used to listen to a lot of 80s and 90s US alt-rock and indie, loads of REM, Pavement, Sonic Youth, Dandy Warhols, Breeders, Trail of Dead, that kind of thing. When I moved to London I played drums in various bands and started playing guitar and writing songs alongside that. I did that for several years until Victory Kicks started as a way of continuing to make music and put it out once I got too busy with work to be in bands full-time – being somewhere between and band and a solo project allows me the flexibility to keep making music whenever I can, even if it’s just an hour or two after work.
PD. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
JS. Music wise, I’m really into people like Spoon, The War on Drugs, Kurt Vile, Wilco, The National, Death Cab for Cutie, Stephen Malkmus, Guided by Voices, The Walkmen, British Sea Power and Kraftwerk. As for non-music, I’ve always taken inspiration for lyrics from books and some of my favourite writers are Marilynne Robinson, Donna Tartt, Toni Morrison, John Updike, Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Kerouac, Ernest Hemingway, Christopher Isherwood, Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo, James Lasdun, to name just a few.
PD. What are your dreams and goals?
JS. I’d love to be able to spend all my time writing, recording and playing music. But failing that it’s enough to be able to continue doing what I’m doing – I guess that’s one of the great things about making music now, you no longer have to be massively wealthy or massively lucky to record music and get it out there. And writing and recording at home lets you fit music in even if there isn’t much time.
PD. Who writes your songs, what are they about?
JS. I write all the songs for Victory Kicks and often they’re about stories I either read about in the news, or read about in fiction – I try to put myself in the place of the people or characters involved and write from their perspective. Sometimes it works the other way around – often a very rough idea for a song will remain of a story I’ve read or been told, and a song will come out of that. Sometimes a whole album will come out of it – I like it when there’s a thread that ties everything together on a record.
PD. How do you promote your band and shows?
JS. I try to do a bit of everything and be as active as I can be on social media whilst maintaining a balance between that and the writing and recording. As part of that I’m always looking for writers and websites who’s musical taste seems to chime with mine and one of the best things about that is that you’re always coming across bands you’ve not heard before who you completely fall in love with – so much of the music I listen to these days is by bands I’ve come across whilst trying to promote my own stuff. You also meet some really nice people.
PD. What do you think about downloading music online?
JS. Does anyone other than me even do that anymore? I’m all for it insofar as it’s better than streaming for the people who make it. I still love having a physical record through. And I’m not averse to streaming but generally if I find something I really like I’ll still buy a copy.
PD. What song do you wish you’d written and why?
JS. There are so many and I probably hear at least one new song a day that I think that about. There’s no way I can narrow it down to one.
PD. What are some of your pet peeves?
JS. My longest running pet peeve is the inevitable guitar lead tangle: You put them away carefully untangled, they come back out in knots. How is that even possible? Has anybody done research into this?
PD. What is your proudest moment in music?
JS. I’ve had a few songs get played on BBC 6 Music, that’s always pretty great. I think the record I’m most proud of is the most recent Victory Kicks album ‘Lovers in Peacetime’.
PD. So what are you working on at the moment?
JS. A new Victory Kicks single called ‘Mookie Betts’ has just come out. It’s from a new album called ‘Free the Night’ which will be out later this year – I’m just putting the finishing touches to that at the moment. I’m also in the middle of getting another single ready to go.
PD. What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
JS. There are 6 Victory Kicks albums available online along with a bunch of EPs and singles. If you want to buy them the best place to go is Bandcamp. They’re also all available on Spotify and Apple Music and most other places. You can find all the Victory Kicks links at:
Victory Kicks links:
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