Rising Stars, October – The Vagary

For the October edition of Rising Stars, we’ve chosen Dutch indie quartet The Vagary as our main focal point. Alongside that, Australian hardcore group When Giants Sleep and brand new singer-songwriter Asatter are also going to be featured this month. For now though, you can read on to find out more about The Vagary.

The Vagary are the next in a long line of indie rock acts from the Netherlands, with the quartet forming in Amsterdam 3 years ago. Their eclectic mix of upbeat indie rock (which follows a very simple, poppy format) is exactly what has made the four-piece so exciting. Consisting of Thijs Havens (vocals, guitar & keys), Julien Staartjes (guitar), Lukas Verburgt (drums) and Bowie Verschuuren (bass), they started gaining prominence in 2013 following an appearance on Dutch television show De Wereld Draait Door. The recording of a debut album soon followed, with the single Time Machinebeing releasd towards the end of 2013 and receiving plenty of airplay through 3fm. This year saw the band play Eurosonic Noorderslag alongside a whole host of summer festivals, before their debut album Salute was released in August. Most recent single Come Back is by far the standout track on the album, with its catchy chorus and hypnotic guitar line making them one of the most exciting and genuine acts to come out of Holland in a long time.

We also managed to speak to The Vagary guitarist Julien ahead of this feature, which you can read below.

How did The Vagary come to form and how did you gravitate towards making music?
Thijs and Bowie were living together in a student flat near the Vondelpark in Amsterdam. When Thijs left to study abroad, he left some of his instruments at home. Bowie picked up Thijs’s bass guitar and learnt to play all the songs they listened to together. Lukas has been drumming since he was a little blonde boy, and met Thijs and Bowie through a mutual friend. Julien started to play guitar because somebody said it looked cool. Julien met the other guys after a gig in a squat. There were cockroaches on the floor and the Beer was warm. He asked them if he could join their band and promised them fame and money.

Your name, The Vagary, is quite an interesting (yet simple) one. Where did the idea for that name come from?
Thank you. It came out of a dictionary that landed on Thijs’s head. He liked the definition and decided to write a song called; vagary. We ditched the song, but the name stuck.

Indie music quite like yours is becoming rather popular lately, particularly in Holland. What do you think it is about this kind of music which has made it so attractive lately?
Because the kids want to keep on rocking in the free world. That’s what we offer – loud, thrilling music that shakes people up and makes them feel good.

Who are your biggest influences instrumentally and lyrically, and why?
We all have quite different influences, but I think we can all agree on: Tom Petty because he is the coolest guy ever. Jarvis Cocker, because he is lyrical genius and the Velvet Underground because they introduced a dark element to pop music for which we are ever grateful.

A lot of bands become successful through an extremely dedicated fanbase – have you already started seeing signs of a (possibly) die hard fanbase? 
There is one girl, Wies, who comes to all of our shows, that’s pretty cool.

There has been a lot of talk lately about guitar music “dying”. How do you think the future of guitar-based music is looking?
As long as people write three-chord songs, kids will want to play guitar. That’s how we started, and that’s how it will hopefully be.

All four of you have been taken to a desert island in the middle of nowhere, and have been told that you’ll be rescued in 1 year. Amongst the whole band, you can only choose 5 things to live on for the whole year. What would they be, and why? 
Quinoa, Cucumbers and Water. And Musil’s Der Mann Ohne Eigenschaften, so we can finally finish the damn thing. Also, cold Beer.

What plans do you have for the rest of the year?
Touring our album Salute and writing new songs for the next album! Already well on our way.

And what can we expect for the future from you guys?
A new album – one that will make all other albums sound like Mary Had a Little Lamb.

Salute is out now. Catch The Vagary on tour later this year, with all the dates available on www.thevagary.nl