In 2000 Richard Neuberg (b. Richard James Neuberg, 10 May 1968, London, England; guitar/vocals) considered putting together a country and folk-influenced project during a conversation with Willard Grant Conspiracy collaborator Josh Hillman (b. 26 June 1968, Edinburgh, Scotland; viola/violin). His disillusionment with Britpop was informed by a failed relationship in the late-80s with Justine Frischmann, who went on to lead Elastica to critical acclaim in the mid-90s. She had left Neuberg for Brett Anderson, with whom she became a founder member of Suede in 1989.
Neuberg and Hillman worked hard for a number of years to perfect their downbeat, Tindersticks -influenced country noir before settling on the core sextet of Viarosa in 2004. Rob McHardy (b. Robert Dewar McHardy, 31 January 1970, Edinburgh, Scotland; banjo, lap steel, mandolin, guitar), Emma Seal (b. 1 February 1970, London, England; vocals), Nick Simms (b. Nicholas James Ronald Simms, 15 January 1967, London, England; drums, ex-Cornershop), Mick Young (b. Michael Young, 26 July 1964, Ashington, Northumberland, England; bass) completed the band, and by spring of that year they had recorded the debut, Where The Killers Run. When the album finally got a release in September 2005, critics compared their brooding and sometimes gothic folk to that of acts such as the Birthday Party and American Music Club.
Although many of the other members of Viarosa were full time musicians at this point, Neuberg still had a day job working for a friend’s picture frame company. The band returned to the studio to complete their second album in summer 2006, and a tour followed with Josh Pearson of Lift To Experience. Meanwhile, Neuberg got involved with Dutch electronica maverick Clemm and added vocals to a track for his Consider The Lilies release. There was renewed press interest later that year when Where The Killers Run was reissued across Europe. Although many perceived their music as a formulaic take on the long ploughed furrow of Americana, it was Neuberg’s innovative and dramatic yet subtle juxtaposition of medieval imagery with country music that kept the attention of fans of this subgenre.