INTERVIEW: The Vaselines | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Beloved by Kurt Cobain, cult Glaswegian band The Vaselines bring their unique brand of indie rock to Newcastle’s Star & Shadow Cinema on Saturday 18th August. Playful, carnal and thoughtful, they captured the hearts and minds of many in the late eighties and managed to maintain their reputation with consistently great songwriting into the early part of this decade, marrying concise, memorable indie rock songs with irreverent, poetic ideas.

Speaking to guitarist and vocalist Eugene Kelly, he reflects on how recently everything was very touch-and-go. “Nearly three years ago we played a show supporting Mogwai at the Barrowlands in Glasgow and as we played we knew that it was probably going to be our last show for a very long time. V For Vaselines had not sold as well as we had hoped and as we self-finance our recordings we had no money left to record any new material. We didn’t play any shows until the summer of 2017 when we were invited to play in Newcastle.”

Having experienced something of a renaissance in the early part of this decade, releasing two records (Sex With An X in 2010 and V For Vaselines in 2014), Eugene mediates on how the situation past V For Vaselines has coloured their approach to the industry and producing a new record. “We haven’t any plans to record and it’s not something we’ve talked about. I hope that we record some music together sometime in the future but it may be a long way off.”

Playful, carnal and thoughtful, they captured the hearts and minds of many in the late eighties and managed to maintain their reputation with consistently great songwriting

Naturally, the nature of the band’s output is defined by the relationship between the band’s two constant and founding members, Eugene and Frances McKee, but when they ended their personal relationship, their professional partnership also floundered. “In 2008 we decided to try and write a new album and it was great fun but we found a different way to make it work, the songs were from a different place but they still sounded like The Vaselines. Frances and I have known each other for over thirty years now and so there is a familiarity and an easiness in conversation we have with each other and we find it very easy to write songs together or to add something to the other’s song. When we first started recording we didn’t have a clue about being in a studio and how to make a record, but we’ve got thirty years of experience now and we’re very confident about what we want the record to sound like and what the arrangement should be.”

On moving forward and engaging with a rapidly changing industry, Eugene reflects on the differences, but also consistencies of their journey as a band. “The music industry changed a lot between our first album Dum Dum, released in 1989, and our comeback album Sex With An X, but for us nothing much has changed. We record and somehow we get it released in all the forms you have to these days. It’s the way people listen to or buy music that has changed.”

The Vaselines play Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle on Saturday 18th August.

 

 

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