In the upcoming months, it’s safe to say that Southampton rock quartet Miss Vincent are going to be very busy boys. The imminent release of their latest EP ‘Somewhere Else’ is exciting to say the least, but along with this comes two release shows in the next few weeks, plus a support slot following Boston punk outfit Energy on their summer tour in the UK.
Miss Vincent’s EP release shows are as follows:
26 May – Southampton, Joiners
5th Jun – London, Thousand Island
We caught up with vocalist/guitarist Alex Marshall, who filled us in on the band’s progressive punk sound, the emotional stories behind new record ‘Somewhere Else’ and their PG-13 rock n roll lifestyle on the road.
Seeing as this is your first proper outing on GIGsoup, can you give us a little insight into the story of Miss Vincent. I’ll start you off, ‘Once Upon a Time…’
Once upon a time, I wanted to start a band. I had recently left my last band and still had a burning need to write songs, so I hashed out a bunch and started looking for people to play them with. Lawrie and I met about 6 months after (band mates are pretty hard to come by), and about another half a year later we found Jack. We initially had a bassist who split vocals with me, but she quit 2 weeks before our first tour. After about 6 months as a 3 piece, we decided we needed a fuller sound – well, that and I was sick of playing bass. So, we put feelers out and Owain got in contact, which was pretty lucky as I’d known him through playing in bands years before. We played our first show as the current lineup on Valentines Day in 2013, and haven’t looked back since!
Things have been a little quiet in the Miss Vincent camp for a while now, where on earth have you been and what have you been getting up to?
The boring answer to that is we really wanted to make a record that we’re all in on, and make sure that we made the release as great as possible. We’re DIY in every aspect, so that takes time. I also think we were guilty of touring our last EP a little too much – being on tour is our favourite thing, but when you’re an underground band you have to be careful that you give people a chance to miss you. So we took our time over every part of this record, to try and enjoy the creative process as much as possible and make it the best it could be. We also spent a lot of time talking to labels, and eventually got talking to the guys at Uncle M. I’m so stoked to be releasing the record with them, because they’re just the best people and their resume speaks for itself. They work with great UK bands like Muncie Girls and Apologies, I Have None – as well as some of our favourite bands from the states like Anti Flag and The Bouncing Souls.
Well we’re very happy to see you back with ‘Somewhere Else’! It definitely has more punk depth and a grittier feel to it than predecessor ‘Reasons Not to Sleep’, is this something you’ve always wanted to explore or did it happen naturally?
It was a combination of both those things. We’re still really proud of ‘Reasons…’, but listening back to it now, it feels like I was sitting in a padded room screaming at the walls. This EP is far more reflective and encompasses much more lyrically, and that’s reflected in the overall feel. I wanted to let other influences shine through more, because although we have dark tinges to us, there are so many bands and sounds that I love, so to limit our direction to exclude some of them would be counterproductive. Some of it is easier to hear – a little Against Me here, a little Gaslight Anthem there – and other bits are probably less readily audible. I was listening to SO much Elvis Costello, Sun-era Johnny Cash, The Cure, The Rolling Stones and others, and they all have this intangible magic to their sound. We wanted to find our “sound”, which sounds lame, but we feel like we did that. This EP is the sound we’ve been chasing forever.
As for the singles ‘The Lovers’ and ‘Cold Hands’, it seems like they tackle quite heavy and deep emotions in a strangely upbeat manner, can you give you a little insight into these tracks?
Well, sure enough, The Lovers is a love song. But sort of by accident, it ended up being quite a fundamental look at love. Often, a song will look at one side or the other. I’d been reading up on The Lovers of Valdaro, which is this famous pair of skeletons that were buried in an embrace. I’ve always been fascinated with the macabre beauty of it, and all the questions and wonderment that surrounds them. I’d also been reading a lot of Edgar Allen Poe, and Tamerlane and Annabelle Lee really informed the feeling behind the song too. Annabelle Lee even gets a reference in “Annabelle got taken above, the Gods got jealous of our love”. It looks at the highs and lows, the memories and regrets, and the way that love can make you think and act irrationally. But in the end, you can’t change the past or predict the future, so the best way is to love with abandon – which is one of the hardest things to do.
Cold Hands is a little more introspective. I find sadness to be quite a habit forming experience, and so it looks at how at times it feels like it follows you around, sort of like the opposite of a safety net – something that you end up using as your first reaction to everything. But it also looks at how I try and break out of the cyclical pattern – not to run away, because that creates more problems than it solves – but to take a step back and acknowledge a lot of things, and to identify ways you can break the cycle. Losing your innocence in the name of self awareness in that way is pretty saddening in itself, but self awareness is also a liberating and empowering lesson.
You’ve just announced your supporting slot with Energy, how psyched are you for that?
Oh man, we are so stoked for this tour! We saw Energy in March supporting our friends in Creeper, and they absolutely kill it live. They’re a great band, and having not toured properly in more than a year by that point, we’re going to have a lot of pent up energy to release. We’ll also be able to finally play all the songs from the new EP, which we can’t wait for either.
Do you have any tour survival tips, or are generally quite tame on tour?
We’re a mixed bag. We still tour completely DIY – I drive the van and we self manage on the road, so often we’re so tired from a long drive or something that we have to take care of ourselves. But when we hang out and have the time to party, we let loose. In terms of survival tips, always be aware of what your band mates are doing. We’re a really strong unit on tour, and anyway, nobody likes the guy who’s hungover and late for van call! I’d also always say bring as many drugs as you can. Not the illegal type, more things like ibuprofen and re-hydration powder. That stuff is great for a hangover.
Just for something completely different: if you had the choice, would you rather have been a musician in the era of tapes, records and CDs or do you prefer creating music today, with the immediacy of social media and music streaming services?
I’d have to say records. I guess to a certain extent we are in that era now, because people are rediscovering the amazing experience of buying tangible music, but if I had to choose then I’d be in a band in New York in the mid 70s. The whole romance of the CBGBs scene (well, I say romance… it was pretty grimy, but then nothing has changed there!), with The Ramones, Blondie, Television and all the others, that would be incredible. I think living in the era of the internet blows everything out of proportion and can somehow simultaneously make you feel like you’re shouting into the void. Hype is a key thing, but I hate hype. I can’t watch TV shows when they come out because people lose their shit over them, so I’ll always be disappointed if my brain doesn’t explode. And it’s the same with music – Social Media is this vacuous jumble of hyperbole that dilutes the magic of rock’n’roll. That probably sounds lame as hell, but for us there is no substitute for getting out and making a real connection with the people in front of you.
What are your plans for the rest of the year? Any chance of touring the new EP?
After the Energy tour, we have a bunch of stuff in the pipeline but nothing I can talk about now. We definitely want to tour as much as possible, so it won’t be long before we have more news.
And if you’d like to catch Miss Vincent rocking alongside Energy, here are the tour dates:
29 Jul – Manchester, Satan’s Hollow
30 Jul – Liverpool, Arts Club
31 Jul – Birmingham, Sunflower Lounge
01 Aug – Glasgow, Audio
02 Aug – Newcastle, Jumping Jacks
04 Aug – Leeds, Key Club
05 Aug – Nottingham, The Maze
06 Aug – Milton Keynes, Craufurd Arms
07 Aug – Bournemouth, The Anvil
08 Aug – Dover – The Booking Hall
09 Aug – London – O2 Islington 2