Talon Tunes: VIAL breathes new life into the punk scene with their debut album ‘Grow Up’


DK Tong

VIAL breathes new life into the punk scene with their debut album ‘Grow Up’.

This week’s band is VIAL, from Minneapolis, MN. Made up of guitarist and singer KT, keyboardist and singer Taylor, bassist Kate, and drummer and singer Katie, they create indie rock, “riot grrrl” and punk tunes to scream to. 

Formed in January of 2019 by Kate, KT and Taylor, they used Tinder to find their drummer Katie. Jumping between several similar genres such as indie rock and punk, their music embodies the ’90s feminist sound of the riot grrl genre.

VIAL’s lyrics don’t shy away from honesty, attacking toxic gatekeeping culture in songs like “DIY” and its 2020 remix “Or Die” with screamed lyrics such as “I’ll get a tattoo on my arm so that they’ll think I’m punk enough” and “You are so DIY-or-die, trying to sell your sh*tty f*cking merch online, heard enough of you cry and whine.” 

Boxy drums and distorted guitar that drowns out the vocals into a wall of sound complete “DIY,” making it the perfect anthem for attacking misogyny and gatekeeping in music — issues the members of VIAL have faced themselves. Katie, KT and Kate all spoke about noticing the demographic of crowds at concerts often were not represented onstage, and aim to bring more race and gender diversity to the genre with their shows and music. 

When not screaming about the oft-toxic culture surrounding punk music, their lyrics take a turn toward the existential dread around growing up in the appropriately titled track “Grow Up.” The titular track features similarly strong instrumentation to “Or Die” but with much softer vocals. The pared-down vocals showcase their range through melancholic renditions of “You and I both know that the best times are behind us now, we’ve peaked, we’ve done our things / We’ve got nothing to look forward to now.” The song finishes with a final rendition of the chorus at nearly half the tempo of the rest of the song, leaving the listener to wallow in past relationships and regrets. 

Though VIAL’s music is reminiscent of the riot grrrl genre and subculture, they are specifically not a girl band. Members of the band use they/them and she/her pronouns, and specified that they looked on Tinder for a drummer who was just “not a man” after previously having a male drummer. 

The songs on their debut album “Grow Up” were mainly written individually by the members of the band and then reworked more collaboratively. However, their upcoming album is much more collaborative, written by all four members of the band with a sprinkle of help from their producer, who also works as their sound engineer and is currently mixing their upcoming album. They also aim to work with a diverse group of people in all parts of their music such as their merch designers and crew. 

All four of the band members are currently college students at various universities in the Minneapolis area, with majors in music business, psychology, computer science and history. When not in class, they travel to Chicago, where their producer is based, to record their upcoming album. The band does not live together but have been taking multiple safety measures to be able to meet and record not only their forthcoming album but also content for their TikTok page. Their social media presence is eye-catching, bolstered by an array of amusing posts such as their “Reacting to Spotify playlists our music gets put on” or “People who have definitely never heard of our band but would probably like our music”. 

VIAL has just finished recording their sophomore album, with new music to look forward to in the summer. Listen to their debut album “Grow Up” on Spotify and view their videos on Instagram and TikTok.