Monday, April 18, 2016

Interview :: VITAMIN

"Our gigs are parties. We make our biggest impact live, it's where our songs completely come to life."

Interview: VITAMIN

Words: Rosie Mulhern

Leeds-born and bred indie-pop band VITAMIN have been causing quite a stir recently due to their rising success. Previously on tour with Sundara Karma and Rat Boy, the band are currently on the road with The Magic Gang across the UK, where they'll surely be catching the ears and interest of many more to add to their growing fanbase. No doubt part of their set will contain effervescent new single 'Waterfall'. Released last Friday (April 15), the track was recorded in Leeds and produced by Rich Turvey. Check out the 'Waterfall' audio video below.

With the VITAMIN sound almost literally bursting with enthusiasm and euphoric guitar pop, it really is a slice of synth heaven - firing constant summery vibes all around; not to mention frontman Jared Laville's unique vocals adding an edge to it all.

I caught up with Jared recently to hit him up with a few questions. Have a read below about what he had to say.

So, to kick off, Jared, how are all you guys since I saw you last at the Birmingham instore?
Very well, thank you! Had a lot of fun in Birmingham.

You do always seem to go down well with us Brummies! [As we post this, the band hit Birmingham again tonight, April 18, opening for The Magic Gang]. Has it been a busy time for you, with touring and recording - and no doubt doing endless interviews like this one!
I never stop! We've been working on everything at the moment: artwork, videos, writing, recording - and, of course, interviews. And we start touring again! Theo and Cam have been starting up 'Brother and Sisters' (their club night), although we say it's more of a party - and everyone's invited.

You mentioned artwork there, and I do like the unusual theme of vegetables and sweets in your covers. Where did that come from? For example, with your debut EP 'Giving It Up', the cover features a broccoli covered with hundreds and thousands. That is a bit...well...bizarre, no?! Is there a subtext to it?
I randomly stumbled across Wendy's [Amsterdam-based illustrator, Wendy Van Santen] work on a blog and it immediately caught my eye; it's hard for it not to. I instantly connected with it and to me it felt so relevant to our music in the way of having something so overtly sugary sweet on top, and then something a little more sobering underneath. For those EPs it was the perfect visual for the music.

For those not having seen VITAMIN before, how would you describe your live show?
Our gigs are parties. We make our biggest impact live, it's where our songs completely come to life and similarly for myself. I love the stage, I love being on stage and I love connecting with people so directly by singing right there in front of them. I want people to come away feeling they've seen a real performance, I want people to be wowed.

I am sure they will certainly be wowed! Is performing live a big part of why you do what you do, or do you prefer making music, the writing and recording part of it?
I love it all. For me, they all work in perfect harmony together. If you've been locked up in a studio for months, then all you want to do is be out on the road, and vice versa. I don't think at this point in my life I could do just one, I need that stimulation from the variety; they each have their moments and one complements the other.

Is there a message you try to get across with your music, or is it more about the sound?
Honesty is all I aim for in our music. As long as I and the rest of the boys believe in it, that's all that matters.

You have said that the band originally started just as a means of offsetting boredom. The music scene in and around Leeds has been quite healthy for some time, what or who were the inspirations that got VITAMIN hyped up to do something of their own?
We started VITAMIN for the same reason every young girl or boy starts a band: because they love music, they love writing music, playing music - whatever gets you hot. It has simply been my dream to be a musician, be in a band, since I can remember. I've been in a band since I was 10! Then when you start developing and meeting people you realise that the sky is the limit, and that in itself motivates and inspires me. I'm not afraid to admit that I want us to be a big band.

You haven't been doing too badly so far on working towards that! What is influencing you right now? Are there any certain styles or artists that you look at and think you'd like to try a variation of?
My biggest influences come from my childhood and growing up, and the records my mum would play around the house. A lot of soul records such as The Isley Brothers, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Tracy Chapman... I'm also a huge Björk fan: the level of honesty in her music is so inspiring. I would hate for us to be a 'variation' of something, that seems pointless to me, we will always strive for something new.

Where do you usually get your song writing inspiration from? Is there a usual process that you follow when writing?
We mix up our process all the time, we write separately, together. In the box, live in the room. Outdoors, indoors. It is so important for us to keep our writing process and surroundings fresh, otherwise how are you supposed create something fresh and vital, if you don't feel that way?

If, to quote yourselves, 'this isn’t love...then what is that timeless thing called ‘love’?
I'll tell you when I know!

We'll get back to you on that one then! In the meantime, let's go for a few quick ones. Who would you:
a)ask to come and perform a live show with you?

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, no question.

b) like to collaborate with?
Would love to collab with Daft Punk.

c) have round for a dinner party (dead or alive)?
I bet David Attenborough has impeccable table manners...

d) listen to if you could only listen to one band for the rest of your life?
Reckon I'd have to say Michael Jackson on that one.

I gather that you have successfully put on your own club night at the Brudenell in Leeds. Will this be an on-going thing? 
Yeah, as I said earlier, Theo and Cam are taking 'Brothers and Sisters' into the DJ realm starting this month. It was always our vision for 'Brothers and Sisters' to become something more than just a club night, so this is the next stage for it.

VITAMIN have been compared to the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club and The 1975. How do these comparisons rest with you?
It's natural for people to compare and I understand why people do it. But I personally would never compare us to either of those bands - I wouldn't compare to us anyone for that matter. I just don't think about that kind of thing, all I think about is, 'Do I like this? Do I believe in this?' And if yes, then it's a win.

You can catch VITAMIN live on the dates below. 

18 Birmingham Sunflower Lounge w/ The Magic Gang
20 St. Albans The Horn w/ The Magic Gang
21 Stoke Sugarmill w/ The Magic Gang
22 Leeds Brothers and Sisters (VITAMIN’s club night), Studio 24
23 Leeds The Brudenell w/ The Magic Gang
24 Liverpool Studio 2 w/ The Magic Gang
25 Newcastle The Think Tank w/ The Magic Gang
28 Manchester Sound Control w/ The Magic Gang
29 Leicester Handmade Festival w/ The Magic Gang
30 Live At Leeds

01 Canterbury City Sound Project
21 Brighton Great Escape Festival
29 Lincolnshire Lost Village Festival

03 Leeds Brothers and Sisters (VITAMIN’s club night), Studio 24
24 Leeds Brothers and Sisters (VITAMIN’s club night), Studio 24

VITAMIN are: Jared Laville - vocals, guitar; Harrison Smith, - bass, backing vocals; Cameron Fraser - guitar; Theo Cookson - drums.

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