The Vines don’t need an introduction. After taking the world by storm with 2002’s Highly Evolved the band went into a meltdown. Nine years, four albums and an asperger’s diagnosis later, The Vines are back with their fifth album Future Primitive. I was lucky enough to speak to frontman Craig Nicholls before they headed out on their current Australian tour.
How did recording Future Primitive differ from previous albums?
It’s the fastest one we’ve done and we did it live. All of the instruments were done live. It was just quick and we had a good time.
So how long did it take you to record?
It took about three and a half weeks.
Did working with producer Chris Colonna change the sound of the album?
He knew a lot about electronic music and equipment so he could help us with some of that stuff that we wanted to add. Yeah, it was good.
What’s behind the album’s title?
Well, we just started out with the song Future Primitive and then we kind of thought after doing the album that it was a cool title. It kind of describes the futuristic, kind of electronic sounds, mixed with our more rock and roll sound. There was some kind of really stripped back moments there as well.
I’ve read that you don’t particularly like technology. Do you feel like you are living in the wrong era?
Yes. I don’t know where I should be living but I know this doesn’t feel right. But maybe in the next life I’ll get it right.
Why have you recorded so many versions of Autumn Shade?
I don’t know, it just started out as the one we did on our first album and then we had one on our second album as well. And then it just got out of control. I think I just like it because it’s acoustic minor chords and they all have a similar kind of feeling to them but they’re all their own songs. It’s just kind of interesting to do that with some songs.
Do you have a favourite version?
Umm…The second one. I really like that one a lot. I mean I like all of them, but if I had a hypothetical gun to my head I’d probably say the second one is my favourite. But, ah, I’ll check with my manager.
I know there’s talk of another album in the works. Are you planning to record Autumn Shade Again?
Not for the next one. But maybe on the one after that, for the seventh album. We’ve already started recording the 6th one. We’ve done ten songs so far.
What can we expect from the 6th album? Or will it be a surprise?
It’s going to be a big surprise for you and for me because I don’t know what it’s going to be like. The ten songs, they’re like these epic ballads with strings and trumpets and piano and they’ve really got a lot going on. But then we want to go and record some more upbeat so that might change. But yeah, there’s going to be some epic ballads on there, at this point.
So it’s going to be quite different from what we’re used to hearing from you?
Yeah, it’s going to be more of an easy listening album I think.
Did financing the recording yourself create more pressure to succeed?
No, it’s all the same. When you always want to do well, and I always want to do well, you go into the studio and do everything you can to make it good. It’s just the same.
People often talk about Highly Evolved as being your best work. Do you feel like there’s a lot of pressure to live up to it?
I don’t really feel any pressure. I enjoy writing and making albums and we get to do what we want so we just try and do the best we can and have a good time.
Who did the album’s cover art?
A guy called Wayne who did Tame Impala’s artwork. I feel really bad, I forget his last name but he’s a really cool guy.
Who came up with the Scott Pilgrim vs the World influenced video for Gimme Love?
A guy called Tom Spark. We’d done another video with him before that. He mentioned this movie which I really liked.
What can we expect from this tour?
A mixture of songs from all throughout our existence, especially a lot of Future Primitive Songs.
Is it true you’re going to South America after this?
Yeah it’s true. We’re going to a lot of different places, it should be interesting. And then we’re going to Japan as well. We get petitions from people who would like to see us but I’m not too sure what the place is like.
Do you have any crazy fan stories? I’d imagine some people are quite dedicated.
There’s one girl who had a tattoo. Like a I signed her arm and then she got a tattoo. She gave me a lot of cool art and drawings that she did. But mostly people are just really nice and they like our music.
What bands are you currently listening to?
The Kaiser Chiefs, The Arctic Monkeys and Richard Ashcroft’s new band.
Do you find that style of British music as influenced your style a lot?
It always has, since the late 90s, bands like Supergrass and Blur. Now there’s a whole new generation. There’s a whole lot of great bands from England.
Thanks for that, and good luck with the upcoming tour.
1 – Wollongong Uni Bar, Wollongong
2 – The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
3 – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne
9 – The Gov, Adelaide
10 – Capitol, Perth