Bobbysix.com chats to The Vaccines about the Big Day Out tour in Australia:
“I'm terrified. I think it's going to be carnage,” The Vaccines drummer Pete Robertson says somewhat impishly. His band is in Australia for the Big Day Out tour in the knowledge that the festival has quite the reputation for bands getting together and letting loose. “I have heard that there is a lot of partying at Big Day Out,” he nods. “Everyone stays in the same hotel and everyone gets on and has a good time. Considering it's straight after Christmas as well, I don't think we're going to get much rest. It's going to be good.”
While they are still a relatively new band, their non-stop schedule means that The Vaccines are already well versed in combining travelling with partying. Their first time collectively in Australia was for the Splendour festival a few months ago and that proved to be a crazy experience. “I've got memories of not remembering a lot,” the drummer laughs. “It was pretty hectic and we had a little too much fun. Our summer was generally pretty insane and that was the most insane leg of it. We flew from England to Japan on the Wednesday and on the Friday we touched down in Brisbane, then went to Sydney for two days, then to Melbourne for two days. Then we flew to Chicago and then we did coast-to-coast in The States, all within about two weeks. It was fun.”
The reception they received on their first visit to Sydney – not least at their sideshow at a packed Metro Theatre – is something that has long since stayed with the band. “It was amazing. It was one of those moments. As individuals we'd been working hard in other bands and then collectively when we first got together a couple of years ago to make music that we thought could connect with people. When your music travels further than you ever have before, it's a rewarding experience.”
They'll be sideshows again this time round, as the quartet is set to support label-mates Kasabian. With The Vaccines having played countless live gigs in 2011, you can expect their turn in Aus to be something really special. Robertson is especially looking forward to playing to some big festival crowds. “We had an amazing festival season in our summer. We played just short of 50 of them, all over the world. So I think we're reasonably well schooled in it and I'm looking forward to getting back into it.”
Playing in front of audiences is what The Vaccines are all about and their sound lends itself to being played live, as that was how it was originally put together. “We wrote the record [debut album, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?] as a live band. We didn't have any recording facilities, so we used our resources the best we could, which was basically two guitars, a bass and a drum kit. We designed the music to be played live. Well, actually we recorded a live album, essentially.”
When The Vaccines first started out, they did so with no masterplan. Rather they simply enjoyed being in a band and all that entailed. One wonders whether a plan has since developed as they have continued to gain success. “The masterplan is very vague,” Robertson suggests. “We're all good players and Justin [Young, lead singer] is a great songwriter. We just felt that, between, us we could make some meaningful music. I think we're doing that and I think we can make more meaningful music. There's room to develop. That's ultimately it. To be the best we can.”
Interview by Bobby Townsend. It first appeared in Sydney's Drum Media.