Belle & The Vertigo Waves. Photo credit: Charlie Hibberd
Belle and the Vertigo Waves is an indie rock band from Kansas City. Led by Belle Loux, the songs on the band's first album, Aligned and their newest song "Fear or Faith", come from some of the darkest --yet most resilient--corners of her personal life. In her words, the origins of "Fear or Faith" came "while taking inventory of my life, that question played on repeat in my mind. Do I genuinely believe in and have faith in these things in my life, or am I just holding onto them out of the place of fear. It’s about asking, what would happen if I let them go?" If the band's stated mission is "slowly attempting world domination" we are lucky to share an interview before they are more widely known.
Introduce yourself and the band. Describe your music for new listeners.
Oh hello, we are Belle & The Vertigo Waves. We are an alt. rock band from KC. We’re loud and aggressive but also we have feelings.
How did the band come together?
Belle went into the studio in the spring of 2017 to record the debut album ‘Aligned’. She was still technically a solo artist at that point and hired some friends to play on it. Most of the people who played on the album were just wanting to be studio hires and not join a full time band. However, in hopes to eventually form a band, she released the record under the name ‘Belle & The Vertigo Waves’. John Loux (guitar) and Jeremiah Scott (bass) who played on the record were all-in from the beginning. Before the band was fully formed, John and Belle played duo shows for a while to promote the album. After a several month process of trying out different musicians to find the right sound, Zach Nielsen (guitar) was the next addition.
You’ve written openly about inspirations behind the songs on Aligned, particularly in regards to struggles with anxiety. What would you like people to know about the inspiration behind “Fear or Faith”?
This song is kind of the follow up on the mental health struggles that I (Belle) talked about in Aligned. It was while taking a step back to look deeper at the roots of depression that the question of “Fear or Faith” came into play.
While taking inventory of my life, that question played on repeat in my mind. Do I genuinely believe in and have faith in these things in my life, or am I just holding onto them out of the place of fear. It’s about asking, what would happen if I let them go?
Whether that be faith in relationships, substances, religious or political views, jobs, etc; to me, it’s one of the most terrifying questions to ask myself. But at the same time, the thought of keeping something or someone in my life out of fear made me feel broken and out of control which isn’t fair to myself or to others.
So “Fear Or Faith” paints a picture of being in an incredibly dark and hopeless place in the first verse. Then as the song progresses, it looks at what feels like to go deeper, to dig in and take stock of everything around you in hopes of digging yourself out of the hole. It’s about recognizing the demons that you cling to for comfort but are holding you back, and hopefully in the end finding some semblance of freedom from those things.
How does the new song build on the sound of Aligned?
The origin of every song has stayed the same, in that it mainly stems from Belle’s lyricism and melodies. With this being the first song that we’ve recorded as a full band, seeing as how Belle was mostly a solo artist for Aligned, every band member’s personal inspiration played into how the song has started to evolve our sound as a band. A whole lot more distortion, drive, guts and just in general…. really loud. Sound that pulls from 80s rock/90s grunge. Even Belle’s vocals have become a lot more aggressive as our sound has continually shifted since the release of the record.
Aligned was high school Vertigo Waves. A singer-songwriter’s angsty teenage beginnings while constantly dreaming of a true full band with a more aggressive sound. "Fear Or Faith" is Vertigo Waves a few years after graduation when you've really seen some sh*t. A natural evolution of that dream of a band. A bit more ready for the world, bigger, bolder but still rough around the edges, gritty and not over polished or produced. The single reflects the bands inspirations and experience as a whole, exploding into a more collaborative expression
How does songwriting work with Belle and the Vertigo Waves? Who brings what to the table?
Typically it starts with Belle bringing in a skeleton of a song idea and every one fleshing it out together. Usually she’ll send out lyrics/melody on top of a start for a chord structure, everyone will listen it over and formulate some ideas to build on that and we go from there. Finding the vibe we want the song to fit in, arrangement/chord adjustments etc. However lately it doesn't always happen within that structure, its continued to evolve as the band has fully formed. Someone will send out a riff and Belle will write and add on top of that etc.
There’s usually some kind of dorky conversation on what the visual for the song is. Belle and Jere especially attach songs to different visuals, colors, movies etc. For Fear Or Faith that example was the Rocky movies. Those things usually just serve as a mood board for us to build a vibe off of.
What music have you been raving about recently?
Lately as a band its been a lot of Peal Jam, Nirvana, Joan Jett, Metallica, and Alice In Chains.
Books, Movies and Music from each band member...
Album: Reckless by Bryan Adams
Book: The Outsiders by S.E Hinton
Movie: Some Kind Of Wonderful
Album: White Bat by He Is Legend
Movie: Snow Piercer
Book: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Album: Load by Metallica
Book: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
Movie: They Live
Album: Singles Going Steady by Buzzcocks
Book: A Monster Calls
Movie: Rocky 2