These days, dance music can be very hit or miss, due in part to an increased accessibility to music software and programs that make it easy for any average individual to turn their laptop into a beat machine.
These days, dance music can be very hit or miss, due in part to an increased accessibility to music software and programs that make it easy for any average individual to turn their laptop into a beat machine. The only things separating the professionals from the wannabe ravers are a talent for arrangement, a stellar live show and a visceral need to make your audience dance. Very International Love possesses each of those and more.
The duo, comprised of members Connor Dudley and Joe Turner, met up originally while working service jobs downtown.
“We found that we both shared similar tastes in music and I eventually invited Joe to play bass in my current band at the time, New Agency, a sort of new wave, synth-pop outfit,” said Dudley.
As their music tastes evolved, so did their plans. Dudley was soon writing music on the side for what was to eventually become Very International Love.
“The whole premise was to boil down what we liked the most about New Agency—live performance, dance, and electronics—and apply it to a two-man band where we had more control of the total outcome,” Turner said.
After performing a couple times, Very International Love got lucky when they were introduced to local electronic musician Aaron Dishner (Gejius) who signed them as the flagship band for his new label, Palatial Crest. Changing up their equipment and methods, their sound has been in a constant state of flux since the band was conceived.
“This…is the first electronic or computer-based project that either of us have been involved in,” Connor said. “There has been a huge learning curve in the software and we have ended up changing software over the last year, which invariably begins to change your sound.”
Never relying solely on computers for the music, VIL has tried to keep things loose and organic, continuing to use actual instruments in their work and live performances.
What we’re left with as listeners is nuanced, contemporary electro-pop mixed with a heavy dose of old-school disco sounds, similar to bands like Strength and Cut Copy. Echo-y vocals and carefully crafted backing instrumentation never detract from the whole package, balancing out to a full sound that’s impossible not to dance to.
VIL, their first recording effort, showcases their music brilliantly. The extended EP features five original songs and three remixes of the first track, “Fire,” from other musicians, including label owner Geijius.
“We hope that the music moves people in any way possible,” said Connor. “For nostalgic purposes, or just simply shaking their butts. The music references our favorite aspects of certain eras: ‘80s new wave, ‘90s trance and house, ‘70s disco and funk, etc…if any of that interests you, even ironically, you may just enjoy the show.”
A stand out track in the batch is “’88,” which is a bit more on the disco side and seems to showcase the softer, more down-tempo side of the band’s work. All the while, it succeeds in capturing that nostalgia they seem to be so good at conjuring up.
Following the release of VIL, Connor and Turner are continuing to write, working on new material and, hopefully, another release and some more live shows.
“We are trying to fight the penchant for stagnant crowds in Portland,” Turner said. “We hope to get people to freak out a bit!”
As for the live aspect of their show, VIL hopes to go the way of other local electronic artists and begin to incorporate more of a visual element into their live shows.
“We are working on creating some visual aspects for our shows to add another sensory connection to our music,” Turner said. “We [also] have our hearts set on touring and there are some venues in town that we are dying to play and haven’t had the opportunity yet.”
With changes in the works, an album under their very stylish belts and a kick-ass live show, Very International Love has what it takes to stand out and go the distance.