So what do you do when you are interviewing Vida, a brilliant Scottish indie band with obvious Britpop influences? Why, you coin a new term for their sound, of course — and call it Scotpop.
Scotpop fits perfectly for the classic style that the lads of Vida play with finesse. The jangly guitars, the bright catchy melodies and floating vocals.
“When I Call” is a clean, classy little number, featuring a melodic guitar line and a bouncy pop beat. This is dreamy indie pop.
“Fade Away” is setting records on Spotify and it’s easy to understand why … it is just pure and simple and sweet. There’s a retro sound to Vida that’s undeniable.
With the upcoming release of their debut EP “Masquerade” on Nov. 5, the lads — Jamie Pollock, singer/guitarist; Nathan Evans, lead guitar; Craig Scobbie, bass; Jamie Piggott, drums; and Greg Ballantyne, on keyboards, were excited to talk about the band and it’s music. Jamie Pollock, Nathan and Greg carried the conversation with me recently.
Here is our chat:
OK, good to go! Is everyone on board?
Craig: I am on a tea break at work for 15 minutes.
We will roll then … You are new to the band, Craig — how is it? Did you fit right in?
Craig: Yes, recently joined and we have been putting in some hours practicing. I get on well with everyone and I look forward to what is coming. I consider myself lucky to have this opportunity.
How did you get into the band? Did they advertise? Word of mouth?
Craig: I had met some of the boys a couple of times when out and about and had jammed with the guitars. Nathan got in touch with me to ask if I would be interested in trying it out and it’s going well.
Jamie: He’s a good friend of a friend, Rebecca.
Nice! That’s a great way to do it.
Jamie: We are all best chums now, he has been accepted into the circle of trust.
Now how is it that a Scottish band has a distinctive Britpop sound?
Jamie: Well, Scotland is actually part of Britain, but we consider ourselves Scottish, so you could say that we have a distinctive Scotpop sound.
Craig: The birth of Scotpop!
Ooo, done! We will coin a new exciting term — Scotpop! What kind of musical influences does everyone bring?
Jamie: I think the fact we are all 90’s babies means that the Britpop sounds from that era such as The Verve, Oasis and Scottish band Travis have left a lasting effect on us. There also some psychedelic influences thrown in from current bands like Tame Impala.
Nathan: We’re all into the same stuff but we are each biased towards certain bands, but we just listen to good music, and play good music.
Perfect! How long has Vida been together?
Jamie: Two and a half years, but the line-up has changed a few times along the way.
Have you finally got the solid lineup you need?
Jamie: Craig, being the final piece to this glorious jigsaw puzzle that we have now shaped to be. We’re ready to get out there and take it all on.
Nathan: We’re constantly getting better as musicians and the more we play together, the more we gel, so we’ve definitely got the right base for success.
Excellent. You come from a small town, Alloa, right? what is the music scene like there?
Jamie: There is definitely a click of people with good taste in Alloa, and they all know who they are … but to say that there was a music scene here would be wrong, it’s pretty non-existent, too many people that are into Geordie Shore and all that sh***.
Craig: As someone who hasn’t spent much time in Alloa, I can see that there seems to be a passion for better music than my local areas.
Nathan: Dead, it’s always had good bands but the music scene isn’t too hot, but it’s making a comeback, a lot of people are listening to all the right music.
Lol, so you tend to play other areas more — where are good gig towns for you?
Jamie: We’ll play anywhere.
Nathan: Places like Glasgow and Edinburgh are good in Scotland but we’d like to branch out a bit more and play places so people can see us.
Do you have fans that travel around wherever you go?
Jamie: We recently played in Birmingham, England. That was mega, cannot wait to get back and play another one there!
Nathan: We have family and friends that always attend, but we’re getting a bit of a following now so we’re seeing a lot of friendly faces.
It does sound like England would be a great place for you …
Jamie: Definitely, we have some dedicated fans traveling up from England to see us at our EP Launch in Glasgow next weekend. Our main influences are from the north part of England, and it’s definitely becoming more and more apparent that they are digging our sound.
Nathan: England’s more catered for our sound, and there’s more people down there.
Yes, that’s to be at King Tuts, quite a venue I hear. Have you played there before?
Nathan: Yeah, we’ve played there four or five times, but never headlined our own show.
Jamie: We played at King Tuts four times between 2014 and 2015, shit hot venue. Cannot wait to tear the roof off the place next Saturday.
Haha, it’s going to be a mega show for you! I will include the date and info.
Now, “Fade Away” has taken off like a rocket on Spotify — that’s just crazy! Almost 100K listens? How did you do it so fast? What’s the secret?
Nathan: We are so taken aback from the reception it’s had, can’t thank everyone enough for tuning into us! God knows!
Jamie: It’s a good song, Rebecca. When good music is recorded and released in the right way, only good things can come. We work seriously hard to get our music in people’s faces, and in this day and age it’s a hard nut to crack, but the music speaks for itself.
“Masquerade” is your second EP? Was it easier to make than the first?
Jamie: “Fade Away” was a single with an A side and a B side, “Masquerade” is actually our first official EP release.
Ah, OK! So how was the process?
Nathan: They were both pretty equal to be fair, there’s not really a difficulty with us when we’re recording, we just go in, lay down the tracks, get it sounding good then master it.
Jamie: But I would say our work ethic has never changed, we work together to tailor our sound and we will never leave a studio session without being happy with the product.
Nathan: All of our recorded music is pretty much done over a weekend. We’re perfectionists.
Haha, perfectionists … It comes naturally, right?
Jamie: Of course we are, how do you think we look so good?
Do you do live takes or track each instrument separately?
Jamie: The first take is usually a live one, just to lay the drums down, then after that it goes in stages with laying down each instrument and tweaking any imperfections.
Nathan: We’d love to do it live cause that’s where we sound best, but we’ve never had the chance to do that, so we’ve done it track by track. But it still sounds banging.
That’s what you want — a banging tune, and don’t leave til you get it!
Nathan: We’ve got banging tunes in abundance.
Jamie: We know the tunes are banging before we go in, so we will not leave that studio until what is in our minds is coming out of those speakers.
How does the songwriting go?
Nathan: Very well and easy! We’ve got around 40 originals that we’ve written and played, or just half written waiting to be worked on.
Is it a group effort?
Jamie: Songwriting is something that, for me personally, just comes to you, out of nowhere in an instant you get an urge to play certain chords, or whistle a melody, or write lyrics that come to you when you are feeling certain emotions. It’s almost like a transmitter picking up radio waves, that’s how it feels for me anyway.
Nathan: We all add our inputs musically but the main song writers are myself, Jamie Pollock and Jamie Piggott. Aye, we are all pretty good with coming up with melodies and music so we’re consistently coming up with stuff.
Gotcha … Did you lads play any music festivals this summer?
Nathan: We only played one unfortunately, Milecastle 66, but it was amazing! It was The Enemy’s last ever festival and we opened the headline stage for them, it was quality. We played other smaller ones, but that was the main festival.
Jamie: We recently played at Milecastle 66, which is situated in the middle of a town on the north of England called Carlisle. The festival hosted bands like The Enemy and Feeder, so it felt amazing to play in the same stage as them.
Was it a large crowd? How was it?
Jamie: The crowd was great considering we were the opening band!
Nathan: It was a not bad turn out for it being its first year as a festival, but it was a really good stage and a class night.
What goals have you set for the band?
Nathan: World domination. We just want to get out there, play gigs and get people into us. Just keeping getting bigger and better all the time.
First get out of Scotland, invade England, then come stateside … Sound about right? Here’s hoping!
Jamie: We just want to keep making good music, keep gaining fans and hopefully one day we’ll be headlining a stadium somewhere, that’s the dream.
Nathan: I’d love to play in the states!
I’ll team up with Tommo and we will see what we can do.
Nathan: You’re a hero! That would be deadly.
I’ll keep my eye out for any festivals, conferences that may help too … We have some here in the U.S. that could be springboards.
Jamie: Would be a pleasure Rebecca, hook us up with a place to stay and we’ll be there in a flash. Or however long it takes to fly to the states from Scotland …
Nathan: SXSW! That’s where it’s at!
Ummm … About 15 hours … I just made the trip to Leeds last weekend … Yes, SXSW in Texas is one.
Nathan: F’in love Leeds! Aye, try and get us in there.
Leeds was amazing! I would move there tomorrow! SXSW or Leeds? Or both?
Nathan: Texas would be deadly. Both!
Jamie: We have a gig in Leeds next February I think. Looking forward to it.
I’ll work my magic and see what I can do …
Jamie: Wave your magic wand Rebecca, we have faith in you!
Did I cover it all? Anything I forgot?
Jamie: The EP “Masquerade” is coming out on the 1st of November, the EP Launch at King Tuts is on the 5th.
You can find Vida on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wearevida/, on Twitter at @wearevida and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu2ZKjdAe6mHP7CweWEOQyQ.