Getting To Know The FPSF Locals: The Vanity
Photo: Julian Basjel
In recent years, the landscape of Austin’s music scene has become of blur of genres that are mixed with various sounds from everywhere. But in the spirit of what Austin’s sound used to be, The Vanity have that old school Austin sound of bluesy rock coupled with indie pop elements that create a whole new sound that’s all their own. Hot on the heels of releasing their debut EP, “Strangers,” the five piece just finished a tour with Cold War Kids and are set to take on the crowd at this year’s Free Press Summer Festival. FPH caught up with them to find out where they’ve been and what they have in store for us at the festival this year.
FPH: You guys are from Austin, and you play a soulful form of rock music with bluesy undertones, is that how you’d describe yourselves? What’s The Vanity to you and how would you describe your sound to those who haven’t heard your music?
THE VANITY: I don’t think we really try to describe ourselves that often, but that description definitely applies to us in some cases. Really the band is the entire group of us, we play the music that we want to hear and spend a lot of time having fun doing it. What we do varies a lot depending on the track and we don’t really set out to have any kind of predefined sound.
FPH: You recently released the “Strangers” EP, which is a three song release. Where did you guys record at and is there a full length in the works?
THE VANITY: We got to track on Willie’s soundboard from Pedernales and had a very smart team of people over at Arlyn (studios). Afterwards, we were extremely lucky to get the chance to work with Kevin Killen (U2, David Bowie) in New York for the mixing process. We’re currently working on our second EP with Killen as our producer this time here in Austin.
FPH: You’ve been given the huge honor of touring with Cold War Kids, how has that been and how’d you guys get on such a large scale tour?
THE VANITY: The Cold War Kids were super nice and supportive, we’re extremely grateful for the opportunity and have them to thank for our good fortune.
FPH: I would guess that many people might not know that you guys have been at this for a good while, and you had a different name at one point. What made you change the name and redo everything?
THE VANITY: I wouldn’t really call it a redo… the band had just progressed and changed, and at that point the name just didn’t really fit anymore. I think like most groups, it takes everyone a little while to realize what it is… what the band is. Luckily, we were able to find the words to express it.
FPH: There are music analysts who say that guitar music is going the way of the buffalo, yet you guys seem to be doing just fine. Does it feel like you’re in a smaller community of artists when you aren’t employing the electronic side of music?
THE VANITY: It definitely makes it harder to find bands to tour with, that’s for sure… but I don’t think that it’s necessarily a bad thing. We just set out to make the music we want to hear. I think the whole “rock is dead” argument is a bit antiquated. Although we are in an electronic based market right now, if anything, it just makes it easier for us… if we aren’t already, we just then become more unique.
FPH: The Free Press Summer Fest crowd is one of very large proportions, what do you guys have planned to win over such a large group of people?
THE VANITY: Really we just have to get out there and be ourselves. It’s easy to psyche yourself out, but at the end of the day, we’ve put in a lot of work over the past year or so and are confident in “our thing” and doing “that thing”.
As you can tell, if you were going to have an Austin act on the festival, these guys are a great one to include. Known for an energetic live set, they should impress everyone when they perform, and make new fans as well as delight old fans. Catch them at this year’s festival while you can, because it seems like they’re going to get bigger and bigger with each passing year.