Fresh faced and surrounded by hype, Leeds based quartet VITAMIN are generating plenty of positive interest. We popped round their house, don’t worry we had been invited, for a cup of tea to discuss their career to date, future plans, as well as to conduct a photo shoot in Harrison’s boudoir and shenanigans on a mini bike and with a wooden samurai sword, as well as revelations about Harrison regularly drinking herbal tea in the shower.
Their house was a treasure trove of musical equipment and ob je dar, Harrison had arrived home with a newly purchased synth under his arm while other members of the band were querying where the wooden samurai sword and mini-bike had appeared from. The mini-bike, it turns out, had been discovered under a car in the street, I’m not sure if we ever got to the bottom of the existence of the sword. We sat down in the living room to discuss the band with vocalist Jared and bassist Harrison, while Jared strummed on a guitar.
The chat began with Jared explaining how the band came into being. “I met Theo and Cam in high school when I was twelve. We all knew we played instruments and stuff so we all kinda like got together to just like jam out Smashing Pumpkins covers at lunch times. Then about two years ago I found Harri at a party and was like ‘I want you to join the band as a bassist’ and he was like ‘yeah man’ then he joined.” The original three members have now been playing together for eight years but VITAMIN as we know them now have only been going for a few short years. “Our first gig was at Fibbers in York, we were basically nameless but we still play one of the songs in the set that we played in that set.”
To go from playing your debut gig two years ago, without even having decided on a name, to singles and EP’s released on Sony is an impressive rise. I wanted to know if they were feeling the pressure of all the interest in them or revelling in it. Jared told us “Yeah, it feels great. It’s something that we have always wanted. I suppose when you really, really, work for something , not that we expect it, we definitely don’t take anything for granted but it just feels like it’s an achievement.” Harrison added “It just feels like it’s a milestone in the journey of the band.” Jared expanded on how this all came about for them. “They just approached us, they actually came to see us in Leeds, at the Brudenell, we met them, this is National Anthem we are talking about, it felt right. They were really into the band, we we’re really into them, they have done releases before for HAIM and CHVRCHES.”
VITAMIN have packed plenty into the last couple of year so the topic of conversation changed to memorable moments from their career so far. The highlight for Jared was “getting signed was a big deal but for us it is all about little victories that all add up to one big thing. So you know every time we are played on Radio 1, that feels like an achievement, or when we do an amazing gig, that feels like an achievement. I think we had one of our best ever gigs we ever had like two days ago up in Newcastle. We had never played Newcastle before, and similarly in Oxford as well, and to turn up and there was loads of people there who knew all the songs, it’s little things like that which feel really special.”
Talk then turned to the current news regarding VITAMIN and news of a forthcoming album. As Jared explained “When we are not touring we are basically writing the album. We did a big album session at the start of the year where we got the bulk of the songs and now we have some time so we are just going to keep writing and keep trying to better what we have, to the point where I don’t know if we will ever be completely satisfied. It’s hard you just need someone to tell you just to stop, but we will just carry on, we wouldn’t stop anytime really.”
Harrison had been relatively quiet up until this point, possibly because he was nursing a cold, he began to talk about how their current tour was going. “It’s lovely just touring with The Magic Gang, they are such a lovely bunch of guys. We share similarities with them, we are all into the same music.”
When it comes to writing the music for VITAMIN it is a collaborative effort, or as Jared put is “it’s a four man job”, but the lyrics are primarily Harrisons responsibility and he talked us through his process. “I get like a rough thing and then bring it back and then all four of us will sit there and work through it and say ‘is this what we want to say’. As with any young teenager I guess it comes from everything, we have tracks like ‘This Isn’t Love’ which is quite obvious. It can come from anything, it’s just experiences and people will have things going on and we will all sit down and talk it out. It’s a bit like a counselling session really. So there are a lot of running themes in there, there’s definitely things about relationships and then things about people. I have a song which is a bit more about my anxieties which I used to have. Just anything I guess.”
VITAMIN have consistently accompanied their releases with stylish videos and artwork. I wanted to know how they decide which direction to go on when it comes to the art side of being in a band. Jared guided us through how this works for them “With the ‘This Isn’t Love’ video Charlotte (Rutherford) was somebody who we have always wanted to work with, but we wanted to work with her because we knew she would bring the idea, so in that respect we know who we want to collaborate with similarly with our artwork. It’s quite nice to be like ‘I believe in you and I trust in you to bring something else to us’. We have a really strong idea of how it is that we want to be seen, how we want to come across.”
The next few months will bring yet more exciting progression and big steps in their career, Harrison ran through what they have coming up after their set as part of Live At Leeds. “We are playing The Great Escape, there is a lot of the kind of boutique festivals that we are doing. Things like The Lost Village Festival, which is actually a field festival, Underground Festival and X & Y.”
VITAMIN’s latest single “Waterfall” is out now and will soon be accompanied by a video.
For all tour dates and release information check out the band on Facebook.