It’s really exciting to catch up with bands I saw live before the pandemic began. So, it was such a buzz when female-led, Leeds-based Artio were up for an interview.
Hi guys, how are you?
We’re good thank you! We recently played our first show since the Coronavirus outbreak, which was a socially distanced, seated and masked, 100-capacity gig at the Wardrobe in Leeds last Tuesday (3rd November) night. It was amazing! It sold out within a week, so it was really cool and everybody was excited to be there, just as we were equally excited to play. So, we’ve had that lovely thing to send us off into the next chapter. It had been 236 days since our last show, so we were very, very happy to play!
Tell us about how you formed Artio.
Me (Hol), Ieuan and Rob had all been in different bands for a few years before forming Artio. Me and Ieuan had been playing in bands since we were 14, and Rob was around the same age when he started as well.
We all knew each other, but me and Ieuan had been close for a while and we began just messing around writing stuff. Ieuan was making and producing EDM/dance music, and I was going through some stuff at the time, so I was writing lyrics to vent and help myself cope. Ieuan happened to put together a really cool instrumental that I then added vocals to, which was a ‘woah’ moment. We’d never mixed our creative paths in that way before and it was so cool. A few months down the line, we got Rob involved, then we started performing together live. And yeah, here we are!
Who have been the biggest influences on your sound?
Our sound probably, at the minute, is very much like PVRIS, with a bit of post-2015 Bring Me The Horizon. Rob is really into Muse, which you can maybe hear in his guitar playing, but we’ve all otherwise just grown up with big rock/pop/alternative influences. We’ve found what works and then just put it into our music.
This year certainly hasn’t gone to plan. How have you coped during lockdown? Have you picked up any hobbies outside music?
I can only really speak for me, but we all coped pretty well in the first lockdown. I had some really dark patches in the beginning, because I have depression and anxiety, so I was really down for a long time. It was very hard for me to start socialising again, because I’d become so used to not doing so. It became a terrifying idea.
But then we wrote loads of new music and, now the UK’s in a second lockdown, we’re actually ready to write for the fourth EP. It won’t be out until summer 2021, though.
We’ve had a lot to do musically and otherwise. I really got into gardening. I planted a vegetable patch and am growing cayenne peppers and chillis, onions, garlic, tomatoes and runner beans. That’s been really nice. I’ve also massively got into cooking. I’ve always liked it but, because I’m vegan and the rest of my family isn’t, it’s a lot easier for me to cook for myself. So I’ve been getting really into it and it’s been so nice!
All things considered, what’s your plan with gigs in the foreseeable?
We did just play the one I mentioned earlier, which was great. The vibe was very different but it was lovely to be there.
We’re going to have to see what the picture looks like on 2nd December though, once the second lockdown has been reviewed, as to whether venues and pubs can open again and let shows go ahead. We intend to do some live streams in the meantime, but we’ve no idea when we’ll get to play properly again, which is hard as it means we can’t fully plan.
We do have a tour scheduled for September 2021, so fingers crossed we can still play those shows! We also have lots of festivals booked in for next year as well. But, as for the foreseeable, we’ll just take any show we can get that we’re able to play!
If you could put on your own fantasy festival, who would be the headliners and where would it be held?
My fantasy festival would probably have the headliner as PVRIS, playing all of their albums, back to back. It would be magical. Rob’s headliner would be Muse or Bring Me The Horizon, while Ieuan would have Periphery on his dream line-up.
I’d love Bramham Park as the place to hold it. It’s just a really big field, and, in fact, I might just take over Leeds Festival and have PVRIS playing three days straight! That would be very nice.
You released new material back in September — how’s that been received?
It’s been received really, really well actually. It’s been crazy because we wrote it all back in lockdown, but we didn’t know how it would come out, if it would come out, or whether we could even promote it!
Normally, we would promote a release with a tour or headline show. We’d be out and about, but obviously we can’t be right now. We did a lot of sponsored posts and also paid for a promotion to take everything more online, which worked really well. Everybody has missed new and live music, so it was a way for us to give people an extra something to get them through their day, to remind them that they’ll see a show again and we’re going to play them again. No matter what happens, there’s always going to be a constant stream of content that we’ll make to distract people and help them out. So, it’s been taken really well.
I really enjoyed the run-up to it, because we’ve never done a five-track EP unsupported by a tour or show, which made it both exciting and scary. But our label and press team helped us pull it off really well. It’s been great. Go and listen to it!