Local pop-punk group You Vandal will perform live with Sports Reference, The Handsome Scoundrels and Kid You Not at Loosey’s on Friday.
The event starts at 9 p.m. Admission for the show costs $5 and will be available at the door.
You Vandal is a power-pop quartet from the swamps of Gainesville. We spoke to Eric Cannon, the band’s bassist and vocalist, to talk about the band, the local community and the meaning of punk rock.
Question: How and when did the band meet?
Eric: Alex (guitar) and I met through an old message board, GainesvilleBands, sometime around 2009. We met Gooch (guitar and vocals) not long after that, when he was still playing in his old Vero Beach band Away With You. Millsaps (drums) was introduced to us around 2013 when YV was becoming more active, as opposed to just a home-studio project.
Q: Where does the name “You Vandal” come from?
E: We named the band after the title of an old song by Saves The Day. They were a heavy influence on us when we first started, and that song is pretty iconic in a lot of emo-inspired, pop-punk circles.
Q: How would you describe yourself?
E: I think the phrase I just used, “emo-inspired, pop-punk,” is probably a decent description. We've also gotten “power-pop,” and “pop-punk without the cringe.”
Q: What are some themes the band explored in its sophomore record, “I Just Want to Go Back to Hell?”
E: There are a handful of songs about working through problems in romantic relationships and a handful more about broken friendships. But there are also a couple songs that touch on death, and the last track, “Still the Same,” is more about a general feeling of hopelessness than it is about a specific person or event.
Q: When you think back to your entire discography, what songs stick out to you the most?
E: Right now, I think “Hang up the Phone” from “I Just Want to Go Back to Hell” stands out the most to me. It's one of the rare occasions where a song turned out exactly how I first imagined it. It's fairly short, sweet and simple, but we accomplished everything we set out to with it, and I'm proud of the final result.
Q: How have you changed since debuting your first album?
E: As a band, I think our musical tastes have matured significantly. There's a lot of hokey and cheesy instrumental work on our early recordings that now makes me want to either laugh or bury my face in my hands. As an individual, I've grown up a lot. I think I've lyrically become more thoughtful and honest over the years, and hopefully the songs reflect that.
Q: If you could perform with or open for any band or musician, alive or dead, who would it be?
E: Right now, I'd have to say Third Eye Blind. They're a band that made a strong impression on me at that age where you're first starting to make your own choices about what you want to listen to instead of just whatever your parents like. But unlike a lot of other music I liked as a kid, Third Eye Blind still has a sizable presence and influence in my life today. Also, they seem like they'd be the most laid-back people ever, which would relieve the pressure and nerves of having to open for a huge band.
Q: What does it mean to be punk?
E: What I personally consider punk is a general sense of not giving a f---. Not in an insensitive-to-others kind of way, but doing your own thing without caring or being held down by what other people think or say. That being said, I'm not sure anyone adamantly concerned with the definition of punk cares to hear You Vandal's thoughts on it.
Q: What do you love the most about Gainesville?
E: I've always enjoyed how Gainesville has all the comfort of a small town while still having a lot of the conveniences that a lot of small towns don't have. It's this beautiful, laid-back oasis of hippies and hipsters in a part of the state that is otherwise fairly podunk.
Q: How did a life in Gainesville influence your music?
E: I've lived in Gainesville since 2005. Some of the biggest name bands from here have been major influences on me over the years. I've formed most of my closest friendships with people while living here. I probably wouldn't be the person I am today if I'd never moved here, and You Vandal definitely wouldn't exist without Gainesville.