Silver Biplanes are a melodic indie band based in Bedfordshire, England. The band features wife-and-husband team Vanessa Vass and Tim Vass alongside drummer Rob Scott. They declare they’re all lifelong fans of the highways and bi-ways of music and their recordings draw upon a wide range of influences. You’ll hear traces of psychedelia, post-punk, C86, krautrock and more.
Their first single, Parallel World was released on 8 July 2022 on the Where It’s At Is Where You Are label. The debut album, A Moment in the Sun will follow.
Tim was previously bassist and lyricist in cult indie band Razorcuts, co-writing all of their songs. The entire Razorcuts back catalogue was reissued in deluxe vinyl editions in 2020, featuring songs originally recorded for the famous Creation, Sarah, Subway and Flying Nun labels. Tim has also played in Red Chair Fadeaway, Dandelion Wine and the Forever People.
Vanessa was the singer in 90’s indie band The Melons who are probably best remembered for their two legendary live sessions on Mark Radcliffe’s Radio 1 show. The Melons released 6 singles on a range of cool indie labels.
This video was filmed by Alison Wonderland with drone shots by James Hoare. Edited by Georgie Turner-Noble.
Their Mixtape: “Music has always been such a big part of our lives that it’s very difficult to come up with a mixtape of just a few songs. There are literally thousands of other great records that we could’ve chosen instead. So we’ve tried not to over-think it too much. Here’s a random selection of things that we love.”
The Yardbirds – For Your Love
Tim: I bought a Yardbirds compilation when I was about 12, and this song has been a part of my life for a long, long time. Nevertheless I had never come across this wonderful promo film until a few days ago. There’s something about these very early “videos” that is kind of weird and fascinating (see also the “Arnold Layne” one filmed in Highgate and the “Happy Jack” one with The Who as burglars). “For Your Love” is a great example of how to combine a catchy pop song with an inventive arrangement.
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Messages
Vanessa: All of the early OMD stuff is great but I chose Messages because there’s a story attached to it. My copy went to the bottom of the boating lake in Bedford when I managed to fall out of a boat when I was 14. However, it was retrieved from the depths and still played when I got it home! I used to practice dancing like Andy McCluskey in my bedroom.
X-Ray Spex – Germfree Adolescence
Tim: In the early Razorcuts days we used to cover (very badly) The Day the World Turned Dayglo but for this mixtape we’ve chosen Germfree Adolescence, partly because both Vanessa and I recently had it going round in our heads for days after we heard it on the radio. Poly Styrene was just an absolute legend in every possible way.
The Teardrop Explodes – Passionate Friend
Vanessa: I was lucky enough to have two older brothers who introduced me, at the age of 11, to punk. I spent many years listening to their vinyl, until the day came when our mother said I was allowed to go to a gig with them! It was The Teardrop Explodes, in the very unlikely surroundings of The Addison Centre, Kempston. I was SO excited! My brothers had strict instructions to “hold my hand!” Obviously, that never happened! Julian’s “ba-ba-bas” on this are sublime. We love a “ba-ba-ba” or two, as you will hear on our LP.
The Hollies – Look Through Any Window
Tim: I love The Hollies. For a decade or more they navigated the changing fashions in pop music as well as anyone I think – from beat music, to psychedelic grooviness and onward into classy 70s pop. In this clip they are playing and singing live and it’s just jaw-droppingly brilliant, especially the great Tony Hicks on his beautiful Vox 12-string and vocal harmonies.
The Cardigans – Carnival
Tim: I first saw the Cardigans at Reading Festival in 1995. Vanessa was there as well, but it was about 18 months before we met. The Cardigans were very low on the bill and they played in a tent in the early afternoon, but they were obviously something special. All of the songs were really catchy and the singing and playing was flawless but at the same time they were charming and loveable. They were kind of like the twee indie band of your dreams! Vanessa: It was the only time I considered dying my hair blonde! I played their album Life constantly in my 2CV, as I drove up and down the motorway to visit Tim.
Soft Cell – Torch
Vanessa: This is one of those records I love dancing to. I’m a big fan of Soft Cell and this is a great song, brilliantly sung and arranged. I went to see Marc Almond in concert the night before my daughter was born – I think it was the excitement that brought my labour on! Tim claims that some of my expressions and mannerisms in our video are reminiscent of Marc Almond but I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.
The Jasmine Minks – Mr Magic
Tim: In 1983 I stumbled across Alan McGee’s Living Room club and for the next couple of years it became pretty much my second home. The groups that appeared there most often were The Loft, The June Brides, Biff Bang Pow! and The Jasmine Minks – it seemed like almost every weekend I’d see at least one of them! They were all brilliant in different ways and I could’ve chosen something by any one of these groups, but I’ve gone for Mr. Magic because, for me, it somehow captures that era. I have a lovely memory of dancing to it with the members of the band, at a Creation label party, Christmas 1984. To this day, every time I hear it, it makes me smile.