Comprising Alice Merida Richards and Sam Pillay, Virginia Wing are an experimental pop band with a lush yet ever-changing sound.
Early works like 2014's Measures of Joy drew comparisons to Broadcast, Stereolab, This Heat, and Blonde Redhead, but as the years went by, their music expanded to include elements of jazz and psych-pop as well as African and Asian sounds. By the time of 2018's Ecstatic Arrow, Virginia Wing established themselves as an equally innovative and heartfelt act.
Originally consisting of guitarist/keyboardist Sam Pillay, drummer Sebastian Truskolaski, and keyboardist/vocalist Alice Merida Richards, Virginia Wing formed in South London in 2012. Taking their name from Grace Slick's mother, the band quickly set about gigging, rehearsing, and recording, issuing a single on Critical Heights and a self-titled 12" on the Faux Discx label in 2013. They followed it with the full-length Measures of Joy, which they recorded at London's Holy Mountain Studios with Misha Hering; Fire Records released it in late 2014. The single "Rhonda," which featured an appearance by Grimm Grimm's Koichi Yamanoha, arrived in April of 2016.
When sessions for the next album began, Truskolaski was no longer in the group, and Richards and Pillay headed in a more starkly electronic direction as a duo. Their second album, Forward Constant Motion, was again recorded with Hering, and was released in late 2016. For their next project, Virginia Wing collaborated with electronic experimenters XAM Duo on 2017's improvisation-based Tomorrow's Gift, which took inspiration from Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, and Holger Czukay. To record their third album, Pillay and Richards decamped to Hering's family home in Switzerland and drew on playful and contemplative influences including Lizzy Mercier Descloux and Yellow Magic Orchestra. Ecstatic Arrow, which also featured XAM Duo's Christopher Duffin on saxophone, came out in June 2018. ~ Fred Thomas, Rovi