Vatican Roulette
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Vatican Roulette

London, England, United Kingdom | SELF

London, England, United Kingdom | SELF
Band Rock Alternative


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"Vatican Roulette"

With the reviving presence of hard rock grunge based bands comes Vatican Roulette; a brand new four piece who bare all their harsh realities with the listener in a torrent of melodic abrasion. Combining a mix of ear bleeding feedback with the unfolding layers that make a song actually enjoyable, Vatican Roulette set the mark as a new, young and exciting band ready to tear up stages and multimedia outlets alike.

Front-woman Jessica Naish sights Vatican Roulette as a new beginning, being able to leave behind grudges, baggage and any form of chaotic misinterpretation of ones self. “For me, it’s a step forward and backwards. I’m going back to writing and feeling and looking the way I want to and the way that feels natural, not feeling pressured into unnatural things for the sake of the bands success. I’ve realised that you’re not going to get anywhere worth getting to if you are doing it for the wrong reasons. I’ve overcome a certain amount of strain and lack of self-assurance. Now I feel like we can be ourselves, no judgement.”

Formerly of Thunderbird 13, Naish has adopted her guitar back into her life and is ready to release once more as she dominates the mic instead of being that girl holding that four stringed thing at the back that nobody notices (yeah, the bass player). It’s in fact a new page for the other members too as they’re starting afresh with their musical careers. No more playing in covers bands or trying to be grimy head-banging cavemen. No more saying ‘SIR YES SIR’ during rehearsals because there’s always one of those people stamping their feet because it absolutely has to be their way.

“Vatican Roulette is a new experience for me, because we’re actually a team. For me it’s so refreshing because most of my previous bands have been either run like dictatorships or been one person’s creative vision with a few musicians tagging along. I think as a band we’re all very aware that if we’re not all enjoying it and getting what we need out of the experience, then it’s not working.” says Dan, bassist of Vatican Roulette.

And an experience it truly is. Vatican Roulette are set to be recording debut material early next week and are jumping on the DIY band-wagon (no pun intended) before taking to the road, using their collective experience of what’s what and where’s not; bypassing the toilet circuit completely. Jesse explains “We just want to get out there now…we’re all itching to start it up, and get out of the rehearsal room. Our target for now is just to build up our presence on the circuit, get people knowing our names, and get them interested.”

Catch Vatican Roulette while they’re still young HERE. - Ignorant Review


Worcestershire native, Jesse Naish, a student on the Performance course at University of Westminster, is an artist with a dreamlike voice capable of blurring spoken word, unexpected shrieks and a smooth, velvety singing voice infused with country-style influences.

This vibrant, young lady with the tattooed necklace makes up one-fourth of Vatican Roulette, a garage-grunge rock band based in central London. One can easily observe her dedication – showing up about an hour early for practice, looking over lyrics in a coffee shop not too far from the studio.

She won’t be waiting too long though, as Daniel Ball, a student on the Commercial Music course, will stroll into the place with a bag of doughnuts he’s carefully picked out from the Tesco’s across the street. As he greets her, his mind seems to be elsewhere – back at Tesco’s, maybe, wondering if he made the right choice.

There’s another thing evident about him – his West Country accent – which he confusedly denies, holding up a shield of oblivion against the accusations. It soon becomes clear that this Bristolian dude is a legend. Over a duration of fifteen minutes, he’s seemed to have successfully pulled at least 40 unique faces. 80% of them were out-of-synch with his environment. Eventually, the duo are joined by Wiltshire drummer Amber Gregory and Aussie guitarist Márton Bodonyi, and together take off only to be reminded to pay the bill.

I walk with Ms. Gregory. She’s dressed quite comfortably which means she’s going to be rocking out the drum set like no tomorrow. She has headphones around her neck that aren’t actually plugged into a music device. They’re there to protect herself from herself. I ask her all kinds of questions about the origins of her drumming. She tells me her parents started her off in music by purchasing a guitar. Little did they know the stubborness of destiny and how it beckoned her to the throne of a drum set.

As I plant myself in the corner of the mirrored room, jackets are tossed, cases are ravaged and vine-ish microphone cables coil around pedal boards. The drums start. The guitar revs. The bass hops from fret to fret. And nobody is playing with each other. Not to be feared. It is the inevitable beginning to every band practice. Eventually, the itch drains out of their system and now unravels the mystery of Vatican Roulette.

She sings of white noise in her head, but produces a sound that makes you turn to the person next to you and ask, “Is that Jesse? Is that really her voice?” Your memory recalls but a few seconds earlier, when the five-foot tall front-woman was shyly standing before the microphone, shifting her weight and reminding her band mates about the things they had changed in the song since last practice. Back then, her voice was sweet and tiny, and it rang like a bell through the speakers of Survival Studios. Or maybe your mind fabricated it. Now she’s got the finesse of a punk femme fatale – she carries a voluptuous voice with a sting attached.

The song “Black Market” comes on and makes itself a home in my head, quickly becoming my favourite. There’s something nostalgic in the chord changes – dipping in and out of major, minor before progressing into the deep end. I found the lyrics to be especially complimenting to the music – bittersweet and appropriate. In-between songs, the band attempts to dispel amnesia about when so-and-so comes in and at what tempo, what timbre, simultaneously battling the craving for doughnuts and some clever one-liners.

There are elements in the band’s sound that resemble Seattle in the 90s. Sure enough, musical influences that shape it include Queens of the Stone Age, Pearl Jam, The Distillers, the Foo Fighters, Nirvana, The Stranglers, Kate Bush, The Cure and Green Day. Yet, the band doesn’t aim for any particular kind of sound, says Gregory, whose feet could probably outrun a tube. “It’s a rad feeling to just be able to completely let go and make music without any boundaries,” she said. Lyrically, however, their influences are drawn from “nightmares, death and other morbid stuff”, according to Ball, who finds humour in it.

Relating back to Gregory’s “boundless” music description, Naish says the same of her lyrics. “All the songs mean a lot to me but the beauty of it is the way I write in riddles,” she explains. “It’s all about igniting emotion in the listener, not about lecturing or narrating to them. I want people to make their own connections with the songs.” (I know I did).

Naish credits Westminster for helping her learn valuable skills such as talking to venues, forming a whole package as an artist and the importance in creating a performance and not just a series of songs. Their first performance will be April 13th at The Good Ship in Kilburn, followed by gigs on April 20th at Talking Heads in Southampton, April 25th at The Croft in Bristol, and April 29th at Babalou in Brixton.

Besides the obvious music performance, it’s just as entertaining to watch them perform as a group of friends. “Amber brings comedy genius, Jesse brings vicious sarcasm and occasionally, but not often, smart comebacks,” Ball insists. “And Marty? Marty comes with one of the coolest accents I’ve ever heard and the face of Tom Cruise. An enigma.”

Check them out at and search their Facebook page. You’ll probably catch yourself whistling “Deirdre” not too long after. - Mona Rae


Vatican Roulette Debut



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