LA rockers Vigil of War recently made their eagerly anticipated UK debut as part of a week-long tour.

British rockers Wild Thorn first encountered Vigil of War at the famed Whiskey a Go Go in Hollywood back in 2018. On their return to the UK, the band planted the seed that eventually came to fruition with a DIY tour for LA-based outfit. Almost a year to the date and Vigil of War finally made their maiden transatlantic voyage as part of a weeklong UK tour.

National Rock Review recently caught up with Vigil of War before their headline show at Trillians in Newcastle to get the low down on the band, their impressions of the UK and what the band has in store for the rest of 2019.

NRR: First of all thank you so much for taking the time to chat us today, I really appreciate it. So you’re currently out on tour across the UK, and this is the first time you’ve ever been over here. How have the shows been going so far?

Alicia: They’ve been great, better than we could’ve ever expected. Just a lot of energy every night. A lot of new people.

Shane: Everyone’s so nice. Everyone’s super into it. People are coming out. We’ve had people flying other countries to come to see us, which is unexpected.

Chris: Yeah, it’s cool. Everyone’s been amazing, a lot of silly characters. It’s been fun every day.

NRR: So what’s been your favourite part about your visit to the UK so far?

Alicia: That’s hard because I feel like it’s a tossup between just hanging out with the band even. And then also just, you know, performing every night and getting to meet new people.

Shane: It seems like every part is better than the last.

Alicia: Yeah. You know, there hasn’t really been any bad parts about it.

Chris: It’s just the silly shit that unfolds. It’s been good, every day has been a lot of fun.

Shane: Everything is just a different kind of fun. The van rides in between the venues are a blast. And then getting there is a blast and then meeting everyone is a blast and then playing the show is a blast, and it just keeps going.

NRR: What would you say has been your favourite show of the tour so far? Because you’ve played a lot of different places.

Alicia: I think we all have different ones. I like Blackpool our first one a lot. Last night in London was really fun.

Shane: I love Manchester. I fell in love with that city and the people, and the crowd and the venue. I just love Manchester.

Chris: I have no idea. Last night was my worst one for me personally, but it was so much fun. The show was awesome, the people were great. I have no idea.

Shane: And that was in London.

NRR: It seems you guys had taken a real DIY approach to this tour. I just wanted to know how did the tour come together and what made you decide that your first overseas visit would be to the UK?

Alicia: Oh, well we did the Whiskey Ago Go residency last year in May and June. So, one of the weeks that we played we just happened to have someone come out to the show – they are actually in one of the bands playing tonight. And he really dug us and went back home and told a few bookers about us. So all of a sudden I got an email in my inbox one day and it said, hey, we’d love to book you over here and we’ve already lined up a few shows if you’re interested. And so we’re like, all right, let’s do this. And then, you know, from there we got three shows, then I just wrote some other venues and after we announced a few shows and some other bookers started writing, so we booked a couple more. And yeah, we were able to get eight shows together in nine days. So yeah, it was awesome.

Chris: Alicia, put it together three months ago. Someone reached out and she was able to do a lot of work and get it situated.

NRR: Now that you’ve had your first taste of the UK do you think you guys will come back?

Alicia: Hell yeah, we are already trying to plan our next visit.

Chris: We are trying to do the Summer, which would be awesome. Come back when it’s a little bit warmer.

NRR: I just wondered what is your experience of the British rock scene. I mean, do you guys know any British rock bands or do you listen to any British rock bands?

Alicia: I feel like me personally, like pretty much or like half, at least of my iPod is British artists. It’s such a small country, but like most of my favourite bands are from here. So yeah, they’re very clever people. Like they seem to really just appreciate the rock music and I don’t know about you guys.

Chris: I love it. I mean there’s not really one particular area that I would say I stick specifically to – the UK has amazing shit. So does America, so does Australia, it just kind of goes all over the place. Yeah, I like everything. There’s nothing that I could say that I do not like.

NRR: I just wondered if you’d tell us a little bit about how long you guys have been together and how the band, sort of came to fruition.

Alicia: Oh, we just hit our two-year mark. Our very first UK show was on our two year anniversary. But yeah, me and Kiki, who’s filling in with us now on this tour, we were in a band called She Demons, and when that kind of fell apart; it was a put together band. So when that kind of abruptly ended, I just needed to keep going, but I was always the bass player, you know, like I never thought I’d be a singer, but I was like, you know what? Fuck it – I’ll, just be the singer this time around. Me and Shane have been jamming for years, so it made sense. It was easy, I knew he would be down to jam again. You know, Chris has been my friend forever. I don’t know how much you know about Chris, but Chris is phenomenal. I mean, he’s been in several bands – he’s been in Good Charlotte.

Chris: I was fortunate. I’ve been over here many times with a bunch of other artists. So I’ve come from the pop-punk scene, I played in a band called Good Charlotte. I came over here with MXPX and then I came over here with the R&B scene with an artist named Jamison. So like it’s just fun to like do the rock world and the punk rock world and mix with playing like the Ace Hotel, just like a different scene. But it’s awesome. I love everything. It’s like I said, there’s nothing I don’t enjoy doing. I like the fact that they’re all sweetheart people. I saw them play once at the Whiskey.

Alicia: And you were like yeah I will play for you guys. Because we were just trying out a drummer and he was like, you know, all right, but you’re definitely not feeling confident on our 100% sure proper yet. And he stepped in. 

Chris: And I’ve been in ever since. It’s fun, like the fact that we come over here and do this. Like this is what I grew up doing. So I was like fuck whatever all the other shit of like – I played in the biggest and the smallest things and I just like doing shows in general. I’m not better than anybody else to where I can’t start over. Like these are my favourite moment’s ever in life in general. I love building things from scratch and winning people over and I will always be that person. They’re wonderful and they work hard and they want to do shit, cause that’s what it takes.

NRR: So you mentioned you’ve got Kiki on guitars too, which is obviously a last minute change to the line-up. You know how has she been settling in on this run.

Alicia: Yeah, she’s amazing, we love Kiki so much. She had just a short few weeks to learn everything and she’s just smashing it every single night. She’s a joy to be around.

Shane: She’s so fun to hang out with, and spend time with. We’re missing London, but Kiki has been wonderful.

NRR: So you first EP Bite The Bullet was released in 2017. I understand you worked with producer Kevin Thrasher from Escape The Fate on that. And I just wondered what was it like working with Kevin and you know, what did he bring to the table?

Alicia: We love Thrash. We’ve all known him for quite a few years, but I mean this was the first time working with him. He’s just so easy to work with.

Shane: He has an open mind. He doesn’t force things, but he comes up with great ideas. A lot of producers can be kind of forceful with their ideas. He’s very good about, he’s just easy to work with.

Alicia: Yeah, he let us try our own stuff as well.

Shane: He gets the best out of the artist, which is so cool.

Chris: It’s funny because I played in a band with Kevin before Escape The Fate, which is really silly. And like they just wanted to have him like do this EP with them. Cause I knew him years ago. It’s just so funny. Everyone seems like they are connected.

NRR: So last year you released your latest single “Choke” and I just wondered if you could tell us a little bit about that song, kind of the inspiration behind it.

Alicia: Oh yeah. Like, I went through a bad break up. It was just kind of something I needed to like vent out. I wanted people to kind of relate to it, and whatever they take from it. So it’s kind of like your own open interpretation of it. But just getting some angry grit out and basically just standing back up on your feet when you get knocked over. It’s kind of just like a release.

NRR: Obviously to date you’ve released the five-track EP and you’ve got the latest single out – do you have any plans to go and do like a full-length album anytime soon?

Alicia: We are definitely getting back in the studio to do more stuff.

Chris: Honestly, like it’s just different in the States in general like I think the approach is going to be kind of taking, as weird as it is, like the hip hop approach, which is starting to release singles. There’s no point in releasing a full album. And so we want to go back and we want to have like five songs done, and just keep releasing periodically.

Alicia: Now you have to work with Spotify playlists, which you can only submit one song at a time. With an album, you can only submit one of those 10 songs?

Shane: Yeah. We’ll get there, but it’s just not quite yet.

NRR: Which artists would you say have influenced your sound and your style?

Alicia: That’s the cool thing about our band. I feel like all of us have, all four of us individually have a wide range of influences. So kind of just comes naturally like we like punk, we like rock, we like metal, we like pop, we like everything. So I don’t think that there’s really anybody in particular that we’re trying to sound like.

Chris: We played Lily Allen half the way up here today.

Shane: There’s a band from Manchester called Pale Waves that we love.

Chris: Shane loves the 1975.

Shane: I love the 1975. We were listening to some mumble rap, some Eminem.

Chris: We listened to a little bit Dizzy Rascal on the way up. I love everything.

Shane: We really do love anything.

NRR: You know we are at the start of a new year. I just wondered, what are the plans for the band for the rest of 2019? Do you have kind of the year mapped out?

Alicia: Yeah, I mean I think we’re definitely wanting to write a lot more this year. Get some singles out, as we mentioned. Play some other cities, you know, cause we hit LA quite a bit last year and we’ve got our little LA crowd.

Shane: We’ve got to branch out.

Vigil of War
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About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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