To kick off my music series here on the blog, please welcome rock band VEGAS ASSAULT. I love finding new music and I was thrilled when these boys from Redditch, England agreed to sit down with me. I had no idea how much they would make me laugh and give me that warm fuzzy feeling while listening to them speak about what they love. Okay, enough small talk. I know y’all are ready to hear from VEGAS ASSAULT!
January James: Hey, guys. Thanks so much for sitting down with me for a chat. Let’s get the formalities out of the way and tell everyone who makes up Vegas Assault. We have Dave Zero on vocals. Norway on guitar. Simon "Si" Donovan on, my personal favorite, bass guitar, and Kris Allen pulls it together on drums.
I know you all have been together for six years and after a short split, you got back together and released What Goes Around in January 2012. I have to respect the hard work you guys put in on this album. Give me some insight on the do it yourself recording experience and how you managed to record and release it in just one month?
Dave: We record well, Norway fucks it up.
Kris: Yep! But in reality…
Dave: We all fuck it up.
Norway: Haha. Not far from the truth. Well, I built up a collection of studio equipment with the idea that whatever I did, I could be self sufficient. Before we got back together, I had a bit of practice with it with other bands, but when it came to recording What Goes Around, the process had been streamlined enough to record the album quickly. We already had the songs in some shape or another so we started with Kris and I getting in his garage and recording drums and rhythm guitar, since a huge amount of the album started off with Kris and I jamming the tunes, so it made sense to record the majority of them like that. Then it was just recording the other parts in various living rooms, which was the hardest part with some people at work and then having decent hours where we wouldn’t disturb neighbors too much.
Si: I either took a few days off work to come and record in the day time or did longer sessions at the weekends. The Drums and Guitars were done by the time I got to hear the tracks. I just did my thing. I love the way we record.
Kris: The way we do it just feels right. It feels so natural doing it this way .
JJ: Y’all definitely have the recording part of this down. Tell me about who and/or what your biggest musical influences are?
Dave: Writing wise... Wednesday 13, Scott Weiland, life, erm... I find inspiration from everywhere...art, film, music, people you meet.
Kris: John Bonham was (and still is) a big influence on my playing, as is Mike Bordin and Bill Ward. There’s a lot of bands and artists who inspire me... it’s tough to list them all without missing important figures.
Si: I draw inspiration from many places across many arts and situations. Musically, I'm not really sure I could narrow it down to the biggest. I play what sounds good to me and try to have fun or surprise people with my bass lines.
Norway: For various reasons, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, basically anything Slash has been involved in, The Darkness, Pantera, Rancid and Tim Armstrong in general. To be honest, I could just go on and on.
Kris: Please don’t.
JJ: What’s “A Day in the Life of Vegas Assault” like?
|Dave, Si, Kris and Norway|
Dave: Next question!
Kris: Playing cards.
Si: Losing at cards...
Kris: Winning at cards!
Dave: Hang out...we don’t really have like ‘a day in the life’ we just do whatever we want, when we want. If we feel like sitting down on the middle of the floor and playing cards we just do that.
Kris: Yeah, it’s not like we throw televisions out of hotel rooms yet. They’re expensive to replace and I can only just about afford a pint of water down the pub.
Dave: Dude, water’s free...
Kris: You what?
Dave: Yeah man.
Norway: Well, at the moment, it’s not so much a ‘Day in the life’ situation since gigs aren’t so regular right now, and I’m living away. When we’re together for writing/recording/gigging or whatever, it’s a lot of fun. Apparently, from the outside, we can come across as quite strange. We’ve had a few people think we’re high when we weren’t. I just like to think we’re free spirits. Haha!
Kris: We are pretty strange though.
JJ: Ha! You’re not strange. We’ll call you charming. How’s that? When you’re not writing and recording, what do you all do for fun?
Kris: Wish we were writing & recording.
Dave: I second that.
Norway: I third that. Haha. Generally, I spend my time doing something music or band related. In the small amount of time that I’m not I’m working on artwork, or watching a film or just hanging out. Music does take up the majority of the time though.
Kris: Most of my free time is spent trying to promote ourselves to new people, booking gigs, running all the social network stuff etc. When I’m not doing that I try to be in one of three places – at a record store, a comic book shop or enjoying a gig.
Si: Working during the days, but I do a lot of walking just listening to music and exploring new places in the evening. Partying hard on the weekends! Experimenting on the bass and playing old games the rest of the time.
JJ: I’m really impressed with your interaction with fans on Twitter. How has Twitter and Facebook helped your exposure?
Kris: It’s helped us a lot. First time we were around all we had was MySpace. Now that was good, for the time, for interacting but limiting at the same way. With things such as Twitter, we can interact with people all over the world who like us which is good…as nobody likes us here.
Norway: It’s quite frustrating at times though. Seeing people from Brazil or somewhere you can’t get to on the M5 asking us to play in their city. One day...
Kris: If anybody with a plane out there wants to take us to exotic locations, let us know!
JJ: I love your new track Tiger Eye. Share with us how the songwriting process is for you.
Kris: I tell Norway what to play and he does it. You might say I’m the true riff master. Basically, we write a song then tell Dave to hurry up with lyrics so we can play it live.
Dave: It’s not been like a sit down together sort of thing. Ya know, somebody will write a riff or a song and then once it’s shown to the rest of us we make suggestions of changes, cuts, etc. Musically, we’ll get the song down and then for my part at least, I have to sit down with whatever’s there and see what happens...could take days, could take hours.
Kris: I mean a lot of the stuff on the record came from, at first anyway, just me and Norway. When Vegas split up a few years ago, we didn’t do anything musically together until last year. We started writing some instrumental stuff, tracks like Party Spray and Down just for the fun of it. Eventually, we started gigging it, Si came in and played bass. When it got to the VA reunion, we liked those tracks enough to bring them over, if you will.
Dave: Yeah, I put vocals on Party Spray last year and it sounded cool.
Si: From the previous incarnation of the song, I had a few ideas of parts that I wanted to change bass wise. I wanted to play something slightly contrasting to what the guitar was doing, too. The solo section for me was inspired by old upright bass players.
Norway: Tiger Eye was an odd one because we put so much thought into it. When I came up with the riffs, I had no idea what to do with them, then I jammed it with Kris and it all came together, and we ended up almost doubling the length of the track with whole new sections. Then we brought it into VA, and we knew it would need changing but Kris and I were struggling to work it out. Dave had an outside view of the song because he hadn’t been a part of the original version so he pointed out some changes, most of which kicked ass, some of which we misunderstood and played wrong and that kicked ass and that was that. Haha.
JJ: There has been some chatter about a tour. When and where can we expect to catch a live performance?
Dave: You tell us! Book us and we’ll come!
Kris: We, hopefully, will be out in August around some places in England. We’re playing the o2 Academy 3 in Birmingham on the 19th October. If you’re around for that, you should totally come. Also, our first show in London falls on the 12th August.
JJ: I would love to catch a show when y’all make it out to the U.S. I’ll be first in line. Describe how this experience has changed you?
Kris: It’s no longer a joke, it’s a lifestyle.
Lightning Round Favorites:
Drink: Jack Daniels
Season: Football & Ice Hockey!
Movie: Nightmare Before Christmas
Band: Down / Slipknot / Wednesday 13!
Drink: Mountain Dew
Movie: Nurses Gone Wild
Band: Turbowolf at the moment
Movie: Pulp Fiction
Band: Tool, Opeth, Blackfield
Season: When Villa don’t get relegated! (Summer)
Flavor: The taste of victory
Movie: Almost Famous
Band: Faith No More...or…Mastodon…or…Down…or...The Gaslight Anthem…I think.
I’m not going to ask why y’all like purple so much. Ha! Thanks again. It was such a pleasure chatting with you guys.
Click here to pick up their album What Goes Around over at Bandcamp!
To keep up with the latest happenings of VEGAS ASSAULT, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter @VegasAssault and check out their website vegasassault.com
Until next time…