LET ME OUT! The Vacant Lots

Influenced by groups such as Bo Diddley, The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, Spacemen 3 and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, the alternative rock sound of Burlington, Vermont duo The Vacant Lots is made up of Jared Artaud and 17 year old drummer Brian Macfadyen.  Combining minimal drumming, hypnotic guitar riffs, electronic drones, poetry-driven lyrics, and live film projections, The Vacant Lots introduced themselves in 2009 with their first studio album, The Vacant Lots.  7 tracks capturing the band’s raw intensified dark pop sound.  Featuring songs that deal with love, despair, revolt and death such as “Put Your Head On The Floor” and “Love/s Labour Lost.”

Later that year, The Vacant Lots released their second record According To The Gospel, and were invited to open for Dean and Britta in New York.  In 2010, a third album Hypnotized was released.  Then in the spring of 2010 the duo were handpicked by Sonic Boom (of Spacemen 3) to tour with his band Spectrum.

Hypnotized was to become a defining release for The Vacant Lots which saw the band exploring minimalist psychedelic layerings of sound in an atmosphere that evokes a marriage of early rock n roll song structures and Indian inspired ragas with waves of sound deeply rooted in the intensity and simplicity of Howlin’ Wolf era blues.  Exemplified in songs like “When The Lord Comes” and “Confusion.”  The latter was featured on Pitchfork’s Forkcast : Altered Zones August 2010 Mix.

The summer of 2010 saw The Vacant Lots opening for The Fiery Furnaces and The Committee To Keep Music Evil’s Asteroid No.4.  The Vacant Lots are now working on their upcoming fourth studio album.

The Vacant Lots songs can be found on Itunes, Bandcamp and Apollo Audio.

FAULT: Tell us about The Vacant Lots

The Vacant Lots formed in the summer of 2008 in Burlington, Vermont.  I had a lot of songs written and was looking to put together a group.  I was listening to a lot of Indian music, Blues, and early Rock n Roll at the time.  We were rehearsing a lot and working on new material including film projections to shoot behind us when we played live.  We put out three records in less than two years.  I was trying to get certain sounds out of my head.  So, the most immediate way for me to make records was to get in and out of a studio in a short period of time.  We made each one of those records in a weekend.  Earlier this year, we toured supporting Sonic Boom’s Spectrum (Spacemen 3) and were recently invited to open for Dean and Britta in New York.  The tour with Spectrum was definitely a high point for us.  We have been big fans of Spectrum and Sonic Boom’s work has been a huge inspiration for us since we started.  We have also played some pretty amazing shows with bands like The Vandelles, Screen Vinyl Image, Young Boys, Fiery Furnaces, The High Dials, Asteroid No.4, Soft Black, Autodrone and Cheval Sombre.  We are working on our fourth record now and should hit the studio in the next couple months.  Our next show is in Brooklyn at Secret Project Robot on October 21st.  More info is at our myspace,www.myspace.com/thevacantlots.

FAULT: How did The Vacant Lots meet?

T.V.L: I met Brian when he was 15.  I was 8 years older than him.  Around that time I was auditioning musicians to form a group.  He was classically trained and could really play drums.  By the third rehearsal I asked him to stand up the drums and play standing up.  I was looking to get more of a Native American feel to the drums.  It added this heart-beat rhythm to the sound.  That was the backbeat on the first two Vacant Lots albums.  I loved the sound of vibrato-driven guitars with simple primitive drumming.  Still do.  That was two years ago. I think there is a lot that can be done with just two people.  Although I do hear other sounds in my head which would be cool to try out with other musicians if we found the right people.  I would love background singers and a drone musician and organist, we’ll see.

FAULT: You have great images, who takes your photographs?

T.V.L: Different people.  My girlfriend, Good friends, Photographers we know.  The most significant shot though, the one of us against a black background with our faces juxtaposed next to each other – that one was taken by our good friend Michael Richichi who lives in New York.  It was a photograph he took backstage one night that we really liked and I asked him to make it fit for an album cover.  We used it on the cover of our second pressing of According To The Gospel (our second album) last year.

FAULT: Do you have a creative input when it comes to your photos and videos?

T.V.L: Yeah, totally.  I suppose that is one nice thing of not being on any label?  We produce our own material and our aesthetic has stemmed from our approach to the work.  We’ve kept complete control.
FAULT: Who has been your biggest musical inspiration?

T.V.L: It’s hard to pin-point just one.  There are many artists that inspire us for different reasons.  Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddley, The Doors, The Stooges, Spacemen 3, Television, Baudelaire, Warhol, Ingmar Bergman, Jim Jarmusch, Robert Johnson, Galaxie 500, Arthur Lee and Love.  My biggest musical inspiration has probably come from books and experience.  Literature and Poetry is what got me into playing rock n roll.  I liked the poetry of Rimbaud, Lautreamont, Edgar Allan Poe, Allen Ginsberg.  I thought I would just focus on poetry and writing when I dropped out of school but I found this avenue more exciting.

FAULT: FAULT Magazine loves the track Let Me out, what was the inspiration behind it?

T.V.L: It’s kind of my out-of-religion song.  But the song is ambiguous.  It can mean different things to different people.  I tend to write in a way that the listener can put their own story in it, find their own interpretation and meaning.  I wanted to write songs in a way that can touch the soul.  You react to it and it inspires you or makes you feel something   Sometimes, I have no idea what the songs mean or where they come from like I am channeling.  With “Let Me Out” I think about what it means to be without God and how that’s fine and that one can be alright on one’s own in this life.  It’s like conquering the suffering in the soul.


THE VACANT LOTS | MySpace Music Videos

FAULT: What is your FAULT?

T.V.L: Cigarettes.