Austin-based indie rockers, The Vanity, recently returned from a tour with BØRNS in support of their latest release. The quartet formed band in 2014 and is comprised of members Alex Dugan (vocals), Mic Vredenburgh (guitar), Augie Gmitter (bass), and David Grayson (drums). Their latest EP, Are You Going Alone?, consists of four tracks. The band’s wide range of influences are apparent throughout the record. The punk qualities of “Self-Medicated” contrast with the atmospheric and new wave feel of the title track, “Are You Going Alone?.” In late January, The Vanity released a music video for the EP’s debut single, “Stay.” Learn more about The Vanity from vocalist Alex Dugan’s responses and be sure to check out their music below.
How would you describe your music to others?
How did you guys meet?
Randomly through mutual friends… We jammed around a lot for a while and started to get serious about a year and a half ago.
Who is the pickiest eater?
Me. I have allergies to wheat, dairy and nuts. I can barely eat on the road.
What is the story/meaning behind the band’s name, The Vanity?
It was just mentioned randomly as a word. It means something different to all of us, and I think that’s why we all identified with it and liked it.
Who and what influences your music? Why?
Jesus, we’re all into vastly different things. Individually we’re all into different stuff. Some days we’re listening the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac, but at the same time I’ve come accustomed to receiving One Direction themed Snapchat’s from Dave.
How would you describe your writing process?
The songs really come from all over the place. At this point, we live to play with each other and I think that’s all the inspiration and drive we need. Every song that we write usually evokes some kind of emotion in me… whatever that emotion becomes is what the lyrics eventually become.
How often and how long do you practice together?
About 15-20 hours a week… We take this very seriously and put in the work as if it were a job we clocked in for.
From start to finish, how long did it take to create Are You Going Alone??
Tracking was about a week, then mixing and mastering was a couple of extra days. We also went back in and tracked the title track a couple weeks after. We were compelled to add it to the final cut of the EP.
Can you talk about the inspiration behind “Stay”?
The song is really about counting on someone and needing that person to be there when they don’t. There’s a lot of different ways that can happen and all of them somehow find their way into the song.
What can you tell us about the music video for the track?
We shot in Brooklyn in this really cool warehouse where they used to shoot porn in the early days. It’s not why we picked it, but it was an interesting fact to know when deciding which couch in the green room to sit on. Beyonce has also recorded a music video there, which was all the H-Town blessing we needed.
Do you play covers at practices or shows? If so, which ones are your favorites?
We very rarely play covers, but my favorite that we have played was “I Touch Myself” by the Divinyls.
What do you typically do post-gig?
I eat food and crash, but some of the guys like to celebrate from time to time. Depends on where we are in the tour.
What image do you think your music conveys?
A turtle flying through space… haha totally kidding, I have no idea.
What has been your funniest or craziest experience working together?
People knowing the lyrics to our songs and singing along at shows is a little weird. We were just at the 40 Watt in Athens, GA and they were singing along to the songs… we had never even been to Georgia before that!
What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
Honestly, getting in front of people. We’ve been lucky enough to be on some big tours, but getting in front of people and getting their attention on social media or elsewhere is tough. There are a lot of bands out there and sometimes you have to get either real creative or real direct in order to get their attention.
Anything funny or interesting your fans should know?
Mic (guitar) actually has his master’s in performance cello and Augie (bass) is studying undergrad for classical/upright bass. If you listen closely they’re actually playing underneath the track in Black & Blue.
What can we expect from The Vanity in the coming months?
Shows, shows, shows.