Follow the scent
Now that the Clouds have cleared, Vows are getting their feet wet
After just seven weeks of playing together, San Francisco’s Vows already have the whole cryptic-interview thing down. A recent e-mail exchange with the psychedelic garage-pop band found members in a frisky mood, leaving factual information to be sorted out later. Good thing the music speaks for itself.
Formed after the recent breakup of Sweeney and Noda’s previous band, Pink Clouds, Vows offer playful rock ‘n’ roll spiked with both sugary melodies and instrumentation that is a little rougher around the edges.
The three-piece recently played its first show at the Hotel Utah Saloon in San Francisco, the result of which can be heard in some live recordings posted on the band’s MySpace page. Now, a brief tour finds them stopping in Chico, where Sweeney spent nearly 10 years of his childhood.
CN&R: Luke and Scott, you were both a part of another San Francisco band, Pink Clouds. Can you tell me a little bit about how that band came about and why you disbanded?
Luke Sweeney: Pink Clouds … what can we say. It was a bit of a cultish thing. We felt like we were in The Monkees, but one day we awoke and our costumes didn’t fit anymore.
At what point did you meet up and start playing music with Jitsun?
Sweeney: I’ve known Jitsun since 2000, mostly from the campfire circuit. We had some intense sing-a-longs in those days, but we kept it cool and showed proper respect for each other’s songs. Now we’re writing them together.
Scott Noda: He’s like our slightly bigger, slightly older, younger brother. We have to watch out for him because he’s the band puppy. What he has given us has been the gift of apathy … which is exactly why we left the Clouds.
Jitsun Sandoval: You guys left the Clouds?
How does Pink Clouds material compare with Vows material? Was there a conscious effort to go in a different direction with the new band, or are the two comparable?
Sandoval: I always admired the Clouds. They were a bit hard for my paranoid demeanor, but they inspired me.
Sweeney: There was a conscious meditation to leave the circus of sound and play from the animal heart. Then the Clouds cleared. It was like having a baby. Without the contractions.
Noda: Vows have a soul that is constantly fed, while the Clouds had a soul that was constantly depleted.
So far, you guys just have the live tracks up on the MySpace page. Any plans to record in the near future?
Sandoval: Just did it. Gonna do more. Our true album will be recorded with Media Blitz East in New York City late this summer.
I hear a nice contrast in the live recordings. “Lacy Sky” sounds like raw rock ’n’ roll, whereas a song like “Penthouse” has some distinctly poppy elements to it. What are some of the mutual artists/bands you are all influenced by?
Sandoval: Who do we love, boys?
Noda: Miller Carr & the Shalants. The Ian Fays. Sugar and Gold. Persephone’s Bees.
Sweeney: San Francisco is bubbling.
Sandoval: We also love all the timeless poets and painters.
Is this blend between the raucous and the poppy elements in the live recordings something you hope to capture on record? Or will that process be something entirely different, focusing more on one side than the other?
Sandoval: That candy is gonna have to wait to be chewed till after dinner, hombre!
And just for the record, it’s Vows, not The Vows, right?
Sweeney: Vows is correct! The name signifies our commitment to our art, our way of life, love, and spreading that love in song. Come find us in Golden Gate Park any Monday. Follow the scent of smoke-stacked marinade. Then you’ll know the finer things in life.