Heavy grunge rock at its best: Introducing The Vitrines

Introducing punk rockers Alex Donovan and Morgan Haynes; The Vitrines are an absolute explosion of messy, gritty grunge music and I recently interviewed the duo about their boundary-breaking tracks. Two pieces have always been popular in rock music, just look at bands like Slaves, Royal Blood and The White Stripes; and The Vitrines are certainly on their way to being up there at the top. With Alex on lead vocals and guitar, and Morgan on drums, their music is pure filth, with really heavy, intense riffs full of power and vibrancy. They’re such a skilled band, and you can tell from their EP how much effort and practice has gone into their music. It’s proper grunge rock, with a fantastically edgy bite to it. Their 5 track EP was released at the end of August this year, and recorded at Neosikon studios. The amazing thing as well about the Southampton-based two piece is they’re both still teenagers; it’s unreal that they’re still school students yet are able to create such a fierce cutting-edge sound. My favourite tracks from the EP would have to be ‘Mindgames’ and ‘Bad Lucy.’ The duo are an exciting burst of energy and pure rock talent, and are a much needed addition to the heavier, grungier edge of the music industry. The band have a gripping DIY sound, and are so blunt and unrefined; their music is really messy and embodies punk-grunge perfectly. They have a really exciting aura about them too, reminiscent, in my eyes, of bands like The Sex Pistols, Marmozets and Foo Fighters, certainly in terms of heaviness and pure grunge authenticity. Their tracks are intricate too- the guitar riffs Alex plays are incredibly detailed and deep, and Morgan’s heavy ferocity on the drums brings their music together really well. As a fan of grunge bands like Nirvana, and punk bands like The Clash and Blondie, the heaviness and grittiness the two piece have is extremely refreshing and exciting. For any fan of Jack White or Slaves, you’ll genuinely be blown away by Alex and Morgan. They posses a really intriguing quality too; they’re somewhat mature in their age, as in their tracks could have come straight out of a 90s grunge album, or 70s punk EP. They’re a truly promising band with heaps of talent and energy- and I’m definitely a fan.

For more on the two piece, you can read my interview with Alex and Morgan below


Tell me about your band- who’s in it, where did you form and how did you meet?

Alex: It’s just me and Morgan, and we formed early this year around June time. It all started in science lesson when I was talking about starting a band. No one was really too fussed until I heard Morgan played drums and it just evolved from there

Morgan: We were mates at school. I heard he needed a drummer and I didn’t straight away take the offer, but he dropped me round a demo he’d recorded and I liked what was on it

You mention being from Southampton. What’s you local music scene like?

Alex: Surprisingly there’s a lot more to it than we first thought. I mean The Joiners is definitely a home base to many local musicians and it’s a crucial venue to the scene. We have loads of different bands and artists who are frequently gigging and it’s great to now be part of it

Morgan: Yeah our local music scene is very strong and experienced. We get a lot of influence and inspiration from many bands who are in the same situation as us

For a band you’re both quite young, do you see this as a disadvantage in any way? 

Morgan: Being young is a very large disadvantage at the moment. Because we aren’t financially stable due to our age, funding the band is difficult at some points. However, it’s unique to to find a band with members our age meaning our music catches the attention of many people

Alex: In some ways it’s good, we both get loads of  free time and it’s easy to arrange rehearsals. We can practice four times a week for three hours at a time if we have a show coming up. Money can be an issue- but so far we’ve managed to cope pretty well

How did you come up with the name ‘The Vitrines’?

Alex: I saw the word once in French and I just thought it sounded cool. Because there was two of us it made sense to make it plural

What bands have influenced you growing up, and who are your favourite current musicians?

Alex: I’ve always admired the work of Jack White from the White Stripes, especially the early stuff, but my favourite current musician would have to be Laurie from Slaves

Morgan: My approach to drumming is inspired by bands like The White Stripes, Nirvana and Royal Blood

What’s the best gig/ festival you’ve been to and what venue/ festival would you like to headline one day?

Alex: Slaves at the Portsmouth Pyramids, supported by Wonk Unit (who are now friends of ours) and Spring King. And I’ve always wanted to play the O2- so not big expectations, obviously

Morgan: To answer the second part, I think our best gig was headlining the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth. It was the biggest stage we had played on and it was a great experience

I’m assuming you’re both still at school- what’s it like balancing that with the band? 

Alex: It’s easy, the band comes first, then school. What’s the point of spending hours doing something I don’t enjoy doing when I could be writing a new song or gigging? I do sometimes have to put school first, but it’s a rare occasion

Morgan: At some points, for me it’s very hard to separate school and the band. I have to stay dedicated to the band as well as prioritising school, and mixing them two together is a real challenge

What are your plans for the future in terms of gigging and recording?

Alex: We’re just about to do some gigs away from home, but until we’ve confirmed anything I don’t want to announce anything just yet. And as for recording, we’ve got studio time booked for mid October and some other stuff planned, but again, I wouldn’t want to give away any surprises

Morgan: We’re looking to release something towards the beginning of the New Year, but you’ll have to just wait and see

Your single [‘Bad Lucy’] sounds incredible, as does the rest of the EP- what was the writing and recording process like?

Alex: For the EP, we recorded it in four days, the arrangements, lyrics and everything was done by me. I find having people around me when I write really distracts the process and I can’t focus fully. It was mixed, mastered, and recorded at Neosikon studios

Two pieces are becoming increasingly popular, just look at bands like Royal Blood and Slaves. Which two piece bands, if any, have influenced you?

Morgan: Slaves by far are the most influential two piece on the band. Their music is unique and powerful and that’s what we aim to do on stage

What inspires your lyrics?

Alex: Whatever is going on in my head, if I’m all over the place at a certain time, my lyrics will reflect that. I don’t think I have a certain overall inspiration apart from what’s on my mind

For more on the Vitrines, you can check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp

Photo one © LJR photography

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