INTERVIEW: The Vines

The Future’s Overrated. So Party Primitive.

The Vinesare one of few bands that really do need no introduction.  After skyrocketing to super-stardom off their very first album, Highly Evolved, they’ve managed to sustain the worldwide release of four more. Their most recent album, Future Primitive, is a return to form that has frontman Craig Nicholls excited about hitting the road again.

“We’re really looking forward to touring. We’ve been rehearsing and it’s time to get out again. It can be a love-hate thing, but it’s love at the moment because we like playing the songs and we like to party.”

After the saga of getting Future Primitive released the fans are more than ready for the party. From the recording sessions to when the album saw the light of day, it was an agonising year-long wait. While the delay had fans cursing, there is a silver lining for the band; “the tracks don’t feel old, it’s still fresh,” Craig says.

The live show will feature all of the highlights from Future Primitive – including lead single ‘Gimme Love’ and follow up groove monster ‘Black Dragon’ – but crowd pleasers from the past will get a run too. “We’ll play a few off each album and switch them round when feel like something new,” Craig tells Radar Illawarra.

Speaking of something new, Nicholls has been busy working away on the band’s next full-length release. “I’ve spent the last month working on new album. I’m producing it. It’ll sound very different. There’s strings and trumpets and all sorts of stuff. It’s full of epic ballads.“

“The tracks are still sad lyrically but the best songs are. People aren’t going to connect with ‘yeah, I guess I’m ok, I might go to the movies’.  You have to be more dramatic, whether the drama is real or exaggerated.” Sadly for fans there won’t be any preview tracks from the new album though “it’s still far too raw”. Hopefully though, there won’t be the same wait until we do hear the new stuff, as Nicholls observes, “some albums take longer than others, this may be quickest yet.”

In a perfect illustration of the paradox that is The Vines, the new album, although full of epic ballads, doesn’t contain the next in the Autumn Shade series.  “It’s not a conscious thing. When I wrote the second one it reminded me of the first. They’re all minor chord acoustic tracks so there is that thread, but it’s not something I set out to write. It’ll be interesting to see how it develops.”

I can hear the tone of his voice lighten as he talks of the future.  “I’d like to have ten Autumn Shade’s by the time we retire. Then reform the band and do a gig of with of them in Centennial Park. In Autumn.  Under the shade cloth.” Suddenly I’m caught up in the dream and can almost smell the fresh dusk air and hear the rustle of the yellowed leaves in the breeze.

It’s this transcendence that Nicholls conjures so easily that has made The Vines the band they are. Every step of the way you’re right there with them. It is the same reason Nicholls can talk without ego about influencing bands like the Arctic Monkeys, and with sincerity about wanting to move to the retirement mecca of musicians – the Illawarra.

“I’d like to live in Wollongong. Maybe when I retire.” With his eye always on what’s next and dreams of the future, I think perhaps he is showing signs of ageing.  “Nah, I might be planning ahead but I’m still very young and immature. I still drink and smoke and party.”

Cheers to that!

The Vines play Wollongong Unibar on September 1st, with Papa vs Pretty and Bleeding Knees Club in support.
For more details, and to buy tickets, click here.

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