DIY noise duo Vampires boils caramel inside a cello

Monday 13th, October 2014 / 00:00
By Josefa Cameron

VAMPIRES-promo-2-mCALGARY — Winnipeg noise-rockers, Vampires, released their anticipated Every Kind of Light EP at the end of May this year. Since their beginnings in 2009, they have gone through a slew of members — Matthew Powers and David Dobbs now make up the duo. Known for their dynamic live acts, the type familiar to local show frequenters, the two will be bringing their energy on tour to the prairies this fall. Having steered away from building an online presence, Vampires’ reputation swelled through organic means. Regardless of this DIY mentality, the four-song, lo-fi cassette has brought them impressive reception not only locally, but throughout Canada and beyond as well. Having recorded Every Kind of Light live, the shows are expected to be just as loud, rowdy and greasy as their sprawl of fans are thirsting for.

BeatRoute: How has the new EP been received? Was the reception something you expected?

Matthew Powers: It’s been received really well, I think. We felt the songs came out strong and we’re definitely surprised by the amount of support we’ve gotten. It’s very lo-fi and raw sounding, so it’s refreshing to see people excited about that sound again.

David Dobbs: You can’t please everybody, but we seem to inspiring some interesting responses. I never expected a four song tape cassette would bring CBC, Global TV and national news papers calling. Unexpected, yes.

BeatRoute: How would you describe your sound?

MP: A duo that sounds like a quartet. Or, noise rock.

DD: Like a crushed can of golden caramel sauce inside of a loud, beat-up cello.

BeatRoute: VAMPIRES doesn’t have as much of an Internet presence as most bands today (Twitter, Instagram). How do you think this affected your process of success?

MP: I don’t think it has affected us too much. It was a purposeful decision, it kept us a mystery up until we were ready to show people something. It may have kept us out of the industry’s eyes for a while, but I think it built a buzz with the people who enjoyed the music because you had to have a copy of the (self-titled debut) album or one of the DIY EPs the band put out at shows.

BeatRoute: What are some pros and cons of being in a band from Winnipeg? What is the music scene like there right now?

MP: It’s a great scene with a ton of incredible bands, all genres. We’re having a bit of a venue shortage these days, so it’s nice to see a lot of DIY venues popping up in alternative spaces and musty basements to fill the void some of our closed clubs that left.

DD: I had a great talk with Ryan Spencer of Jamaican Queens last year about northern bands, how we get these great, supergroup-type bands, because the musicians in them are the ones who can’t stop making music. After three or four bands, you start to align with other musicians who want to keep writing songs and not just be a summer bar band or whatever. The winter allows a type of deep space hibernation — imagine that every year, every winter. Winnipeg has some amazing artists of every type.

BeatRoute: You focus on accomplishing things on your own. What was the process of recording the EP like?

MP: It was really fun, for me at least. Dobbs got really dehydrated while mixing in the boiling hot control room and got really sick. Otherwise, it went well. Dobbs, as a show host, was familiar with the UMFM studios where we recorded, so it went quickly. We recorded it all live-off-the-floor in two days and mixed it the following week. Everything you hear is one take, no overdubs, except the vocals.

BeatRoute: What does the future of VAMPIRES entail?

MP: More writing and recording. We have a whole album worth of new material to sort through and get ready to start recording this winter. We’re creative people and the switch never really turns off for either of us. Plus, keep touring as much as we can, music festivals, we’re showcasing a bit this fall — basically, we want to get our music and live show out to anyone who will listen.

DD: I want to play Sled. And I want to get a blurb in Spin magazine. Goals: set.

Catch Vampires at Bohemia (Edmonton) on October 16, at the Slice (Lethbridge) on October 17 and at the Palomino (Calgary) on October 18.

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