How did the band originally come about?
When we first started, it was myself and the guitarist, Luke. We met when were about sixteen. I always wanted to be in a band; I always wanted to start one. It turned out that when we were at college and doing music, everyone was playing the same old heavy metal, or blues. Me and him got together and started writing. Our bassist, Jason, is my brother in-law. Originally, he taught me how to play guitar. The drummer, James, we’d met him at a show. He was playing in a band at the time. After we saw him play, we really liked his style. We wanted him in the band. We started playing together, and the sound that we got kind of fell out. We didn’t plan to make this sort of music, we just planned to sort of make what we liked. That’s kind of how it came about.
Where does the name Vivid Nation come from? What’s the significance behind the name?
We wanted a name that had a lot of body and meaning. I had just been Google-ing meaningful words and creative things, and I came across the phrase “vivid imagination”, which means “to have a creative mind”. I thought “Vivid Imagination” was quite a mouthful, so we made it “Vivid Nation”.
What was the process like for writing and recording “Open Your Mind” in comparison to any other kind of songwriting experience you’ve taken part it in before?
Much more in-depth. Before writing “Open Your Mind”, we’d been playing for about a year and a half before that. We’d never really done anything as a band other than one single. We wanted our debut EP to kind of have enough body to… you’ll see a lot of bands that will put out an EP, and then six or seven months down the line, they want to retract it because they don’t like the production or things like that. That’s one thing that we didn’t want to do. We really focused on, first of all, the writing, and getting songs that had enough body and could be on the EP, and have a nice story to the EP. We had “Time To Mend”, which was kind of an older song, but it showed kind of a progression of the band. We didn’t want it to just be all-new songs that nobody had heard yet, and hadn’t heard us perform yet. We started writing the EP about seven or eight months before we actually recorded it. At the beginning of 2013, we had booked time to go into the studio. Then we had three more songs. Funny enough, “Policy”, and “Open Your Mind” were the last two songs we wrote for it, and we hadn’t performed either of them live. We invested a lot of time just tweaking them and testing them out before we started performing them live, so we didn’t have any excuses to make when we actually recorded it.
I notice on the album cover that you use one of those slowed-down, ink blots dropping into water shots. Any particular aesthetic reason behind the choice to use this for the album cover?
We can’t actually take any credit for that. I had actually designed some artwork when we went into the studio. It was kind of like an opened-up brain. Luke was Googling on the Internet, and he found a guy from Paris. He builds artworks, and puts them up. Luke came across it, sent to me, and said “we think this will really fit the EP.” It’s got a nice ambient look. You can’t really work out what it is; since it’s the ink drops. We sent the guy some of the songs, and he liked it. So it was a bloke from Paris. We liked it, so we went for it!
You have a video coming out soon for the track “Open Your Mind”. Can you explain the concept behind it a little more for me?
We gave this song as open to interpretation to the director, Dan Broadley, because we didn’t want to make it too rooted; we wanted to have other peoples’ opinions on it as well. So the video wouldn’t be too self-explanatory. Basically, what it was, is having this feeling of doubt, and wanting to prove yourself to be something, and to prove to others that you want to be more, that you’re destined to be what you do. But you always have these seeds of doubt, and that continuously keep growing and growing. The concept behind the video is this young person that is really desperate to break out. She felt different and alienated. She always had these seeds of doubt, which in the end was always the villain, nagging at her and shouting at her. By the end of the video, she just kind of explodes. She wants to be more, and she wants to be different. With the music, we don’t want to alienate ourselves from everyone, but we feel that we can be different.
You guys have such a well-crafted sound, and it really shows throughout the entire album. Great musicality and harmonies. Where does your musical inspiration stem from?
Lyrically, I’ve always loved people like Trace Chapman and Bob Dylan. Songwriters, but Luke, especially since he plays a lot of ambient guitar, likes a lot of Joe Bonamassa, Gary Moore, blues guitarists. To be honest, the whole sound of our band is a collaboration of what we like. James, I think, likes the drummers of bands like Paramore, Dave Grohl. It sort of comes across in his style; he’s really driven with the way that he plays. I think we all take different parts. But yeah, I love songwriters. Noel Gallagher, Trace Chapman, Bob Dylan.
What kind of message would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
Hope. To be honest, when I’m writing, I don’t write about anything that I don’t understand. I think that’d be a bit hypocritical of me. I try and leave the songs open to interpretation so people can build their own story and what they’d like it to mean. “Cracks”, off of the EP, for me, was a very emotional song. It was more about people that I’d lost recently, around me, that I felt were young and they had so much more to give. For me, if today is the last day that I lived, I thought about would I be proud of what I’ve become and what I’ve left in the world? To me, I’d like people just to take away a sense of never giving up. If you want to do something, do it, and put 100% into it. For us, I wouldn’t say that our music at this point in time is commercial or the sound that specifically want to do. We keep pushing ourselves. I’d say just be who you want to be, and do what you wanna do.
What does music mean to you?
Everything. When I come home from work, man, I’ll sit and play my guitar, write a song. I listen to music all the time. It’s my form of relaxation and bliss.
What are the future plans for Vivid Nation? Any new music, videos, tour dates that you’d like fans to know about, let fans know!
The plan is, well, we just released the EP, so we’ll book a couple of tours over February, April, May, and hopefully do some festivals in the summer. We’re looking to record at the beginning of the summer. Either a single, or two to three songs. We’re either going to be releasing a new single and video, but not off the EP. “Policy” and “Open Your Mind” are going to be the only singles off the EP. For this year, it’s going to be touring and new music, man. The first thing we’ve ever done is the new EP, so that’s kind of leaving us a base to build on.
This has been another shameless promotion.