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From Florence with love
The psych pop sounds of The Vikers
By John Hubner
Fort Wayne Reader
Once in a while you have to look beyond what you know to find that next great album. Sometimes in order to expand your mind you have to say the hell with what you do know and open that noggin of yours and let something you don't know soak in.
Around May of this year I came across a band called The Vickers. They're a psychedelic rock band out of Florence, Italy that have made me a fan with their great blend of old school aesthetics, thrown in with a modern take on the classic psych rock song. "She's Lost" is a mix of Tame Impala-like vocals, a Revolver-era Beatles sound, and some incredible jazzy drums that combine to make one hell of a song. They're currently working on their first full-length LP, but have a split single available for "She's Lost/All I Need" on their website.
I was lucky enough to get into contact with Andrea(gtr/vocals) and talk about The Vickers, the upcoming album, and the Florence psych rock scene.
JH: So Andrea, tell me about the Vickers? How did the band get together?
Andrea: It was 5 years ago, Fede (bass, vocals) and Fra (guitar vocals) were schoolmates. They started to play with some local bands, then me and finally arrived Marco (drums). In the early days we played songs by the Beatles, Syd Barrett, Kinks, Blur, in a couple of months we started to write our original stuff and we named "The Vickers".
JH: Who are some of the bands you all have pulled inspiration from?
Andrea: Well, basically we believe in songs. We are influenced by the bands who know how to write a tune and the right words on it, we believe that a song should be sincere, real. We try to create the right sound for our songs using the things we like, nothing more. We love the 60's productions with a tight rhythmic section, driving bass, reverb guitars and spatial vocals, love the little recording mistakes inside the albums and we love the music on vinyl! I could go on for an hour...
JH: I could talk about vinyl all day, but I guess we're on a schedule here. So how did the "She's Lost/All I Need" single come about?
Andrea: "She's Lost" is a song inspired by the tales of a person very near to me who uses to narrate me her childhood memories. These tales are very detailed and they show a very deep conflict between past and present. All these memories and some of her images are in the lyrics. So we had a massive use of vocals effects and reverse tape loops to represent those tales. We spent a lot of time in the production of that song, especially with the bass, drums and vocals. With "She's Lost" we decided to produce our videos, a thing we never did before. "All I Need" is the dirty side of the Vickers. We always loved to play stuff like that. It's about a relationship between two people that crave so much to stay together and share feelings but they can't. It's a real experienced story about violent hidden feelings, when love is unhatched or, for some reason, impossible. You know, when love is hard and your hands are both "guns" and caresses, and you keep searching the other one still after years. We used fuzz and echo guitars and we produced the driest and strong drums of our career, everything is explosive in "All I Need". We're really proud of this 7''.
JH: Hands are both "guns" and "caresses." I like that. So is the single all analog? Did you record direct-to-tape?
Andrea: No, we recorded some tracks in analog, not everything, we also used many analog effects during the mix, things like delays, reverbs, etc...
JH: So what's the psych scene like in Italy? Are you guys leading the way in Florence?
Andrea: We have a lot of cool talented psych bands in Italy and in Florence! Some of these are very good friends like Go!Zilla. At the moment there are many talented guys in Italy, maybe more than in other countries. In the last 2/3 years is growing something important to export to Europe and to the rest of the world.
JH: Now that you have a 7 inch single out, will there be a full-length on its way as well?
Andrea: Yes! We recorded 12/13 tracks and now we're finishing the work. We spent a lot of time for the arrangements and the studio productions of every single track we made, we are really proud of these recordings! The "She's Lost / All I Need 7'' is just an anticipation of our next songs!
JH: I am indeed anticipating something amazing with this full-length record. Something else I would be anticipating is seeing The Vickers live. Any chance of a US tour?
Andrea: We hope to come to the States, it would be great for us come over there. We're from Italy and it's a bit difficult to organize a tour from here. We are searching a booking agency that can be interested to organize a tour, or better a support tour to another band! We're working on it.
JH: You guys do an amazing cover of The Beatles "She Said, She Said". What other covers do The Vickers like to throw in? Maybe "Phenomenal Cat" by The Kinks?
Andrea: "Phenomenal Cat" is f*****g crazy man! Great track from one of the best records ever "The Village Green", one of our favourites, a masterpiece. Four or five years ago we used to play live two Kinks covers, "This Is Where I Belong" and "Where Have All The Good Times Gone". In our recent tour we added to our repertoire the Stone Roses classic "I Wanna Be Adored".
JH: Great songs! Any amazing shows this summer where you can be heard playing these great covers, along with The Vickers' soon to be classics?
Andrea: We'll play a gig with the amazing Night Beats from US! Then we have to complete our new songs in every particular and we'll prepare our new live setlist, it will be a long summer. We'll definitely play around Europe in autumn and winter to promote our new stuff!
JH: So where do you see The Vickers in five years?
Andrea: We really don't know. The music is a very hard world, you never know where you will be tomorrow, it's a long way and we're doing our part! We hope to be on tour, making great songs and records, and why not, some money!
Why not, indeed? The Vickers are a group of Italian psych/pop purveyors that just so happen to be the real deal. They write not from a perspective of a band with an agenda, but that of a bunch of music lovers wanting to express their love of music through chords, beats, words, and melody. First and foremost, they're fans. They're also a hell of a band themselves.
Check The Vickers out at http://www.thevickers.eu/ and listen to what Florence, Italy has to offer the starving ears of the world. From Florence, with love.