My Vitriol

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My Vitriol
My Vitriol live at KOKO, 24 November 2006.
Background information
Origin London, England
Genres Nu gaze, shoegazing, alternative rock
Years active 1999–2002, 2005–present
Labels Infectious, Warner, Play It Again Sam, Sony Music Japan, Epic
Website My Vitriol
Members Som Wardner
Ravi Kesavaram
Tatia Starkey
Seth Taylor
Past members Carolyn Bannister
Laura Salmon

My Vitriol are a British alternative rock band, formed in 1999 in London. The band currently comprises vocalist/guitarist Som Wardner, drummer Ravi Kesavaram, guitarist Seth Taylor and bassist Tatia Starkey.

The band had success with their debut album Finelines in 2001 which spawned three Top 40 hit singles in the UK Singles Chart,[1] before announcing a hiatus in 2002. The band were credited as spearheading a new shoegaze movement, dubbed NuGaze.[2] They released new material in 2007, and are set to release their long awaited second album in 2015.[3]

The band name is taken from the Graham Greene novel Brighton Rock.



Ravi Kesavaram and Sri Lankan born Som Wardner met at UCL where they lived opposite each other in halls when studying similar degrees; Wardner studying genetics and Kesavaram studying biochemistry.[4] It was not for a year and a half later until they played together. Wardner had written a few songs and a friend of Kesavaram's offered to record them as a project for his studio engineering course. Kesavaram played drums, and Wardner played the rest of the instruments, and they tracked an EP called "Delusions of Grandeur" in the space of two days.

About 250 CD-R copies of "Delusions Of Grandeur" were pressed, however most of the copies didn't play properly due to a technical fault. Fortunately, a functioning copy was handed to BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq at a gig. Within days, Lamacq played "Always: Your Way" on the Session Unsigned slot, which led to national exposure for the band and various press and record company interest.

The duo recruited former Mint 400 guitarist Seth Taylor and bassist Carolyn Bannister after seeing them play in different band. With their lineup complete, the band released their début single, double A-side "Always: Your Way/Pieces", on Org Records on 6 December 1999.

Finelines (2001)[edit]

In the last week of 2000, the band signed to Infectious Records, home to other acts such as Ash and Garbage. Their first single with the label was "Losing Touch", released in April 2000, and the second "Cemented Shoes" reached number 65 in the UK Singles Chart in July that year. Their third single, "Pieces", charted at number 56, and the fourth, "Always: Your Way", broke the UK Top 40, peaking at number 31. Soon after this, the band’s debut album, Finelines was released and it reached number 24 in the UK Albums Chart in March 2001. Almost every song on Finelines was recorded utilizing various unusual guitar tunings. The final single from the album, and their also their biggest hit was "Grounded" which peaked at number 29. The video for "Grounded" starred controversial figure Vincent Gallo. The single release included an unexpected cover version of Madonna's 1989 song "Oh Father".

Touring the album, My Vitriol supported the likes of Muse, Coldplay, Deftones, A Perfect Circle, Garbage, Feeder, Placebo, Ash and Manic Street Preachers. The band also played numerous UK festivals such as Glastonbury, V Festival, T in the Park, Reading/Leeds and abroad, such as Dour Festival in Belgium, Quart Festival in Norway, Roskilde in Denmark, Festimad in Spain, Rock am Ring in Germany and Summer Sonic in Japan where they also played their first and only headline show in Tokyo, which sold out in hours and the venue had to be upgraded twice.

Despite only having toured Europe and Japan, the band had radio hits in South Africa and Iceland and signed to Epic in the US for a reported $400,000 (£300,000 at the exchange rate at the time). The album was re-mixed by American producer Steve Thompson for release in the US. The new mix of the album was released in the UK in 2002 as part of a 2 CD re-issue featuring b-sides and rarities, titled "Finelines/Between The Lines" .

The band's music was used in mainstream television programmes such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, EastEnders, Neighbours and were offered Hollywood movie roles and modelling assignments from Ralph Lauren and Next. The band declined, "we thought it would be better to stick to what we knew best!" drummer Ravi Kesavaram joked.[5]

Hiatus (2002–2005)[edit]

At the end of 2002, after three years of touring, Wardner announced My Vitriol's touring hiatus at Kerrang Festival, saying "We won't be around for a while. We're going to take a break and write a new record. Thanks for supporting us from the beginning."[5] Their song "Always Your Way" was voted in 2002 as one of the best alternative songs written by Xfm listeners.[6] The band recorded a cover of Elliott Smith's "Bottle Up & Explode!", upon hearing of the singer-songwriter's death in October 2003.

Post-hiatus (2005–present)[edit]

In January 2005, the band played a low key show at O2 Academy Islington, London. The band debuted new material and a live album of the show (titled Cast In Amber[7]) was released, which featured studio samples of new material including "My Whole World Implodes".

Bassist Carolyn Bannister departed the band sometime following the show in 2005 and was replaced by Laura Salmon, formerly of the heavy metal band Area 54. The new lineup of the band played KOKO in Camden, London in November 2006, where they debuted another new song, "The Agonies and the Ecstasies".

In March 2007, the band released the limited edition single "This Time" under the pseudonym of 'A Secret Society' via Org Records. The single was followed in July 2007 by "A Pyrrhic Victory EP",[8] released via Xtra Mile Records. The band played several festivals in the UK, including Download, Guilfest and a headlining slot at Offset Festival. The band continued to play live through 2008 and 2009, taking in two UK tours and shows in European and Japanese. The band were the last act to play the London Astoria on 14 January 2009, before the venue was closed and demolished to make way for Crossrail development.[9] The band were joined on stage by former Mansun frontman Paul Draper and performed the band's single "Wide Open Space".[10]

In May 2013, the band played their first show in nearly four years at KOKO in London with guest performers, guitarist Sam Harvey (formerly of the Departure) and bassist Tatia Starkey. Guitarist Seth Taylor left the band due to family commitments.[11] A PledgeMusic campaign to fund a new album was launched at the show, with a proposed release for 2014. This however was postponed, and instead a rarities album The Secret Sessions will be released, featuring tracks not set to appear on the band's long delayed second album. Seth Taylor rejoin the band in September 2013[12]


Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

  • Cast in Amber (2006, My Vitriol)

Singles and EPs[edit]

  • "Always" / "Pieces" (1999, Org)
  • "Losing Touch" (2000, Infectious)
  • "Cemented Shoes" (2000, Infectious)
  • "Pieces" (2001, Infectious)
  • "Always: Your Way" (2001, Infectious)
  • "Grounded" (2001, Infectious)
  • "Moodswings" / "The Gentle Art Of Choking" (2002, Infectious)
  • "This Time" (2007, Used band-name moniker 'A Secret Society', Org)
  • "A Pyrrhic Victory EP" (2007, Xtra Mile)

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Rogers, Jude (27 July 2007). "Nu=Gaze". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "The Secret Sessions". Retrieved 2014-07-27. 
  4. ^ "Phase 9 interview". Retrieved 1 December 2006. 
  5. ^ a b "My Vitriol MySpace". Retrieved 1 December 2006. 
  6. ^ "XFM X-List 2002". Retrieved 3 December 2006. 
  7. ^ "My Vitriol - Cast In Amber [Selected Live Recordings]". Retrieved 2014-07-27. 
  8. ^ "Connecting to the iTunes Store". Retrieved 2014-07-27. 
  9. ^ "BBC Radio 4". BBC News. 16 January 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^

External links[edit]