Rise of The Vacant Lots

The Burlington music scene has struck again. Two-piece psychedelic outfit The Vacant Lots may have formed here just two years ago, but they have already produced three full-length albums independently.  Now they’ve signed a record deal with Brooklyn-based indie/psych-pop label Mexican Summer and released a new single with them called “Confusion/Cadillacs.”  I got a chance to sit down and talk with front man Jared Artaud about where The Vacant Lots came from and where they’re going.     VC: What brought you to the fine state of Vermont?   JA: I just came out here; didn’t really know anything about Vermont. I dropped out of school, went to California for a while, then came back to the East Coast. I came up to Burlington with my girlfriend, and moved up a couple weeks later. [It was] really spontaneous.   VC: Has Burlington influenced your sound or direction?   JA: It certainly helped shape my ideas for what I wanted to do. I think Burlington has allowed me enough space to stay focused and write; it was enough of a city to feel inspired. But it also has this atmosphere to have solitude to write. VC: What does signing with Mexican Summer mean for you? JA: I think it gives us a chance to join a label we really admire and expose our music to a larger audience.  I think it’s important to be on a label where there’s mutual respect and admiration.  They’ve been really great, so we’re grateful to Mexican Summer. VC: What has touring been like for you? JA: Oh man, it’s been really cool.  It’s always cool to play a different city every night.  It’s a real high going from city to city, each city has it’s own vibe.  It was so great playing with Sonic Boom last year.  That was our first trip out, really broke us out.  I’m really excited to play South by Southwest, then in April back to Texas for Psychfest with the Black Angels.  [We’re] making plans for a tour out west, and hoping to hit the UK and the rest of Europe soon. VC: So you don’t find all the traveling monotonous at all? JA: Oh no, touring is where it’s at, it’s really where I want to be.  I just love being on the road, taking on new experiences. VC: You’ve been prolific for such a short time together. Do you plan to continue producing so much material?   JA: Yeah, I mean … I tend to write a lot. It comes in waves, whether you call it inspiration or focus, it is a lot of hard fucking work. Now, though, we’re taking our time with mixing and recording it. Before, we didn’t have a label; we were like fuck it, we’re just going to put stuff out there and hopefully inspire people to do the same. But as for getting your music out there to a larger audience, a label helps do what a DIY band can’t accomplish. Both are equally rewarding, but where we’re at now, I’d prefer to work with a label.   VC: Are you continuing in the same musical direction with your upcoming album?   JA: No, I think it’s different. The style of The Vacant Lots develops with time. We’ve done so much in such a short period of time, it’s a very organic self-evolving sound; we learned as we went. Not only were we laying our own music down, I was mixing it, producing it, and mastering it. I like the sound now, the direction has changed. We can work with new elements we haven’t put into it before, sounds I’ve been interested in. We’re just trying other techniques to create a thick but clear wall of sounds. A lot of our songs are pounding, you know, grabbing the listener by the throat. But these songs explore different themes. The moods and feelings that come across are different. It’s about experimenting continually, but simultaneously it’s about manifesting your vision. I hear a lot in my head that I’m trying to get out. I want these songs to sound the way I hear them. In the studio it’s a science but also a catharsis. It’s like going to war: no hesitation, no compromise.   VC: Any advice for the would-be musicians out there?   JA: Be true to yourself. If you truly believe in what you’re doing, never stop and never look back. If what you are after is not found in crowds, you’ll be alright.   Read the full interview online at www.vermontcynic.com