Reigniting the raw energy and freedom of garage rock, New Zealand’s Idle Vandals release their brand new single Oh Yeah, and stop by for a chat about all things rock, cycling, songwriting, impressing their mums, Covid, and life beyond 2020. Here’s the conversation in full.
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Hi guys – great to chat with you, thanks for the interview! Congrats on the new single and video. For those who don’t know, where are you guys based, and how long have you been making music together?
Chur! We haven’t been making music together for long at all. For men of a certain age, like us, we all get to that point where we are faced with two lycra-based potential futures – sitting at a café, next to a $16k mountain bike, talking about going mountain biking, or living out our teenage aspirations to be in a garage band.
When Covid-19 forced the coolest little capital in the world/windiest hellhole in the world (Wellington, NZ) into lockdown, that meant cafes and mountain bikes were no go areas….and the Idle Vandals were born!
It’s quite a classic and raw indie sound you have – what can you tell us about Oh Yeah; how did the song come to be?
Like all good rock songs it’s a reference to a boozy night out…and a woman…but with the added twist of acting responsibly to ensure the safety of others (by sending that woman home in a taxi because she was too drunk).
Is this sound typical of your style, and if so – what first inspired you to start making original music in this way?
We started out with a Milli Vanilli/Beastie Boys/Roxette vibe, but we could tell by the looks of disdain on our partners’ faces that they would not be seen in public with us again if we chose to pursue this artistic genre.
Ultimately, we went with garage rock because it’s much easier to disguise our lack of talent and musical ability with loud guitars and fuzzy distortion. Also, now, we can wear leather pants and not have to justify it.
What’s your main intention or aim when crafting new rock tracks?
Distorting time and space to create a new reality. Also, to impress our mums.
What prompted you to opt for the nostalgic accompanying visuals?
Rock n roll is made ‘from the waist down’…and so were those official New Zealand Tourism videos from the 1960s that we mashed up to make our video. We just wanted to bring our song together with those visuals in one sexy AF Antipodean fireball.
Is there much of a scene for garage rock or rock and roll in general where you are (prior to Covid of course)?
Wellington is a government town, full of boutique breweries, hipsters, hipster beards, gluten free vegan eateries, coffee snobbery and live music venues catering to all tastes.
Do you have a plan for the coming months and years as a band, or do you just go with the flow?
Survive 2020. It would seem a bit indulgent to plan anything beyond that.
What’s the best thing about being part of Idle Vandals?
Turning it up to 11 whenever we want! You know, obviously outside of work hours… and as long as our domestic responsibilities have all been taken care of first…and there’s nothing much to watch on Netflix…then it’s all rock n roll, mfers!
If you could sit down for a chat with anyone at all, who would you choose, and what would you ask them about?
Eratosthenes of Cyrene. Just to say ‘Brah, it’s crazy, it’s 2020 and some people still think the earth is flat!’
Is there anything else we should know?
Three of the world’s most strategic maritime chokepoints are in the Middle East (the Strait of Hormuz, the Bab al-Mandeb, and the Suez Canal).
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Download music via Bandcamp.