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We needed some good news this week, and we received a healthy dose! Alt/Psych rockers Villa Mure asked us to premiere their new song, Hypochondriac, and we were blown away by it. WFPK’s John Timmons spoke with husband & wife band-mates Kendra Villiger and Colin LaMure to discuss the track and news of a new album!

Congratulations on the new single. I’m absolutely loving the feel of it. It’s got a bluesy-groove that takes off into a psychedelic direction. It’s been great to watch the band grow in so many ways. To me, Hypochondriac shows a definite growth in your songwriting, playing and production.

C: Thank you. We struggle to develop musical ideas in a radio-friendly way, and this is our most successful attempt, I think.

K: Thank you, John! We really feel like this recording is going to be a step up from our previous debut EP “Stay with Me,” where the percussion was an amalgamation of Colin and I playing various instruments piece by piece. This upcoming record is much more polished with the help of our amazing drummer, Jordan Hubbard, and our friend, mixing/mastering guru, Quinton Caster.

How did the song come together? Who wrote it? What’s the inspiration behind it? I get the feeling that this was written and recorded before the Covid-19 outbreak.

C: Normally, we don’t like to be too up front about the meaning behind the lyrics of our music, but the subject matter and timing of this song calls for us to be explicit. This song was written in the fall of last year and, despite the title, is NOT in any way a commentary on the current situation with COVID-19. Please stay safe out there. We wrote this song about the insistent, looming undercurrent of anxiety that I know many of us deal with every day. For me personally, the object of that anxiety has been my health for many years now, and for that reason I wanted to title this song “Hypochondriac” (that and because I’m not familiar with any other songs of that title). But this song isn’t just for those who worry about their health, it’s a confession for everyone who finds themselves struggling with chronic emotional discomfort. I found that the best way to deal with it is knowing you’re not alone, and that’s why we wrote these words. Perhaps at a time such as this, knowing we aren’t alone is the best comfort we can have.

K:  Generally, our songwriting is pretty 50-50 between Colin and I. We write together. We bring each other ideas, bounce them back and forth, and try out different parts until something sticks. With this song, It started with that dissonant chimey riff you hear repeated throughout. Colin started adding bass lines to it, and from that point on, this song was Colin’s, haha. He kinda swooped it up and called it his. He was super particular about the direction of this song once he latched onto the feeling it gave him. It’s as if he found a vessel in which to pour what he was really feeling – his struggle with fear surrounding his health. He is definitely a textbook Hypochondriac, and as his partner, it upsets me to see all the worry keep him up at night. So I cannot express how proud I am that he was able to put that unsettling and fearful energy into creating something positive and beautiful. And I got to help decorate by writing some swirly guitar riffs and melodies. I am very happy with the way this song turned out, it’s one of my favorites to play now, and Colin did an incredible job driving this one home.

You’ve made reference to a new album in your social media posts. Care to give us the details of when we will see its release?

C: Yup, we’ve been about a year into this new record and it’s just about time to get it out there! Our new record is called Push & Pull, and to answer the question of when, some explanation and excuses are in order. With Jordan on board for this recording, we wanted to capture the sound of the band. The last recording was just Kendra and me, so it was more about getting the songs down and decorating them in a satisfying way. It was kind of an experiment. We didn’t reverse engineer this record in that way; some of these songs have had a lot of stage time, so we just wanted to capture them as they are. This was a lot more exciting to make than that previous record so, we got really ambitious and really threw it all out there and, well, ended up recording a lot more music than is passing for an album these days. Growing up in the nineties, I’ve always thought of an album as being about an hour or so of music, but the resurgence of vinyl has shown me that it wasn’t always that way… and the 40 minute record seems to be re-establishing itself.

On top of the length of the record being a bit heavy, there are really two clear directions it pulls in. It’s a unified, solid sounding piece of music I think, and all of the songs belong to one family, but it feels like two parts. An act 1 and act 2; a push followed by a pull. This played itself out thematically as well as musically, and we realized that the proper thing to do for the music we had recorded was to give each side its own moment. We didn’t want to cut any songs; we’re very attached to all of them, and we feel that they all belong together, but each with their own space. So Push & Pull became a double album. We didn’t set out to make a double album, but here we are.

How this all relates to WHEN it will be out… Part 1, which this song is on, will be released digitally on April 24th! We’re really proud of this first half, and we’re very excited to share it with everyone. We’re also very happy to be living in a time when releasing things digitally like this is even possible, allowing us to give this record this treatment. The follow up, Push & Pull: Part 2, will be released several months from now; looking at August. It worked for System of a Down, didn’t it?

Both parts will be released digitally, but when part 2 is released, we will be selling physical copies that have both parts together. All three releases with each have their own unique artwork, all done by Kendra.

K:  Yes!  We are thrilled to OFFICIALLY announce to you today that we will be releasing our first album “Push & Pull” in two parts. Part 1: “PUSH & pull” will be released on all digital platforms on APRIL 24, 2020. Part 2: “push & PULL” will be released on all digital platforms in August 2020. Additionally, we will be releasing a full-length, physical copy of the two-part album in August 2020.

We were expecting to put on a big Part 1 Release show party on April 24 at the amazingly whimsical “Enchanted Forest” venue at Floyd County Brewing Company, however due to COVID-19, this idea may be transformed into a livestream show. Details are in the works. We are planning a bigger Album release show for part 2 + full-length in August. This coming month leading up to the Part 1 release on April 24, we will continue to some more exciting content and launching our first Villa Mure website. So stay tuned!

It’s been very hard to not share the direction we’ve decided to take this first album of ours. It was planned this way because we tend to write really long songs, haha, and it turns out that the album split very well into 2 parts. Because of the nature of the music industry right now – the shorter EP-length digital medium becoming so popular and better received – we’ve decided that releasing it this way in two shorter segments would give us the best of both worlds – releasing two parts digitally, but also keeping true to our favorite way of receiving music through physical copies with physical artwork.  With 2 Digital Releases + 1 Full-Length Physical Release, you can expect to see 3 unique works of art for each.

For the foreseeable future, live club shows are out of the question. Any plans for online performances?

C: Yes, one silver lining to all of this stuff with COVID-19 has been the great live streamed performances we’ve seen a lot of our favorite artists doing. We’ll be taking part in one ourselves this Saturday evening. To really take advantage of the medium, we’ll be “sharing the bill” with our friends in the band As Good As It Gets. Of course by that I mean, they’ll be playing on Facebook Live, and then we’ll be playing on Facebook Live shortly after; we’ll actually be in two completely different towns! We’ve been meaning to play with them, but the where and when hasn’t worked out, so we may as well take advantage of the fact that “where” has been taken out of the question. What a world we live in.

This whole live streamed performance thing has got us thinking about other ways we can challenge boundary between a live show and the digital medium too, but that’s a conversation for another time.

As a married couple, how are you two coping with this pandemic era? Assuming you have more time together, are you writing more songs or thinking about separate vacations? (jk)

C: We’ve been conditioned for this for the past several months actually. Having been working so hard on this recording, we haven’t been getting out as much as before anyway, so it hasn’t been a big change for us personally. All this time staying inside working on music has stirred up a lot of great ideas for the next record, so you can expect that that will be on the horizon before you know it. It’s actually a great opportunity for creatives, to be stuck inside. I really feel bad for all of the restaurant owners and service providers who are taking a hit from this. When the smoke clears, we’re all going to party at Floyd County Brewing Company. I hope everyone does the same for their friends who own businesses. The future is scary right now for them. There is no way we could handle separate vacations. We’re attached at the hip. Last time I had to spend a night without Kendra, I just talked on the phone with my mom for like three hours and fell asleep at like 9PM playing Zelda. I have no idea what to do without her.

K:  Haha! Funny you should say that – Hey Colin, we need to talk…jk. I shudder at the thought of separate vacations, haha. I need to be able to turn to him and say “Did you just see that (thing)!?” What if he wasn’t there to see said thing? Honestly, we already spend a lot of our time together since we work on just about everything together. Maybe it’s weird, but I like him a lot… most of the time. :D  Because we share so many of the same interests, have the same career fields (graphic designers and musicians), we like all the same video games (just have to take turns lol), we get along pretty well. We fight like siblings/best friends a lot, or like an ‘old married couple’, but we have a good time together and I’m happy to get to spend this much time in the same place with the person I love. I’m sure there’ll be lots of new music coming from all of this. There seems to be a lot of creation happening. As terrible of a time this is for everyone, and our hearts go out to all those in difficult situations, it certainly is beautiful to see everyone coming together, helping each other out, taking time for themselves, and creating more. We’re trying to focus on the positive as much as we can.

We’re looking forward to the new album release and hopefully we’ll get to see the band performing live soon!

C: Thanks so much for having us, and hopefully we’ll all be able to get out and make music again soon!

Ready for more great music? wfpk.org/stream

John is the mid-morning host on WFPK.