Getting To Know You… Voodoo and The Crypts

Having seen Voodoo and the Crypts hold their own with a support slot at the Prince Albert, when I heard that they were playing a headline spot at BLEACH, courtesy of the fine people at Live Medicine, I knew that I had to get the down there and witness their fitness. As of late, the indie/alternative four-tet have been garnering attention at all of our favourite venues down here in Brighton, since moving here from their homestead of Essex. So I headed down to BLEACH, before the festivities kicked off, in order to get to know the boys that are soon to be a known force in the Brighton indie scene…

First of all, should we have a roll call?

Matt: I’m Matt, I’m on guitar and lead vocals.

Jordan: I’m Jordan and I play lead guitar.

Rob: Rob, bass.

Sam: Sam, drums.

Rob bass? Like DJ EZ Rock? Anyway, where are you guys from?

Matt: We’re all from Essex.

Cool, is it one of those cases of you all moving down to Brighton together?

Rob: It’s like two pairs, I moved here with Matt and the other two moved here from Colchester. We’re from Billericay. But the house I live in has these two [gesturing to Sam and Jordan] living in the floor below me.

Jordan: So it was quite easy for us all to mesh together.

So were you all drinking one night and then decided to have a jam together?

Rob: I don’t know, we had this idea of forming a band and then me and Jordan were playing together and we came up with this riff, a song idea, which became the first song on Ghost [a two track release of theirs]. We decided to record it as a four.

Matt: And I think we just carried on from there really.

Did you go straight to the studio to record the tracks for Ghost?

Jordan: We went round Matt’s who has all the recording stuff so we worked it out as a demo.

Sam: We demo songs all the time.

Matt: Yeah we basically demo every song that we write, straight away.

Jordan: I think, for us, it’s the easiest way to do it.

Brilliant! So, I heard your soundcheck not two minutes ago, but I also saw you supporting House Points at the Prince Albert…

Sam: Yeah that was our first gig.

That’s awesome because it sounded really tight!

Jordan: To be fair, I think we’ve developed even more since then and that was only a few weeks ago.

Well your soundcheck just now is definitely a testament to that.

Jordan: Yeah we’re definitely more confident.

Rob: Well, we did some gigs when we went back to Essex and that definitely helped us, like a bit of a warm up for tonight. We played Chelmsford.

How are the venues in Essex compared to Brighton then?

Jordan: The good thing about Essex was that we were in front of all of our mates so I think it automatically made us more confident, like seeing our friends dancing and stuff.

Matt: The actual venues are pretty questionable. Well, they’re alright, The Basement is really good.

And how’s the live sound back home? Because where I’m from, Canterbury, the live sound can be alright or just atrocious.

Matt: Yeah, not all the venues mic you up on amps.

Rob: Yeah, at the Billericay gig, there were way more people there [than Chelmsford] but the shape of the venue meant that people were just standing there, looking at us.

Jordan: But I think the sound in Brighton is so much better than home because there’s more of a scene here, you know? Back at home, it’s more like pub gigs, which is fine, but here it feels like the real deal.

Matt: Back home venues are more like clubs really.

So the move down to Brighton is definitely working for you as a band?

Rob: Yeah, definitely. It’s much easier to get gigs and people look out for music a lot more here.  There are loads more bands that you can mingle with and be mates with.

Yeah, for sure. Diverging slightly; from when I’ve seen you live, I’d personally describe your sound as kind of indie-poppish but with lots of darker elements to it so it really stands out. How do you find it?

Matt: I think we’ve never really aimed for anything genre-wise which makes our music quite fluid. In terms of melody, I think we tend towards a summery and uplifting vibe…

Jordan: That dynamically can be shifted to quite lower and darker tones as well.

Matt: Yeah!

Sam: Well, we’ve got quite a wide range of influences.

Rob: I think every song we write, we have the intention of playing it live therefore we want it to engage our audience so we can get them dancing or something like that.

Sometimes demo-ing songs when you write them could hinder that though? Like if you add keys on a recording and then not perform with keys live?

Rob: I think it’s Sam that keeps us quite grounded in that sense. If we get too weird when we’re writing, Sam is the one who will make us think of how accessible to audiences we want to be.

Sam: Fair.

Jordan: Yeah like there was this one time where we made this ten minute long song that had loads of Southern African instruments and vocals in the background.

Sam: Yeah, it was like an old-school Happy Mondays ‘90s rave tune, wasn’t it?

Matt: Yeah that might’ve been a bit too much.

Sam mentioned earlier that you guys have quite a wide range of influences, is there anyone in particular that unifies you as a band, in terms of influence?

Sam: I think as a band, it’s like The Smiths, Stone Roses and people like that. But we’re all into our dance music as well.

I think that interest in dance music is possibly what makes your tunes so exciting live…

Sam: Yeah like The Smiths; ‘Please, Please, Please [Let Me Get What I Want]’ is good to sit in your room and cry to but you definitely can’t dance to it.

Matt: Well, I tend to write quite depressing lyrics…

Rob: Heartbreaking at times.

Matt: But, I think the happy melodies and sad lyrics help to create contrast, and we definitely owe that to our influences.

So, where did the name, Voodoo and the Crypts, come from?

Rob: Sam does a bit of graphic design and he came up with a logo that had the name on it and we were like; “What’s that?” It looked really cool so we went with it and I think it suits the music.

Jordan: Not gonna lie, at first, I fucking hated the name but we hadn’t thought of anything else so we used it right off the bat and I like it now.

Sam: Yeah, I think we all like it. I was a bit afraid that it might sound a bit like a death metal band name.

Maybe your third album should be doused in death metal?

Jordan: It’s looking like it could do.

[All laugh]

Lastly, I like to ask bands who they’re listening to at the moment, in general and locally.

Sam: I’ve been listening to a lot of South American music; samba and Latin.

Rob: I think that’s feeding into your drumming style as well which is cool.

Matt: We’ve got some mates from back home who are sick; Andalou!

Jordan: Paradise Forum [one of the supporting acts that night] are sick too, to be fair.

Matt: SEATs are wicked, loving their sound.

Jordan: Blue Eyed Giants are awesome, we’ve played with them but their much heavier than us, so it’s a bit like a guilty pleasure.

Speaking of, who has the worst guilty pleasure out of all the Voodoo and the Crypts band members?

Rob [Gesturing to Jordan]: This guy loves Bruce Springsteen.

Jordan: I’m not embarrassed by that at all.

Matt: You should be.

The boys went on to play a mesmerising show that night, staying true to their promise of getting the crowd moving. Now, with the passing of their Great Escape show, I expect Voodoo and the Crypts are poised to take Brighton by the scruff this summer.

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