Fresh of their release of stellar debut single Masquerade, new indie rock band VITO are creating a brilliantly raucous, captivating indie sound, filling an obvious gap in the music industry. Made up of Tom Conway (guitar and lead vocals), Andy Bell (guitar and vocals), Jasper Watson (bass guitar and vocals), and Dom Willis (drums), the band have elements of classic indie rock to their music with a more modernised alternative edge. They have a very pure, catchy indie sound, which is enthralling and a lot of fun to listen to. What I love about the band is how they embody all the elements of traditional indie rock, yet maintain a unique edge which makes them slightly different to other bands out there currently, whilst keeping a strong, solid indie sound. Like bands such as Catfish and The Bottlemen or The Strokes, VITO have brilliant guitar riffs and blaring rock choruses, giving their tracks that indie rock anthem feel. The band released debut single Masquerade earlier on this year in January, and it’s safe to say the debut single alone promises a lot for the band. The track has this fantastic guitar sound to it with the meticulous riff playing throughout the track, with a deep rich bass line and short sharp chords layered over it. The drumming has a fantastically steady, rhythmic beat to it too which helps tie the track together. It’s very polished and professional, which is exciting to hear in a band’s debut single. Tom’s vocals remind me a lot of Van McCann or Liam Gallagher; there’s that classic pure indie rock/ Brit-pop sound to them. The band have quite an atmospheric aura too, one which I can see being moulded into something much bigger than it already is. The catchy explosive riffs tie in garage and alt-rock sounds too, which just adds to the immensity of Masquerade. There’s a lot of dynamism to the band, which makes VITO an extremely exciting new force of indie infused rock’n’roll.
For more on VITO you can read my exclusive interview with Andy below
Tell me about your band; who’s in it and how did you form?
I’ve been playing in different bands with Tom (our singer) for close to ten years now but they fell apart because of people going to uni and pursuing other interests. Tom knew Dom (drums) from going to college, and we went through a few bass players before finding Jasper on Facebook – he looked good so had to be in the band.
How did you come up with the name VITO?
We couldn’t settle on a name as everything’s taken these days. Tom just said VITO and it sort of stuck. It’s got connotations with life and power so it reflects our music well – loud, fun and big choruses.
Tell me a bit about where you’re from and your local music scene
Me and Tom are from Gateshead and Dom and Jasper are from Sunderland. It’s pretty cool being from both places because there’s bands who’ve done well like The Futureheads and Maximo Park. Most people just talk about ‘The Newcastle Scene’ but for us it’s more of a ‘North East Scene’ and it seems to be there’s never been a better time for music making up here. There’s some bands doing really well for themselves and we’re seeing more and more people showing up to shows so we’re really excited about the future.
Who would you say are key musical influences on the band?
Probably Catfish and The Bottlemen, The Strokes and Gaslight Anthem. We also listen to loads of Classic Rock like Thin Lizzy, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen – anything with guitars really.
What’s your first memory of music?
I used to have this music teacher that would come in primary school and just play guitar and sing to us. He used to play The Beatles and that and I completely adored him. I picked up the guitar around then and started getting lessons off him too.
What influences your lyrics?
I can’t really speak for Tom but we always write songs about being young and wanting to do big things. I guess it’s sort of escapism.
Given the state of politics currently, would you ever consider embodying that in your music?
Yeah, I think with our songs it depends how you read it – they can either seem really political or not political at all, which I like. Like I said, we tend to write about being young and the problems that our generation faces as a result of what the older generations have done, so it’s only natural that it’d become political at parts. It’d be cool to actually write a protest song though, we really like what VANT are doing with how political they are so it’d be cool to follow in their footsteps a little.
Tell me about your debut single Masquerade
It actually came out a while back and we’ve been overwhelmed with the reaction so far. We really didn’t expect it to be as well received as it has been! It’s class to see a song that must have gone through about 5 different iterations over two years come out to people loving it and singing it back to us at shows. We wrote it about Newcastle and how much we love the city but also want to get out and do big things that would hopefully gain some attention for the city.
What’s the best gig you’ve been to?
My first show was Green Day in Manchester Arena in 2009 – we were right at the back and they were just tiny specs on stage but to have that as the first show was really memorable. I love their energy and that it’s more of a show than just playing a few tunes to a crowd.
What’s the dream venue/ festival to headline?
It’s really cliché with what I’ve just been talking about but I’d actually love to headline St James’ Park in Newcastle. We saw Kings of Leon play there a while back and would be amazing to come out to a home crowd there. As for festivals, probably Reading and Leeds to be honest. I’ve never actually been, but have grown up following the bands that come from the smaller stages to headlining and would be class to be part of that.
Who’d be your favourite artist, living or dead, to collaborate with?
Personally I’d love to do something with any of The Beach Boys – just sit and write a proper pop tune with loads of parts and go crazy in the studio.
What plans do you have for the future in terms of gigging and recording?
I’m not too sure what I can say but we have quite a lot of festivals coming up this summer. We’ll be gigging up and down the country in between anyway, we want to play every where, doesn’t matter how big or small the venue is. We’re putting finishing touches on a second single as we speak and will have one more single before we start an EP for release towards the end of the year. It’s going to be busy!