PVA

BIOGRAPHY

Genre-hopping London three-piece PVA arrive at this juncture as one of the most dynamic and exciting new bands in the country, intuitively blending club music and a smart pop sensibility with the more organic elements and instrumentation of new-wave and post-punk. A trio of musical polymaths, Ella Harris and Josh Baxter share lead vocals and flit between synths, guitars and production, whilst Louis Satchell handles live drums, percussion and SPD.PVA’s reputa...

Genre-hopping London three-piece PVA arrive at this juncture as one of the most dynamic and exciting new bands in the country, intuitively blending club music and a smart pop sensibility with the more organic elements and instrumentation of new-wave and post-punk. A trio of musical polymaths, Ella Harris and Josh Baxter share lead vocals and flit between synths, guitars and production, whilst Louis Satchell handles live drums, percussion and SPD.
PVA’s reputation as one of the capital’s premier live outfits precedes them, as small venue conquests garnered hardcore support before the band set foot inside a studio. As the verve of that live show started filling rooms across the capital, the group released their debut single ‘Divine Intervention’ through Speedy Wunderground in the dying embers of 2019. That first 7” proved to be a real statement and saw play-listing at 6 Music alongside deserved international press support - perhaps captured most succinctly with an excitable "God, it's good" from The Guardian.
The onset of the pandemic may have delayed plans for nearly everyone, but the band return – nearly a year later – with a debut EP ‘Toner’ on Big Dada, a Ninja Tune imprint which has previously released seminal albums by Young Fathers, Kae Tempest, Roots Manuva and Sampa the Great.
Arriving both digitally and on vinyl on November 20th, ‘Toner’ is made up of three new songs (‘Talks’, ‘Sleek Form’ and ‘Exhaust/Surroundings’), recorded and produced by the mercurial Dan Carey, with additional production and mixing from the band’s Josh Baxter. The EP also contains three remixes from Mura Masa, who was an early fan, Lynks and Daniel Fox of Dublin’s Girl Band.
Carey first came into contact with PVA after catching their live show, promptly booking the band for a session in his Streatham studio thereafter. The sessions yielded their debut single, and cemented in the band’s head that Carey – whose recent work includes launch-pad singles for Squid, black midi and Black Country, New Road – was the right man to also produce ‘Toner’.  
Since their formation, those live shows - whether that be as a full band or their famed early hour DJ sets – has always been the band’s focal point. These last couple of years have seen the trio turn The Windmill in Brixton into a second home, whilst regular shows at The Five Bells and the Bunker in Deptford defined PVA as a big part of the local music community in their early career.
Indeed, with time and space at a premium in London, the band used their frequent performances to experiment and flesh out their song ideas. Of the band’s process, lyricist Ella Harris says: “Songwriting for the EP was us coming together and playing the songs in a rehearsal space, forming a basis for their structure. But then we’d experiment with it when we played it live until it felt good, as we were gigging quite a lot when writing. It has meant the songs took a few different forms before becoming the finalised versions of the tracks you hear on the EP. We like to road test music with different audiences when writing, and also find that when playing a song out to an audience, you can really find new life and energy within it.” 
Having filled their time musically experimenting and playing in different London bands, Ella Harris and Josh Baxter met at a house party in 2017 and quickly formed a musical alliance. Performing as a two-piece originally, PVA began as a “country-fried techno” outfit, melding dance music with bluesy riffing: “Bo Diddley with a beat”, Baxter would later put it. As listenings as disparate as Arthur Russell, Tirzah and Yaeji crept into the band’s cannon, however, PVA began to soak them up and turn them into something wholly new.
All three members boast musical tastes eclectic to the extreme: “most people now do, especially with streaming services making it easy to hop between genres,” Harris proclaims. “It gives us a lot of room for experimentation and convergence. Our aim when songwriting is to put styles and genres out of our mind and make decisions based purely on what will make that particular song flourish in the moment. It's quite an emotive process based on feeling the mood of a song, rather than creating something to fit a template.”
Since this early incarnation, PVA have undergone many transformations. The most notable of these came in late 2018, when Louis Satchell, an ex-schoolmate and long-time musical partner of Baxter’s, joined the band to add live drums to the pre-existing drum machine setup. Not just as collaborators, but as friends, the now-trio are an incredibly tight-knit unit, with all three currently share a house in South East London’s Brockley. From their shared home all three members have been actively involved in projects across the capital; Josh as not only a producer for his own music with PVA and solo, but also for the likes of Pet Grotesque, Avice Caro and Misty Miller, and as a sound engineer at The Windmill and Peckham Audio, Ella works as both a photographer and a visual artist and used her connections to put together the “Group Therapy Vol.1” compilation across lockdown to raise money for the The Music Venue Trust and NHS Charities Together – featuring Porridge Radio, Sorry among others – and Louis teaches drums independently to youngsters in the area, inspiring and tutoring those new musicians for the band’s that are yet to come.
That sense of community, that DIY aesthetic and spirit, has been a key part of their development so far – their friendships with other artists, their support for their venues, and their support for each other has carried them through a year that was meant to see the band tick off milestones; they were booked for SXSW, where NPR had tipped them as a must see, a Japanese tour alongside the London collective / label and their long-time management team Slow Dance, and even a series of dates with Baxter Dury, all cancelled due to Covid-19.
‘Toner’, however, keeps them on that upward trajectory. It’s the studio sum of all that PVA have worked on as a band over the last couple of years and provides a gripping opening, that tees up an unputdownable thriller. Harris adds: “Toner is an EP about how we change. Reflecting on times integral to our identities; being created, torn down and then rebuilt. Toner explores how closure and knowledge from past experiences and relationships shape us to move forward. Within this are feelings of being trapped in our bodies, and finding the freedom to let go.”
‘Talks’ is the EP’s insistent, propulsive first single. Whilst a version of this song has been a part of the band’s live sets since their beginnings, it has evolved rapidly as the band has grown. Where once was a simply stellar pop song, there now stands a focused and vanguard track, wherein polyrhythms drive the music and push further the electronic influence of the new EP.
“Talks is about how we invent games in order to avoid expressing our true feelings or take the risk of being hurt,” says Baxter: “The song takes inspiration from real relationships and the fictional relationship between John & Abigail Marston (the two main characters in video game Red Dead Redemption). The protagonist finds himself on a quest to save his family, however tensions build as John fails to talk about what he is actually doing, resulting in each family member feeling more and more isolated from each other. 
The narrative resonated with me as an example of how a lack of communication can be damaging, and then subsequently break down connections. I often find it easier to not communicate my true feelings and I think many people struggle with the same thing. This song serves as a reminder for me to act upon what I have learnt and to talk.”
Elsewhere on ‘Toner’, ‘Sleek Form’ sees PVA fully embracing club music with their most dancefloor ready number to date. Glitching synthesiser stabs and bold drum machines drive the track, accompanied perfectly by Harris’ icy vocals and sporadic organ grooves.
“Sleek Form explores ideas of given and chosen identity and finding new takes on life from acceptance and joy in a new version of yourself,” says Harris, of her lyrics for the track. “It explores family and different perspectives within an emotionally driven change. The lyrics are related to a person close to one of us, who is going through a period of finding new form within their gender identity, exploring adolescence, trans and non-binary experiences and the pushback from the gender norms forced onto people from family and the wider society.”
‘Exhaust/Surroundings’, meanwhile, is a more eclectic affair; stirring post-rock guitars lull in a forlorn first section with Harris and Baxter’s vocal chemistry again at the fore, before the track progresses into an acid-tinged synth-pop affair. 
The perfect manifesto for a band that combines so many elements, ‘Exhaust/Surroundings’ frenetically fidgets through an array of sounds. It winds through a manner of primordial electronic noisescapes and glitching cyberpunk minefields, before arriving in a state of cathartic euphoria. The lyrics match this, beginning with a dark and spur-of-the-moment franticness, they eventually settle, reaching resolution in the closing lines.
“Exhaust / Surroundings is about the illusions we hold and how we project onto people with ideas of how things should be”, explains Harris. “Mourning the loss of a relationship that's not yet a reality and the fictions we create in our head. How can you lose something not yet tangible and still mourn this loss? How can you lose something that you never had?
The fantasy when we are entangled with someone and how our own insecurities project this. The journey onwards to keep up and remember how these false perceptions blind us. The song is an exploration of feeling restricted and hopeless, and the abrasive journey you can go through to find clarity and focus out the other side.” 

‘Toner’ is only PVA’s first EP, but it teems with excitement. Never for a minute does it sit still, skipping between ideas with instinctive ease, bringing to light a broad palate of sounds and influences. Notably, on Mura Masa’s remix, Harris’ previously inconspicuous line “the best is yet to come” is reluctantly brought to the front. Perhaps then, this serves as a reminder that although seemingly fully-formed already and among the glorious chaos of ‘Toner’, this is simply the first chapter of a book we’ll be re-reading for years to come.

PVA

Popular Tracks

  1. Talks (Lynks Remix) (Lynks Remix)
  2. Talks (Mura Masa Remix) (Mura Masa Remix)
  3. Talks
  4. Talks (Mura Masa Dub) (Mura Masa Dub)
  5. Play All (4)

Latest News

BIOGRAPHY

Genre-hopping London three-piece PVA arrive at this juncture as one of the most dynamic and exciting new bands in the country, intuitively blending club music and a smart pop sensibility with the more organic elements and instrumentation of new-wave and post-punk. A trio of musical polymaths, Ella Harris and Josh Baxter share lead vocals and flit between synths, guitars and production, whilst Louis Satchell handles live drums, percussion and SPD.PVA’s reputation as one of the c...

Genre-hopping London three-piece PVA arrive at this juncture as one of the most dynamic and exciting new bands in the country, intuitively blending club music and a smart pop sensibility with the more organic elements and instrumentation of new-wave and post-punk. A trio of musical polymaths, Ella Harris and Josh Baxter share lead vocals and flit between synths, guitars and production, whilst Louis Satchell handles live drums, percussion and SPD.
PVA’s reputation as one of the capital’s premier live outfits precedes them, as small venue conquests garnered hardcore support before the band set foot inside a studio. As the verve of that live show started filling rooms across the capital, the group released their debut single ‘Divine Intervention’ through Speedy Wunderground in the dying embers of 2019. That first 7” proved to be a real statement and saw play-listing at 6 Music alongside deserved international press support - perhaps captured most succinctly with an excitable "God, it's good" from The Guardian.
The onset of the pandemic may have delayed plans for nearly everyone, but the band return – nearly a year later – with a debut EP ‘Toner’ on Big Dada, a Ninja Tune imprint which has previously released seminal albums by Young Fathers, Kae Tempest, Roots Manuva and Sampa the Great.
Arriving both digitally and on vinyl on November 20th, ‘Toner’ is made up of three new songs (‘Talks’, ‘Sleek Form’ and ‘Exhaust/Surroundings’), recorded and produced by the mercurial Dan Carey, with additional production and mixing from the band’s Josh Baxter. The EP also contains three remixes from Mura Masa, who was an early fan, Lynks and Daniel Fox of Dublin’s Girl Band.
Carey first came into contact with PVA after catching their live show, promptly booking the band for a session in his Streatham studio thereafter. The sessions yielded their debut single, and cemented in the band’s head that Carey – whose recent work includes launch-pad singles for Squid, black midi and Black Country, New Road – was the right man to also produce ‘Toner’.  
Since their formation, those live shows - whether that be as a full band or their famed early hour DJ sets – has always been the band’s focal point. These last couple of years have seen the trio turn The Windmill in Brixton into a second home, whilst regular shows at The Five Bells and the Bunker in Deptford defined PVA as a big part of the local music community in their early career.
Indeed, with time and space at a premium in London, the band used their frequent performances to experiment and flesh out their song ideas. Of the band’s process, lyricist Ella Harris says: “Songwriting for the EP was us coming together and playing the songs in a rehearsal space, forming a basis for their structure. But then we’d experiment with it when we played it live until it felt good, as we were gigging quite a lot when writing. It has meant the songs took a few different forms before becoming the finalised versions of the tracks you hear on the EP. We like to road test music with different audiences when writing, and also find that when playing a song out to an audience, you can really find new life and energy within it.” 
Having filled their time musically experimenting and playing in different London bands, Ella Harris and Josh Baxter met at a house party in 2017 and quickly formed a musical alliance. Performing as a two-piece originally, PVA began as a “country-fried techno” outfit, melding dance music with bluesy riffing: “Bo Diddley with a beat”, Baxter would later put it. As listenings as disparate as Arthur Russell, Tirzah and Yaeji crept into the band’s cannon, however, PVA began to soak them up and turn them into something wholly new.
All three members boast musical tastes eclectic to the extreme: “most people now do, especially with streaming services making it easy to hop between genres,” Harris proclaims. “It gives us a lot of room for experimentation and convergence. Our aim when songwriting is to put styles and genres out of our mind and make decisions based purely on what will make that particular song flourish in the moment. It's quite an emotive process based on feeling the mood of a song, rather than creating something to fit a template.”
Since this early incarnation, PVA have undergone many transformations. The most notable of these came in late 2018, when Louis Satchell, an ex-schoolmate and long-time musical partner of Baxter’s, joined the band to add live drums to the pre-existing drum machine setup. Not just as collaborators, but as friends, the now-trio are an incredibly tight-knit unit, with all three currently share a house in South East London’s Brockley. From their shared home all three members have been actively involved in projects across the capital; Josh as not only a producer for his own music with PVA and solo, but also for the likes of Pet Grotesque, Avice Caro and Misty Miller, and as a sound engineer at The Windmill and Peckham Audio, Ella works as both a photographer and a visual artist and used her connections to put together the “Group Therapy Vol.1” compilation across lockdown to raise money for the The Music Venue Trust and NHS Charities Together – featuring Porridge Radio, Sorry among others – and Louis teaches drums independently to youngsters in the area, inspiring and tutoring those new musicians for the band’s that are yet to come.
That sense of community, that DIY aesthetic and spirit, has been a key part of their development so far – their friendships with other artists, their support for their venues, and their support for each other has carried them through a year that was meant to see the band tick off milestones; they were booked for SXSW, where NPR had tipped them as a must see, a Japanese tour alongside the London collective / label and their long-time management team Slow Dance, and even a series of dates with Baxter Dury, all cancelled due to Covid-19.
‘Toner’, however, keeps them on that upward trajectory. It’s the studio sum of all that PVA have worked on as a band over the last couple of years and provides a gripping opening, that tees up an unputdownable thriller. Harris adds: “Toner is an EP about how we change. Reflecting on times integral to our identities; being created, torn down and then rebuilt. Toner explores how closure and knowledge from past experiences and relationships shape us to move forward. Within this are feelings of being trapped in our bodies, and finding the freedom to let go.”
‘Talks’ is the EP’s insistent, propulsive first single. Whilst a version of this song has been a part of the band’s live sets since their beginnings, it has evolved rapidly as the band has grown. Where once was a simply stellar pop song, there now stands a focused and vanguard track, wherein polyrhythms drive the music and push further the electronic influence of the new EP.
“Talks is about how we invent games in order to avoid expressing our true feelings or take the risk of being hurt,” says Baxter: “The song takes inspiration from real relationships and the fictional relationship between John & Abigail Marston (the two main characters in video game Red Dead Redemption). The protagonist finds himself on a quest to save his family, however tensions build as John fails to talk about what he is actually doing, resulting in each family member feeling more and more isolated from each other. 
The narrative resonated with me as an example of how a lack of communication can be damaging, and then subsequently break down connections. I often find it easier to not communicate my true feelings and I think many people struggle with the same thing. This song serves as a reminder for me to act upon what I have learnt and to talk.”
Elsewhere on ‘Toner’, ‘Sleek Form’ sees PVA fully embracing club music with their most dancefloor ready number to date. Glitching synthesiser stabs and bold drum machines drive the track, accompanied perfectly by Harris’ icy vocals and sporadic organ grooves.
“Sleek Form explores ideas of given and chosen identity and finding new takes on life from acceptance and joy in a new version of yourself,” says Harris, of her lyrics for the track. “It explores family and different perspectives within an emotionally driven change. The lyrics are related to a person close to one of us, who is going through a period of finding new form within their gender identity, exploring adolescence, trans and non-binary experiences and the pushback from the gender norms forced onto people from family and the wider society.”
‘Exhaust/Surroundings’, meanwhile, is a more eclectic affair; stirring post-rock guitars lull in a forlorn first section with Harris and Baxter’s vocal chemistry again at the fore, before the track progresses into an acid-tinged synth-pop affair. 
The perfect manifesto for a band that combines so many elements, ‘Exhaust/Surroundings’ frenetically fidgets through an array of sounds. It winds through a manner of primordial electronic noisescapes and glitching cyberpunk minefields, before arriving in a state of cathartic euphoria. The lyrics match this, beginning with a dark and spur-of-the-moment franticness, they eventually settle, reaching resolution in the closing lines.
“Exhaust / Surroundings is about the illusions we hold and how we project onto people with ideas of how things should be”, explains Harris. “Mourning the loss of a relationship that's not yet a reality and the fictions we create in our head. How can you lose something not yet tangible and still mourn this loss? How can you lose something that you never had?
The fantasy when we are entangled with someone and how our own insecurities project this. The journey onwards to keep up and remember how these false perceptions blind us. The song is an exploration of feeling restricted and hopeless, and the abrasive journey you can go through to find clarity and focus out the other side.” 

‘Toner’ is only PVA’s first EP, but it teems with excitement. Never for a minute does it sit still, skipping between ideas with instinctive ease, bringing to light a broad palate of sounds and influences. Notably, on Mura Masa’s remix, Harris’ previously inconspicuous line “the best is yet to come” is reluctantly brought to the front. Perhaps then, this serves as a reminder that although seemingly fully-formed already and among the glorious chaos of ‘Toner’, this is simply the first chapter of a book we’ll be re-reading for years to come.