Premiere: IV League's Bella Venutti launches solo alias, prettything, with debut song
Launching as a extra project to the indie-rock group, prettything's debut single, Endless Blue, is a perfect introduction.
Header image by Jeff Anderson Jr.
Amongst Australia's most exciting indie-rock bands are IV League, the Melbourne-based duo who over the last three years, have built themselves a name crafting this nostalgia-entwined indie that takes nods from heavyweights such as The Breeders but moved forward into the current day, layering it with subtleties a touch left-of-centre for a sound that really feels like it's in its own lane. It was something front and centre of their 2019 EP When You Lose Me - six tracks of IV League's strengths fully realised and demonstrated for the world to see - while on the live circuit, they're known for a precision almost unmatched in their field - breathing new life into a recorded sound quite refreshing in itself.
Today, however, we're only talking about Bella Venutti, half of IV League who with Endless Blue today, introduces us to her new solo project, prettything. Launching as an extra project alongside IV League, prettything introduces us to Venutti as an individual, unmasked from the complexities that come with writing for an already-established band, with that joining freedom making the project one that highlights creativity. It's "an additional outlet of expression from a creative mind who simply cannot stop expressing" she says, and with her solo debut single Endless Blue, you can hear her take new paths previously unexplored.
Endless Blue is a hazy, indie-pop tune that takes nods from Slowdive and Mazzy Star as she combines subtle, washed-out melodies thick on reverb with airy, open-longing vocals, exploring a unique intersection between acts like those aforementioned names and people like Clairo; the latter particularly present in how Venutti's vocal is able to intertwine itself with the dancing instrumental alongside. "It’s the first song I wrote and demoed for the project and once I shared it with a few close friends, I could start to see a little prettything world starting to unfold inside my head," she says on the single, and listening to Endless Blue, you can start to hear the vision slowly build itself - and it's incredibly exciting to hear.
"For me the decision to go solo has been a leap of faith and a BIG push outside of my comfort zone. For years I didn't think I was formed enough as an artist or musician to rely solely on my own vision and writing skills, and felt as though I was a half baked imposter with vague ideas leaning on my collaborators to an extent. The thought of putting myself out there alone was daunting, like, these are my ideas and my feelings, there's no one else to hide behind or blend into. The past few years have involved so much growth for me, despite appearing pretty confident I've always been an incredibly private person. But, little by little I was able to build myself up, work on improving at my craft and come to a point where I feel like I'm ready for people to know who I am and what music that is solely mine sounds like in this very moment," she says on the decision to launch a new solo project.
"Another aspect of my decision to embark on this journey has been a desire for some control over the songwriting process. While collaborating and co-writing is one of my favourite aspects of being a musician, I came to a point in which I was writing songs completely on my own in a distinct style with pretty personal narratives. I felt like it wouldn't be fair of me to push them on a band that has always been a collaboration and longed to explore this softer and more personal sound. I remember sending my first demo for the project to my manager when I hadn't even made the decision to go solo and he came back with "somehow this sounds better when I think of it as just Bella rather than being for the band" and it totally clicked!
I think when we see artists break away from the band dynamic we are often treated to them exploring more personal territory and a clear aesthetic vision. Someone who I think has done this exceptionally well is one of my heroes Jonny Pierce of The Drums. His past two albums for the project after announcing his departure from the band and decision to continue the project solo have been some of his most touching, raw and revealing work to date. Another artist who's solo music has just been released that I am extremely excited about is Caroline Polacheck, formerly of duo Chairlift. She co-directed the video for her debut single and her vision comes across as so strong and unique from the outset."
Introduce yourself to Bella and her new project, prettything, below:
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Bella Venutti, I’m a 23-year-old Melbourne native and I’ve just released the debut single Endless Blue for my solo project prettything. The past few years I’ve been fronting indie rock outfit IV League, but this is my first foray into a softer, more lush dream-pop sound and the first time I’ve released anything that is solely my vision as a young adult. I’m very passionate person when it comes to the arts and I’m an obsessive fan as much as I am a creator. I try to put a lot of love and thought into everything I make.
What’s the vibe music-wise?
The project is definitely inspired by a healthy balance of old and new references. I’ve always been completely obsessed with dozens of shoegaze and dream pop acts from the 90s such as Mazzy Star, Lush and Slowdive but am also very engaged by current indie and bedroom pop. prettything showcases my lifelong obsession with heavenly reverb on guitars, lush synthesizers and vintage drum machines. Thematically, through my writing for the project, I feel like I’ve been able to explore a more vulnerable and honest voice as many musicians tend to do when they make the switch from a collaborative band to a solo project. Songwriting has always been my way of processing and understanding the way that life and my interactions with others make me feel. It’s rare that I write about anything other than my own emotions. Maybe because I have a Leo moon??
What are your production and writing processes like?
Often melodies pop into my head unexpectedly and I will run and grab my guitar and start to experiment. Sometimes words come first, sometimes after! Often I don’t know how my songs come to be, it’s like I’m possessed by something and it all just tumbles out. Next I’ll demo with electric guitar, sythesizer plugins and drum machine. Then I’m ready to hit the studio, usually after a pre-production session or two with whoever I’m working with.
Can you tell us about your new single, Endless Blue?
It’s the first song I wrote for the project, and once I had demoed it and shared it with a few close friends I could start to see a little prettything world starting to unfold inside my head. There’s a dreamy quality and a softness to the sound that I’ve had inside of me for a while and haven’t explored in a music project properly before- I feel like a lot of people have seen me as solely being a rock performer and I’m excited to challenge that and lean into this new direction. I recorded the song with one of my favourite Australian producers Dean Tuza (Stella Donnelly, A. Swayze and the Ghosts) who was so encouraging of me every step of the way and was a wonderful guide and mentor in capturing a sound that is truly mine.
Any tour dates coming up?
I will be supporting my lovely friend San Mei at the Worker’s Club in Melbourne on the 27th of September. It’s my debut live show for the project!
What does the rest of 2019 have in store for you?
More writing, more recording and hopefully just enjoying the process of making art and collaborating with other like-minded individuals along the way.
Where can we find more of your music?
This is my debut track but you can definitely expect to hear more from me in the coming months!