2017 has been quite the year for up-and-coming indie rock acts- and this band is no exception. Meet Voodoo Bandits, a five-piece group from Isle Of Man. They released their debut single in February entitled "Blind" and just recently dropped a five track EP, "Voodoo Bandits?" The band's cool and beach-rock vibe, similar to the likes of Blossoms and Circa Waves, will pull you in. The group, consisting of members Marc McCabe O'Kelly (vocals), Ben Donaldson (guitar), Cory Vaughan (guitar), Nathan Vaughan (drums), and Sam Lancaster (bass) have formed a sound consisting of an interesting electric dynamic, prominent drum presence and strong, emphasizing vocals. The song "Bad Weather" in particular creates a really unique mix of peppy guitar, catchy lyrics, and a beachy, laid back drum presence. The new EP is certainly worth checking out. Give Me A Try had a chance to interview the band about their background and their new projects.
GMAT: What brought the band together? How did you all meet?
Voodoo Bandits: Guitarist Ben Donaldson Met the twins Corey Vaughan (guitar) and Nathan Vaughan (drums) at a party in Summer 2014… or somewhere round then. Ben had a good feeling about Corey and Nathan so thought to ask them if they’d form a band in 2015. We learnt a few songs together, some Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes etc. But we needed more members and none of us felt too confident with hopping on the mic. Nathan and Corey were pals with Sam Lancaster who plays bass so he came on board and powered the low end sound. However, Sam was friends with the first of the 3 singers our band has had so far. We had to break off the first 2 due to commitment issues. We eventually found Marc McCabe O’Kelly to do our vocals, singing on every track we have out to date.
GMAT: What a name- is there a backstory?
Voodoo Bandits: Years ago in the age of 2015 we deliberated on many names; but we basically picked Voodoo Bandits because it sounded the coolest, made a slick logo, and stuck with it.
GMAT: What is the music scene like on the Isle Of Man?
Voodoo Bandits: It's hard to break through as there’s little opportunity, especially if you’re new and don’t know where to go from there. You can play in many a pub/bar and try work up to the Bushy’s Beer Tent during the Isle of Man’s TT festival. The island mentality comes with the assumption that artists won’t necessarily go anywhere, so you’ve got to try raise the bar to get remembered by people. We’re planning to do a tour of North England summer 2018 to help with gaining exposure with more audiences.
GMAT: Describe the upcoming EP- Is there any cohesive themes? What was the inspirations? What kind of new sound are you delivering?
Voodoo Bandits: There’s certainly a lot of clean and reverb guitar. We try to create an indie rock surf/beachy sound and gain influences from bands like Viola Beach and Peace. Genres such as post rock and jazz also influence our sound, which we try to convert into our own style. ‘Rollercoaster’ sees indie rock meeting nu-jazz, and ‘Flotilla’ sees indie rock meet post/progressive rock for example.We try to stay fresh by by making use of the 2 guitars in the band; making 2 different melodies at the same time, to harmonize with each other and make use of space and timing. We try to pack songs full of different parts and sections to make them more of a journey with higher replay value. There’s key changes, timing changes, dynamic techniques, and every song has an outro.
GMAT: What was making "Blind" like? What is the song about?
Voodoo Bandits: The song originates back to 2013 on guitarist/writer Ben Donaldson’s loop pedal, when bands like Peace were still new, their track ‘Bloodshake’ inspired the Voodoo Bandits sound hugely. Our song Blind drew influence from the in sync guitar melodies which harmonize with each other on the track. Blind could be interpreted as being about many things, however we intend to leave that to the listener, maybe they can make more sense of it than we do.
GMAT: What was it like shooting the Rollercoaster video- can you explain the basis for the video's overall purpose?
Voodoo Bandits: Once the hyperthermia set in after minute 4 in the Irish sea it got pretty warm, so we shot a couple more takes. The aim of the video was to get some interesting visuals of the band to accompany the music. We related to the title ‘Rollercoaster’ by playing on train tracks and going round the airport luggage carousel. It was great fun to shoot, smashing and burning instruments was great stress relief. We wanted a less serious video than our video for the song ‘Blind’, so we got a bit silly.
GMAT: Is there anything you would like to do more as a band in the future?
Voodoo Bandits: Record music and tour the UK! We want to try break through to the music scene off island. We also plan to record a new single in December as it’s already written. Our first album is in the works too.
GMAT: Are you planning any upcoming shows?
Voodoo Bandits: We’ve got some live room sessions planned for December which will also be filmed, on the island. And hopefully another couple gigs. Aside from anything locally we plan to tour the North of the UK Summer 2018. We love playing to a live audience as we have a few tricks up our sleeves, such as unique mashups and the crowd pleaser we’ve called the ‘Dance mix’; an 8 minute medley of 7-8 popular dance songs converted into the band set up. Some of these are, Avicii- Levels, Darude- Sandstorm, and Faithless- Insomnia.
GMAT: Favorite animated movie?
Voodoo Bandits: Shrek 2.
Be sure to check out the new EP "Voodoo Bandits?" on both ITunes and Spotify. Visit the band's EPK here.