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NewTracks New Artist: VGB

NewTracks New Artist: VGB

New Plymouth-based singer/guitarist Victoria Girling-Butcher is best known to connoisseurs of a good tune for fronting mid-2000s alt-pop trio Lucid 3. A beautiful 2011 solo album aside, Girling-Butcher’s principal music visibility in recent years has been as guitarist for Dave Dobbyn and Th’ Dudes. But now in 2021 she is branching out again solo, this time under the acronym VGB, with her first single, the dreamy pop-toned The Giver And The Gift, gracing April’s NZ On Air Music’s NewTracks compilation. 

What’s your full name, where are you from and what instruments do you play?

Victoria Girling-Butcher, no middle name, it’s already long enough. I play guitars and keys. Was born and raised in New Plymouth, where I recently returned to live. 

Was any high school or other music training especially important to you?

I was always unhappy at school, and as a result took refuge in music, so that could be considered a type of training? 

Any other projects that we might know you from? 

I released three albums in the band Lucid3, and one under my full name. I have worked as a guitarist and backing vocalist in Dave Dobbyn’s band on and off for 10 years, and last year I played guitar and backing vocals on the last ever tour of Th’ Dudes. 

What is that makes VGB different as a project? Is anyone else directly involved? 

VGB is a project I have worked on for a few years now, but this is the first release. It started when I was living in Paris working with a good friend on some compositions. Then after I returned home and had my daughter I tried co-writing with various musicians. This track is the result of one of those sessions with Tom Healy. Tom produced and co-wrote the song with me. 

How has your music evolved from your beginnings in songwriting to now?

Well, I guess I’m a grown-up now! Which is totally liberating – I really don’t feel like I have to please anyone but myself. 

How did you settle on the name for this new solo project?

Why VGB? Because I get sore thumbs typing my full name! 

Aside from this single release, what’s been the highlight to date? 

I have to say the last six months of gigs have been a highlight. So many amazing shows on various tours and at festivals with great musicians and bands while the rest of the world is burdened by heavy Covid restrictions. 

What makes The Giver And The Gift stand out as a first VGB single? 

The balance of melodic, emotive and lyrical elements makes this song stand out for me. I love the lift of the chorus and the intimacy of the verse lyrics.

What’s the story behind The Giver And The Gift

The lyrics were composed by Tom Healy and I in a Google document – we could see what each other were writing in real-time and we constructed the verses by taking parts of each other’s ideas and building on them. It was a really novel way to write. It turned out to be a song of paradox and contradiction which is interesting, probably as a result of this back and forth between the two of us. 

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single? 

“There are two songs to be sung, each undoes the other one.” 

What would you like listeners to take away from this song? 

Nothing pleases me more than a listener taking personal meaning from the song and interpreting it to suit their own experience. 

How do you generally work out what song would make a good single?

It is very hard to be objective about my own work, so even if I feel like I think a song has the ingredients to make a single, I will ask for the honest opinion of my peers. 

Who else is in your team (ie. producer, management, label, publicity etc.?)

I have a fabulous team of Lorraine Barry (Manager), Anthony Metcalf and Rachel Le Roux

You no doubt have some experience with NZOA funding applications. Got any advice for others out there? 

I am always working on new music, some of it terrible, some of it mediocre, and some of it good. But you never get the good if you’re un-prepared to just try and sometimes fail. I guess my advice is to keep working and writing; don’t limit yourself by pinning your hopes on one song.

Who did you make the video with? 

Arty Papageorgiou made the video. 

New Tracks is a compilation of new music from New Zealand artists which is distributed to broadcast and online platforms on the first of each month. Previously the Kiwi Hit Disc, New Tracks is one of the ways that New Zealand on Air promotes kiwi music to the industry, radio, streaming services, and media. To apply for New Tracks you must have a completed, airplay-ready song and a promotional plan.