[INTERVIEW] with... Vida

  Photo: Patrick McDonald 

A small town about five and a half mile east of Stirling and around eight miles north of Falkirk, Alloa is situated in Clackmannanshire. With the lack of an established music scene or industry, there is limited support in place to nurture local talent and only a modest number of bands are able to make it and break into the wider UK music scene. Bearing that in mind, it is all the more rewarding to see five piece indie guitar band Vida doing so and the melodic song led quintet is establishing itself at a fast pace.

These days the Scottish five piece made up of Jamie Pollock on vocals and guitar, keyboardist Greg Ballantyne, guitarist Nathan Evans, drummer Jamie Piggott and bassist Craig Scobbie seems to be flying high. Having played several high profile headline shows, some prestigious festival appearances and recording work with some of the UK's most promising producer talent, there is little doubt that so many things are moving in the right direction for the band.

Following the successful completion a number of headline shows, one at This Feeling's Stage Isle of Wight Festival, shows at Nambucca and The Monarch in London. The band are excited about having more shows to come and the prospect of getting to play Kendal Calling makes them want to  persevere and continue put in those long hours in the rehearsal room day after day, week in, week out, as they have been doing for so long.

Jamie Pollock: The volume of rehearsals definitely depends on what we have got coming up. Sometimes, we are going into the studio and we feel as we are absolutely nailing it when playing our songs. But when we have a certain gig coming up then we want to make sure the set is absolutely perfect with messing around. Not having the best possible set in place is risky.

 Children and fans of Britpop in all its colourful glory, it was always pretty clear where the band took a lot of their inspiration from, adding to that is the sound and values of the 1960s and 1970s, the band are definitely passionate about the music culture which derived from out of there. 

Writing and producing super catchy melodies such as their latest single A Place Where We Can Forget and previously released singles Where We Came From and Fade Away, there is no denying that Vida have a deep rooted understanding of how to write a memorable tune as much as paying an appropriate amount of respect to some of their biggest musical heroes including Ocean Colour Scene, The View, Oasis, Paul Weller, The Stone Roses, to name but a few.

One thing is admiring the aforementioned iconic British bands, another thing is to actually get to work and hang out with them in the studio, being approached about collaborating, as opposed to being the ones chasing your heroes.

Recorded and produced by Kieren Webster of The View and Scott Anderson at Magic Box Studio in Dundee, the band's single A Place Where We Can Forget is a good example of how they seem to attract and thrive in and around well established acts and producer talent.

Nathan: Kieren approached us and he said that he was keen to help us out and he asked if we fancied giving working together a go and of course we said yes straight away. Kieran is an immensely talented musician and we are huge fans of The View. We all clicked straight away and got on so well, we were all on the same wavelength. He is such a genuine person.

Nathan: He came into our practice room with us and we played the track and he suggested a couple of changes. Coming from the outsider’s position, it just felt totally right for Kieren to do that. It is one of the first times we have had somebody telling us to make changes in that sort of way or have had somebody taking that kind of role in the studio. 

Jamie Pollock: He would say things like 'You are doing that bit, I would suggest you cut that and come back in here and we insert a different bit in instead’. We followed his advice, the suggestions he made we had not thought about when we wrote the tune and thanks to Kieren the end result is incredible. He is such a talented guy and it makes such a difference to have an external qualified opinion like his when you are busy in the studio.

As if the name Kieren Webster is not enough to turn more than a few heads, rather impressively, it does not stop here, Vida also collaborated with Ocean Colour Scene's Steve Cradock and that was a dream come true for all five band members but probably more so for Nathan. Having been a huge fan for years, the guitarist has taken a lot of musical influence from the legendary musician and producer.

Nathan: Steve is such a famous guitarist, he has played with the likes of Paul Weller and of course Ocean Colour Scene and there was I standing right in front of him playing my guitar. To say that I was nervous is probably an understatement. 

Nathan: But Steve just said to hurry up and get this done (laughs). I think because he has worked with Paul Weller who is known to be a bit strict, he takes some influence from that style of working, so he uses a similar kind of approach when he is in the studio.

 The band looks set to resume the working relationship with Steve Cradock at some point the future. Getting closer to the point where they are able to release an album is a real ambition for Vida and  amazingly Cradock has in fact already expressed an interest in producing the album when that time comes. 

Craig: Steve is a such a brilliant guy with a lovely family and a nice house. He can come across as a bit stern but that is partly what we like about him. I think Liam Gallagher once said that Steve Cradock makes a brilliant cup of tea and he made us all cups of tea. The vibe when we went into the studio with him was really good.

Nathan: Assuming that our success as Vida continues we would absolutely love to work with Steve Cradock again, it is an incredible connection to have. Sally his wife is very successful too, she helped Stone Roses a lot back in the day and she picked up Lenny Kravitz. 

Greg: There is a load of platinum and gold records at Steve’s house. Steve and his wife have dealt with so many famous people in music and the sort of connections and the type of work they have been involved in is just incredible.

The band are planning to release a few more singles this year, hopefully one in September and then another two at the end of the year. There has also been talk of some touring around Ireland and Europe.

Jamie Piggott: Next time we go on tour it is most likely to be a run of ten days and some weekends, we are just going to go for a full ten days and see how it goes because we know that we can get a crowd in most parts of the UK now. 

Achieving financial backing, appointing booking agents and get a recording contract are all objectives on the band's 'to do' list. 

Jamie Pollock: Some big names are said to have been to see us at gigs, it is good of them to come and see us, it means that people are talking about us. We have spoken to a lot of big names in the industry who have said they would like to help us. When the time is right we will get the right people behind us who can direct and support us.

Jamie Pollock: We are waiting on a label to say ‘Look guys we want to help you make an album’. We just took on our manager (Adam Carr), he is looking after us now, so far that has worked really well, he is a lovely guy. Obviously, if we can get booking agents and labels properly involved then that would really help and take us even further.

Jamie Pollock: But for us as a band, we just want to keep making music. The other day when we went into the studio we decided that we were just going to concentrate on making new music and we spent several nights purely focusing on writing new material, it was just great. 

Vida headlining at The Monarch  Photo: @thealanwells