The Vicious Guns – On the New Wave of Electronica: A Conversation with the Vicious Guns

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The Vicious Guns – On the New Wave of Electronica: A Conversation with the Vicious Guns

Ending up in Nashville as a songwriter really isn’t anything new, but Nashville by way of Toronto is noteworthy. So is the story for the Vicious Guns – the alter-ego of Jennie and Rickey Vicious. Labeled by their own hand as ‘Canadian electronic rock ‘n’ roll,’ the bands signifying electronic/new wave sound is one that seems more synonymous with the streets of downtown Toronto than good ol’ Nashville, but honestly, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander as they say.

The Vicious Guns have been lauded throughout the pages of Spin, and for good measure, due to their unique and layered male/female vocal aesthetic and thumping, vivacious bass lines. The band has the ability to craft big pop hooks and still instill a good amount of fuzz and distortion into the works.

Recently the duo took time out of their busy, and probably hectic, touring schedule to sit and speak with we here at Get eXposed about everything – no stone is left unturned as the band answers everything put in front of them, from where the band name came from and how it got named, what it’s like being from Canada and the differences between it and the States, as well as what influenced the band’s sound, and so on and so forth.

Get eXposed Music: Let’s start right at the top, shall we? Tell me about the band name. The Vicious Guns sounds fairly violent – is it safe then to assume you are violent people? And are set to wreak havoc on the masses in the near future?
The Vicious Guns: Self control is a big theme in my songs. However the band name just appeared in my head one day and I liked the imagery it conjured up. It opens the door to discussing opinions on things and I do have very strong views when it comes to the way the world is run. The name is also pretty classic sounding from a punk angle and I was hugely inspired by 70s punk when I was a fairly young adolescent. Plus, we get to have t-shirts with guns on them!

GE: Can you just provide a brief background on the band? For those that may not know, how did the band come to be in the first place?
TVG: I played in an all girl band for about eight years called Tuuli and coming down from that experience I started writing and recording songs that really let my influences bleed through more so than they ever had before. In my old band people were determined to trap us in never ending comparisons to other girl bands whether or not they sounded ANYTHING like us. But my influences were the same as they are now as a songwriter. With The Vicious Guns there is no gender barrier though, I've heard everything from Psychedelic Furs to Joy Division, Jesus Mary Chain to New Order. It's great. We started playing live about two years ago.

GE: So, you’re from Toronto, I’m from Buffalo. Since I am a Buffalo Sabres fan and you’re possibly a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, we’re not supposed to like each other, right? Well, that is, if you’re a hockey fan. And not to mention your city is trying to steal the Buffalo Bills. Again, if you’re a professional football fan. But, in all reality, what’s it like coming out of Toronto? What’s the scene like there? Competitive, abundant and diverse I assume?
TVG: I can't say that sports wars of any sort have every prevented me from pursuing friendships, one of my best friends lives in Buffalo! And I also can't say that competition on the Toronto scene has stopped me from anything but being totally inspired. Toronto is a city of many opportunities. There are so many chances to team up with other creative types for the "greater good" of a project. Like fashion designers meet musicians meet filmmakers meet actors meet directors meet visual artists. It's an amazingly easy town to build a fantastic network of intelligent, inspiring, talented people. The diversity is totally there and there is also a lot of cultural diversity in Toronto which leads to a lot of amazing authentic restaurants!

GE: What bands, what artists, went into influencing your sound overall? Listening to your music conjures a pretty diverse set of possible comparable influences.
TVG: The bands I mentioned before are all influences. I personally was most affected by punk, post punk, new wave and Brit-pop. The Buzzcocks, the Clash, Depeche Mode, New Order, the Cure, Suede, Manic Street Preachers. But I've also always been a pop music fan - Michael Jackson, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper. I seem to look to England for my rock n roll and America for my pop!

GE: Ok, time for a pretty big homer question. How would you go about describing your music to someone if they’ve not yet heard you? Try your hardest to answer.
TVG: The Vicious Guns sound like Blondie if they were obsessed with New Order.

GE: Do you find many differences in the fan base, response, etc, when touring both the States and Canada? Do you prefer one to the other?
TVG: It's harder touring in Canada because if you venture outside of the Southern Ontario region, you're in for some very long drives. It would be like a never ending series of Albuquerque to Dallas style drives. I can't really pinpoint the difference in the two countries on the whole because every single city we play has its own vibe and it's always a new experience no matter where you are. And the 2nd or 3rd time you return to a town it can be a new experience then too, like visiting for the 1st time!

GE: Speaking of touring, you boast a pretty solid list of bands you’ve shared a stage with? I mean, c’mon, Bow Wow Wow, Cheap Trick, Vampire Weekend? Have a favorite act to hit the pavement with? And why, why not?
TVG: Looking back at some of the things I've done with music I often ask myself, "Was that real?" My favorite tour was with the Donnas and Bratmobile, 12 ladies and 2 guys on that tour! That doesn't happen very often.

GE: Is there a band you might like to tour with in the future? Why?
TVG: There are two bands I will tour with before I die: Manic Street Preachers and Depeche Mode. Those are two bands that inspire me greatly and I will never tire of them!

GE: Anything else you’d like to add for the readers?
TVG: his is for the ladies, START A BAND!