Reading Festival 2018 [INTERVIEW] With ... Pretty Vicious

 Photo Credit: Simon Sarin

As things come together on a larger scale for Pretty Vicious, it feels special to have an interview with the band at Reading Festival This is a busy year for the four piece and things look set to become even more hectic later this year as well as beyond.

Earlier on Saturday afternoon the band played to an enthusiastic crowd in a packed Festival Republic tent. There was moshing, jumping, chanting, screaming and shouting. There seems to be an ever-existing buzz around this band and everyone there was super keen to see them play. Everyone wanted a bit of Pretty Vicious

With a crowd made up of dedicated fans and a wider demographic of festival goers, it became clear that this was one of the most prominent opportunities for Pretty Vicious to maintain their UK fanbase as well as winning new territory. 

Despite suffering from a broken hand Brad still delivered the goods and the band were on great form. 

"It is interesting to play festivals, enthuses Brad, "There is something in the air as they say. There is a really good atmosphere, everyone is having a good time and what more can you ask for? For a band like us, it is definitely worth playing here."

"I have always wanted to do Reading and Leeds since we did it two years ago, says Tom, "The crowds are always brilliant and also a lot of our mates go so that is nice as well."  

It's All Indie's last face to face interview with the band was early October 2017 at the Haunt in Brighton during their UK tour. At the time, the band members were finding themselves in a bit of a waiting position. There was the wait to get a new record deal in place and return to the studio to finish recording their debut album with the talented producer Dan Austin (Pulled Apart By Horses, You Me At Six and Twin Atlantic). 

Things could not be more different now. There is no doubt that the four piece  (Brad Griffiths, Tom McCarthy, Elliot Jones and Jarvis Morgan) has commenced a new fascinating chapter in their career and there is plenty of optimism and excitement. Starting 2018 on an explosive high by announcing they had signed a worldwide record deal with Big Machine Records / John Varvatos Records, there has been lots to look after and keep busy with and the band have not wasted as much as a second.

 Due for release by February/March time next year, recordings for Pretty Vicious' debut were completed several months ago and the band can't wait to share the new material. There is no doubt it is going to be a huge moment and if their single "Move" is anything to go by, we can expect a collection of pure rock anthems. It is going to be  rather special.  

 Following two highly successful shows in the States playing in New York and Nashville, Pretty Vicious feel re-energised and ready for more action. Being in the States was just an incredible experience for them, they loved visiting, meeting the Americans and building a fanbase. The reception was unbelievable. 

"It was amazing, it was just such a different experience. It was a different life", says Brad enthusiastically. 

Video Credit: Hamish Kay

"It was so good out there. Everyone is so different to the people here, describes Jarvis, "We stopped off at Atlanta Airport to get a connection flight and sometimes you can sometimes see rough people in airports but everyone there was just chatting to each other. I made four friends and my Facebook account was banging. It was just so different, everyone was so nice, the shows were really good. It was mad because it is far away and then you see people who know the songs. It is like 'How do you know them!"

Things have moved on in the best way possible. A huge part of it can only be attributed to being signed and having 'a home'. Big Machine has definitely helped settle things for Pretty Vicious and helped them move forward. The record label has never had a British band signed before but as they only have three acts they can pay a lot a lot more attention into each act. This is clearly a huge difference to Pretty Vicious' previous experience with a record label and being signed.   

"It is just great, says Brad, "All the people from our American label are the nicest people in the world, which has made the whole thing even better for us because it is like working with your mates and that is the ideal job in the world. It is like your boss is your mate. They have Taylor Swift signed too and she is the biggest selling artist they have."

But the band's first experience of being signed to a label (Virgin EMI) "Was not so bad at all, explains Brad. It was just a mutual agreement that did not work out", and the band moved on.

"It has been amazing, says Tom, "Going over to the States to meet the label was just unreal and I can't wait to get back out there." 

"Sometimes things just don't work out, says Elliot, "Things are not all black or white, it can be far more of a grey area. Things were not working out and we knew that at the time. They knew that we might as well go our separate ways and it was like 'Let's see what we can do on our own when it is not working out."  

At Reading Festival 2018 - Photo Credit: Simon Sarin

But when a copy of Pretty Vicious' raw demos landed on Big Machine Label Group, A&R executive, Julian Raymond's desk, things changed overnight. Immediately recognising the band's immense talent and potential, Raymond wasted no time in bringing the band into the newly created label in partnership with fashion designer John Varvatos. Suddenly Pretty Vicious found themselves with a new record deal and a bright future.

Their label is allowing Pretty Vicious plenty of artistic control but they are also receiving all the guidance they need. Although the band are not able to reveal the title of their debut album yet, they can say that the plan is to drop two singles between now and February time. But what sort of sound can the fans expect?

"What is happening at the moment, says Jarvis, "is that we are looking to release a proper rock tune. At the same time, we have also got a really nice melodic soft one that we want to put out before the album is released. So it could either be in the order of the heavy one followed by the soft or the soft one followed by the heavy one."

"Obviously "Move" is still quite new, says Elliot, "Our new single releases don't come out on a day anymore, they are released over a timed period. We just released the video for Move, it went really well. We are just going through this release cycle now and getting ready for the next single release cycle and a few live dates here and there until the record is out."

The forthcoming debut album captures perfectly the youthful energy and attitude that initially made the music industry go all-in on the teenagers.

"It is full of youthful arrogance and just about being young these days, says Brad, "It is like about living in this time, being a youngster and some of the hardships you face. As helpful, as youthful as we feel, I want our interpretation of it because we are still young ourselves so we pretty much know what it is like."   

At Reading Festival 2018 - Photo Credit: Simon Sarin


Move really has done extremely well and the video has such a unique vibe to it. Directed by Hamish Kay, it sees the band dressed up in white 'angelic' punk outfits.

"Hamish Kay has done a lot of bands, explains Elliot, "He has worked with so many and we just knew him and we knew that we could have a good working relationship with him. He had a really good idea for the video and so we thought we will go with that and it is cool We knew it would work out well." 

"I knew that the video and song was good, says Tom, "but it is still amazing to see so many people get into the song when we play it live."

Working with Dan Austin was a really good experience. 

"Dan is amazing and working with him was like working with your best mate who has got a really good ear for music, says Brad, "so he was on total wavelength with us and he just captured us exactly as we wanted it. I think especially for the first album he captured us perfectly. He is a lovely guy as well and he is like an extra band member, like a fifth member of Pretty Vicious."

"It is crazy how much we have actually got to know Dan, says Jarvis, "It is good to see the music side and he really knows what he is doing.

"We are not trying to big Dan up but he is really good at his job, says Brad, "He is a  great guy and he is establishing himself at the moment. He is the sort of producer you want because he has a lot more time for bands. He does it because he loves it, not only because of money and that is the main thing for us."   

When it comes to the boys' personal plans, where do they want to live? For now they remain loyal to their hometown Merthyr Tydfil.  

"The thing is of course we can move away to London, says Elliot, "but then it is like we are not quite earning enough money so when we go on tour for a year we are just able to pay for a house or a flat we are never in. What is the point of that anyway? It is nice to come back to an actual place after you have been away." 

On a business level things are clearly better than they ever have been and more organised but no matter what happens and luckily some things never change.

"We are just doing music we enjoy, says Elliot, "We don't sort of like to plan it beforehand, it just happens and when it is good, it is just really great." 

"Being natural is the best, says Brad. Be yourselves and if people don’t like it then they don’t, it is fair enough. Thanks for watching us and if you do like us then great. We are not against anyone and we are not for anyone we just we write music for ourselves before anyone else, so if people like it then it is a plus."

But fans of guitar music continue to love Pretty Vicious. It is an enthusiasm, dedication and passion likely to last well into the foreseeable future because their fans continue to stand by them and they are not going to run off now. There is still excitement and prosperity around the band. It right now is a great time to follow and support the band. Be part of their story.

"I think things are currently better than ever and we are in a really good place, says Tom, "We just want to keep doing what we are doing and hopefully play bigger gigs and finally release the album."    

Live dates 

29 September - PoppFest - Cyfarthfa Park, Merthyr Tydfil  

6 October - Neighbourhood Festival - Manchester

16 October - King Tuts - Glasgow 

17 October - Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen - London

Several US tour dates between 4 November and 6 December