|Volcano The Bear were formed in Leicester, England in May 1995 by Aaron Moore and Nick Mott. Within months Clarence Manuelo and Paul Warrener were drafted in and in March 1996 Daniel Padden was added to the line up. Sometime later in 1996 Warrener left the band along with occasional contributor Sarah Cawkwell and the classic VTB quartet was settled.
From the outset VTB’s mission was to create a boundless experimental music where every sound was welcomed and every possible sound investigated. Trust was the keyword, trust in each member’s instinctive contributions. Here is a music based in improvisation where everything is recorded and archived; to be used in the moment or later pulled from the shelves years after it’s inception, to be set in a new sonic context. To this day, though not as prolific as they once were, VTB continue to create music this way. Everything is relevant……..eventually.
Their early years revolved around countless recording sessions, at their homes on 4-tracks or in their favoured Memphis Studios in Leicester operated by the maverick Kev Reverb. Their first live performance on the 26th of June 1996 at The Princess Charlotte in Leicester was a somewhat shambolic affair. Over the coming months, willfully reduced to a quartet, they found their feet and began a long journey of inventive and highly unique performances that cemented their reputation on the international experimental music circuit.
After self-releasing 3 cassettes of their home recordings VTB so excited Nurse With Wound's Steven Stapleton that he brought his United Dairies label out of cold storage to release their first album proper, 'The Inhazer Decline’ in 2000, followed by the ‘Five Hundred Boy Piano’ album in 2001.
Their music has also been released on such labels as Misra, Beta-lactam Ring, Textile, Digitalis, Pickled Egg, Rune Grammofon, Alt Vinyl, No-Fi & Miasmah, as well as their own imprints Volucan & Volfurten.
On record, Volcano The Bear offer stark and stunning absurdities in the most bizarrely beautiful way. Their sound is undefinable, a mixture of avant rock, folk, jazz, musique concréte, post punk & prog amid a thousand other influences, but always recognisable as VTB. In their unique, often chaotic live shows, the adrenalin and invention drips from their ear lobes as they thrust spectacular oddities in the faces of their audiences, always aided by their sublime multi-instrumentalism and theatrics.
In a 2006 interview with the band The Wire magazine said VTB "produced some of the finest, wildest British music of the last 10 years on record and on stage.” Or, as the Italian magazine Losing Today put it, “No one sounds, has sounded, or will ever sound quite like Volcano the Bear.” They are one of experimental music’s best kept secrets.
Once seen, never forgotten, or as this review from 2007's Avanto festival in Helsinki puts it: "Volcano The Bear combines improvisation and playful experimentation with a conception of music that borders on the anthropological. Their extensive knowledge of the traditions of both experimental and folk music, combined with their other influences, makes the band a difficult one to categorise. Absurd humour and eclectic ways of producing sounds are characteristic of their performances. Familiar themes can be introduced as milestones on a journey towards a result which remains unknown. The band records everything they play, and uses these recordings as raw material for their albums. For Volcano The Bear, post-processing is part of composing; their records are reminiscent of how This Heat and Faust used collage methods in rock music...The surprise element of their performances is further emphasised by the fact that their records - combinations of disciplined studio work and recorded improvisation - often sound nothing like the music played by the band on stage."