Vaccines Interview: "Aylesbury's musical heritage is a very cool thing"

West London band The Vaccines are heading to Aylesbury next year to kick off the Friar's Club 50th Anniversary Celebrations.
The Vaccines play the Waterside, Aylesbury on January 24, 2019.The Vaccines play the Waterside, Aylesbury on January 24, 2019.
The Vaccines play the Waterside, Aylesbury on January 24, 2019.

The band were formed in 2010 by Justin Hayward-Young, Freddie Cowan, Árni Árnason and Pete Robertson.

The band have released four studio albums. What Did You Expect from The Vaccines? (2011), Come of Age (2012), English Graffiti (2015) and Combat Sports (2018). They have sold over 1 million records worldwide.

The Bucks Herald Caught up with Freddie Cowan, who is currently in Tokyo, Japan touring their latest album, Combat Sports.

For a kickoff, how would you describe The Vaccines experience to people who haven't heard your tunes?

When someone has restless leg syndrome, and leg is twitching the whole time -that's us. It's an image that describes us well. We're hyperactive, frenetic and filled with high energy. While this is all true, we have a big focus when we play. We try and keep things intense on stage.

What can we expect from the live show?

We like to leave it all out on the stage. Expect a lot of energy, we put a lot in and gear ourselves up for a big performance. For every gig we do, we're like a boxer sizing up an opponent. We like to size up the audience and prepare accordingly. We've toured Combat Sports quite extensively now, which has been fun but we don't want to fall into the well trod method of releasing an album, touring for two years, releasing another and touring again. We've just released All My Friends are falling in Love, and we could be putting another record out soon. We want to keep shaking things up and not get complacent. We will always be recording because if it becomes dull with us, of course it's going to be dull for the audience and we don't want that. We're not actors and want to keep people interested.

How is the new album being received by fans? Is it a big departure from the typical 'Vaccines sound' ?

As a band, we think if you have an agenda or a sound, you end up missing the point really. With this album we've tried to take the blinkers off, we're out on the road now taking in other cultures, sounds and ways of life and just taking inspiration from everything we've experienced. Nothing should be set in stone, we don't want to just sit in London deciding what clothes we're going to wear and what tunes we're going to drill out. Maybe we were guilty of that approach a bit before - but things have changed now and we're much more relaxed about what we're doing. We want to have fun and do things the right way, we don't want to force anything.

Aylesbury has a rich musical heritage. The Friars Club have hosted the likes of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Talking Heads, The Clash and many more famous names. David Bowie debuted his Ziggy Stardust Persona in Aylesbury - How does it feel to be a part of this?

It's a very cool thing! We know the history of Friars, with the Ramones and David Bowie Debuting Ziggy there, We're glad to be added to that roster of names. For us this is exciting, we've never played there before, it's a new set and we're looking forward to it.

You've opened for The Rolling Stones, Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, The Stone Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers to name a few - Were these useful experiences as a band? Did you learn a lot?

We've been really blessed to have supported so many great artists. We've learned a lot from them all. Mainly that they are just people at the end of the day. This folklore builds up around them but they aren't greek gods! They were just in the right place and the right time, who built something incredible.

Arcade fire we're amazing live. We supported them at this festival in the South of France where the stage had no covering - there was obviously torrential rain, things kept breaking and there was thunder and lightning but they refused to go off stage. They didn't take themselves too seriously considering they are this amazing band - the whole show was amazing. They were just enjoying themselves, living in the moment. It's really inspiring to just be next to these people - they have this superhuman quality on stage but are just people. It's so inspiring, it's all attainable!

Johnny Vaughan described you as 'flying the flag for the spirit of new Wave - how do you feel about this?

Well New Wave is something we look at and enjoy, i can see why somebody would say that but it's not something we work on or ever intended. We don't really operate with specific genres in mind anymore, we might touch on the Talking Heads - It's probably hard not to! But then we might be jamming to some Ariana Grande, or Classic Rock - or even classical music. We just follow what piques our interest and see where it takes us.

The Vaccines play the Waterside, Aylesbury on January 24, 2019.