Arran MacGabhann, The Vincent(s)
You might remember when our beloved Cathal Kavanagh was blown away by The Vincent(s) at Hard Working Class Heroes last month. The crush he developed was deeply felt and luckily reciprocated. The two began a flirty communication and we were lucky enough to grab a snippet.
“Is this not the slickest and most totally believable heavy rock motherfucker ever?”, Courtney Taylor-Taylor of the Dandy Warhols may or may not have said upon hearing a set by the Vincent(s) at Donegal’s Sea Sessions festival earlier in the year. According to the band’s press release he said it anyway. It hardly matters though, because what came out of the experience is Taylor-Taylor’s recently-released remix of “Song for the Sea” from the band’s 2013 “Valley of the Sun” EP. Not too different to the original and at least as hard-hittingly brilliant, lead guitarist Arran MacGabhann is amazed at the difference it’s made. “It’s funny how the tiniest change can make such a huge difference to the whole” he tells Hunt and Gather over the phone on a dirty-looking Friday in October. The remix is itself only a “slightly different iteration” of what had been released before, he admits but the response, has been unbelievable. Even though the EP has been out for the guts of a year, MacGabhann notes the huge upturn in attention directed in the band’s general direction since the Warhols man took his scalpel to the song. This is seems merely like one expression, however, of the rapidly swelling waves of acclaim starting to wash over the Cork 4-piece, who play Workman’s in support to The Minutes this coming Sunday (October 26th).
Hunt and Gather first encountered the band in a live setting at the Hard Working Class Heroes festival in Dublin city centre at the rump end of September, where they tore up the Mercantile with a set of all-out psych-rock madness. Arran is enthusiastic about the festival, saying “the reaction by the end was something else” (something to which we can certainly attest), and commends the whole concept of the festival taking over a number of venues throughout the city on a weekend night. The band are gearing up for a reasonably hefty tour at the minute, hitting venues across Ireland, Britain and Germany before the end of the year. Talking about support slots to The Minutes and, later on in the tour, to the Telescopes, MacGabhann mentions opening for the latter band in particular as being in many ways the dream gig, as the main act are “the kind of band you’d go to see yourself if you weren’t playing at it”, such are the similarities between the two acts’ sounds.
And what a sound. Blending elements of grunge, psychedelia, blues and even sleazy jazz (listen to the saxophone on “The Valley of the Sun” by way of explanation), the Vincent(s) combine together several diverse pieces from the rock/metal side of the tracks into something that manages to be both familiar and refreshingly original. “We don’t consciously set out to be re-inventing stuff,” Arran tells us, it just happens that way. Each band member has another set of influences to bring to the table, and while the group don’t either set out to replicate exactly those who have gone before, this dizzying array of influences is what leads to the intriguing blends of sound emanating from the band’s turned-to-11 speakers.
The Vincent(s)’ current plan, aside from touring, is to release their full-length debut album in the early stages of the coming year. They garner more enjoyment from gigging than recording, according to MacGabhann, though “there is a certain need to immortalise yourself in some way”, asserts the guitarist. “Very, very heavy” is how Arran describes “Opium Den”, the upcoming single from the yet-to-be-released album, which on the whole he says sticks to the template of the band’s original sound, while also managing to move forward on it. “Each song is seriously individual, but not so much as to be removed from that sound”, he says, each track seemingly fitted with its own individual identity, representing different citizens of the band’s heavily populated city of influences. MacGabhann tells us of his mild frustration, probably felt by all recording artists, at having to sit on the album’s songs, which are “like your baby”, before it’s finally released in the new year. No matter. We have faith that it will be entirely worth the wait.
You can catch The Vincent(s) at Whelan’s tomorrow Sunday the 26th, and they’ll be back in Dublin to play the Workman’s November 13th.
Words: Cathal Kavanagh (also hosted on his own site)
Pictures: as credited and The Vincent(s) Facebook page