VANITY (from l-r): Luke Jervis (guitar), Ryan Stevens (vocals), Charles Jones (bass), Elliot Stephens (drums), Kerrie Alexander (vocals), Elliot Ball (guitar)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
VANITY (formerly known as Vanity Draws Blood) are a metal six-piece from London.
Over the last five years, the band have been building a good reputation on both the British and European metal scenes, impressing many with a eclectically-sourced sound that they personally describe as “A wave of emotion and truth, personified by heavy riffs and softening melodies“, as well as wowing audiences everywhere with their electric live performances.
With a new EP set for release this autumn, part of a series entitled ‘Perspective’, I recently chatted to the sextet about this and much more.
How did the band form initially?
The band initially formed with a couple of the founding members Kerrie and Luke and other close friends with the intention of having a bit of fun and playing shows. We had no previous experience and things finally started seeing progress in 2012 when Elliot, Charles and Ryan joined. This is when we started to visualise the band as more than just a hobby.
We’ve seen our fair share of changes, but we have never felt stronger as a unit when Elliot joined to complete our line-up in 2014. We have since been developing our sound, leading to the band you see today.
You have shortened the band name. What were the reasons behind this?
We have a lot of fans questioning why we changed our name and we appreciate that to a lot of people it may seem a drastic change. However, for us, we have struggled with the name for a while as a band and individually, we have come so far and no longer feel that the name reflected us or our music anymore.
We will always look back on our time as Vanity Draws Blood with fondness, but we now cannot wait to usher in the era of VANITY as we feel confident that it’s time we started taking risks and creating music we feel expresses our emotions and personalities.
How would you describe your sound?
VANITY’s sound is a wave of emotion and truth, personified by heavy riffs and softening melodies.
What are the band’s main musical influences?
We have an extremely broad musical taste as a band which inspire and influence us, some larger than others, for example it ranges from deathcore to grime and hip hop to classical. Each influence is reflected on in the way we write, whether it’s through our lyrics and vocal delivery or in sound effects used to accompany synth, adding to the atmosphere of a track.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
The approach we take to writing is never structured. We always jam different ideas within smaller groups and get together at practices to brainstorm ideas. Lyrically, we tend to write very differently, but coming together to put pen to paper always feels very natural. The way we approach each song is very different which we hope comes through when listening to our music and our development as a band.
The band has an EP coming out in September. How has the recording process been?
We always find recording much less stressful than the writing process and can put a lot of this down to working with a long-time friend, Dan Kerr at Avenue Studios in Surrey. We have been working alongside him for such a long time now, he knows how to get the best out of us, but we also know what we can push out of him to ensure we are happy with the overall result.
What can be expected from the EP?
We have made some real changes to our sound and the direction of our music. This is part of an ongoing process in which we hope to develop as individuals and collectively as a band. You can expect a more varied sound, continued heaviness with a more melodic feel throughout. We hope that it will be well reciprocated by the audience.
You have a few gigs coming up over the next month. How is it for the band playing live?
Playing live is the lifeblood of this band. It is what we are all here for. Since the first day this band came together, all we wanted to do was get our music out in an intimate way.
We are thankful that it has taken us to parts of the world we would never have dreamed of, but we will always want to make sure we are improving with every show to give our audience the experience they deserve!
What is planned for after the EP’s release?
We will be planning to hit the road and tour our new music as much as possible, but will also be getting back to the drawing board to begin writing for the third EP in the ‘Perspective’ series.
What is the band’s long-term aim?
I guess we never really think that far ahead. Of course we would love to tour the world and play music to huge audiences for a living. But realistically, we just want to continue writing music as brothers and continue performing to anyone that will give us the time to listen. Music is the blood that runs through each of us and we will continue to do so for as long as we are able.
‘PERSPECTIVE // EMPATHY’ WILL BE RELEASED ON SEPTEMBER 22. MORE INFO ON THIS CAN BE FOUND HERE