Interview: The Virginmarys

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By Hailey Nuthals, Highlighter Editor

In between hopping around tours of the United States, the rock band Virginmarys took a moment to meet with WSN. Originally hailing from various parts of England, the group has steadily risen to acclaim, and are releasing their latest album “Divides” on May 6. The lads sat down with WSN to talk about the pros and cons of going to college and whether Kanye West is really changing the way we consume albums.

WSN: Given a choice, would you recommend to aspiring musicians to attend university for music or to try and make it in the industry on their own?

Ally Dickaty: If it was me… It depends what genre you’re getting into, I guess. If it was classical, then you’re better at school, but for me, I don’t think that it’s really necessary. I met Danny at music college, and it was dreadful. It’s great to kind of bide your time and learn from different people, that’s great, but if you can get that experience out of school and it doesn’t cost you anything and you can earn money at the same time, then that can be just as useful. For me, no.

Danny Dolan: Yeah, I think I’d probably agree. In my experience, I have loads and loads of friends who are musicians, and like Ally said, we met at a performance-based music college, and really all that did for us was put us on the path to meet each other and get out and play. And like I say, I have loads of friends who are really great musicians, but when they start realizing what it is to get in the music industry and get on the roads and start playing gigs, that’s when they realize that it’s not for them. And I don’t know that you can learn that at school. You can’t learn what it’s like to sleep on sofas and do gigs to two people.

Matt Rose: For me, I tried it twice, got into debt, and dropped out both times. It was crap.

AD: So it’s a “no.”

DD: It’s a resounding “no” all around, really.

WSN: That’s perfect. I’m in school for music business, so that’s good to know.

MR: If I was going to go back, I would have done a tech course or learned about the recording side of it or the business side, but as far as going into a performance-based music college, I wouldn’t.

AD: You can’t teach performance, can you?

DD: No, but there is courses out there that let you learn the ropes of the industry. But I don’t know…

AD: The course I did that was cool was learning how to work in a studio, and that was great. Obviously that is something that is useful to go and study for. But for me, there was the other side that was learning the classical side of music and the notes on the staves and all that, and for me, I don’t have any interest in that. Not to say that it’s not important, but for me personally, it’s not my cup of tea.

AD: So bands, no. Industry, yes.

WSN: What are your thoughts on the way Kanye West has been releasing (and re-releasing) TLOP? Is his method of continual revision a model that could be used in the future, or is it more of his god-complex eccentricity?

DD: I think in the last five years, the way the music industry’s constantly changing, nothing surprises me now. I think everybody’s trying to think of a new idea for how people consume music. I don’t know. On one hand, I could half see it end up being streaming sites becoming basically the record labels of the industry, where only certain artists are on certain sites. On the other hands, I could see it going not like that, and going universal, so everybody’s on Spotify, everybody’s on Apple Music. But it definitely doesn’t surprise me that Kanye’s going to be a front-runner for something like that. I think it’s really unpredictable at the moment. It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s no CD’s in five years. It wouldn’t surprise me if bands didn’t have artwork when they come out with a new album.

WSN: Do you think vinyls will stick around?

DD: I’d love them to. I think they’re really cool, but I don’t know.

AD: They’ve got a lot of support. That seems to be the big thing, people holding on and saying “I’m sticking with this,” rather than someone who’s shunning the digital side of this. I think Kanye West is a marketing genius though. Whether you love him or hate him, you can’t go anywhere without someone speaking about him. It’s incredibly powerful, he’s got so many people talking about him. It’s just a shame that there isn’t some kind of rock and roll icon now. I think in rock music, I don’t think there is a lot of rock music that does actually rock. It’s become kind of formulaic, and it definitely affects people. It wouldn’t surprise me if what [Kanye] does takes off, because everything that he seems to do does.

WSN: He’s like the Donald Trump of music.

DD: He’s the Donald Trump!

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