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Introducing: STRELKA


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With their debut single ‘Patience’ being released on all major platforms last week, independent Leeds band STRELKA have had a quietly confident start in channelling post-punk, shoegaze vibes.

Image Credit: Eloise Shaw

‘Patience’ sets out a vintage sentiment whilst retaining a freshness that resonates with music fans today. Elaborate, shimmering guitars dominate the track whilst frontwoman Ella Heaton’s vocals offer a dreamy parallel in a bouncy chorus. It’s an audacious debut single, refreshing its genre from within.

Bassist Luke Hudson says “We all wanted to get on board with the new sounds and what we see as a recent wave of creativity surrounding the independent scene. For a couple of years, things had seemed to stagnate a little in terms of the styles of music being made – the term ‘indie’ and the music attributed to it needed a renaissance.” Without a doubt, their work oozes an indie aesthetic and the band also being independent by definition. Guitarist, Josh Palmer adds, “both playing music and being a fan of music has always been enjoyable, so I just thought why not get together and make some noise with likeminded people?”

Despite being a Leeds based band, only two members (Luke, Max) are from the city originally. The university was the common ground that brought the group together. After meeting Ella (originally from Peterborough) through a university musicians forum and Josh (from Huddersfield) preparing to join university next year, it has been a challenge to balance university assignments and social student life whilst growing as musicians. “It’s both negative and positive,” says Ella. “It can be difficult finding the time to rehearse along with course work or part-time jobs, but ultimately it’s a good thing. In a big university city such as Leeds, there is already an established network of young photographers, music producers, musicians and artists all wanting to work together, and it benefits everybody”.

Establishing and drawing on the resources of a surrounding artistic community appears to be important in supporting local upcoming bands in the streaming age. It is with this spirit of trying to make an impact beyond themselves as a single artistic project that STRELKA integrate into the wider music scene outside of their uni bubble. “It’s pretty important now for smaller bands, producers and record labels to make these links with each other and build little DIY communities. That’s how things get done,” says rhythm guitarist Alex Worrall, “Collaboration and co-operation are how opportunities arise for playing gigs and making friends”.

We’re going to be playing a gig in York next month, and that’s through an independent promoter and record label," adds drummer, Max Conway. He also stresses the importance of personal connections as a fledgling band - “the recording of our song ‘Patience’ came about as a favour from a work colleague, it’s all about who you know”.

STREKLA's debut single 'Patience'

Having so far released just one single, the group were keen to delve into the emotional pull of ‘Patience’ whose "lyrics look at mental health and how that can lead to the dissolution of a relationship [...] The person wants their partner to have patience and wait for them to get better but can see the negative effects that it causes and leaves upon the relationship”. At a surface level, it’s evident the group have a shared ground of influences. From a female vocalist standpoint, Ella notes the group indulge in Pixies, Sonic Youth, Beach House, and Nico with The Velvet Underground whilst Josh adds, “we’re all into 80s alternative stuff like The Cure and The Smiths, of course, Echo & The Bunnymen are really great too”.

After spending a couple of months writing and recording, STRELKA is keen on becoming more organised for the coming year. Whilst newer artists may saturate themselves in releasing a bunch of singles to quickly shoot for success, organic growth and enjoyment seem to fit the group's tone. “I’d really love to record more music and work with other bands and labels to release it, independently or otherwise,” says Liam.

With festival season on the brain, the group speculate about their future as Max predicts, “I think something like BBC Introducing stage at Leeds Festival is fairly achievable, but if we’re talking dream festival it’d have to be Glastonbury or Primavera in Barcelona”. In the trajectory of bigger ambition, the group places itself on the line-up at “Psych fests” and they add that “Synäthesie in Berlin is sort of our vibe too. It’d be nice to do a UK tour or play some shows abroad, but honestly, we’d play anywhere”.

STRELKA are definitely ones to watch in the post-punk scene as they go on to support Desperate Journalist at Lending Room on March 23rd. Expect charged riffs and pulsing drums coupled with soft but strong vocals on debut track ‘Patience’, available now.

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