Interview

Vietnam War

Vietnam War

Friday, 1st July 2011 11:45AM

Auckland country music stalwarts The Vietnam War are due to release their self-titled debut album on July 4th. UTR caught up with Lubin Raines to talk about the forthcoming release and being part of the tight-knit country community in Auckland.

You guys are about to release an album are you excited about it?

Yeah Iím really excited about it itís been a long time waiting for the record to be done and to come out, so itís going to be cool.

Tell me a little bit about it, about writing and recording it:

We recorded in our house with Karl (Steven) and then some other tracks in Karlís bedroom so itís homemade in that way. Karlís so talented as a producer and with music.

When did you start writing the album?

Weíve been together for quite a few years playing shows so some of the songs are really old Ė about five years old - but weíve developed all of them through playing them for all those years. Some we didnít keep but some weíve kept the whole way through and those one became our best songs.

Considering these tracks were written over so many years, how did you find consistency on the album?

Thereís definitely some variation on the album. The last track on the record weíd only been playing for a few weeks, so thatís the king of period of time difference. But as an album they sit nicely largely due to production. Karl was quite conscious of making it work as an album in the old-fashioned sense of producing an album so itís quite cohesive in that way, stylistically.

If you were to describe the overarching sound that you think youíve achieved, how would you describe it?

Thatís a tricky kind of thing because I donít think genre is the best way to describe us, weíre not very dogmatic in that way. Itís guitar music primarily, theyíve all got an acoustic track and two electric parts Ė three of us all play guitar, so itís guitar driven in that way. But also, itís melodic and it comes from a folk tradition in the sense that there are sung songs and vocal melodies and stuff like that and that is the driving element of the band. So folk ad country was really the start but I donít think itís American or genre specific.

When you were putting the tracks together was there any overall idea that you were discussing as songwriters, or an emotive element that was across the album?

I think there is a mood over the record but it doesnít come from a conscious decision to discuss particular things. Thereís no message outside of our personal experiences but in that way we all have been friends a long time and lived similar lives so I suppose just by working with the things that are common to all of us in our lives it paints a picture of a place and time, and you probably canít avoid that. Itís probably got a political element or a social commentary but itís not a conscious one that we set out to do.

Going back, tell me about the crux of Vietnam War. How did you start and why?

Well, I suppose in the true beginning it was a band put together really to play a couple of shows and we didnít have a solid line up or anything. There were country bands in Auckland and a friend of mine had this band called Sleepless Nights and we wanted to play this show and it started off as wanting to have a country band in the style of a lot of the seventies or sixties country artists Ė they were revolutionaries. So we chose the name at that time and maybe didnít think it would last as long as it has, but we chose it as an indicator that we werenít a reverent country band, that we were trying to fall more in line with this more protest element I guess. That country tradition Ė like Gram Parsons Ė who were revolutionaries.

You mentioned starting the band to play with another band. Youíre part of a strong community of artists at the moment. Tell me a little bit about that.

Yeah itís a really good time at the moment in Auckland. One interesting thing that happened in the old days is Lucy Stewart who plays for Drab Doo Riffs now and her sisters Roberta and Harriet and a bunch of other people would have these tribute shows called The Country Club. That grew into a big variety show and included everyone. Charlotte who plays drums with Evil Twins with Lucy - she sang songs at the first Vietnam War show when she was only 15 or something. The idea that there was an audience beyond us didnít come into it Ė there were enough of us that there was a crowd to watch each band. This scene had its own legs and that was great.

Itís only gained in popularity since then. It must feel like a good time to release the album?

Yeah itís a really good time and I think itís going to be true of a lot of Auckland bands especially central Auckland bands, itís really come a long way and itís a really nice time to be involved in it all.

- Courtney Sanders

Related
See more from Vietnam War
related gigs
Thu, 7th Jul
Vietnam War Album Release
Kings Arms Tavern, Auckland

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Thanks Courtney & UTR
Posted by Jim @ Round Trip Mars - anonymous 3 years ago



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