19th July 2024

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Exterior of YES music venue in Manchester

“Euphoria, heartache, redemption, melancholy.” That’s VALA frontman Joe Knowles on what the Manchester indie band is chasing via their sleek, pop-embracing songwriting. They sound like a hazy night at a city bar; they sound like the romance of the streets after closing time. They’re a band that’s full of young life, and not too cool to feel it all. The band — vocalist/ guitarist Joe Knowles, drummer Matt Hill, guitarist George Hill and bassist Tom Wynne — are laser-focused on songwriting, taking apart the work of artists from The Strokes to Taylor Swift to find out what makes them tick. It’s that craft, that alchemy, that VALA strive for. After their most successful year as a band in 2021 — which landed them two sold-out Manchester headline shows, a slot at Rotterdam’s Left of the Dial festival, and placements at Radio X and multiple Spotify Editorial playlists — VALA reached out to Gordon Raphael, producer of The Strokes’ Is This It and Room On Fire, to help them figure out their next direction. Raphael became a mentor to the band, helping to shape the tracks that they’ve been steadily dropping throughout 2022.

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