This Monday Southampton’s Miss Vincent make their return with ‘Reasons Not To Sleep’. Last time we heard from the quartet was back in 2013 when they released an EP entitled ‘Creepy’. Since then they’ve been getting some road experience and writing new material. ‘Reasons Not To Sleep’ sees Miss Vincent evolve from creepy to gloomy with their brand of “moody punk rock”. With past comparisons to AFI and the Misfits, this new EP sees them heading into darker territory becoming angrier along the way.
The end result is a fierce, more focused EP that sees Miss Vincent making huge steps forward, both musically and lyrically.
To find out more about the EP, vocalist/guitarist Alex Marshall has produced a useful track-by-track guide to the EP.
‘Reasons Not To Sleep’ is a dark record. It wasn’t a completely conscious decision to start with. The songs naturally took a gloomier direction, and we just went with it full tilt. All the newer material was much much faster, angrier, and more unhinged, and it felt more like “our” sound.
Production wise we really wanted to capture the frenetic energy of playing the songs live as well as the more ethereal, layered elements. Recording with Neil Kennedy at the Ranch in Southampton was a great fit, he really helped us layer the songs perfectly and created the depth and atmosphere we were looking for.
We toured a lot of these songs for almost a year before recording them, and the gang vocals in this one seemed to get people singing along almost immediately. Theme wise it’s just a panicked expression of hopelessness – it’s questioning whether everyone should just give up on you, but at the same time there’s a sense of hope that if you stick together you can rid yourself of that feeling.
Gradients of Grey
The roots of this song lie before Miss Vincent was even formed. It started as a little conversation with myself about perseverance, because at the time I didn’t have a band or anyone to form one with, just a burning desire to play. There’s a counterpoint between the relatively minimal verses and the big call and response chorus. We’re big Misfits fans too so any excuse for some good old “whoa”s really!
This wasn’t always a slow song. It was originally double the speed but didn’t sound quite right; Lawrie suggested slowing it down and the feel just clicked. It’s a lot of fun to play live because it’s sort of sinister and introverted in the verses, and the chorus lets out all that pent up aggression. And there’s a rad guitar solo. The spooky riff at the start trails on perfectly from the weird segue from the song before. If you listen hard you can hear a little bit of eBow action underneath all the atmospherics that had Lawrie and Neil on their knees twiddling knobs on pedals for hours.
The lyrics in this are pretty broad. It’s that feeling of seeing people tread a known path in the hope of success and not wanting to follow, but having a horrible internal struggle that comes with it. When I wrote this I was questioning everything I was doing, wondering why this shitty feeling got worse as I got older. I was giving advice to someone very close to me, and I sort of stopped midway through a sentence because I realised that I could do with taking that same advice. In that sense there’s some positivity blended in. At the same time I was dealing with some health issues as well, that’s where the line about hospitals comes from.
Two and a half minutes of rage. It’s a pissed off song about how badly people can act towards each other, how they repeatedly take advantage of one another. We aimed to do as few vocal takes as possible to try and capture that raw, aggressive feel, and it worked out great.
How Much Further?
This was the first song from the EP that we played live. Even though no one had heard it it’s always gone down really well at shows and people seem to remember it, so for those reasons we chose it as the lead single. It was only once we got in the studio that we realised how fast we play it live, so it was probably the toughest track to record. The lyrics are essentially reflecting on the fact that life sometimes seems to wait until things are looking up to tear you down again. As though everything you aspire to is nothing more than a shadow that you’re chasing.
You Can’t Spell Blame Without ME
This was the last song we wrote for the EP. It was a little strange for us recording this because it was the only song we hadn’t played live before, so it took shape purely in the practice room and the studio, but we were blown away by the outcome. We completely let rip on the last chorus and it’s probably our favourite part of the EP. There’s layers and layers of vocals and a super fuzzy drop tuned baritone guitar, which was more of Neil’s input. It’s also a very personal song, looking at things in your life that are out of your control but you still blame yourself for. I have a lot of unexplained guilt that crops up in places on the EP, but more so here than anywhere.
‘Reasons Not To Sleep’ EP by Miss Vincent is released on 11th May on Engineer Records.