As seen in
Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 22 – Winter 2022
There aren’t many acts that can say they have played with greats like Jeff Beck, but U.K.-based Bones UK has easily achieved this feat. To top it off, they were nominated for a GRAMMY in 2019, which is something not many musicians can say.
The two-piece band is comprised of singer and rhythm guitarist Rosie Bones and lead guitarist Carmen Vandenberg who met in their hometown and formed a band, which then spun off to become Bones UK. Early in their career, they caught the eye of music legend Jeff Beck, who asked the band to co-write his 2016 album, Loud Hailer, and go on tour with him. From there, Bones UK moved across the pond to relocate to Los Angeles to further pursue their music.
Bones UK put out a self-titled album in 2019. This album has confronted tough social topics like toxic masculinity and sexism within the music scene. Bones UK also features a David Bowie cover of “I’m Afraid of Americans,” which was also represented on a Bowie tribute album. Soon after, Loudwire named the album one of the 50 best rock efforts of 2019. Bones UK saw huge success with their single “Pretty Waste,” which was nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Rock Performance in 2019, which solidified a strong fan base and the notoriety they deserve.
Today, Bones UK continues to put out singles, including “Cheap Love” and “Milk,” the latter pays homage to their roots in Camden Town, where Bones and Vandenberg first met and started their musical journey together. Bones UK continues to spread their strong message of embracing individuality and self-confidence with every song they put out.
We caught up with the band to get a feel for the background of Bones UK and get the full download on what they have been up to.
In what ways have growing up in the U.K. affected your musical style?
It’s affected everything about our music. The place where you grow up is in your bones, innit? Your blood — and so everything comes from that. Just experiences we had there are threaded into all the early songs. And the blood continues to flow through the more recent ones.
Your new single, “Milk,” pays homage to your roots in Camden Town. Can you tell us a little more about the song?
Ahhhhh, we love this song! After the pandemic stuff, there was a decision that I made to do things that bring me joy. Say yes to everything. Get in the car and drive. Dance every night. There was a feeling of “do it all now in case it happens again.” You felt like, at any second, it would be like, “Right, everyone back inside.” So I did things like rent an apartment in NOLA for two months and just danced on rooftops. There is a friend, a partner I made during this time called Max. A lot of this song is based around my and his adventures. Finding each other at the right time, flowing together, and making unspeakably special memories. To me, the song is about the freedom in just flowing together with JOY in your hearts and a skip in your step.
Where do you get your inspiration when songwriting?
Life. What’s going on. What moves us. What affects us. What stories or messages we want to tell.
What is your favorite song you’ve written?
“Shallow” off the new record. You’ll have to see why.
What was it like having an album co-written by as well as touring with Jeff Beck?
It is something we are so proud of. We are so honored to have been a part of it, especially in such a natural and creative way. There were long nights with Prosecco around the fire at Jeff’s, just taking, writing, and playing. And then to tour that record around the world was WILD. It was an amazing thing to happen to us so early in the band for a lot of reasons. Perspective is one of them. Of how amazing arenas are but also how great small venues are. We got to have two extremes happening at the exact same time in tandem. We will be forever grateful to have been able to contribute to Jeff’s legacy and to be able to watch him open-mouthed every night when he played. Unreal.
You tackle some difficult topics like music-scene sexism and toxic masculinity in your lyrics. What is the ultimate message you are trying to get out there?
Ooooh — the “ultimate message “… I think we see things less like that and more like we get out whatever message is moving us at the time. What we feel needs to be said. The theme of “being happy with who you are” and “embracing your individuality” is a big one that keeps rearing its head — seeing your own worth. That you are enough. I feel like it’s such an important one, and ultimately when that’s out of whack, it affects everything negatively. We both have dealt with serious insecurity issues, and we still do. When you are letting those lead your life, the way you react to things is not always ideal. We will do anything we can to help people get as grounded in their own skin as possible.
What’s in store for the future?
~ By Jessie Dax-Setkus