There’s a new sound coming out of Nashville, and it has nothing to do with the country twang that the town they call “Music City” has become so famous for. With an arsenal that consists of several synths, heavy drum and bass, and post-modern lyricism, Vinyl Thief takes an alternative musical route than many of its hometown predecessors. The band consists of Grayson Proctor, Logan Purdom, Sam English and Andrew Broadway – four longtime friends whose live performances demonstrate the chemistry and exuberance of such a tight-knit group. We recently had the pleasure of discussing the bands new album, life on the road, and some of their favorite cities to perform in.
Vinyl Thief Interview
Vinyl Thief’s most recent album, Stop Motion (February 5th), is a four-track journey down a road of electro-pop rock. It is the bands latest work since their 2012 EP Rebel Hill, and was promoted heavily through various social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. With the albums release still fresh and exciting, the bands front-man Grayson Proctor found the time in his busy schedule to share his thoughts with us about the bands beginnings and where they’re heading.
Rukkus: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Grayson. First off, for those who may not know, how did the four of you first get together and start making music?
Grayson: Well we’ve been together for eight years now…the longest relationship any of us have been able to keep. We were all best friends growing up and started playing music together in an old church sanctuary. We really enjoyed it, so we just kept doing it.
Rukkus: When you first started out were you going for the “electro-rock” sound that you are now getting praised for?
Grayson: When we first started, we were limited to what instruments we had. Originally, I used to play guitar on every song, and Sam had a stage piano with only 3 different sounds or so. One day Sam bought a synth, which we still use today, and our world flipped upside down. Eventually, I realized Logan could handle the guitar side of things and didn’t really need me, so I bought a synth as well, and got really into it. It was all inspired by our influences at the time; we bought synths because they made it cool, they made it exciting. That’s where our “electro” comes from. Our “rock” comes mostly from Andrew and Logan. They keep us in the world of “real” instruments making “real” music.
Rukkus: Is “electro-rock” how you would even describe your sound, or do other adjectives come to mind?
Grayson: It can be electro-rock, alternative pop, dream-gaze-shoe-star…. really whatever you’re feeling.
Rukkus: Nashville is notoriously known for its long list of country superstars. How did you guys veer away from the country sound of your hometown?
Grayson: While the four of us respect country music immensely, and we are fans of the classics, none of us are big fans of modern country. I think Nashville is actually starting to creep away from being known strictly for country music. There’s so much great music going on here these days. You can go to our favorite concert complex, the High Watt/Mercy Lounge/Cannery Ballroom, and hear an amazing band every single night of the week, and rarely are they country acts. So it’s easier to escape than most people think.
Rukkus – What artists influenced you growing up? How much have they affected your musical personalities as well as the music you create?
Grayson: From a young age my mom stressed to me the value of a strong voice, and she and I actually used to sing Celine Dion together in the car all the way home from school. They also had to be able to sing even better live.
Even though we all grew up with different things playing in the house, bands like The Beatles, Elton John, Joy Division, and U2 are some very early influences for all of us. The rest of the guys all have their own experiences, though. There really is such diversity between all of us and our influences. When we find a band or an artist that we are all into, it’s a success. So we really just try and combine all of that into something that all four of us love when we’re writing.
Rukkus: What music do you listen to while on the road?
Grayson: I’ve really been into Active Child’s Rapor EP when it’s my turn to drive, or HAERTS’ new EP, which is another favorite of ours. Whenever it is Logan and Andrew’s turn, it almost always seems to be Ryan Adams; that’s when Sam and I usually take a nap. When Sam wakes up to drive he turns on video game soundtracks (that’s his side-gig – there are a few games out there with his handiwork on them). Then we turn on Katy Perry’s new record every now and then… SO WHAT, IT’S COOL.
Rukkus: You spent 2013 touring with acts like the Joy Formidable and Little Green Cars; what has been your favorite city to play in? Why?
Grayson: We all really love playing in New York. I remember being so intimidated before our first show there, but then everyone was so nice and so into it. Now every time we go back, there’s a second family there that we love. Boston was also incredible; we opened for the Joy Formidable at the House of Blues and the crowd was insane.
Rukkus: Let’s talk a little bit about the new EP. What makes Stop Motion different than your last work Rebel Hill?
Grayson: The Stop Motion EP feels more mature to us, and I would hope others feel the same. The EP has real meaning and weight behind it, and that’s something we’ve worked at in the past, but I don’t know if it was achieved.
Rukkus: One of my favorite tracks on the new EP is “Faces” where you can be heard continuously singing the lyrics ‘you’re untraceable’ – I couldn’t help but relate this to an idea of escapism. Is this the theme of the song, or the entire EP for that matter?
Grayson: You nailed it. I love how that theme comes out in the lyrics – I really didn’t think it would. It’s definitely a huge theme on the EP, possibly the main theme. The EP starts with running away, and then ends with taking a moment to step back and take stock of what’s going on. I think my head related ‘you’re untraceable’ to not knowing who you are at that moment. You’re getting away as quickly as possible, but you’re really just running blindly. Good catch!
Rukkus: What’s next for Vinyl Thief?
Grayson: We are going to tour a lot this year. We’ve got some opening slots lined up, and some headlining shows here and there. It’s going to be a really exciting year, mainly because we’ll also be releasing our first full-length record at some point, so STAY TUNED.
Article by Adam Lalama