University has a funny knack of throwing together people that inspire each other to achieve things that aren’t necessarily related to their studies. After all, the founders of Google met each other at Stanford University and still haven’t graduated, nor will they ever need to.
While this may be a tenuous link, the members of female-fronted rockers Hyla also all met at university, studying music at Guildford. The quartet of Vicky Holburt (vocals), Aaron Blandford (guitars), Libby Langley (drums) and Yani de Jesus Patel (bass) have also since dropped out of uni, in their case to focus on their new band – and have already coined their very own music genre.
That genre is ‘Aggro-Grunge,’ and I love it. As I stood being blown away by their live set supporting City of Ashes and 48Hours earlier this month, I thought the best way to pinpoint the Hyla sound is to imagine if Nirvana had told Kurt Cobain to stick to rocking out on his guitar and transferred in Courtney Love to sing in his place.
Blandford told us: “We call it Aggro-Grunge. We didn’t know what to call it, there’s some grunge and aggressive riffs in there, then we’re doing grime shit as well.”
There’s a distinct similarity to the likes of Marmozets, and their raw sound and impressive energy during live shows makes it easy to love this band.
Hyla released their debut single Why Blame Me? in July, which was produced by Dan Weller of Young Guns, Enter Shikari and Kids In Glass Houses fame. The track kicks off with huge booming, low-tuned, heavily distorted guitar and big smashing drums before muted guitars support Holburt’s raspy vocals in the opening verse.
The teasing pre-chorus lures you in before you’re spat out by a breakneck blitz of raw grungy chorus with the hugely enjoyable, singalong lyrics: ‘Is she all that you didn’t see in me, Did it satisfy you to set her free, ‘Cos now I’m laughing to myself, Well fuck me I got out so easy.’
The second rendition is followed by a head-banging inducing mix of heavy guitar and wild high notes to bring the track to an exciting end. If you’ve had a bad day or if you’re in any way annoyed with someone or something, stick this track on, belt out these emotive lyrics and it’ll have you feeling much better in an instant.
The edgy nature of Hyla is portrayed by the band not only doing a cover of Skepta’s grime track Shutdown, see the video below, but also writing their own grime track, which they played at their recent gig with City of Ashes.
Blandford said: “All met at uni together, it was a music uni but we got a bit too committed to this and not doing any work and got kicked out. But at uni we had a module where we had to cover a song so I was like ‘fuck it, let’s do this.'”
I firmly believe Hyla’s unique Aggro-Grunge sound is going to be a huge hit, and I’m very excited to hear their debut EP. They’re also buddies with fellow Surrey band Cavalier, who I met at the SEASONS EP launch gig a few weeks back, which means they must be pretty cool.
Blandford said: “We’re writing new stuff and should have a launch show for the EP and then we’ll tour it, and with all the campaigning hope to get a good support slot – maybe some festivals hopefully as well.”