Interview: Vitamin @ The Horn, St. Albans

[Ellis O’Connell | Contributing Writer]

In a land that has seen 2015 releases by indie pop heavyweights flounder and become too middle-of-the-road for their own genre, Leeds quartet Vitamin have burst onto the scene like Miley Cyrus on her wrecking ball, and they’re ready to take it by storm. Whilst Foals and Florence + The Machine have been criticised for being too stern in their efforts, Vitamin are here to flip that on its head. Their music is a typical slice of indie pop Victoria Sponge – multiplied by 1,000. They effortlessly provide us with big songs featuring mouthwatering, synthesised guitar riffs and arena-ready choruses.

They recently performed at The Horn in St Albans, supporting fellow indie pop band Sundara Karma. The Horn is a lovely little pub and a live music venue; renowned for the variety of talent that has performed there.

Vitamin are natural-born entertainers. Lead singer Jared commands the stage as if he’s been playing stadiums for the past 50 years; combined with Theo’s energetic drumming, there’s a life to their performances that harmonises with their music. Equally, bass and rhythm guitarists, Harry and Cameron, complement the band’s overall command of the audience. Harry’s rhythmic swaying and hypnotic dancing was certainly a sight to behold. Before their performance, I caught up with them for a little chat about life being Vitamin.

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Photo credit: Ellis O'Connell

TM: Hello! How are you today?

All: Yeah very well thank you!

TM: Are you enjoying the tour so far? I see that you’ve been to Nottingham, Birmingham..

Jared: Yeah – Glasgow, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham

Theo: Leeds…

TM: Ah, yes! Leeds! You’ve started your own monthly musical residency haven’t you? How was the first one?

Jared: Yeah, that’s right! Amazing. Basically, we sold it out. It was technically the first ever headline gig of ours and, yeah, we sold it out! It’s our friends performing too, leading up to us as headline – it’s brilliant.

Theo: We really did not expect it at all.

TM: I first heard ‘To Believe’ as a sort of demo version last year; I’ve been listening to it constantly, now in its final form, with my friends and we love it. We described your music as ‘guitar-heavy, drum-heavy synthpop’, how would you describe it in your own words?

Jared: I’d describe it like that!

Cameron: Yeah, that’s perfect; that’s pretty bloody close.

Jared: That’s the thing: we love drums; we love electronics; we love vocals.

TM: Do you all get along? Do you all kind of gel together?

Jared: No(!)

All: *laughs*

Theo: Well we all live together as well, so, it’s – I say we do pretty well, yeah.

Cameron: These guys are all my first best friends.

Jared: Yeah, it’s the same for everyone I think, we’re each other’s first best friends, so it works really well.

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Photo credit: Ellis O'Connell

TM: You’ve been getting a lot of BBC Introducing and Radio 1 support, I know Phil Taggart is a big fan; how does that positive support feel?

Jared: It’s really gratifying that you’re touching so many people with it, especially the likes of Radio 1 and their audience. It was nice to meet Phil in person and properly thank him.

Theo: He was the very first person to play our stuff. He didn’t have to; he did it out of choice.

Cameron: He’s a proper sick guy as well – we chilled with him at Reading!

TM: With all the support and positive reception, you seem to be going from strength to strength. Do you feel any pressure as a band at all? Or is it all positivity at the moment? I know Circa Waves and Bombay Bicycle are doing their thing right now.

Jared: I think the best thing to do is just to not overthink things. It doesn’t feel like pressure… it just feels like motivation; do you know what I mean?

Theo: I feel as though, even when we were 13, we almost put – not a bad pressure – but a pressure on ourselves. We never didn’t, even though we purely did it for fun, have the feeling to always do it better. No-one told us to practice all the time, yet that’s what we did. We love it.

TM: Had you always had your eyes set on this career path? Or did it shift from something else?

All: Yeah.

Cameron: I wanted to be, like, a brain surgeon when I was 11, briefly. But then I realised: I didn’t like science. I don’t like blood… or brains! Then I thought to myself I want to play guitar. But I didn’t know how to do that. So I put that as my career choice – but it still doesn’t feel like a career.

Theo: We’d do it for free.

TM: This will be going in my university’s student magazine; do you have any advice for current students who are doing a music course but are wanting to branch out and form a band themselves?

Jared: Just be honest to yourself.

Theo: If you truly love it, you’ll do it. Do you know what I mean? If you really feel like you’ll want to be a musician, you’ll try hard enough and you’ll get out. You’ll be doing everything else as well as your course.

TM: This is very cliché, but who would be your dream collaboration?

Jared: Daft Punk! That would be amazing.

Theo: I feel like we’d have a lot to share.

TM: If you could perform in any country around the world, where would you perform?

Cameron: We always say America and Japan.

Jared: We’re covering a big portion of the world there, but y’know! A lot of English bands go down really well in Japan and America.

Cameron: I think there’s a hunger for British guitar bands in America, and it’s nice. It’s an exciting prospect.

TM: I’ve noticed that you’re very switched on with social media, what’s your favourite way to communicate with your fans?

All: Instagram!

Theo: A picture shares a thousand words.

Cameron: Personally, it’s my favourite as well – funny hashtags are my favourite thing in the world.

Jared: We run all our social media and each one has a different use. Facebook is good for announcements; Twitter is good for connecting with people; Instagram is good for –

All: Showing yourself and atmosphere.

TM: After this tour, what is next for Vitamin? And what will 2016 bring?

Jared: We’re gonna start recording our album. We’ll definitely begin that process. We’ve released one EP and we’re about to release a second. It’s very early days with the album though; some tunes are there, some are not but –

Theo: We just want to get it right. It’s quite nice, actually. Because we’re on an indie label, we get a lot of control and creative freedom. The people that have gone through it before – Chvrches and HAIM – that’s what we want to be like.

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Photo credit: Ellis O'Connell

We continued to chat for another half an hour; discussing streaming, the UK’s northern music scene and 2015 in music – including a mutual love for Carly Rae Jepsen’s latest album (you can read my review here).

There are certainly bright things to come from Vitamin. With their album hopefully just around the corner, the indie pop scene is looking to be be restored to its former, more colourful self.

Did you attend this gig? Have you heard of Vitamin? Let us know what you think @TridentMediaUK.

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Interview: Vitamin @ The Horn, St. Albans