Written by Eric Boittier
Newcastle is a city in New South Wales beloved for its production of steel, wine and (since the establishment of No-Fi Records) fresh new Australian music. The pleasant sounds of the four piece Vacations have earned them love at home and across the sea. Their music could be faithfully summarised as vibes, fitting somewhere in the shoeboxes of indie rock and glistening psych-pop. Their latest release (appropriately titled Vibes) features the tuneful croons of the singer Campbell Burns between shining, chorus-heavy guitars, bobbing bass and brushy jazz-rock drumming (worth a listen for fans of Morrissey and/or Mac Demarco). The band have just released a single that is the first taste of an album to come in 2018. Grain have been lucky enough to host Vacations at 2017’s Against the Grain festival and we interrogated the band on their current jams and future directions ahead of their next Brisbane show, this Thursday at Barbara.
Vacations have had crazy success overseas, the YouTube comments on your videos are only the beginning. How do you feel connecting with fans across the globe?
I’m extremely grateful that people from all over have been able to connect with some songs I wrote in my bedroom and were recorded in a very lo-fi fashion. I get messages every couple days with people asking when we’ll come over to do shows, or that the song(s) got them through a difficult period, or they’ll submit me fan art and covers of our songs, so much more. It’s all so wholesome and reaffirming for me that what we’re doing is actually working out. It’s also still really surreal for me because it wasn’t a gradual build-up, it was all so sudden (over a few weeks earlier this year) and there’s a song on the upcoming debut album about that “out of nowhere” online reception and how that impacted me personally.
On the Vibes video, YouTube user EzDaBoss55 commented: “COME TO BRAZIL”, I noticed you didn’t reply. Is it time to consider playing Brazil (or elsewhere overseas)? Where, and with who, is your ultimate dream gig?
I’m so sorry EzDaBoss55, but Brazil is in our thoughts and you’ll have our song soon enough. USA/UK has been on the cards for us for a while because we can legitimately book shows there thanks to Soundcloud/Instragram. We’ve even been hit up by a few agents for Europe but it always comes back to money. If someone wants to throw a couple million at us so we can do this most over-the-top tour please hit me up.
Never thought about a dream gig but I’ve been going back through the Killers discography recently so seeing Sam’s Town in full would be amazing, I’d 110% back doing vocals with Brandon Flowers or something if I had to be playing in this scenario. As for a place, I got no idea, maybe like a huge cruise ship or like a ball pit that has a stage and planks for people to do sick flips.
I really enjoyed the video for the song relax, the colours and the ocean aesthetic suit the music perfectly! Was it hard learning to play underwater for so long?
I’ll let you in on a secret, but we’re actually from the lost city of Atlantis (also a great movie far out, Disney should really bring back that hand drawn style)
What is your full name, credit card number and security pin?
Campbell James Burns, Campbell James Burns, and Campbell James Burns.
What new music have you been enjoying so far in 2017?
I’ve really been feeling Steve Lacy, Brightness, Shady Nasty, Hoops, and Alex G. Also heaps keen for Alvvays and King Krule’s new stuff. We do playlists every month on Vacations spotify account so I’d definitely check that out for a more in-depth look!
When I first met you at your Brisbane show at the Bloodhound Bar (2016), you mentioned you were becoming interested in synthesisers. Is this something your fans can look forward to in upcoming releases?
I borrowed a MIDI keyboard off a friend of mine to try out some ideas for new content using some Garageband presets. Some songs off the next release will 100% have keys in em. I’m not suuuuuuper knowledgable about synths or anything but I’ve been keeping an eye out for a Yamaha DX7, they seem nice.
Vacations are currently touring their latest single Moving Out
Frankies Pizza, Sydney, 2nd of December
Barbara, Brisbane, 7th of December
The Commons (AA), Newcastle, 9th of December
Rad Bar, Wollongong, 14th of December
Botany View Hotel, Sydney, 16th of December
The Lockup, Newcastle, 17th of December
// VACATIONS //