Make The Girls Dance

Interview with The Vines

Source: Make The Girls Dance

Text: Amity Johnson

Published: May 19th, 2011

The Vines have come a long way since their first widely acclaimed album, Highly Evolved. They graced the cover of Rolling Stone and were NME’s next big thing. Of course that was all up until the extensively publicised band implosions, newly diagnosed mental disorders and insulted fans. This week, Amity Johnson sat down with The Vines to discuss their new album, pseudonyms and return to superstardom. The Vines are Craig Nicholls (vocals, guitar), Ryan Griffiths (guitar), Brad Heald (bass), Hamish Rosser (drums).

What can we expect from your new album, Future Primitive?

Hamish: Back to back hits, one of those classic albums where you can’t bear to skip a song because they’re all so awesome.

Ryan: It’s still a Vines album but it’s got a few electronic etchings in there.

Hamish: It’s pretty diverse, we go from the short fast punk songs, there’s one called Weird Animals which is not likely anything we’ve done before, it’s kind of like a blues song on speed. We’ve got some ballads and we’ve added some electronic sounds in as well so it’s going a lot of different places.

Ryan: It’s still very much a Vines album though.

Hamish: Yeah, yeah it sounds like us.

Did one of you write all the lyrics?

Hamish: Craig’s the song-writer, he brings in the ideas and we work them up until they’re finished.

Did you collaborate with anyone on the album?

Ryan: Not in the song writing process but when it came to recording we had Chris Colonna from the Bumblebeez come in and he’s got a techno, electronic background which is something we really wanted to do with this album. He helped us out with manipulating what we had and brought some new sounds to the party.

Hamish: Chris is kind of like the Australian version of Beck where he’s got no boundaries and anything goes with his own music and he bought some of that to us, like ‘How about this kind of sound?’, ‘What is that?’, ‘Doesn’t matter it sounds good alright!’

Where was it recorded, in Chris’ studio?

Hamish: In Sydney, we did some demo’s at his place, we did two weeks at 301 and then took it to another studio with Jono from Lost Valentinos.

Ryan: It was a 2-3 week process, we did it live this time.

Oh wow, so drums, guitar and bass were all recorded live?

Hamish: Drums, bass and guitar were all live tracks and we didn’t edit hardly any off the songs, we just got a good take and went that’s it, keep that.

What sort of guitars and bass did you use when you were recording?

Craig: I use a Strat.

Ryan: Guild guitars for me.

Brad: I used a Fender P bass I borrowed from Andy Kent from You Am I who lent it to me, it was really old and cool.

Hamish: Didn’t you break a string on it? *lolz*

Brad: Yeah, I broke a string on it which was about as old as the bass.

Is he gonna let you keep it?

Brad: No way, haha I think it’s his precious.

Did you find that gave you a different sound compared to your other albums?

Hamish: I just think we are getting better at playing together and we don’t need to spend as much time editing as we usually do. We’ve recorded in LA before and they like to have everything sounding super perfect, for a pop radio station and I don’t think it needs to be that way.

Craig: It made it really easy, it was really fun.

What was the inspiration behind the cover art?

Craig: We talked to this artist, his name’s Laith, he did Tame Impala’s cover for their album. He was really good, we just told him what we were thinking and he came back to us and we thought it was cool with the trip out colours. We updated the logo too since I painted the first one myself and we used that on the first four albums but this one has proper type.

Are you planning to tour with the new album?

Craig: After the album has been released, we’ll be doing an Australian tour and then we want to go overseas.

Hamish: The dates still have to be locked in but we’ll be doing a proper tour with the album. The official announcement will be in a couple of weeks. We are doing Splendour again and Live At The Chapel next week.

Do you feel weird about playing in a church?

Hamish: Well, we’ve never played in a church before; we all were choir boys back in our formative years.

Craig: Churches seem to have good acoustics, although I’m not sure about this one but I think it should be alright if they’re doing it there.

Hamish: It will look amazing on telly nonetheless.

Do you prefer playing big festivals like Splendour and Big Day Out to smaller gigs?

Craig: I like them both, it’s good to do your own gigs and it’s good to do festivals. It keeps it interesting I think.

Hamish: Festivals you get to play bigger crowds but they’re not always necessarily your fans, where at a smaller gig everyone is there to see you.

I remember you had a huge crowd in the amphitheatre at Splendour last year. Do you prefer playing in Woodford to Byron?

Craig: Yeah it was really cool.

Hamish: I love it there, it’s my favourite festival. The amphitheatre is so amazing, whereas the Byron site is just a flat field with marquees so that amphitheatre makes it, really. They want to take it back to Byron but I don’t know how they’re going to compete with where it is now at Woodford.

You’ve played under the pseudonyms of The Crimes and Foregone Conclusion in the past, do you like playing under that anonymity?

Hamish: That’s the reason yeah, we use them for warm up gigs when we haven’t played in awhile. Just to get our road legs again.

Craig: Not for testing out new songs, usually it’s all recorded before we play a song live.

Is Foregone Conclusion a reference to the Office?

Hamish: Yeah, Ryan’s a big Office fan.

Craig: Brad made up the other name, the Crimes.

Brad: It was a bit of a lazy attempt that one, we just changed one word.

Hamish: We’re gonna go under The Hives I think.

All: LOL

Ryan: I guess it’s not The Vhymes.

Hamish: I like the Grapes of Rock but whatever, wait I’ve given it away now, damn.

What other bands are you guys listening to right now?

Craig: The new Strokes album, for me there’s so much, all the English Brit Pop bands from the 90s, other bands that started around when we did like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Hamish: Kasabian is a good one.

Brad: The Kills, I like the new Kills album.

They’re going to be at Splendour too.

Brad: Yeah I’m excited about that.

Your new video clip for Gimme Love, I thought that was really cool.

Craig: Thanks yeah, we like just keeping it simple with a performance video and let the Director make other little additions to it.

Like the movie, uh what’s it called?

Craig: Yeah Scott Pilgrim vs The World, that’s what the Director said; it’s a bit of a nod to that movie.

Future Primitive by The Vines will be released through Sony on June 3. The Vines play SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS at Woodfordia in July. For more information on The Vines, check out their Official Website.