Interview: Vanity Theft
Being a band from the Midwest, the members of Ohio’s Vanity Theft didn’t quite grow up with the musical oasis that both of the coasts boast.
“The scene that was most dominant around where we lived was hardcore and metal,” said guitarist and lead vocalist Brittany Hill.
As a result, the foursome – then in high school – was forced to forge a path of its own.
“We were definitely kind of fish out of water at that time,” Hill said, referring back to 2005.
As novices, Hill and vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Alicia Grodecki began getting a handle on song structure and the intricacies of their instruments by covering songs of their favorite bands. What this essentially meant was that their earliest band rehearsals consisted of playing Green Day, Taking Back Sunday and Brand New songs, a practice which eventually paved the way toward writing songs on their own.
Hill elaborated on these influences, pointing out that they particularly were drawn to the idea of dueling vocals, which they adopted when they began writing their own songs.
“[Once we began writing], our sound just really started to evolve in a different direction,” she said.
And while the members have certainly matured as musicians, their songwriting process is not all that dissimilar as it was when they began.
As Hill explained it, one person will bring in an idea, whether it’s a lyric or a riff. Typically Hill and Grodecki will then collaborate on expanding that kernel into a song that drummer Elyse Driskill and bassist Lalaine Paras can then add their corresponding parts to.
“We write [our songs] to be catchy, because music should be fun and it should catch your ear,” Hill said. “We just try to make our music fun…[but] keep the subject matter serious enough to strike those heartstrings.”
This month marked the soft release of the group’s second full-length, “Get What You Came For,” on Feb. 1, for download. The physical copy will be available March 1. In addition, the group boasts three EPs, the most recent of which, a remix of choice songs from the new album, came out this week. This EP, playfully titled “Forget What You Came Here For,” is a teaser for a full-length remix album due out this summer.
In support of all this new music, the ladies of Vanity Theft are already on the road. The tour, which began more than two weeks ago in New York, will continue through mid-March, when they make their way to Texas for a SXSW showcase, followed by a month-long residency at Los Angeles’ Club Moscow.
“I’ve been itchy since the end of November,” Hill said, of her desire to be on the road.
Still, she admitted that life on the road isn’t always easy, explaining that money is a constant preoccupation.
“I guess the stress right now [is] of, like, being in a band that hasn’t really, like, broken out yet, and trying to make sure that we can still keep going financially and push hard enough to break through that ceiling,” she said.
Yet in spite of these concerns, it seems like things are looking up for Vanity Theft, with the ceiling not that far out of reach.
”The most rewarding part is just the momentum that we can, like, see evidence of,” Hill shared. “Our online presence is growing, more people are showing interest in what we’re doing [and it] shows that our hard work is paying off.”