Irma Vep is a loner, a joker, a roamer, a ribald construct riddled with both earnest anxiety and mercurial songwriting talent birthed by a young Edwin Stevens in Llanfairfechan, North Wales. Having since fully grown into Irma Vep and now residing in Manchester, Stevens’ discography has expanded to document every aspect of his music, from ecstatically free group experiments to bare, sparse songwriting that cuts to the quick, shorn of ornament or pretence. No Handshake Blues is a homage to Llanfairfechan (Transylfechan to the locals).
Having bedded down into Manchester’s bourgeoning DIY scene, Stevens moonlights in several other groups (Sex Hands, Klaus Kinski, Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura, Yerba Mansa…), bringing with him an instantly recognisable guitar language. However it’s in Irma Vep that his most life-affirming, troubling and thrilling music is made. Much Irma Vep feels like what “classic” music should feel like if it weren’t so Classic. Each record, each song and each performance exists as an evolving drama.
Edwin has toured the West Coast of America after being invited by Chris Johanson to play his Quiet Music Festival of Seattle and Portland. BBC 6 Music regularly spin his work. He tours the UK and Europe “butt loads”. Somehow he also finds time to run a tape label and put on gigs in Manchester under the ”Very Bon” moniker. Irma Vep performs solo, and also expands to a full band that includes Manchester legends DBH, Andrew Cheetham, Dave Rowe, Kiran Leonard and Dylan Hughes.