Vanguard Villains is a New York band that was formed in 2009. Below is an interview with band members Neil S. Matharoo and Steve Faller.
What’s in a name? Why Vanguard Villains?
– MATHAROO: We’d been through a few versions of this band with different names. I was playing with a different drummer in 2008 under the name Super Raven, and then we brought in a bassist. That bassist brought in Steve Faller as our new drummer, and we were playing under the name Breaking Day. We were never happy with that name, and when that bassist departed (amicably), Steve and I really became a tight unit. So we needed a new name. Steve brought up the idea of using alliteration, and while watching the political news one night, I heard the word “Vanguard.” The word struck me, and “Vanguard Villains” just popped into my head.
Also – are you aware of the fact that there’s a band called Villain Vanguard (http://www.myspace.com/villainvanguard) out there? Are you familiar with them/their music?
– MATHAROO: Haha, yeah, we found out about them after we’d named our band. They tend to turn up in google searches for our name. I’ve heard some of their work on myspace, and it’s cool. It’s definitely not the same style of music as ours, though!
What are some of your musical influences?
– MATHAROO: I come from a guitar-rock background; that’s what really spurred me to be a musician. When I listen to my rhythm playing, I hear Slash and Izzy from Guns n’ Roses, though no one else seems to hear it. When I got serious about songwriting, I studied the hell out of Mountain Goats. My soloing technique obviously borrows from the early 90s scene.
– FALLER: Oddly enough my chief musical influences include few rock bands. Stevie Wonder, Mos Def, Brazilian Girls, Tito Puente, Fela, Bach, Debussy, YYY, Jeff Buckley, Clutch, Gogol Bordello, Michael Jackson, and The Roots are filling my speakers on that fictional desert island.
What about non-musical ones?
– MATHAROO: My educational background is in the sciences, with a focus on physical science; I see a lot of elegance in it. That being said, I really get inspired after watching The Twilight Zone and reading sci-fi 🙂
– FALLER: Non musical influences are definitely people who see a bit farther ahead than the rest, and use that knowledge to advance ideas that enlighten the majority instead of going for the usual get rich quick power grab. Noam Chomsky, Helio Gracie, NIetzche, and Gore Vidal had some shit figured out…
If you could collaborate with any musician – live or dead – who would it be and why?
– MATHAROO: Actual songwriting collaboration doesn’t come easily to me, and my favorite artists seem to be the same way. But if Billy Corgan let me write a guitar solo for one of his songs, I’d be thrilled.
– FALLER: If I could do an old school drum battle with ?uestlove from the Roots, I could die a happy man.
Track that you submitted for “Gone In 60 Seconds” is called “Zombie 10” and its a taster for a single “Zombie Lips” (you also recorded a live version of the track for Wildhoneypie blog’s BUZZsession).
This song strongly reminds me of Television – vocals, in particular are highly reminiscent of Tom Verlaine. Would you say that you were influenced by Television / Tom Verlaine while writing “Zombie Lips”?
– MATHAROO: I wrote Zombie Lips in about 10 minutes. I was frustrated with a more complex song I was writing, and as a joke to myself, I quickly wrote Zombie Lips. I brought it into the studio half-heartedly, but Steve came up with a vicious, brutal drum line to it, and the song just came to life. I actually never listened much to Television, but a comparison to Verlaine is a huge compliment!