Vintage Trouble’s latest record steers the soul group in a new musical direction

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Vintage Trouble’s latest record steers the soul group in a new musical direction

Words by Christine Tsimbis

LA soul‘n’roll troubadours Vintage Trouble are on fire, having toured the world for the past eight years and releasing three critically acclaimed albums. 

Having just released their EP, Chapter II, in November 2018 they’ve also announced they’ll be appearing as part of Bluesfest’s 30th anniversary.

“It’s an absolute honour and a total pleasure for us, since it’s one of the great festivals of the world,” says drummer Richard Danielson, when asked about the band’s appearance at Bluesfest. “What makes it great is the music fans there, people are there to hear music and that’s what they want. They’re living for it and it really feels amazing as a musician, to play at a place like that. It’s very electric and alive.

“The people of Australia have always been great to us. I find them to be very open and nice; they’re very giving and very progressive at the same time.”

Danielson’s enthusiasm is contagious, particularly when he discusses their newest addition to the Vintage Trouble discography.

“[On Chapter II] we’re trying some things we haven’t tried before and we’re recording in ways that we never have before,” he says. “We’re allowing ourselves to evolve again, not just as people but as musicians and we’re not saying no to different influences but allowing them to creep in.”

The band’s influences are extremely diverse, ranging from old soul to modern hip hop and jazz and everything in between. Early on, they were inspired by ‘50s and early ‘60s soul music; this was their common ground and what brought them together. With Vintage Trouble’s interests constantly shifting as they naturally evolve, Danielson emphasises the importance of exploration and being open to change.

“I think it’s really important for musicians to try and stay open and don’t hate on certain things, just let things flow through you and see what happens,” he says. “It’s better to be open than closed off; personally I like music that makes you feel something, you know whether it’s in a lyric or in a vibe.

“Every genre has its standouts, so it’s very subjective but people should be listening to music that turns them on. I think that’s what music is there for, to get you stirred up.”

That’s exactly what Chapter II does for the band – it’s stirring up their musical style, providing them with a new and fresh direction to experiment with.

“There’s more colour to our music now, whereas before we were a little more black and white, which was very cool and we loved it,” Danielson says. “But we’re coming out with this [colourful] new EP and it’s a very exciting time for us.

“There’s songs that are anthems, like rallies that get people to stand up and use their voice for change, because the world is in such a place that people need to be vocal.

Moving forward, Vintage Trouble will continue to put their live show first, understanding the importance of their band-audience relationship.

“This thing happens at a Vintage Trouble concert where the audience and the band become one and that’s the drug, the chase you know. We want to continue playing live music and continue to go out and affect the world,” Danielson says. “We also want to use our voices to inspire people for change, to stand up and fight for things that they believe in.

“Artists have a lot of influence, and if we can get to a place where we can help people in various ways that would be very gratifying for us. Not to preach or anything like that, but just to inspire people.

“In America right now, we’re trying to inspire people to get off their couch and go vote. We don’t really care what they vote for; we want them to use their voice, to get out in the world and look into people’s eyes and have real conversations and vote, because that’s how we can affect some change right now.”

Vintage Trouble will play Bluesfest which comes to Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm from Thursday April 18 to Monday April 22. They’re also performing at The Corner on Thursday April 25. Grab your tickets via respective festival and venue websites.