From out of Brooklyncomes The Vital Might, a fast rising band that is often described by the term “epic art rock.” It’s a sound that emanates from influences such as A Perfect Circle, Muse, Radiohead, Foo Fighters, ISIS, Jeff Buckley, and Mastodon, yet is unique and hard to classify on its own. The sound is evident on their new release, The Eclipse, which is available through their website and via bandcamp.com.
Led by band visionary Andy Milk on guitar and vocals, the group also contains Rick Gauthier on bass and vocals and Evan Kraker on drums. Together they have performed over 200 shows up and down the East Coast, from Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine all the way down to Florida. They have ventured as far west as Illinois, and hit New York hotspots such as Arlene’s Grocery, The Bitter End, Sullivan Hall, Piano’s, Trash Bar, Spike Hill, The Delancey, Fontana’s, and the 169 Bar.
Another unique aspect of the band, besides their sound, is their geography, and how they make it work despite the challenge that presents. “Even though the band is based inBrooklyn, we live far from each other,” explains Andy. “One member is inNew Hampshire, another inAlbany, and another inBrooklyn. After releasing this record, we’d like to do more light touring in 2013 as we start to tinker with some new songwriting ideas. After a long haul and the hard work of three full-length albums and over 35 songs recorded and released, the band may release songs individually or in three-song demos, or five-song EPs, to keep the music flowing. Three years between albums is too long for the band and for fans to wait.”
The writing process emanates from Andy, as he writes all of the lyrics and arranges most of the songs. He will usually bring riff ideas to the band to get the right vibe, which the group then hashes out by jamming on them for a while. He then takes the parts back home and arranges the song into their final structures. They will work on learning those structures together, and tie up any loose ends and the transitions before laying the tracks down.
One particular track from the new album has been a longtime favorite for both the band and fans of the group. “‘I Found You,’ from the new album, is both our favorite song to play right now and fans’ favorite when we play it out,” says Andy. “People have been asking for two years, ‘Can I get a recording of that?’ Well, we finally have it!”
The name of the three-piece, and also of the new album, goes deeper than the initial thought which brought them about. “It came to our bassist, Rick, randomly one day,” Andy relates. “He just saw the image of a solar eclipse in his head and wanted it to be part of this new set of songs. It made sense to tie to the title-track, which is about parents getting in the way of their kids making mistakes, and not allowing their kids to fail and learn from their mistakes. But as a band, it also represents ‘life.’ Distance, jobs, family, and other circumstances have made The Vital Might a band that can’t get together two or three times a week to keep churning out music. So ‘life’ sometimes is our ‘Eclipse,’ but we’re doing everything we can to shine around it.”
While the music lends itself to a seriousness about the band and the music they produce, the group is not without its light moments. During one particular recording session, for the song “Once,” Andy decided to do all the multi-part harmonies himself. He started with a lower fifth, which he found easy enough. Then he went a fifth above the main vocal line, which was also no problem. Then an octave below and an octave above, which was starting to get a little challenging for him, but once they were all done, they sounded great together. Rather than leave well enough alone, Andy then tried to lay down an even higher harmony, maybe a fifth above the high octave part. However, what came out of Andy’s mouth at that point can be described no other way than a perfect imitation of Elmo from Sesame Street. After a period of time to allow the producer and the other people in the studio to stop laughing, Andy went on to channel Elmo, shouting out “Hey kids! It’s Elmo,” as the session degenerated in fits of laughter.
You can find out more information about The Vital Might at thevitalmight.com and facebook.com/thevitalmight. You can also find song teasers on YouTube, which feature clips from the recordings session for the new album.