Introducing VOLK

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I was introduced to the music of VOLK after they got in touch and asked me to check out the video for their song called ‘January’. The energy of this song instantly grabbed my attention and made me hungry to hear more. I found that they had released an EP called ‘Boutique Western Swing Compositions’ and after hearing that I became a fan. Because I liked what I heard, it seemed only fair to share their music with you all.

So, who are VOLK? They are the music project of Christopher Lowe (vocals/guitar) and Eleot Reich (vocals/drums who are two American storytellers that decided to create back to basics Rock n Roll. This joint venture resulted in their debut EP ‘Boutique Western Swing Compositions’. Before I share my review of this EP I wanted to give you more of an insight into VOLK as I had the opportunity to chat with Christopher. This is what he had to say:

How did Volk come together and is there a story behind the name?

We came to Berlin separately; I came for teaching and Eleot for Theater. We met doing the open mic circuit and eventually started collaborating on songs together.
Both of us consider ourselves song writers more than anything else and everything we write starts out a just a simple folk song. We’re both addicted to amps and drums though and we’ll eventually try to morph anything we have to loud, foot stomping Rock. So we thought we were clever and combined folk + voltage = VOLK.

How would you describe the bands sound and which musicians have helped influence this?

As Sturgil Simpson says, we’re still very much working on the sound. I’m not sure we can really pin point what we are yet sound-wise, maybe something between a Alt Country-Soul-Rock Power Duo. The best compliment that we ever got was that we seem to find ways to incorporate all of our musical tastes and inspirations. I’m obsessed with songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, Guy Clarke, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Gregory Alan Isakov; however, my favorite band ever is Tool with Rage Against the Machine a close second. Coming from Texas I’ll always be wishing I could play like Stevie Ray Vaughan. Eleot loves the old blues singers and Big Mama Thorton. Eleot and I are obsessed with Sturgil, Alabama Shakes, and Lucius at the moment. Then again we love Ennio Maricone and always feel like we’re trying to soundtrack Spagetti westerns. We joke a lot that we are basically the White Stripes playing country music, but we know deep down that we are really the demonic children of the Graveltones and the Ghost Wolves.

Which is your favourite song from EP and why?

For me it’s “Simple Western Song” because its such a scary song to play. Its like balancing yourself on a knife, whether it’s actually going to sound good or not.  I’ve got to be super erratic in my playing to get this sort of fierce edge during the heavy part, like some wounded animal on it’s last leg, but somehow reel it in enough that it still sounds like music. We didn’t even think we’d play the song well enough to get it on the EP and were super surprised when sound Engineer, Guy Sternberg of Low Swing Studios, insisted that it be the opening track.

If you were headlining a world tour and you could choose are 2 support acts, who would it be and why?

We consider ourselves a support band for at least 2 more years, and we daydream constantly about opening for the Alabama Shakes and Sturgil Simpson.

What are the future plans and goals for the band?

We’ve got a 13 show tour through Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, and France lined up from March 18th – April 2nd and we’re working this month on promoting it. Its all DIY so its  pretty time demanding but super exciting.

Next huge thing is us moving permanently to the States. We love Berlin but it’s time for us to head home. We’re going to set up shop in Texas for a few months and get our feet wet with some shows.Then we are heading to Nashville to see if we are a real band.

Our big goal is to become a band to book. We want to be touring constantly across the US and Europe eventually, writing, sharing our music, and just working hard in general. Playing in front of folks and giving them a good time is our biggest achievement. Oh and maybe someday being included in a Tarantino film where we are the bar band who is violently killed off by the main character. That would be pretty cool too.

When you first listen to ‘Boutique Western Swing Compositions’ EP you will probably hear the common comparison to the White Stripes. I kind of get it as they are both a duo who deliver a blend of rock/blues and they they create music that fits them and not the requirements for music trends of today. This for me is where the comparison ends as VOLK bring their own sound and it’s good!

The EP begins with ‘Simple Western Song’ that instantly grabs your attention in the way it’s slow build up draws you in before it kicks in with it’s thunderous sound which eases back off towards the end. This perfectly shows what VOLK are all about with their sound which are supported with some top vocals from Eleot. Next up is ‘Just Anybody’ which is my favourite display of vocals from the EP. It’s musical elements are minimalist to let Eleot steal the spotlight with her amazing vocal tone that is spellbinding. I never get tired of to listening to her voice on this song which is a highlight of mine. Anyone who knows me can confirm I love my blues with killer riffs, so as soon as I heard the intro to ‘Revelators Bottleneck’ I knew this would be my favourite song on this release. The vocals are good on this song but I can’t stop focusing on Christopher’s guitar skills as they give off some damn sexy blues riffs. Not to be totally out done, Eleot brings an infectious beat that gets your foot thumping along. This song has been racking up some serious play counts on my iPod since it joined my collection. Last up is ‘Like a Fool’ which brings the pace back down and gives the opportunity to hear Christopher show off his vocal talents. Both of them vocally blend together to give us a slightly different sound that also highlights their lyrical skills too.

Overall, this is a real solid debut that has a lot more to offer than you first notice. Great guitar and drum skills that support some outstanding vocal talents. My only disappointment with this EP is that it does not include the song ‘January’ which originally made me a fan. Hopefully it will be included on a future release. I recommend that you head over to their Bandcamp page (click HERE) to listen to this EP in full and understand why I think VOLK deserve your attention.

I’m glad to hear that VOLK have plans to take over Europe and then Stateside with their music, but I hope they don’t make us wait too long for some new music. If you want to find out about their tour dates and future music releases then you can visit their website at LiveVOLK.com or alternatively check out their social media sites at Facebook and Twitter. Go and say hello to them, let them know you are a fan of their music.

Talking about fans, if you you are now a fan of VOLK then help them by telling the world all about them. It is important to help support independent and unsigned music as it helps them to grow. Go support the music that matters to you today!