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02nd Dec 2015

Indie titans The Vaccines talk to JOE about English Graffiti, nudity and Louis van Gaal…

Lia Nicholls

The Vaccines are enjoying a new lease of life thanks to the success of their latest album, English Graffiti.

The shackles are certainly a little looser for singer Justin Young, who is energised and interacting more than ever on stage – and then there’s the fact he’s off to a nudist colony for Christmas and New Year.

We caught up with the frontman to find out more about his naked holiday, supporting Manchester United and how the band were affected from the Paris terror attacks.

JOE: There’s a lot more interaction when you’re on stage now. Is that a conscious thing?

Justin: I’m more confident so I guess there is less of a barrier between band and audience now. If I could, I’d be cracking more jokes than playing music but my gets turned off if I go off on a tangent.

Where has all the extra energy come from?

We’ve always been energetic but more so now, we’re definitely more theatrical. The bigger the venue, the more space there is and the more moves to execute.

No but seriously, we’ve had to get the balance right, there’s nothing worse than seeing more style over substance so we’ve worked hard on that. I’m still trying to strike a personal balance. 


English Graffiti is kitschier and rockier than your previous albums. How do you feel about the album now it’s had time to breath? 

I can only describe it as a kind of growing pains. We’re really pleased with the album but we’re always wanting to be better. We’ve worked hard on improving as a band.

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Has the band’s rider changed much over the years? 

A little, yes. It’s now more OCD than anything as we’re trying to look after ourselves a bit more, although we always have a bottle of champagne on it – and it always gets drunk. 

You’re not shy of a dance on stage. What frontmen have inspired you the most?

I think being a frontman is one of those permeable and maleable things. I think every time you’re on tour with someone…I think every frontman on that tour if they watch a little bit of another band – the same way if you hang out with a group of people that you pick up other traits.

I’m probably guilty of being a little bit of everyone and in turn I’d like to think I’ve passed on some strings to others.


What other artists are you listening to?

Young Thug and the Natalie Prass record from last year I really like.

Is there enough room for everyone in the music industry? 

I think the internet and technology gives everyone a playing field and therefore it is likely to get flooded – but I think it’s great in the respect everyone has a voice. It also makes it harder to be heard. I feel like I know a lot about it but i’m very bad in putting it into words. 

Are you relaxed about your place in the system?

God, no. It’s hard getting there and it’s hard staying there, you can never get complacent. We have a lot of determination but I definitely still feel pressure.

You starred in an ad with Kate Moss, who would you pick now?

Larry David, probably.

What do you do to pass time on tour in between shows?

The answer is probably a lot more boring than people want.

Tell us your plans for Christmas? 

I’m off to Mexico and start writing the next record, I’m a bit of a nomad at the minute. But don’t feel too sorry for me, I’m staying in a nudist colony for New Year.

It was the only decent available place left, but I’m fine with that, well, it says clothing is optional. The pictures online are certainly interesting. Luckily I’m not going with my family or anything – maybe I’ll find love…

Adam and Eve painting detail

Will you be brave and go completely starkers? 

Not sure who will want to see a strategically placed cocktail and guitar but I’ll give it a go.

You’re a life long Manchester United fan, are you confident of a top four finish?

I’m not sure of anything with United at the minute but I’m going to say ‘yes’ to a top 4 finish.

It’s difficult coming to terms with the fact we’re no longer untouchable you know, but Van Gaal is decent, I mean if not him, who else? I like him.


You wore a Mexico shirt when you played there. Do you own a lot of footy shirts?

I do yes. I’m a big kid and still get excited when I get a new one. Generally I don’t like wearing them on stage and usually only wear them to play football in, but I wore my Mexico one recently when we played there – yeah it was a cheap shot but it went down well.

Eagles of Death Metal have announced they want to be the first band to play at the Bataclan when it re-opens. What are your thoughts?

I think it’s great. I think you have to continue the way we’ve lived our lives and honour the lives lost.

We’ve played at the venue, we knew people who were there, it was a very dark day and does feel like a personal loss. I don’t think I’d cancel any tour if we were due to play in the city after. 


What have you splurged the most cash on? 

Probably a holiday to Brazil.

What was your worst job?

I did one shift at a pub. I was a ‘ceramic technician’, basically washing up. They were so rude to me I couldn’t hack it and walked out. It was a bit of a blaze of glory – I dropped a glass, said ‘f*ck this’!

Name three people you’d love The Vaccines to collaborate with? 

Brian Wilson, Paul McCartney and Kanye West.


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