They came in Paris for a show at La Cigale two weeks ago. RockUrLife met Freddie Cowan (guitar) et Pete Robertson (drums) from The Vaccines when they played at Solidays, last June. Post-show express interview.
This is your first time at Solidays, what do you like about this festival?
Freddie Cowan (guitar): This is a wonderful day, the site is beautiful, and the diversity of music is very beautiful. I saw a band, I don’t know where they were from, they were called orch-something, I don’t know, it was the band playing before us, some kind of french-algerian mix, and it was just amazing! It’s nice when you see something that’s different, unexpected.
That was Orchestre National de Barbès.
F: Yes! It was fucking awesome!
Pete Robertson (drums): It was great. And I agree, it’s a very beautiful site as well. The atmosphere, the impression I got from being on stage. Everyone was just really happy to be here.
You probably know what the message is here, fighting against AIDS. What’s your feeling about it? Are you personally involved?
F: I think it’s nice that there’s an entire festival dedicated to promoting a cause like that. It’s a very noble example, and I hope it can be followed in a lot of places. I feel like the world is getting a lot more concious of things. Everyone’s moral responsibility’s is growing, and it seems to be spreading. Hopefully, there’ll be a time, in the future, that every festival, every gathering will have to have some kind of responsibility, or cause.
P: I think it’s very important. We played in Glastonbury yesterday and that’s a festival that stays very true to its roots. There’s no corporate advertising, the ads everywhere are for causes like Greenpeace or nuclear disarmament or things like that. And it’s really, really important. I think Glastonbury remains the model, like the grandaddy of all festivals. Unfortunately, one thing that’s been lost along the way is that message, and it’s really really good to come somewhere like this and see there are festivals around the world that stay true to that.
A few words about your latest album “English Graffiti”, how has it been working (on stage or not)?
P: It’s been amazing! When we first started playing songs from it, they immediately started going down well and it’s really exciting that people, ouur fans, are aware of those songs. We see them reacting to them live and… It’s been fantastic. We all think that it’s our best album today and it’s something we’re really really proud of.
F: Yeah, there’re no garantees, when you make a successful first album, that when you get to your third album anyone’s still interested. And we worked super hard. And I feel like it’s growing and it stil has more room to grow.
P: Also, we tried, more than we have done before, to kind of reimagine ourselves, and rock n’roll music. And we definitely took some brave and unusual decisions in the making of the album. And I think there was a risk, because people who liked our music before may have found it difficult. But people have been really positive to it.
What are your favorite tracks to play live?
P: I like playing “Radio Bikini”.
F: I like “Give Me A Sign”.
P: Oh yeah, “Give Me A Sign” is great. I only play in the choruses, so everything is like nice and chill and I get to hang out. And when all these great feeling come before the choruses, it’s like the icing on the cake! I feel like I’m the bonus material. (laughs).
What are the latest songs or artists that you liked in nowadays music?
F: The new Deerhoof album. St Vincent is very inspiring to us. We have lots of bands that we listen to actually. We judge, criticize, and consume music like anyone else does. There are just certain qualities to some music that we like. And it’s impalpable, magic. Whether it’s Marvin Gaye or like… Kanye West, whatever it is! It’s just very very special. And that sums up what music should be, these kind of things bigger than us. You can write thousands of words about it and never explain it. We just look for that magical qualities in whatever it is. When we were making our first album we could just be obsessed by one or two bands, which is great, but now we just listen to whatever comes up and I think it’s really interesting.
We don’t have much time, so here’s our last question. Our website is called “RockUrLife”, what rocks your life?
F: I’d say solitude. When you live like this, one thing I value the most is finding a place where no one else is. (laughs)
P: We’re very lucky in the sense that every night is a party. We go to clubs, festivals, in America, Japan, Australia… That’s very exciting, but if you do it for months and months, one of the most exciting and rehabilitating experiences is going home! Seeing your family, seeing your friends… So I actually think that’s what rocks my life.