INTERVIEW: The Vaccines Come of Age With Sophomore Album
Having exploded on to the UK indie scene in 2010 with snippets of their soon to be released debut album What Did You Expect From the Vaccines? The Vaccines have proven themselves to be one of the best new acts to emerge out of the UK in the past few years.
Having spoken with Vaccines’ bassist Árni Hjörvar, just what did he and the band expect when they first released their first album? Well, not a lot, as Hjörva explained, “I think everything exceeded our biggest expectation”.
The Vaccines’ first album went platinum in their home country after receiving significant airplay and hype on the Internet. With that success the band went on to be nominated for several prestigious awards, culminating in winning a NME Award for Best New Band. Yet, all these achievements aside, “just releasing our record was exceeding our expectation” admitted Hjörvar.
The Vaccines’ follow up to their strong debut Come of Age might suggest the band’s maturity with fame and touring; echoing that classic yet clichéd Hollywood coming of age story. Yet you would be naive to think this.
“[it’s] a lot more personal than that. I think, it isn’t about the band, it isn’t about touring. It’s really a bit of a weird time” said Hjörvar, reflecting on the writing and recording process of the album.
“You’re at an age where you’ve suppose to have arrived at something and you’re supposed to know where you are. You’re not supposed to be heading anywhere anymore; you’re already supposed to be there”.
Now, that’s something any twenty year old or teenager can relate to. “It’s as if the band doesn’t want to come of age,” Hjörvar joked, adding that “the correct album title should have been ‘How to Come of Age’, but that sentence doesn’t sound as much fun.”
The Vaccines have retained their distinctive indie rock sound on their latest release with no ‘sophomore slump’ in sight. Come of Age expands on their debut with more than a few familiar sounding beats and riffs.
At the same time, the band has allowed enough space and depth for the album to take off on its own direction as seen in new songs No Hope and Teenage Icon. Hjörvar sees it as a step forward, “it excites me a lot and I’m very proud of it. We retain the fundamental ethos of the band [on the new album], but I feel it’s got more character, more depth, and more space”.
With an Australian tour locked in at the end of the year, just what will The Vaccines be bringing with them on their third visit to the country? Hjörvar bluntly stated “a lot of new songs”. Since their Australian debut on the main stage at Splendour in the Grass 2011 and their tour with Big Day Out earlier this year, The Vaccines are all set to wow the crowds once again at Falls and Southbound.
“We’re always excited to be coming to Australia. We’ve played a lot of great gigs over there and we’re really looking forward to coming over again”.
From their first appearance in Australia The Vaccines have “gotten better as a band”, or at least that’s what Hjörvar would like to hope for. “We really strive every day in everything that we do to become better, whether it’s our live shows, recordings or anything”.
Hjörvar noted the ever-increasing crowd involvement at their live concerts, but he added, “Sometimes we play support for audiences who have absolutely never heard of our band, and that’s something we really enjoy. Because if you can turn heads as a support band and can manage to get people going ‘Who the fuck are those dudes?’ then I think that’s a big victory and a real challenge.”
The Vaccines’ Come of Age is available now.
The band will also be playing at Falls Festival and Southbound Festival at the end of this year.