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All Immune Systems Go
Peter Murphy talks to oxygen-bound indie sensations The Vaccines about being one of the most hotly tipped bands for 2011.
Peter Murphy, 22 Mar 2011
"I spent my first night in a tour bus last night," confesses Vaccines guitarist Freddie Cowan (the one with the pin-up cheekbones and Bolan hair) when we catch up with him on his band's first major UK tour. "You've got me in my little cubbyhole, all I can see is a brick wall. But I'm very excited, I've never been in a sleeper bus before!"
He'd better get used to it. The Vaccines have been anointed It-band for 2011, championed by Auntie Beeb, Jools Holland and Zane Lowe before they'd even reached their first birthday. This is a bit like discovering you've got psychic superpowers or the ability to communicate with the dead: short-term blessing, long term curse. Sudden fame or notoreity, even the localised London sort, can be as jarring as a car crash. But going by their debut album, the rather pointedly titled What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?, the London quartet have the stuff to back up the Strokes/Franzian buzz.
"We didn't tell any of our friends we were in a band, didn't want anyone to hear the music, because we were so happy with what we were doing," Freddie reflects. "We didn't want anyone to derail that, and we kind of feel the same way now. We don't need outside influence on what we want to do, so we don't really pay any attention to it. It doesn't really factor into our goal as a band. You can't say you don't care what the world thinks, because you're a human being – if someone screams at you in the street you’re going to care about it – but it’s definitely about having our goals first, because we’re passionate about what we do and we really love it, and music is the most important thing in all our lives.”
And, as Freddie admits, it doesn’t hurt that they’re signed to Columbia.
“Look at the CBS umbrella: Elvis, The Clash, Miles Davis and Springsteen and Dylan. We’re really proud to be on Columbia. Aside from the heritage they’re a really good label to work with.”
What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? is an album of clean lines, scuffed surfaces and classic design, combining '50s teen 'tood, '60s surf and girly pop, '70s Ramones and '80s Jesus & Mary Chain, although its cathartic noise is frequently tempered by a lingering melancholia akin to Interpol or The National.