"I think that Rush are the best band that have ever existed and ever will." Young UK prog rockers Square Wild state their case

Square Wild
(Image credit: Chris Walkden)

After their impactful performance at the 2023 Winter's End progfest, Sqaure Wild would end the year as Best Unsigned Band in the Prog Readers Poll and singer Lucy Shevchuck even creeping in to the Vocalist catgory. They told Prog about their year...

 “We matched on Tinder,” co-guitarist and lead vocalist Lucy Shevchuk adds of her relationship with Square Wild’s drummer, Tomos Cooper. The date took them to a Manchester jazz bar, Matt & Phreds, where Vallance was taking part in a jam night. Many drinks later – “It was a case of, ‘We’ll go after this next one’ for so long,” Vallance remembers – the band were formed. 

Fast forward six years and Square Wild have gradually established a kaleidoscopic sound, shaped by a shared love of rock and coloured by their vastly different individual tastes. Vallance’s love of tech metal and virtuosic guitar playing is a world away from Cooper’s passion for funky rhythms and reggae, or Benedict Rhodes’ obsession with the texturally rich sounds of post-rock, electronic and noise. Yet, despite their contrasting influences, on their debut EP, The Tree-P, they’ve found synergy among the chaos.

“Our sound is a mishmash of all of our brains,” says Vallance, “and it’s almost quite tongue-in-cheek.” 

“We have a lot of fun,” Shevchuk takes over. “We want to stay under the umbrella of rock, but we’re very open to everyone’s personal influences. I think that Rush are the best band that have ever existed and ever will, but I also love 80s ballads, so there’s never really anything that’s out of bounds. Everyone’s always up for doing something that we haven’t done before, so there’s always something new in all of our songs.”

While Square Wild were formed overnight, the cohesion within their sound was not.

“We used to scrap a lot,” Vallance admits.  

“Since Benedict’s been around [the bassist joined in 2020], it’s been very different,” Shevchuk explains. “I think he’s really balanced out our energy, which is great; he’s aligned our chakras. Our sound is more rounded now. I think we’re finding things that are uniquely us now and it seems to be that we naturally fall into them. We really like doing sludgy, slowed-down versions of riffs and throwing random ska sections in for no reason, for instance, and we’ll keep doing that.” 

“We’re developing as a band as everyone develops as people,” adds Valance on their journey together. “If you’re in a different stage in your life, you’ll enjoy a different type of thing and that trickles down into what you do as a band. We’ve come so far in six years, our writing is getting much more progressive.” 

The band were last-minute additions to 2022’s Winter’s End Festival, with Shevchuk calling the show a “massive, unexpected success”. 

“It was a ridiculous experience,” she says. “The prog audience seems to like us and we’re really appreciative of that. We’re getting gigs just all over the country now and we’re really excited to try and establish ourselves.” 

The band are currently recording their debut album, and it’s expected sometime soon. 

LINE-UP: Lucy Shevchuk (vocals, guitars), Jack Vallance (guitars), Tomos Cooper (drums, vocals), Benedict Rhodes (bass)

SOUNDS LIKE: Fiercely restless prog rock upon a bedrock of early Rush, they create mathy twists, satin vocals and ska outbursts

CURRENT RELEASE: The Tree-P is out now via Bandcamp  

WEBSITE: squarewild.bandcamp.com

Phil Weller

You can usually find this Prog scribe writing about the heavier side of the genre, chatting to bands for features and news pieces or introducing you to exciting new bands that deserve your attention. Elsewhere, Phil can be found on stage with progressive metallers Prognosis or behind a camera teaching filmmaking skills to young people.