So Reading and Leeds Festival is happening right now! We spoke with Valeras who play the Festival Republic stage at Leeds tomorrow (August 24th) at 3pm and at 3pm on Saturday in Reading, their hometown.
Guitarist Katie King discusses excitement, responsibility, and women at gigs. Enjoy!
So guys, Reading and Leeds is around the corner, how excited are you to play and have you been to the festival before?
We’re doing our best to be ready to make this our best Reading yet. It is around the corner from us so we feel at home and the friendly familiar faces at the front make it all the more special. Last time it rained a fair bit they even had to sweep the water off the stage. Although as soon as we came on the sun came out, we felt like the world was on our side. Seeing everyone in their rain macs having a great time with us was humbling. It’s also comforting to be playing on the same day as other people who are from around the corner. Sunday really is the Reading day with Sundara Karma and The Amazons on the line up. Excited doesn’t cut it!
You guys are playing Festival Republic stage. A lot of big names have rolled through here. Do you feel a weight of responsibility?
Even playing Reading in the first place feels like such an honour. We all went to Reading as kids so to be up on the stage instead of looking up at it is still quite surreal. Festival Republic has hosted some of our favourite bands including Husky Loops, Sunflower Bean and The Magic Gang. Some of our friends have played it too. Bloxx, Wild Front and Yonaka in 2018. It’s nice to tread in their footsteps. This year there are some of our favourite artists. George adores Peace and Rose has loved Basement for a number of years. I think it drives us to want to put on a better show, this is a huge step up from when we played BBC introducing last year.
What makes RandL such a special festival in your eyes compared to Glasto, Truck and other major UK festival?
It goes without saying that Reading is special to us as it’s so close to home and we get to experience it with our friends and family. It’s also just such a prestigious festival that has seen some of the greatest sets of all time. It’s a realised childhood dream that once felt impossible. When we got our first reading email we all screeched and cried as if we’d got through to the judge’s houses. It’s a magic feeling.
There’s been such a big call for the safety of women and young people in general at gigs and festivals. Is this something that you guys are super vigilant about?
We started this when we were very young and we also have three girls in the band. We’ve had some experiences we’d sooner forget with lairy men and had a few comments about the girls. It hurts when it happens and it is a shame. Thankfully they’re few and far between and the majority of people are amazing and supportive. It’d be wrong to pretend it doesn’t go on though. It hurts when it happens and it is a shame. We definitely care about our audience and want them to feel safe and like our gigs are somewhere they can let loose without worry. We do our best to create that atmosphere and we’d drop everything to help someone if they need it.
We haven’t heard any new music recently. Are there any surprises in store for your set at RandL?
We’re always looking for ways to change it up a bit and keep things interesting. We have a few things planned but it’d ruin the fun if we revealed them now! It’s not long to wait.
Talk us through your plans for the rest of 2019?
The summer of 2019 sees us holed up in a room writing like our lives depended on it. In the autumn we have a small southern tour where we can present what we made. Fresh out the writing cave! It’ll be a show and tell of what we’ve got. We hope to deliver shows where you can sing, dance and feel it with us.