Remember the name; The Vintage Caravan. This young trio from Iceland are set to release their International debut on Nuclear Blast this January, titled Voyage, and it's a classic '70s styled heavy rock feast that you won't want to miss. Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo caught up with guitarist/vocalist Óskar Logi, who will quickly get you up to speed on this exciting hard rock band.
SoT: Congrats on the fantastic debut album! Since the band will obviously be new to many of our readers, can you talk a little bit about the history of the band, how you all met back in 2006, and what's led up to your new album finally coming out 7 years later?
Óskar Logi: Thank you very much!
Gaui (drummer) and I met in 2004 when he moved to Álftanes (small town in the greater reykjavík area we live in). I started the band that became The Vintage Caravan in 2005 and Gaui joined in 2006. We played a few gigs 2006-2008 but in 2009 we came in third place in the icelandic Battle of the bands, and pretty much from that point on this band became a serious project and we became one of the most active live bands in iceland, especially 2010-2012.
Actually we have released two albums. We released the album ourselves in 2011 and then we inked a record contract with the largest record company in Iceland in 2012, Sena.
SoT: The three of you are all very young-when did the 'itch' to want to be musicians first set in?
Óskar Logi: Funny story, we all started playing our instruments at the same time, in 2004, Alex lived just one town away from Gaui and me. I remember buying the Led Zeppelin double dvd when i was nine, i was so amazed, i had never heard anything like it, that really gave me the itch to start playing.
SoT: We don't often hear of too many bands coming from the region of Iceland. What's the heavy music scene like over there?
Óskar Logi: It's constantly growing, both in numbers of bands and public appreciation. Iceland is pretty known for a great music scene, because of there are so few that can make a living off of playing music everybody just plays exactly what they want to, it encourages a kind of 'fuck it' attitude.
We highly recommend Brain Police, Sólstafir, Skálmöld, Dimma and many more.
SoT: Scoring a record deal with Nuclear Blast is a pretty big accomplishment-how did you, as a really young band, manage that for your debut?
Óskar Logi: Yeah that is amazing. Well voyage is our debut album outside of iceland. We have built up some reputation i guess and we just got to know the right people. We met Gunnar Sauerman at Eistnaflug 2012, we hit it off and in 2013 he introduced us to Walter Roadburn of the Roadburn festival and Walter introduced us to a NB employee, they really liked the album and decided to sign us. Never in a million years did it cross my mind that Nuclear Blast would sign us, but they did and we are so grateful.
SoT: The sound of The Vintage Caravan is firmly rooted in '70s heavy rock. When did you all first get introduced to some of the classic bands such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Free, Led Zeppelin, King Crimson, etc?
Óskar Logi: I cant speak for the rest of the guys but i got introduced to zeppelin in 2004 and after that i started digging around, found sabbath lp's, played those while i played Need For Speed II or something. I really got into the prog rock bands in 2009, bands like Gentle Giant blow my mind.
SoT: Oskar-you have a very exciting style that seems to show a deep appreciation for not only hard rock & metal, but also the blues. Who are some of your guitar influences and heroes? Also, what type of guitars, amps, and equipment do you use? On that same note, what singers do you admire, both past and present?
Óskar Logi: Thank you for your compliment!
My influences are countless, but Jimmy Page, Angus Young and Jimi Hendrix really inspired me to pick up the gy'tarr when i was young(er).
I love the blues and im glad you noticed that, it really is the foundation for rock, i listened a lot to Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Bukkah White and Blind Lemon Jefferson in my early teens.
Regarding my gear i use a Gibson Les Paul Standard (possibly a plus model) that is my main guitar, something special about it, my other main guitar is built by Gunnar Örn, an icelandic guitar maker, it's a custom reliced Telecaster with a mini seymor duncan humbucker pickup. For one of our songs called 'Let Me Be' (off of Voyage) i use a Gibson ES-335 tuned in c# standard. But all in all i own 9 guitars four of them are Gibsons that i cherish.
I used to gig around with my Marshall super tremolo 100w plexi 1969 and my Marshall tremolo 50w metal face from 1969, but i decided to buy a more stable live amp, i got myself a Verellen Loucks, it is a monster!
I have a pretty big and heavy pedal board, on that mofo i have a polytuner-dunlop wah-Fulltone '69-Fulltone Octafuzz-Fulltone Soul Bender- Fulltone Deja Vibe-Boss RT-20-Boss Space Echo-Way huge Ring Worm-Ibanez DE7 - Boss Digital Reverb-Mxr Phase 90. I have the pre amp vol on the Verellen on full, i use the distortion from the amp for my main sound and use the pedals for certain chapters in the songs but mostly just give a different flavor of sound during solos.
Regarding singers, i really like Paul Rodgers, Geddy Lee (no way in hell i can go that high haha), Jenni from Brain Police, Ian Gillan, but i haven't really given this much thought, i kind of just started singing because someone had to do it haha. It is a curse being a singer, you always have to watch out for your voice, and i always get sick before important gigs..hngg, stressful haha.
SoT: The cover artwork of Voyage is very cool. Who did the artwork for you, and how does the imagery tie into the album, if at all?
Óskar Logi: Alex Matus is her name, she is amazing.
Basicly our concept behind the name of the album, Voyage, was to take the listener on a voyage, sit back and go into another world that you create, or something as pretentious and artyfarty. And the album cover just shows a space voyage, a caravan being dragged by polar bears, what else? haha. Nothing deeper than that i'm afraid.
SoT: Songs like "Winterland", "Cocaine Sally", and "Crave" (among others) not only have that '70s feel, but the production also has that vintage element to it. Was it your intent to go for that classic sound, and how hard was it getting the album to sound that way?
Óskar Logi: We just happen to sound very 70's. We did not discuss making the album sound as 70's as possible. We recorded on pro tools, we tape emulated the master though. We also used old amps, vintage Marshalls plexi and for bass a Fender Bassman 100 from the 60's. We recorded the album from july 16th 2012-august 16th 2012. It was made very quickly, we had a blast making it!
SoT: Since you've been around since 2006, I'm sure the band has played plenty of live gigs. What does your touring plans look like for the near future now that you have your debut out on a major metal label? Any talks to come over to North America?
Óskar Logi: We are going to play at Eurosonic in the Netherlands and we are going to play two gigs in Germany,
16.01.2014 DE - Düsseldorf, Pitcher / Supporting Zodiac.
18.01.2014 DE - Reihne, Hypothalamus / Supporting Zodiac
and then in March we are going to start touring with Grand Magus, Audrey Horne and Zodiac, here are the tour dates for that:
12/03 Manchester @ Sound Control
13/03 Dublin @ Voodoo Lounge
15/03 Wolverhampton @ Slade Rooms
16/03 London @ Camden Underworld
18.03.2014 FR – Paris, Divan du Monde
19.03.2014 DE – Cologne, Gebäude 9
20.03.2014 DE – München, Backstage
21.03.2014 AT – Wien, Szene
22.03.2014 CH – Aarau, Kiff
23.03.2014 DE – Stuttgart, Universum
24.03.2014 DE – Berlin, C-Club
26.03.2014 DE – Hamburg, Markthalle
27.03.2014 DE – Frankfurt, Batschkapp
28.03.2014 DE – Geiselwind, Musichall
29.03.2014 DE – Essen, Turock
30.03.2014 DE – Nijmegen, Doornroosje
No plans for north america i'm afraid..we have to get our asses over there.
SoT: The whole '70s retro hard rock/metal/blues rock/psychedelic rock swing has been in full force now for a couple of years, with bands like Graveyard, Witchcraft, Ghost, Noctum, Horisont, Blood Ceremony, and The Devil's Blood all releasing albums to much acclaim from both fans and critics. Do you follow any of these or other bands that show such a deep appreciation for the music of the 1960's through the '80s, and how do you feel that The Vintage Caravan fit in?
Óskar Logi: I always check in on these bands from time to time. great stuff! Lights Out by Graveyard is one of my favorite records. And i saw Ghost live the other day...holy fuck. That was incredible.
But for some reason i choose not to listen a lot to bands that like the same stuff we like, i don't really know why.
We fit in pretty well i think, we are perhaps a bit heavier (especially live) than some of them. Our take on stage presence is maybe more feelgood hardcore hippie punk than some retro bands haha.
SoT: If you can look into your crystal ball, what does the next 1-2 years look like for the band?
Óskar Logi: I see great times ahead! Not working at a kindergarten, being busy with the band, recording another album, touring like maniacs, smelling like shit, last but not least meet great people, visit new places and have a great time!
Aaaand of course starting wearing sunglasses inside at all times and pick up english accents.
SoT: Any last words for our readers?
Óskar Logi: Please try check out our music and if possible check us out live! Thanks so much for reading this interview, and thanks to Sea of Tranquility for the interest!
SoT: Take care!
Óskar Logi: Cheers brother, and thanks for the great review of the CD!
(Click here to read our review of Voyage)