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Celebrating A Perfect Christmas With Volk Soup

Volk Soup have built a reputation over the last couple of years. With their energetic and chaotic live performances and their eclectic genre-hopping they might be seen as a somewhat unpredictable band. And their latest release is no exception. Volk Soup aren’t usually ones to bring the good times. Thematically, Volk Soup stick to transgressive subjects. The mocking of billionaires, exploring bodily fluids and imagining themselves arguing with Prince Andrew about his sexual perversions are typically what they write about. Now they’ve turned their hand to the jolly. This Christmas, Volk Soup are bringing the good times. We spoke to them about their new track, A Perfect Christmas. Enjoy:

1. Volk Soup is known for its energetic and unpredictable live performances. How do you think your eclectic genre-hopping and thematic focus on transgressive subjects contribute to the band's unique identity?

I suppose it’s not all that unique. We’ve simply entered the world of music, taken from the parts we admire and built our own church with the materials we stole. A classic form of colonialism. We’ve cultivated a culture from many cultures. 

2. "A Perfect Christmas" is a departure from Volk Soup's typical themes, exploring the desire to create a feel-good Christmas song. What inspired this shift in theme, and how did you approach incorporating the festive spirit into your music?

Well the shift in theme came because of a shift in ambitions. We suffocated our inner desires to create the art that comes most naturally to us and instead decided to reach for financial success (preferably financial stability). The festive spirit came by way of jingle bells, lots of brass and a choir (we ended up being our own choir). If it sounds like Christmas then Christmas it must be. 

3. Singer and lyricist Harry Jones mentioned the initial cynical desire to write a Christmas song for potential commercial success. How did this idea evolve during the creative process, and what aspects of the holiday season did you genuinely want to capture in "A Perfect Christmas"?

I had the idea last year, only too late to put the plan into action. But this year, in July, I remembered that if I wanted a chance to make it big then I’d need to start writing soon. So I whipped out my Yamaha keyboard, got my head down, and wrote ‘A Perfect Christmas’ in around 30 minutes. I sent it to the band who all agreed it was an inspired turn and we waited until the right time to get it recorded. Though I note the cynical (capitalist) inspirations for writing the song, ultimately I did want it to be a good Christmas song. The aim was to avoid irony and embrace sincerity. To rejoice in all things Christmas. It’s about loving people and having a ball. 

4. The song draws inspiration from various Christmas classics like Mud's "Lonely This Christmas" and Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)." How did you navigate the challenge of creating a modern Christmas song while paying homage to the classics?

It’s only modern in the sense that it was written this year. It’s steeped in pastiche. I’m doing a bit of an antiquated croon, there’s a romanticism running through it and as we know, romance is dead. What I really wanted to do was to bring back the chart battles of the 1980’s for the Christmas #1 spot. I believe in Christmas. And I believe in hits. 

5. The song has a simplicity that invites everyone to join in, starting with a waltz and building up with brass and a powerhouse finale. How did each band member contribute to creating this festive anthem, and what was the collaborative process like?

The collaborative process was so simple that it ended up being quite complicated. I wrote the song and sat on it for months without a single contribution from the others (they’d yet to find the Christmas spirit, I was born into it). We ran through it a couple of times in a practice and it sounded horrible but we could hear the potential. Next thing we knew we were in the studio with very little in the way of a plan. Even with drums, bass and rhythm guitar down it was hard to hear Christmas. But once the trumpet and sax started up we were full of ideas: backing vocals, choirs, jingle bells, guitar solos on a tiny amplifier. Just throwing everything at it until there was arguably too much. As with Christmas, it was more a get-together than a collaboration (it was a collaboration).

6. With plans to go caroling at various venues and hosting a Christmas party in Leeds, what can fans expect from Volk Soup's live Christmas performances, and how do you envision the audience engaging with "A Perfect Christmas"?

We’re not actually caroling anywhere I’m sad to say. However, we are throwing a Christmas party on 16th December at Wharf Chambers and plan to serve soup. So that’s how they’ll engage with the gustatory aspect of the show, aurally I hope to hear the finale shouted back at me. It’s a singalong hit (ending to a hit) and I fully expect everyone to join in. We’ll make the show Christmassy in other ways too but we’ll keep those on the downlow. I hope people listen to the record in the build up to Christmas. I hope it’s on everyone’s xmas :p playlist. I hope the BBC makes it their most played song of December. I hope people call up to Absolute Radio requesting “‘A Perfect Christmas’ by Volk Soup”. Do your thing fans.

7. The band hopes to hit radio success and appear in editorials with "A Perfect Christmas." How do you plan to promote the single during the holiday season, and what are your aspirations for the song in terms of reaching a wider audience?

I guess we’ll flippantly answer questions about the origins, inspirations and ambitions of our Christmas song. We’re essentially powerless against the PR machine at the most financially lucrative time of year in the West, so there’s only so much we can do. We’ve got to rely on the strength of the song, not as a piece of quality art (which it is) but as a festive ear worm. We’ll nag influention publications to amplify the song and we’ll hope local BBC DJs are obsessed with it. If we manage to finger our way into a tiny corner of the public consciousness then we plan to borrow like termites until we’re challenging those sausage roll people for the Christmas #1 spot and are personally invited by Jools Holland to play the Hootenanny. 


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