Q&A: You Vandal On Their New Record, FEST and Upcoming Plans

By Lindsy Carrasquillo

The Gainesville, Florida natives, You Vandal, will be releasing their next album, I Just Want To Go Back To Hell, on November 17 via Jump Start Records. We caught up with vocalist and bassist Eric Cannon to discuss the album, FEST 16 and more.

Make sure to see catch their Fest performance on Sunday, October 29 at Palomino at 2:50 p.m. as well as their Third Eye Blind cover set on Saturday, October 28 at Tall Paul’s at 8 p.m.

Can you discuss some of the themes you explore lyrically within the album?

Some of the topics we touch on include broken friendships, self-worth, overcoming obstacles in relationships, and even death.  But I think each story has its own unique set of circumstances that, hopefully, help it stand apart from the rest. For instance, “Quite the Actor” and “Get High” may both be about broken friendships, but they’re also about dishonesty and drug addiction, respectively. If I look at the album as a whole, I think all the songs connect through a shared disheartenment felt by one character or another over the course of each story. The album title comes from a line in a Rick & Morty episode where the Devil is a character who gets super depressed. The idea that even the Devil gets sad sometimes was funny, but also stuck out to me. I felt like that reference struck the right balance of dark and light for an album where, even if the lyrics sometimes seem like a bummer, the music underneath is usually contrastingly upbeat.

What were some of your goals while working on the album?

I think we just wanted to put together a finished product that we were entirely satisfied with. With our past releases, there’s something about each one that we’d probably prefer to have done differently. Maybe we wish we’d written a specific song or part some other way, or recorded something differently, or whatever. This time, we tried to put more thought and effort into every facet of our writing and recording processes. We wanted every song to be the “single,” if that makes sense. There were some that we had to write, rip apart, then put back together before they were good enough to use, and we took the time in the studio to add extra bells and whistles that we hadn’t before.

You released the single “Collapse” at the end of last month.  What made you decide to release it as the first song?

That song was one of our favorites when we finished recording, and the handful of friends that we showed it to all seemed to like it a lot as well. Maybe it’s that it does the best job of summing up what we’re going for? It has the contrasting dark and light moments, both instrumentally and lyrically. Having a lovey-dovey pop song chorus, but also having a weird screamy breakdown and lines about cutting off your own head, makes it a pretty good representation of what our band is all about.

What has the reaction from fans been like so far?

So far, so good! We’ve gotten some positive feedback on “Collapse,” and the handful of friends that have heard the whole album have also had some nice things to say, but only time will tell. We’re just super appreciative that Jump Start has been so enthusiastic about putting it out, and hopefully that means some other people will like it too. We’re excited for folks to hear it.

Coming up, you’ll be playing Fest and touring along the east coast. What should people expect from your set?

We’ll have three different set lists between Fest and the tour.  Saturday of Fest, we’ll be doing a Third Eye Blind cover set at Tall Paul’s. Even if you aren’t avid 3EB fans like us, you’ll probably be familiar with most of the songs we’re playing, so it ought to be a good time. Sunday of Fest, we’ll be playing our own songs at Palomino. That will be the live debut of a couple songs off the new album, including “Collapse.” Then we’ll be adding even more new songs to the set for the tour. About half the tour set will come from “I Just Want to Go Back to Hell.” Other than that, you can probably expect our guitarist Gooch to be doing a lot of imitations of Big Mouth characters before, during, and after our sets.

As you’ve played Fest before, what’s your favorite thing about it? 

My favorite thing about Fest has varied from year to year. Sometimes it’s been seeing my favorite bands or discovering new bands. Sometimes it’s been hanging out with friends, old and new, from all over the place. During Fest 8, I stumbled upon Hour Of The Wolf at 1982 Bar and they became one of my all-time favorites. I’ve also always enjoyed catching the special cover sets bands will do, so it’s exciting to me that they’re letting us do one of our own this year.  Actually, it’s exciting that they ever let us play in the first place, and I’m thankful that they’ve been cool enough to have us back the past couple years.

Are there certain songs from the new record you’re looking forward to playing live?

I’m hoping that we’ll eventually get around to working every new song into one set or another, but there are definitely a few in particular that I’m especially excited for. “Quite the Actor” is the first song on the album and I can envision it being a fun song to open a set with. “Car & Driver” has some fun vocal harmonies and back-and-forth parts that Gooch and I have been looking forward to tackling. Also, “Morbid” was the first song written on the album, so we’ve had that one sitting in our back pocket for a while now. It will be nice when we finally share that one in a live setting as well.

What would you say to people that want to be involved in their local music scene?

Basically, just go to shows and talk to people. The more, the better. I’ve had my fair share of anti-social tendencies, but once I started putting myself out there, I made all sorts of worthwhile friendships and connections.

What are some things you’d like to accomplish over the next year?

We’re most excited right now for the album to come out in November and for the supporting tour that month. There have been a few music video ideas floating around. We just shot one of them with Christian Costello last weekend, and hopefully we’ll get to do the others too. Other than than, we’re going to try to play some shows in parts of the country we’ve never visited before, and we’ve got a stockpile of new song ideas that we’re looking forward to working on.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Since Richard Spencer happens to be speaking in Gainesville right now as I’m answering these questions, I’d just like to say: that dude is a fucking moron.

You_Vandal-4

Links:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/youvandal
Jump Start Records Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jumpstartrecords
Jump Start Records Twitter: https://twitter.com/jumpstartrecs
Jump Start Records Bandcamp: https://jumpstartrecords.bandcamp.com/
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