Showcase: Damn Vandals
Published on November 13th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Damn Vandals recently released debut album Done For Desire on their own Sexy Beast label, so Rocksucker fired some questions over to front man Jack Kansas to find out a bit more about them. First, though, watch him build four golden BMXs in the video for their commanding single “This Amazing”…
What’s the line-up of the band? How did you all meet, and how long has the band been going for?
At heart we’re a group of friends playing the kind of music that excites us and keeps us happy. Frank ‘the fingers’ Pick is on guitar – I first saw him playing in an arty psychedelic alt folk band, it was like his fingers were setting fire to the fret board. I knew instantly I had to kidnap him and put him in a rock band.
We met bassist Adam at a house party. Then we all stalked Chris – who we knew to be one of the finest unsung drumming heroes on the London scene – and plied him with drinks until he joined. I’m Jack and I sing. Damn Vandals played its first gig about two and a half years ago.
How would you describe your music, if pushed?
Ah! I’m guessing you’re pushing me so I’ll say it’s like drinking Stella Artois out of a champagne glass.
Where are you based, and what do you use to record with?
We’re from all over the place – Northern Ireland and Switzerland are the most exotic ones to name drop, but we all live in London now and have spread ourselves to its four corners for maximum coverage. We record as simply as possible – mics to guitar amps – and try to capture the kicks we all get when having fun in the rehearsal room. Adam the bass player, who’s a sound engineer, recorded our initial demos. Then, for the most recent stuff we’ve recorded with Julian Simmons at his studio in Limehouse. Lovely guy, so good to work with.
Are you signed to a label? If so, how did you come to their attention?
We’re releasing stuff on our own label, Sexy Beast. Rumour has it we might be getting dropped though!
Is there a full album in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it? (Feel free to be as abstract as you like…)
No need to be abstract as it’s already been released – Done For Desire, it’s a hair-raising roller coaster ride through the wanton psyche of modern man … shit, that was abstract.
Where can we hear your music online?
There’s literally minutes of entertainment to be had watching and listening to our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/damnvandals and then there’s a bunch of stuff on the website www.damnvandals.co.uk. Otherwise, the album is on Spotify, or you can steal it if you google ‘damn vandals done for desire free download’.
Which have been your most exciting gigs and/or overall moments so far?
Had an amazing night headlining a 6 Music bash not so long ago. Friends complained of having an obscured view for the first time at one of our gigs. Such a pleasure to play to an honest hoard of extremely well-oiled music lovers.
Got any more coming up? (Gigs, that is…)
Loads of gigs coming up, trying to look as busy as possible … always best to check the web site for latest last-minute additions. Looking forward to playing with Club Smith in London on the 14th November and there’s a December gig supporting Blue Airplanes in Bristol – that’ll be fun …
Are there any obscure and/or up-and-coming acts that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?
Met a band called Miniature Dinosaurs from Stirling the other day after doing some TV stuff and went to see them play that night at the Lexington – proper band, check them out live if you can … Then there’s the Winter Olympics – saw them the other day, the singer had a really long mic lead and sung one song at the bar whilst ordering a drink. Fantastic. Never seen that done before ..
Finally, if you were forced to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, but were allowed to bring the entire works of five different artists along to tide you over, whose would you choose?
Wow, that’s a tough one but I’m guessing it would go something like …
Neil Young – can’t argue with 71 albums! Bob Dylan, Pixies, Zeppelin and Captain Beefheart (just to compound those darker than dark moments). Not much new there, I know, but if you’re going to stay locked up alone for the rest of your life, probably best to go with the tried and tested … Thanks for having us!
Damn Vandals, thank you.