Emerging Artists #9 – Vasco Da Gama

August 22, 2010 by  

Whilst members of ‘At The Drive In’ decide whether to jump on the reunion bandwagon. There’s a band in the northwest shaping up to take their mantle. Disappointed with Mars Volta’s latest release? Have an urge to hear something more visceral, experimental, but still melodic at the same time? Then Vasco Da Gama could be just the tonic. We caught up with John Crawford, John Still, Chris & Dave after a blistering gig at Liverpool’s Shipping Forecast to talk about how they met, have a childlike fascination with beards, a secret love of all things Lighthouse Family, as well as of course their musical influences.

So first of all how did you guys meet?

Chris: John C and I know each other from Huddersfield I used to beat John in Pool quite a lot. Then we found ourselves in Liverpool.
John S: John C and I have been mates from the age of 16 and he relocated to Liverpool and met who I was living with during university.

You probably get asked this a lot but where does the name Vasco Da Gama come from?

He was a Portuguese explorer who discovered Brazil; We went through a variety of names such as Vasco Vasco Disco Fiasco. It’s funny that when we share a cab home taxi drivers have a lot of trouble pronouncing the name.

What made you decide on the Sound?

Mainly a mutual appreciation of the same bands we are all big fans of Mars Volta and other post-hardcore bands. So it’s an organic expression of what we enjoy.

What was the first record you bought?

Chris: I remember I bought Big Willie Style (cue laughter from the rest of the band) it was a toss up between that record and Offspring it may have been a different story if I chose Offspring. Dave: Yeh if you chose that you would probably be in Blink 182.Mine was Elevator by ZZ Top because I had a fondness for beards as a child so my dad got it for me. John S: I never planned to mention mine but it was Ocean Drive by Lighthouse Family.

What was your first gig?

Chris: I’ve got a really cool one for this question ‘Jimmy Eat World’, credit to my sister for that. She knew all the cool stuff.
Dave: Aerosmith supported by Shed 7, although Shed 7 got booed off.
John C: Also Shed 7 but my first major gig was Oasis it was in 1996 and I thought that’s what all gigs were like.

So, no embarrassing gigs?

(All look to John S) Lighthouse family (chuckles).I bought the record and I bought a T Shirt. I was thinking if Tunde signed my record I’ll be in heaven. His voice is like Toffee.

Do any of you have a peculiar stage ritual?

Chris: I place a safety pick in the top of my amp on the occasion that it comes out of my hand I know where the spare is.
Dave: Most embarrassing thing is you want to stretch more everyone else is smoking, drinking and looking cool and you don’t want be left out.

No Pre Gig Nerves?

John C: Butterflies are a good thing. I’m only nervous when I’m not sure about something but if I’m confident about something (which I am)I will have no problem (and we have a prima donner).

Which local bands do you like at the moment?

Chris: I really like Hot Club De Paris. John C: I got you into them so I should get credit for that. Chris: Also, ‘Stealing Sheep’ are an incredible band its like a kind of feminine folk music. Dave: Dire Wolf I would say it feels like Liverpool is really gaining momentum and a sense of community, there’s a lot of likeminded individual’s loads of good things happening.

Who do you guys think is going to make it big this year?

John C:Everything Everything’, a couple of years ago in another band in Leeds I was on the same bill as them. I think they are going to be huge. They are absolutely amazing they’ve got tune riffs like futuristic pop, it’s so good.
Dave: Dire Wolf they’ve got such a good balance between riffs and a pop sensibility, and are a brilliant live act.

If you could get any band to reform who would it be?

Both John’s together: Fugazi .
Dave: I will say At the Drive In.
Chris: Gang of Four, although I think they are back together.

What can people expect from your live shows?

John S: Bass, Drums a 2 guitar assault, vocals and lot of energy.
John C: I used to go mental on stage, but I’m playing more complex riffs now so that’s not a possibility.
Dave: I used to go crazy too.

Final question guys what have you got lined up for 2010?

We are playing a different venue in Liverpool at the end of August and then we’re in Bristol in September: A UK tour by the end of the year would make us happy as well as a couple of EP’s although there are no specific dates yet (watch this space) but we need to get a few things sorted before that happens. It would also be good to write some really cool new songs, everyone is involved in the writing process. I think we just need to get those ideas out and play more gigs.

You can check out more Vasco De Gama at their MySpace.


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