Singer-songwriter Various Cruelties (AKA Liam O’Donnell) puts his choice of career down to a famous ancestor.
‘I come from quite a creative background. I’m a descendant of Oscar Wilde and I’ve always grown-up with that, so maybe the creativity and the desire to write comes from that,’ he reveals.
While Liam’s been writing songs for years, his Various Cruelties project (with its name inspired by US pop artist Ed Ruscha) came together very quickly.
‘I’m originally from Leeds and I came down to London trying to find my way in the world,’ he explains.
‘I met the other guys [his backing band] in September 2010 and we had our first gig three months later. We self released a few singles and then signed a record deal about a year ago and now we’ve done an album.’
The self-titles debut album, produced by Tony Hoffer (Beck, Goldfrapp, Foster The People) reflects Liam and his band’s various influences.
‘It’s an indie soul record with lots of influences on there,’ he says. ‘There’s everything from The Neptunes to My Bloody Valentine, some great soul artists like Otis Redding and Smokey Robinson and also Ian Brown – early Stone Roses and his solo stuff.
‘I wanted to write a heartfelt and soulful record with an indie twist.
‘I write about things that happen in my life. Everything’s real. It’s not formulaic.’
Various Cruelties has already had glowing reviews in the music press, a headline tour, support slots for The Vaccines and Mumford and Sons, a series of festival dates and appeared on Later With Jools Holland with Lou Reed and Metallica.
Following Chemicals and Great Unknown, their third single from the album will be Neon Truth, which is out on Monday, April 23.
The album is released on May 7, but before that Liam’s hitting the road for a second headline tour which kicks-off in Portsmouth at the Wedgewood Rooms on Tuesday.
Says Liam: ‘We’ve spent quite a lot of time round that area. The Isle of Wight was like our second home for a while last year with the Isle of Wight Festival and Bestival. We’re glad to be coming back.’
Tickets to Various Cruelties Wedgewood Rooms show on Tuesday, with support from Lucifer’s Gold and The Arrivals, cost £8 from (023) 9286 3911, wedgewood-rooms.co.uk or on the door from 8pm.