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Q&A with ‘Empty Swimming Pool’ band Voodoo Bandits

Photo Credit: Christopher Brew

English indie rock band the Voodoo Bandits have released their new single ‘Empty Swimming Pool’ via Superblue Records. They have been featured on rising Youtube channels like Fancy Melancholic and Sounds New Sounds Good. Their debut single was voted as track of the week on Indie Rocks Radio Manchester and featured on Spotify’s ‘Hot New Bands’ Editorial Playlist. They have a collective stream count of 140 000 plays. ‘Empty Swimming Pool’ was produced by Dave Armstrong (Back Door Slam), and the mix and mastering were done by Jamie McIntyre (The Covasettes and The Flitz). We find out more about the four-piece indie rock group in this interview.

How did the band form?

The band as we know formed sometime late 2018, not becoming active till we released our first song in March 2019! However, our roots go back. Myself (Ben), Corey (guitar), and Nathan (drums) played together back in 2016 as teens. I met them at an after-exams house party. A few months later I went from being terrible at guitar to halfway OK, I wrote a couple of songs and fancied forming a band. I hazily recalled that they played instruments (I didn’t know them before this!), so I hit them up! We then went through many singers, cover gigs, and previous releases with different folks, until I became a frontman and Charlotte (bass) joined, where we became the band as we know it!

How has your musical background helped shaped your sound?

Although two members have a pretty musical background growing up, I don’t think it has shaped our sound much!

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

Always starts with a riff! Sometimes it feels like the right riff will never come, but eventually, it does. After this, I make sure we can get a sick lead going, and get bass and drums to link the whole song together and drive it home. Once an idea gets established and feels strong enough, I’ll add other parts, such as verses, middle 8s, and solos. I tend to get the vocals finished last. I really enjoy creating emphasized rhythms on our songs, as they feel fun to play and listen to. ‘Empty Swimming Pool’ is no exception, giving a very big in your face part played by everyone, counting you into the song right off the bat!

What are or were some of the challenges for you in producing or performing while keeping true to your vision of your music.

It can be hard trying to replicate records live! But we mostly stay very close to the elements we have, and try to use a technique to create dynamics, making ourselves sound as big as possible! I also think it’s important for us to remember to let loose and have fun live, I write music designed to be fun for us to play; being so new, with not so many live shows played we are coming into ourselves, trying to convey our energetic and happy sound as 4 people on stage!

Who are three musicians you think the world needs to hear right now?
Hockey Dad, Marsicans, Sports Team.

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

I actually love the creation of the songs. Catching an idea and seeing it come together; I then can’t wait to record it and eventually perform it!

Any “strange tales” or things that may have happened during a show that seemed too weird to be true?

We once played alongside John Otway and saw some things man!

Do you find that social media and keeping up with your fans has become overwhelming? Or do you rely heavily on others to take care of that for the band? Which platform would you say that you enjoy engaging with the most?

We don’t get an overwhelming amount, but we do get enough to be really encouraging! It’s enough for a couple of people to handle as long as our phones are handy. We do make a point of being quick and being meaningful with responses. We really like to talk and interact with fans and make sure to leave no-one ignored, as we truly appreciate anyone who’s taken the time out to reach out to us! Instagram is favoured for interaction and keeps us the busiest!

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?

We’ve not played that many shows yet, so seeing people sing the words and dancing is still amazing to see. Reviews online and what people say about us very much sticks in my memory too and fuels us to keep trying in this industry. However, It was awesome when a few of the crowd ended up on stage for the final track when we played in Manchester!

Besides two members currently in college, does the other half have 9-5 jobs or projects that they are busy with on the side?

Charlotte (bass) is a full-time Ship Registrar, and I am a part-time Fire Fighter and occasional pint pourer at the pub.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?

You can expect a few songs in 2020 for sure, more shows in the UK, and our first step into festivals.

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