Jack Kansas from Damn Vandals Q&A – TAPEtoTAPE
Having recently been rather impressed with the upcoming debut album from Brit Rockers Damn Vandals I thought I’d take things one step further and get a little Q&A with them. Lead singer Jack Kansas duly obliged and below you can find out what they would do in a zombie apocalypse, how they thwarted a Death Metal band and what tea towels have to do with anything…
We’re excited in the main. The album’s been a couple of years in the making, it rocks and we’re all happy with it. Just want to take it out there and visit as many people’s ears as possible.
2. There feels like quite a few influences throughout the album with a strong leaning towards the 80s indie/rock. Is this a particular era of music that is significant to you?
It’s not the main influence really because as a band we’re all over the place in terms of what we listen to. On bass is the biggest Ramones/early Sabbath fan you’ll ever meet, the guitarist might as well be Jimmy Page and the drummer could easily be caught listening to Jazz on an evening. Me I like Dylan. Having said that, I can see why some people have made a comparison with the 80’s alt rock scene – it was a pretty fierce time socially, not dissimilar to now really, with loads for bands to kick off against musically and politically. Perhaps Dvs are subconsciously spinning that wheel again.
3. Which one artist/group has had the biggest impact on you?
So much to choose from … If I have to pick one it would be someone like Neil Young. Seeing him live and witnessing what can be done with guitars is always a thrill – just makes you want to play, write, steam-roller on and never look back.
4. Is it easier to write songs about personal experiences or about characters?
We find it much easier to write about characters through story and imaginings. That way you can still drip parts of yourself in without that horrible singer-songwriter whining nakedness. On top of that it’s just more fun and entertaining to provide colour and structure to a track through a good tale.
5. Is the artwork and running order of an album still important to you or has the digital takeover destroyed the need for these things?
Artwork and running orders are still a big thing for us. The album format is a great way to be introduced to a band or re-visit a favourite artist. At best they’re 30-40 minute journeys which really take you places – would be a real shame to lose the idea of the album. Sites like Spotify are still album-based so it’s not all doom and gloom. In terms of artwork, we do all that ourselves which is fun. The web needs images, so it’s important to keep the visuals fresh. On top of all that, there are videos to be handmade so, all in all, bands should be busier than ever ….
6. What is the most Rock n Roll thing you have done so far?
Prevented a Finish death metal band from throwing a TV out of a hotel window. Stopping clichés in their tracks is the new rock n roll.
Adam has a tendency to go on walkabout before shows and not answer his phone. Frank has no sense of direction yet insists on being the map reader. Chris has the temper of a wild animal and eats smelly food. I’m always whistling. It’s surprising this band’s still together really. … still early days yet …
8. Is it harder to be headline act or a support act?
Always depends on the night and the crowd – it’s the people at a show that make the gig. We’ll take either and see who comes with us.
9. If you weren’t in a band, what would you be doing?
Always fancied being a door-to-door tea towel salesman. Plenty of fresh air. Have never minded getting the odd door slammed in the face, there’s always the next one to try …
10. Who is the most over-rated artist around at the moment?
Damn Vandals – those bad boys need to be taken down a peg or two.
11. England reach the World Cup Final but it falls on a night you have a show booked, what do you do?
I guess we just play the gig because it’s just shit to cancel a show. We’ve clashed with big football games before and it is a real bummer – still, show’s you who your real fans are …
12. There is a zombie apocalypse and only the band survive, who would be the first to be eaten, who would sacrifice a band mate first and who would be the last to die?
Adam the bass player gets the munchies pretty bad so I reckon he’d kill us all before the first night was up. He’d then roam the streets, looting off licenses for as long as his skinny legs could sustain him. He’d probably have the time of his life.
As told to Jules.