If you are a fan of unsigned bands in any capacity there’s a huge chance you would have heard of Vigo Thieves over the past 12 months. In February last year they became the first unsigned band in history to sell out two nights at King Tuts, rubbed shoulders with the stars at T In The Park, sold out The Arches and supported The Fratellis at the world-famous Barrowland Ballroom. And that’s just a few of their achievements. Tipped by many a person to be the next big thing this year, Vigo Thieves are one of the most exciting bands in Scotland at the moment.
From Wishaw, in Glasgow, Stevie (Vocals), Gino (Bass), Barry (Guitar and Vocals), Chris (Piano and Vocals) and Al (Drums) originally started out as a four-piece in 2008, perfecting their art at a local club night called Shook To The Bones. While working on their debut E.P Heart & Soul Pt I at Chris Gorman’s studio they asked him to join the band on piano and synth duties, taking their number to 5. Why did they ask Chris to join the band? “He has a voice like Jesus and can play piano like Ray Charles”. With this in their ammo Stevie, Gino, Al, Barry and now Chris were ready to take their sound to the masses.
It was ‘that’ sound which would see so many people so excited by the band. Big sing-along choruses and passionate, heartfelt lyrics oozed influence from U2 and Simple Minds with songwriting inspiration from Bruce Springsteen and The Killers; but brought with it a modern sound. Thanks to the music they produce the fanbase they have drawn over the past few years has been impressive to say the least.
The first EP release from the band, Heart & Soul Pt I really kicked things off to the next level for the band. Released in early 2012 it helped them grab a prestigious slot on the BBC Introducing stage at T in the Park as well as a support slot for a sold-out O2 Academy date with The View. Featuring ‘Wide Awake’, ‘Steal Your Heart’, ‘Heartbeats’, ‘Love Is Dead’, ‘She’s On Fire’ and ‘Steal Your Heart Part II’ it’s a haunting synth-pop masterclass. Showing the aforementioned influences off well the EP firmly establishes the band’s sound, an opinion shared by many as the release quickly sold out.
2013 was a big year for the band. As well as the plaudits in the introduction to the article, the band also released their second EP Heart & Soul Pt II to widespread acclaim. The four-track featuring ‘Blinding/Lights’, ‘Forever’, ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Believe’ was an evolution of the sound from their previous album, surpassing the ‘young pretenders to Simple Minds’ throne’ label and taking their own place on the mantle. The EP helped get them onto the Transmission stage at T in the Park and an appearance at The Wickerman Festival too. Following on from the success of Heart & Soul Pt I, Heart & Soul Pt II also sold out.
When talking to Stevie about highlights of 2013 for the band he advises it was opening the Transmission tent at T in the Park. “It was totally different [to playing BBC Introducing last year]. The Transmission tent is double the size and we managed to pack it. Also getting our own dressing room in the Artist Village. It was unreal sharing the backstage with the likes of Mumford & Sons, Calvin Harris etc…” And the difference between festivals and playing venues? “Festivals have a great vibe. Everyone is there for a good time and the atmosphere seems to be a bit more special.”
For those who enjoyed the first two E.P’s then be excited, Stevie shared that the band are writing and recording a lot and have some new songs that they want to showcase throughout the year. Now that the band have cemented their sound with their fanbase, should we expect anything different or more of the winning formula? “I think it’s natural for a band to grow and evolve but right now we’re happy with the songs and sound that we have.”
Stevie is confident 2014 will be “the biggest year we’ll have so far as a band” and it’s easy to see why. The band have went from strength to strength over the past two years and this year will almost certainly be their year. But what about the future, what does that look like for the band? “The goal is to be doing this for a living”.