When they first emerged back in 2010, the Vaccines were hailed as the saviours of British rock music. Now, five years later, they’re on top of the world with their third album “English Graffiti”. Jimmy Volts had a natter with frontman Justin Young ahead of their UK tour to see whether he feels the hype surrounding the band was justified.
Catching up with Justin whilst he played tourist, visiting an old Nazi jail in Cologne, he’s quick to dive right in and discuss his thoughts on the hype surrounding his band in the early days.
“I don’t think we were the saviours of British rock, but I do think we surpassed our own expectations as well as those of the people commenting on the band at the time. Yes, I suppose in the wake of the first album there was this new wave of British rock bands. But I think it would be foolish to credit us as being responsible. Let’s call it coincidence.” He says assuredly.
Modesty aside, in the eyes of the music industry, the Vaccines helped prise open the door to a new era for British rock. Still, not many would’ve predicted the extent of their success. They’ve been accepted internationally as the poster boys for the now thriving UK rock scene and their latest LP went to number 2 in the UK album chart. So, what’s the story behind the album title?
“It came from when we were touring in Lima. I saw some English graffiti and I realised that we’d see it in every country we play. Everywhere we go now, people are listening to the same music, drinking the same beer, having the same conversations. The westernisation of culture worldwide. It resonated with me because despite this, I still feel like our generation probably feels a bigger disconnect than any generation before it.”
The conversation shifts in the direction of the band’s gigging life. By the time this interview is published, the Vaccines will have gigged four times in Australia before jetting back to continue their UK leg. Justin explains how the shows have been going down with the fans.
“It’s been a pretty full-on summer but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Now we’re doing a separate European and UK run, it’s the first time these songs have been played to people who’ve had them in their hearts and minds long enough to enjoy them as much as older songs. It’s really gratifying that these new singles are starting to feel like old favourites now.”
It’s clear the Vaccines are living the dream. But surely, with this much popularity, the cliches of the rock & roll lifestyle are never far away?
“The most cliche moment of this tour (so far) was this girl at a show who didn’t look much older than eighteen. She had her breasts out for the whole gig whilst doing bumps of cocaine off her thumb. Our guitarist Freddie said that ever since he was fifteen he’d dreamed of witnessing such a thing, but now it had happened, we just felt sorry for her and wondered how her parents would feel.”
Here’s to hoping the crowd at their upcoming date at the Brighton Centre display their excitement with a little more dignity. Speaking of which, how are the band feeling about performing here again?
“Excited! Brighton is almost like a mythical place for me because it’s where a lot of my family came from. I love the Laines and the pier. Whenever I’m there, it always has this special quality to it. We played the Haunt for the Great Escape once which was awesome. It’ll be good to be back.”
You can catch the Vaccines at the Brighton Centre on November 19. Tickets are £25
Alternatively, catch the Vaccines at one of their Brixton Academy appearances on November 22, 23 & 26. Tickets are £28.50+bf
More information is available at thevaccines.com/tour
Words by Jimmy Volts