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The Vintage Caravan

Despite the fact that there is a lot of competition worldwide when it comes to seventies-based rock, The Vintage Caravan maintains itself at the top of the segment without any problems. The trio has been synonymous with musical quality for years. And on the new 'Gateways' release we hear that quality again. We briefly contacted the High North to speak with Alexander, the bassist of the band from Iceland.

By: Wim R. | Archive under hardrock / aor

Hello, how are you? I always start with the same question: where are you right now and what are you doing?
Hey it's Alex from The Vintage Caravan! Doing pretty good. Currently at my new home in my family's summer cabin in the middle of nowhere in Iceland and doing morning stuff like toasting bread and making coffee.

Are you excited about the fact that - after three years - you finally are about to release your new album, 'Gateways'? Why did it take you guys so long to come up with the successor of 'Arrival'?
Extremely excited! The plan was to record and release the album sooner but it was delayed for a number of reasons. First it was a problem to get everything lined up properly with producers and studio. Then we got that settled, went in to record the album and when it came to the mixing process our producer/mixing engineer got in a car crash and had to spend some time in the hospital which delayed the album for another six months. Funny thing is that it took that long in between the last two albums as well. 'Voyage' is originally released in Iceland in 2012 so the 2014 release of that album by Nuclear Blast is actually a re-release. Originally we we're going to record and release 'Arrival' in 2014 but then we got signed to Nuclear Blast so that plan had to wait. I hope it doesn't take that long until the next one but who knows. These things tend to have their own natural rhythm and it's hard to change things you have no control over.

In three years the three of you have evolved both as a person but also as musicians. What is the main difference between this new release and 'Arrival'?
I guess the evolving thing for us has a lot to do with growing up as well since we've been doing this band for quite some time at our young age. I guess with the last album we were going for more experimentation sound wise and trying to push certain boundaries for ourselves. With this one we tried to have the main focus on the songwriting and to do what we thought was best for each song rather than trying to push it in a certain direction. Was a very nice, fluid process this time around.

band image

Can you tell us a bit more about the cover of the album? It is absolutely brilliant!! Who is responsible for the drawing? Photo? What is it? The colors are so nice! What do we see exactly?
Thanks! We are very happy with it. It all came about that we wanted to have a photo-based cover so we decided to contact a photographer friend of ours, Julian Haas. Basically we contracted him to do the cover and explained to him the direction we wanted to take. A big part of it was to have something that would draw you in and leave you wondering what it actually is causing people to look even further into it. He's great at what he does and he came up with all these crazy photos. It's actually colors in water and the cover photo is manipulated for the spiral effect. The raw photos even have these crazy colors as well.

I know there is quiet a big (commercial) market for the type of music you guys play. Every country has its own bands that play music that is inspired by the seventies. In The Netherlands for instance we have bands like Dewolff and Birth of Joy although The Vintage Caravan is slightly heavier. But we also know bands like Blues Pills, Rival Sons and Orchid. Is it easy for a band from Iceland to get gigs in all European countries and do you sell enough albums in Europe to make a living with playing music?
Yeah the scene is pretty big at the moment. DeWolff and Birth of Joy are pretty cool! Don't know them personally though but I guess it's just a matter of time before we run into them at a festival or something. For bands from Iceland there is a certain hype around, especially now, which is cool because a lot of bands are getting great opportunities. It doesn't really reach that much into our genre though. We are very lucky to be where we are for sure. Nowadays you don't make a living off of selling albums at our level but if you tour enough you might make enough to get by depending on how high you live.

Do you think that when I would visit your country and maybe even the city of Alftanes, I would understand better why you play the music you do? Or does Iceland have nothing to do with the band's overall sound?
Álftanes is definitely not a city haha. It's a very small town. That's a good question, I guess it depends. Growing up with amazing landscapes probably has some profound impact on everyone that grows up here but I think the island mentality has a lot to do with it as well. I think you would understand how we play music a lot better if you just got to know the people here rather than go on touristy sightseeing tours. It's hard to say though, we just write how we write and it's hard to pin it to a specific reason or inspiration.

In October/November you guys go on tour in Europe promoting the new release. Looking forward to that and what can fans expect this time? Is it a headlining tour?
Yeah it's a headlining tour with Wucan and Black Mirrors supporting on the European part and Naked Six supporting on the UK part. All shows will high energy rock and roll shows like we always do and the supporting bands are all fantastic. Very much looking forward to it!

What question did I forgot to ask and do you want to answer?
I think you covered most bases! Thanks!

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