The Sage Gateshead Interviews: Bex Burch (of Vula Viel)
Following the acclaimed release of Do Not Be Afraid and a busy tour that took them from UK to Europe and back, including a stellar performance at Womad, Vula Viel return with a new album What’s Not Enough About That, continuing their sonic explorations around the gyil, the wooden xylophone of the Dagaare from Upper West Ghana. They perform at Gateshead Jazz 2020 on Sunday 22 March.
Ahead of the festival, we caught up with Bex Burch of the band for a quick Q+A:
What was the first record you bought?
Michael Jackson – Bad.
Where in the world would you like to play that you have not already?
Lots of dreams come true this year… Berlin and Paris – I love both cities and the very different energy of each. Love to play both this year.
Who was the first band/artist you ever saw perform live?
Gotta be my dad and friends performing Beatles songs on his birthday.
We didn’t really go to gigs as a Family. As a teenager I saw Ash pretty early on. And Three Colours Red.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Making music, living near nature with my partner, learning every day and working as hard as I can knowing I’ve done all I can do.
The odd rainbow, and good sleep.
Who are your favourite writers?
Barak Schmool is a fantastic writer of music. Steve Reich wrote one of my favourite pieces, 18 musicians.
Words/books – I’m not a great reader. Rumi was the only book I read for a few years. Incredible poetry. And I LOVE Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels.
Who are your favourite painters?
Monet And Picasso.
If you could collaborate with any other artists, living or dead, who would you choose?
Laurie Anderson, Martin Creed, Evelyn Glennie, Peter Zummo, Evan Ziporyn, Idris Akamoor, Koo Nimo, Stevo Atambire, Guy One, Oren Marshall, Leafcutter John, Tom Challenger, Lauren Kinsella, Emilyn Claid, Hofesh Shechter, Beanie Bhebhe, Philip Glass.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Kit Downes – Dreamlife of Debris, Tamar Osborne Collocutor – Continuation, Skinner, Herbert, Okumu – Undone: Live at the Crypt.
Where’s your favourite place to go on holiday?
My favourite places to go and write (how I am most restful) are Swaledale in North Yorkshire, Guo in Ghana, my own home just outside of Belfast. All places I would call Home. I’m a homebody.
Best advice you can give to emerging talent?
“Emerging talent” is so vague, that could be advice to myself, or 16-year olds who might know much more than I do about music…
Advice for us all: get out the way, you are not special but the music coming through you is.
Vula Viel play Sage Gateshead on 22 March as part of Gateshead Jazz.
Tickets are available here.