Interview: Nico Vega

Sunday morning is not a good slot for a festival, behind performing at a time parallel to The Arctic Monkeys (sorry Nero but was there anybody watching you?) Sunday morning performances are probably the least attended of the whole weekend. However, the bleary-eyed, slightly fuzzy-headed people that stumbled into the Festival Republic Tent at Leeds to see Nico Vega perform were more than fairly compensated for their perseverance.

I’m sure the phrase ‘force of nature’ is used overly frequently to describe rock bands but here it felt apt. When the drummer actually stands up to give extra height to his cymbal smashes you know the band means business. Combine this with a lead singer who managed to keep her vocals powerful and on point while clambering up the drum set; and a guitarist who nailed his solos with an outrageous bluesy bend, then Nico Vega gave a performance strong enough to blow the early morning fog away from even the most hungover of audience members. For other bands, these actions may have seemed trite and gimmicky but the energy of this show felt genuinely raw and visceral. IMPACT caught up with the trio after their set.

IMPACT: After two days at a festival, slightly hungover, I walked into your set and it blasted me awake. Where do you get the energy from?

Aja Volkman: Just knowing that it’s over. You just really want to leave everything out there.

Dan Epand: She says that, but she does the same thing every night

I: You put in that much energy every night?

A: I mean yeah kind of.

I: That last song (Beast) was a different class though?

Rich Koehler: I like to conjure up the spirits inside of me and let everything rip.

I: I definitely saw that. So you have the new album coming out in September, what’s that going to be like?

R: We’re excited about it.

A: It’s a culmination of a lot of the stuff we have written over the past five years. We have trimmed some of the fat and we have another record on the back burner of different stuff and this album is a little bit on the lighter side and is a lot of fun. It’s a little bit new and experimental and I hope that people will enjoy it.

I: Why choose this new path rather than the heavier stuff you’re known for?

A: Probably because we did heavier stuff for so many years and it was fun to do something different. Left to our own devises, we tend towards the heavier stuff so its nice to push it in a new direction.

R: We want to be worldwide. We want to put the dagger into everybody’s heart. Sometimes the heavier stuff can scare some people so we don’t want to alienate anybody. We want to creep into the room and explode and to do that sometimes you have to adapt.

I: What is it like coming over here to the UK from America?

R: People appreciate heavy music over here and I really like that.

A: We definitely feel a lot more appreciated in terms of the heaviness and that’s a lot of fun because naturally that is how we tend to be.

I: Talking of heavy stuff, have you had a chance to see anyone else over the weekend?

R: Glitch Mob, they were great and they’re friends of ours.

A: Imagine Dragons, they’re really good friends of ours. Ex ambassadors came on before us and they were so good.

D: We went to see Hozier who has some great songs and an unbelievable voice.

A: It’s really cool because you get to see a lot of your friends succeed.

D: And support each other too. There’s nothing better than seeing your friends who you really admire go out there and rock it. They’re all rooting for you and to go and do the same thing back for them is really cool. It’s a great opportunity that you don’t get when you’re on tour in the middle of nowhere.

I: You said on stage that it took you ten years to get to this festival. What did you mean by that?

A: We started about ten years ago and its no easy feet to get over here especially if you’re not a particularly commercial band. We’ve built ourselves from the ground up and created a fan base without a lot of press and without a lot of attention and that’s why its taken us a long time to get to here. On the flip side, we have a lot of loyal fans in the US now and I think its trickled over here. We’re actually seeing people at our shows in the UK and it’s impressive to show up at a place we’ve never been before and have people know you without ever having made contact face to face. That’s been amazing.

Oliver Warren

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