Interview: Vandebilt | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Sunderland’s sought after electro funk-punks, Vandebilt follow up their singles ‘Lovin U’ and ‘Broken’ with, Feel, a Summer anthem that was recorded in the South of France; where the band spent some time their latest offering. It’s a delicious slice of synthed-up disco with a tropical twist that could fill dancefloors around the country… if only they were open. We caught up with Jordan Miller to find out more about the band and their new single.

How are you coping with lockdown? What have you been up to?
It’s not been too bad! A couple of us were struck down with the symptoms early on but we’re all fine now. We’ve still been making music from our homes, sending ideas back and forth. We’ve got a couple of singles lined up that we’d been working on before the lockdown!

Describe your sound. Which artists inspired it?
I’d have to say it’s somewhere between 70’s funk, disco, electro with a hint of 90’s house and pop. 

We’re all influenced by so many artists, I wouldn’t know where to start. Growing up, we were/still are massive Beatles fans (I mean, who isn’t!?). I personally loved Jeff Lynne, Harry Nilsson, The Beach Boys. Probably stuff you wouldn’t expect to hear from someone who writes electro funk-pop. I know Joe (lead singer/lyricist) is a massive Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen fan…something we’d always argue about when we lived together as I’m not a massive fan.

We both used to DJ at Independent (Sunderland) and local art shows a few years ago and really got into rare disco records from the 70’s and a lot of 80’s groove. This is probably what got us into the sound you can hear in our tunes. 

Tell us more about your latest single? What’s it about and where was it recorded?
Feel is a Summery tune, definitely going more down the house route with the four on the floor groove and the Caribbean steel drums. We’d been working with it on and off over the past year until finishing most of it in the south of France last September. It was a great time to do so. We’d spend all day going between the studio and the pool, always with a beer or a glass of wine in hand (as you can probably make out in the video!)

Briefly describe your songwriting process.
It’s evolved over the past couple of years. In the beginning, I had just written a load of electronic tracks, for fun really. Joe would then put lyrics and a melody to them and we’d take it from there. We mix it up a bit now. I still write and produce tracks and give them to Joe to add lyrics but we do have a number of tunes that we’ve written together in the studio. Pushing Through (our second single) started off as a big jam. Joe had quite a chanty lyric that Jack put this driving punk beat behind, then Dan started riffing over an Am7 chord, giving it this bluesy vibe. Since then we’ve all chipped in with the arrangement, production and mixing of the tracks. It’s great! 

What are your plans for the future in these uncertain times?
We’re just gonna keep writing, recording and making videos from home until we can get back in the studio. The main thing for us is wanting to get back on the road. We’ve had a load of tour dates rescheduled so that’s something to look forward to (hopefully!)

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