Last night I had the pleasure of watching new band VEGA perform their second gig at Worthing’s Bar 42. It was a great evening and they clearly have a great fan base, the place was packed out with enthusiastic music lovers whilst they were on stage.
Made up of Scott, Will and Jordan the band is clearly heavily influenced by Muse, but it is also a little stranger, with the music feeling like it is transporting you to a whole other world completely. Scott is a natural front man, confidently owning the stage and fearlessly belting out the band’s ambitious tracks. “We’re going to anal probe your minds,” he declared immediately after coming on stage, “by making you think of assholes.” That’s certainly one way to make an impression!
What I love about the band though is their songs really mean something. Their songs are about everything from nuclear apocalypse to zombies and alien invasion; vacuous pop songs these ain’t! But, despite the bizarreness of these topics, they are very much about the here and now. There is a frustration with the way things are and the band’s focus on apocalypse feels like a yearning for change. The ideas range from the outright crazy to the deeply profound, making the music an interesting pleasure to listen to.
That’s to say nothing of the great space vibe that both their music, and the slightly oversized banner behind them, portrayed. There’s a definite other-worldliness to the band. These guys played great together, their passion oozes and it feels like they’ve been doing this for ages. They are well worth checking out so visit their website and follow them on Facebook and twitter.
Last week I was happy to have a catch up with two members of the band, Scott Miller, lead singer and guitarist, and Jordan Stone, drummer, ahead of the gig.
So guys, how did VEGA come to be?
Scott: Me and Will were in Sky Forest, our previous band, but then it disbanded. Then a friend recommended Jordan. I thought he was a bassist at first but it turned out he was a drummer.
Jordan: There was a lot of practice to be done. We had a gig within two weeks!
What has VEGA done so far then?
Scott: We have a three track EP ‘Ripping Stars to move Heavens.’
Jordan: We’ve been in the studio again.
Scott: Yes, we were doing backing tracks, but we’ve got a lot going on. Merchandise, banners, T-Shirts, EP, stickers and badges stuck everywhere. Coke style of advertising, VEGA is everywhere. It worked for Coca Cola, it will work for us. We will be as big as Coca Cola!
Haha. Where did the name VEGA come from?
Scott: Well, it’s a bit embarrassing. I was researching old ships and stumbled across HMS VEGA, a ship that saw service in WW1 and WW2, and i also knew there was a VEGA star system. Plus it features in Star Trek, the Vega colony, which is the furthest that had been travelled before warp ships.
Jordan, I already know Scott is a huge Trekkie. What do you think about this? Are you a Star Trek fan?
Jordan: I haven’t watched many but I don’t mind them. The name is cool though and he didn’t even mention Star Trek when he told me the name.
Scott: Honestly, I didn’t even make the connection at first!
So come on then, what are your musical influences?
Scott: Obviously! We love Muse, they are so different, there’s no-one else like them so you’ve got to play to their style.
Jordan: Yeah. I also like steady rock, like Green Day, all sorts of rock actually. I’m just not a pop guy!
You said earlier that you’ve already had a gig. How did this come about?
Jordan: Bar 42 messaged the old band, they wanted an acoustic set. We asked if the new band was alright and they said ok, and then we were asked to headline. We were a debut headline act!
Scott: Doesn’t get any crazier than that!
Jordan: It went really well as well, it was the best we ever played together.
Scott: The audience said they felt like we’d been playing together for ages. It was pretty packed, really exciting.
I should have asked. How long have you been together?
Jordan: Since early March.
Scott: Fuck me, thought it was longer than that.
Jordan: Yeah, feels like longer.
How often do you guys practice?
Scott: Not enough. We meet up once a week for practice and recordings.
Jordan: We’re constantly putting ourselves out there on Facebook.
So I know you Scott, I know you’re a deep thinker. What are the themes of your music?
Scott: Our songs are political and shit. We have two themes through our artwork and lyrics.
Jordan: There’s a real space vibe.
Scott: Yeah, our songs are about other worlds, zombies, nuclear wars, alien invasions. Not just the obvious stuff but the different aspects. For example the first time aliens make contact, humanities reaction, their inability to understand.
Some of the songs are very emotional, using E to A minor – the contrast shows love can be such a powerful thing!
One song is about an experience I had in the shower. I imagined I was high and I saw a grey alien. Then I realised we can only see grey aliens when we’re high!
It all sounds very dark and warped. Are you on board with this direction Jordan?
Jordan: Yeah I’m happy with it, it’s right up my alley. There are so many bloody pop songs about love that it’s quite refreshing to have a change, like a song about apocalyptic war!
Scott: It’s all about equality; everyone getting along and an equal society. What if the apocalypse ever happened, what would it bring? A better world? Dare I say, a communist society based on peace and love? Many people think communism can’t be done, that it has been shown to fail, but it’s never been truly done. There’s a better way!
Jordan: Yeah, it’s a cruel world.
Scott: Music is powerful, you can convey these themes through music.
Why apocalypse though? It’s all a bit dark isn’t it?
Scott: Because we hate society, an apocalypse could bring about a new beginning. In a way we are asking for an apocalypse, it means we can start afresh. There needs to be a vote of no confidence in every government.
You want an apocalypse?! Could this be seen as promoting a violent message?
Scott: No, it uses an artistic concept of violence in a peaceful way.
Jordan: Yes, using music to overcome a higher power.
Scott: It’s about saying no to laws, giving people the chance to say no, to unite people against capitalist oppression.
Jordan: To make their voices heard. We know it’s idealistic, it’s gonna take a lot.
Scott: But music can do it. Music is a power some consider to be unnatural. You can change someone’s mind with music. And everyone loves a track whether it’s Bach, Hendrix or Blunt. It connects on an emotional level and makes them feel something.
Ok, let’s get back to more practical matters. How are you feeling about your next gig at Bar 42?
Scott: Well it’s our second gig but our first paid!
Jordan: During the first gig there were more nerves. This time there are no worries, we know where we are going.
Scott: We can make it a bit more flamboyant.
And what about the EP?
Scott: It’s going to have three tracks, probably an Easter egg and a solo piece. It’s currently being mixed so it’s probably looking at a mid-May release date. You’ll be able to get our EP on bandcamp and on Soundcloud for about £5.
So what happened to Sky Forest?
Scott: Our drummer was in another band and they were doing well so he made the call to leave. We were then left with trying to find a drummer, but we knew we needed to start afresh. I’m so happy to have Jordan on board, he’s a breath of fresh air. Some people think some of the stuff is too crazy but Jordan is like ‘Just fucking do it.’ We’re on the same wave length. I can really see this going somewhere.
Jordan: Yeah, I’ve been in a couple of bands, one whilst I was at college studying music, but they were doing it just to get through. This is different.
Where do you see the band going?
Scott: To the top. We want this, it’s our passion, to get out of retail and into music.
Jordan: Yeah, it’s not about getting paid.
Scott: I just want enough for food, water and to tour.
Ok, this might be a little unfair of me, but what happens if you get really big? Given your lofty communist ideas, where will your money go?
Jordan: Some of it definitely on my family.
Scott: I’d have to decide. It’s all about equality, but enough to support a family in a capitalist society is important.
So what do you do when you’re not making music?
Jordan: I work at a company that makes banners, but without music I would be very bored. I cannot remember not being into music.
Scott: I work in retail, if I get a free hour or two I’ll watch a movie. I love science fiction, conspiracies, science, and writing fiction.
Thanks guys, great catching up with you.