The aesthetic vision and marketing strategy behind the second EP from pop duo vverevvolf
A LITTLE HISTORY
UGH is the second release from vverevvolf this year, and serves as the follow up to the duo's introduction, Electric Blue: a self-released debut which, with no promotional backing, accumulated thousands of streams overnight and quickly attracted over 15,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. Electric Blue was broadcasted globally throughout stores including H&M and Hollister, garnered a sync placement from the CW Network and received coverage from taste-makers, Nylon Magazine and The 405. The duo received airplay on San Francisco's influential Alt-105 station and cemented their reputation as one of most engaging live bands based in the Bay Area with performances at POPSCENE, SF MoMA and in support of a sold out show with Yumi Zouma. With their fanbase and placement opportunities multiplying every day, expect to see much more of vverevvolf in 2018.
Release Title: Electric Blue
Release Date: 2/23/18
vverevvolf is: Dylan Gallagher and Kelsey LaRae
vverevvolf is a pop duo from Berkeley, CA formed by the friendship of producer/song writer/vocalist Dylan Gallagher and songwriter/vocalist Kelsey LaRae. Dylan began writing music as a teenager and after dropping out of UC Davis, he enrolled in Diablo Valley Community College where he mistakenly sat in on a blues rock performance class in which he heard Kelsey singing. Blown away by her performance, Dylan asked her if she would be interested in joining him on an original project. Over a shared love of pop music, their friendship grew to near sibling level; they formed vverevvolf and set out to make pop songs that would capture the messiness and melodrama of feeling alive. Over the course of the next few years, these songs turned into Electric Blue.
Dylan started crafting the songs of Electric Blue in Garageband, which the two of them practiced tirelessly in their cars and bedrooms until they were ready to seek out a studio to record their vocals. Working with Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, both Dylan and Kelsey funded the studio time themselves by driving for Lyft and working relentlessly at Starbucks. Once the duo was introduced to Aki Ehara, bassist and producer of The Seshen, the "pop aesthetic" of the record began falling into place. Their friendship and collaboration kicked off after Aki provided a remix of the band's first song "Cruel Games," which impressed the duo so much they invited him to co-produce the entire EP. It was love at first listen.; his arrangements were snappy and forward-thinking, and he left plenty of room for the duo to add stylistic flourishes like sampling their own screams.
With their core team assembled, vverevvolf began to play shows in the Bay Area and quickly found compatriots in local synthpop bands Introflirt and Ghost of Lighting. Tragically, both bands were lost in the Oakland Ghostship Fire in December of 2016. In honor of their friendship, Dylan and Kelsey dedicated Electric Blue to them with an inscription on the inside of their cd sleeves. The loss strengthened the duo's resolve to work at their art and bring as much energy to their live performances as possible. The duo attempt to make every show an experience. Beyond lighting that reacts to their music, they have invited audience members to be part of the vvolfpack by handing out wolf masks, light wands and blue roses on different occasions.
With the release of Electric Blue on the horizon, vverevvolf are already working on a follow-up EP.
Un-edited photos by Ashlynn Danielsen
"Lemonade was written on a disgustingly hot day in New York City a few summers ago. I hate the heat, so I was already in a bad mood as it was, but then a specific interaction I had with some guy really set me off. In the broader sense, the song is about anger and the validity of that feeling, but I was specifically inspired by the special type of anger that I always come back to as a queer person. I’ve found that a lot of people who have no insight into your lived experiences will often be the most vocal ones telling you how to act or behave in response to injustice, so this is basically a response to them." - Dylan
"We recorded Braindead and Lemonade on the same day. I remember this being one of the only times I had a fun time in the studio. I’m usually very hard on myself but this day was going particularly well. Dylan had recorded this song about a year before I went into the studio for it which is how he met our manager Brendan. He had heard the song blasting through the halls of Fantasy Studios and decided to poke his head in and introduce himself to Dylan. I owe our entire career to that moment. I’m probably going to leak the Dylan only version of this song in the future just because it’s that good. This song is probably the most challenging one for me to perform live due to the fact that I always jumble the lyrics at the end of the first verse, I don't know why it’s so hard for me to remember. That aside, it’s also one of my favorites to play live and on the EP. To me it sounds like a big pop song and if I personally had to choose one song that really defined this era of vverevvolf it would have to be Lemonade." - Kelsey
"One of the first things that a lot of people ask after listening to Cruel Games is “Who is it about?” and the funny thing is it’s not about anyone in particular. I wrote the song after I’d had my heart broken for the first time, dropped out of college, and moved back to my parents’ house. My life was standing still and I was watching everyone I grew up with graduate, get married, and get jobs – I basically felt like a huge loser. So this song was my way of asking all of these people who seemed so fulfilled on social media to show me how to do things their way, and teach me how to want the same things so that I could feel fulfilled too." -Dylan
"What is there to say about Cruel Games? For the past few years it’s done a pretty solid job of speaking for itself. Everything that has come our way thus far has been solely due to this song. We self released this song in November 2015 I believe and then later released it a second time sometime in 2017. We also somewhere in the middle of that released a Cruel Games remix done by our producer Aki Ehara and it’s been an ongoing joke that we will only ever release different incarnations of Cruel Games. This was the first song Dylan and I took into the studio where we learned a lot about the production of music, namely how much it costs. One of the most special memories I have from this band is hearing our first rough dry vocal studio recording of this song. It didn't matter what it sounded like, we were so excited to finally have a high quality version of our music that we could work with. To this day while I’m increasingly more excited with every new thing we work on, I can’t seem to recreate that feeling of what it was like hearing my voice through a studio mic for the first time. This was also the first music video we ever shot. Cruel Games was shot over various bay area locations and it also was the reason for our first band trip down to Joshua Tree/Twentynine Palms where we shot the desert scenes. The first time we played this song live was at our first show with our friends Introflirt at a small venue in Oakland called The Legionnaire. The crowd was small but it felt so big as soon as the first few hits of percussion started playing and everyone sang along to Cruel Games. My mom was crying in the front row, Dylan and I were grinning ear to ear, it was a really special moment. We felt like little rockstars. Nothing beats the feeling of listening to a crowd shout your song back to you. This song holds a very special place in our hearts. We wouldn't be where we are today without it, but I’m ready to show the world everything we’ve been hiding." - Kelsey