Vambo’s swaggering and powerful self-titled debut recently received the deluxe treatment when it was re-released on Friday 6th November as “Vambo Deluxe” featuring five bonus tracks. The second single “We’re Not The Same” is released on Friday 4th December and is available to pre-save HERE. The album, released by Goliath Records is available HERE.
“We’re Not The Same is my favourite track from the Deluxe album,” says Vambo’s frontman Jack Stiles. “It’s a unique song, quite different from the other tracks melodically. The riff’s dark. There are some heavy parts which we like to take advantage of live. When Pete sent me the basic riff and verse pattern, I was working on a vocal idea where the octave line and the harmony line would marry seamlessly as one, constructed to be a 'block' with no discernible lead vocal line. When the music and melody came together, we got something quite special. The lyrics represent that sharing the same traits as someone on the surface does not make you the same person.”
The five bonus tracks include “Paradise”, “Mistaken Identity,” “Total Jeopardy,” “Dancing with the Devil (Acoustic)” and a live recording of the Deep Purple classic “Burn.”
With the addition of their four scintillating new tracks and an exuberant and relentless rendition of one of rock’s great classics, their imaginative artistic style is entirely and unmistakably in the present. Their ability to travel from mighty Purple-esq power to the sheer beauty of an acoustic version of ‘’Dancing with the Devil’’ - one of their own power ballads, is outstanding. Vambo have a style and quality that keeps us guessing as to what they’ll come up with next. From this offering, it’s plainly evident that they live without fear in their musical outlook, never shying away from the challenge, providing us with an array of surprises which is both unexpected and refreshing.
Vambo were recently featured in Classic Rock Magazine in their High Hopes spread. The debut album is steeped in sharp musical intelligence and finds the band in full creative tilt delivering hard-hitting, re-tooled classic rock with a contemporary edge.
Vambo are no strangers to the live circuit. They played Download Festival and Isle of White Festival in 2019, and they will be touring the UK with Praying Mantis and Cats in Space in 2021.
The album is produced and mastered by Ray Stiles (MUD, The Hollies), and perfectly encapsulates Vambo’s live energy and relentless drive.
This musically diverse album features wonderfully crafted songs full of rock ‘n’ roll attitude. It kicks off with the band’s debut single – "Now You See Me", which sets the tone for the whole album. The album includes the Planet Rock radio playlisted singles - "Why Why Why", an explosion of anthemic goodness, and World of Misery, which will entice the listener from the very first hearing.
“We take our inspiration from early 70s hard rock, but we keep our interpretation contemporary - inspired but not copied,” says the bands frontman and lead singer, Jack Stiles. “We are very big on melody and dynamic, not just shredding guitar solos and 'check out how fast I can play the drums'. We aren't that political, our lyrics aren't super deep and metaphorical, but we can rock as good as anybody. No song on this album is the same... that would be boring.”
Blurring the line between sincerity and audacity, the album bristles with conviction and power ballad Running in Circles is a rock anthem in the waiting. Every one of these songs is a master class in how to write melodies that pull at the heartstrings, without compromising their balls-out instincts. Combined with Pete Lance’s fearsomely virtuosic metallic riffing, the solid pile driving rhythm section of James Scott (bass) and Steve Price (drums), and Jack Stiles’ versatile, soulful voice, ensures that Vambo Deluxe is a colossal and essential album.
“The writing process was fairly straight forward,” explains Jack. “We found things in our lives we wanted to talk about. Some stories are completely fabricated, others are taken from our own experiences and some just sound good. It's usually a case of Pete and I getting together in the studio, and Pete will start playing, when something comes, you know it, and you go from there. The idea may have just come on the spot, or sometimes we will develop an idea that we picked up from something we heard. We get the riff, work out a verse pattern, bridge and chorus, then I’ll take it away for a few days and work on the melody and lyrics.”
“Once we have the basic format for what will be the song, we'll take it into rehearsal with the band, fine tune it and turn it into a song. The recording of the album was done almost completely 'in the box'. We have recorded these songs so many times over the past couple of years, but as we play live, the songs become stronger, parts become more fluid and so we re-recorded - it's hard work, but if you want something you are happy with, it needs to be done.“
“It's been a back and forth process, many, many hours spend in the studio getting it 'right', if there's even such a thing. There is a photo of a cobwebbed skeleton sitting in front of a mixing desk with the caption ‘‘when the mix is almost perfect’’ - that pretty much sums up the entire process of this album.”
Vambo have produced a hugely appealing, simultaneously intricate and infectious debut album, and with the addition of 5 new tracks, Vambo Deluxe deserves your attention. Vambo believes and understands rock music can be an unalloyed pleasure, and in their own words: “Enjoy our album, we've put a lot of hard work into it.”
Vambo is an enabling vision and unequivocal triumph. It sets the stage for what promises to be an even bigger 2021. Says Jack, “As musicians we’ve grown from where we first started. I like to feel we have always been good at what we do, but as time goes on, the universe unfolds, and so do we. The more we play together, the better it gets.”
“We all have bad shows and days, but we have developed as musicians. As individuals, we may not be the most technically proficient in the world, or the best at our chosen instrument, but when we come together, it's something special. For me personally, I have developed as a songwriter and musician.”
“Each member of Vambo comes from a completely different background within music. So, we all bring something different. I've grown up listening to rap music, Pete has been a rocker since the day he was born, when he came out of the womb, he was a rock. James grew up listening to super death hardcore tech metalcore screamo music, so we don't usually involve him in many of the band conversations. Steve is a technician through and through, one of the best electricians I've ever met, highly recommended. But seriously, he grew up with Iron Maiden, he loves everything, and loves learning about all styles of music.”
Vambo are not your run-of-the-mill generic rock band. They believe their songs have commercial value, but at the same time, they don’t take themselves too seriously. The band admit there are a lot of good players out there right now, but they do not want to sound like everyone else; they want to sound like Vambo.
“We want every song on our album to be different, to keep the listener interested, so they don’t quite know what’s round the corner,” concludes Jack.
VAMBO DELUXE - TRACK LISTING:
1. Now You See Me - 3:41
2. Why Why Why - 3:22
3. Cry Woman - 3:46
4. We're Not the Same - 3:41
5. Dancing with the Devil - 4:00
6. World of Misery - 3:54
7. Down Little Mama - 3:22
8. Running in Circles - 4:46
9. Camouflage - 3:01
10. Vambo Roolz - 3:53
11. Fast Car - 3:06
12. Paradise - 3:54
13. Mistaken Identity - 4:06
14. Total Jeopardy - 4:10
15. Dancing with the Devil (Acoustic) - 3:44
16. Burn (Live) - 6:16
Jack Stiles (vocals)
Pete Lance (guitar)
James Scott (bass)
Steve Price (drums)
All tracks produced by Ray Stiles at Orchard Studios
All tracks mixed by Ray Stiles and Jack Stiles at Orchard Studios
All tracks mastered by Ray Stiles at Orchard Studios
Cat number: GOLIATH06CD
TRACK BY TRACK BY JACK STILES
Now You See Me – The first single we released as a band and the opening track of the album. We did our first mini tour in Europe off the back of this. It will always hold significant value to me - it’s the first idea Pete and I ever had. It’s a great opener and represents who Vambo are perfectly. I’ve always wanted to write a track where the melody and guitar parts are both ‘singing’ the same thing, and that’s what we got. Inspired by a nightmare I had where I was being chased by my own 'demons'. The ominous feel of the track and the fast-paced lyrics bring a sense of urgency, I love that.
Why Why Why – Funky, rocky, and catchy as hell. This song is what people know us for. It was the first track we ever had on radio, and the second we released. It was playlisted on Planet Rock for quite some time. It was sort of a turning point for us; we noticed rooms starting to fill up after its release. The solo is pretty wild, a bit off the wall and I think lyrically it’s quite relatable… Who hasn’t been walked over by their partner or ex-partner at some point? A certain radio presenter said ‘‘this band certainly knows how to write a catchy chorus,” and I think he’s right; people want to be able to sing along to songs and remember them. Why Why Why is just that.
Cry Woman – This is the first track on the album I co-wrote with guitarist Steve Lauri (The Hollies, Bonnie Tyler, Cliff Richard, 5000 Volts, Bucks Fizz). He did most of the legwork and I just pitched in a few vocal ideas, but the outcome was exactly what we had hoped for. Lots of cowbell, beautifully melodic pre choruses, a powerful lead line and a punchy chorus. The lyric ‘‘cry woman’’ seems to have a way of sticking with people.
We're Not the Same - My favourite track on the album. It’s a unique song, quite different from the other tracks melodically. The riff’s dark. There are some heavy parts which we like to take advantage of live. When Pete sent me the basic riff and verse pattern, I was working on a vocal idea where the octave line and the harmony line would marry seamlessly as one, constructed to be a 'block' with no discernible lead vocal line. When the music and melody came together, we got something quite special. The lyrics represent that sharing the same traits as someone on the surface does not make you the same person.
Dancing with the Devil – The first ballad of the album. Opening with a massive guitar solo, met by the wonderful piano work of Ian Parker (The Hollies, Clannad, Chuck Berry), this song really takes you on a journey from start to finish. I feel that it’s soft in the right places and heavier where it needs to be. This track for me showcases the dynamics within the band. Written about a girl in a relationship where the love isn’t mutual. This song was particularly challenging, we had a lot of different versions, and trying to find the right dynamic balance between the start and end of verses was hard, but we got there in the end.
World of Misery – …or as we call it, 'the pink song', is the third single we released as a band. Everything about this song is pink. The artwork, the video, and the clothes we wore for a short time after releasing it. The interesting thing about this track is that the lyrics and the music are quite the opposite. Lyrically this song is quite dark - about a toxic past relationship, but musically, it’s quite bouncy and sort of 'uplifting'. It also includes some of my favourite lyrics that I have written – ‘’whoever said her love was kind must be drunk, it feels more like an open cut, an infection, no discretion’’.
Down Little Mama – This song is sexy, groovy, and dirty. ‘‘The fruit is sweeter than you will ever know’’ - inspired by all the fabulous women of the world. It’s about one-night stands, the thrill of meeting someone for the first time and losing yourself in a night of passion and excitement. What better feeling? Yes, I was single at the time of writing this. It came together so fast; it was one of those songs that just happened. From start to finish, it only took about 10 minutes to write.
Running in Circles – This is what people call the 'Vambo anthem'. There is a cool story behind this track. It was an idea that my Brett Robins and I came up with a long time ago, and to most people’s surprise, it wasn’t a ballad, it was a rap track – ‘‘running in circles again’’ was the hook line. A few years later, I was going through a hard time, and the words ‘‘running in circles’’ were particularly resonating with me. I suppose you could say this song was born out of a bad place. Pete and I took the hook that I had written, and completely reconstructed the track. We wanted it to be big, and with the help of Ian Parker on orchestral keyboards and arrangement, we managed to do just that. A big 80s intro, with a massive orchestra on the solo section. One of my personal favourites.
Camouflage – The second track on the album I co-wrote with Steve Lauri. We wrote this song before the band had even formed. It was one of the first songs I ever wrote. After pitching it to the guys at the very start, it remained a band favourite and has been in our live set ever since. I have no idea what I wrote the lyrics about, and I’m sure some of them don’t make a lot of sense, but within the context of the song, they sound good and that’s what matters.
Vambo Roolz – People like to guess about where the name Vambo came from. Most think we took it from The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, but in fact, it was taken from the 1976 MUD track – 'Vambo Rools'. It’s my favourite MUD track. It’s gritty, swampy, bluesy, and badass. What more do you want from a song? We couldn’t not put this on the album, it’s a homage to our name.
Fast Car – Nearly every rock band has a song about a fast car, this is our take. It’s meant to be a cliché. I remember thinking that instead of trying to be clever with the title and lyrics, let's just simply call it 'Fast Car'. It’s about my Audi, which isn’t particularly fast. It’s a straightforward, simple, rocker, nothing more, nothing less. It’s become a staple in our live set and gets the crowd going. It’s easily accessible to rock fans.
Paradise – Another up tempo, balls out rocker. There isn’t really any massive inspiration behind this song, we wanted something fast in our set, so we wrote this. I liked the idea of having a ‘relaxed’ melody against blistering guitar parts. Steve’s hi-hats during the solo are superb, the whole drum part is great. There is a lot syncopation between the guitars and the drums. The solo has a sort of ‘wild west’ feel to it, it reminds me of being on a horse. This track isn’t so much about the lyrics, but more about the music - to showcase what Vambo can do as a band. There are some quite tricky parts in there.
Mistaken Identity – Steve Lauri pitched us this song quite some time ago. We were playing through some old ideas that Pete and I had been working on and we stumbled back across this. We looked at each other and said ‘‘let’s do it’’. The original idea wasn’t as big, so we made it big. We took it and turned it into a Vambo song, and we couldn’t be happier with it. The riff is catchy, the hook is catchy, and there is plenty of melody, which is important for us. It’s a bit of a roast up to play live, but it’s something we can really dig into and it fits our style to a tee.
Total Jeopardy – A few years ago, we were invited to work with someone, this particular someone basically told us that he didn’t like anything that we was doing, that he could do it better and we would need to ‘‘put it all in the closet and move on’’ if we were going to have a working relationship with him. We believe in what we do, and no one will shake us. This track is a ‘‘fuck you’’ to him… No names of course.
Dancing with the Devil (Acoustic) – We are very big on melody and dynamic. We thought that 'Dancing with the Devil' was a good example of this, so we turned it acoustic. Pete is playing both 12 string and 6 string acoustic guitar - the result is beautiful. I have always been a bit sceptical about recording an acoustic track, but I couldn’t be more pleased with the way this turned out. I made some slight adaptations to the melody, to make it fit better with the acoustic version. I was throwing back and forth about whether to have harmonies on the chorus, like on the original, but harmonies are a massive thing for me, they lift tracks to a new level, so I decided to go with them. I sincerely hope everyone enjoys this as much as I do.
Burn (Live) – Last but certainly not least, our live version of 'Burn'. In my opinion, one of the best rock songs ever written. It's the title track of the first cover we ever did. This song holds such significant value to Vambo, it's influenced us in a lot of ways. Deep Purple have always been a massive inspiration to us and will continue to shape the way we write and work for a long time. Burn is a challenging song to play and sing, but we do it every single gig without fail. I can’t remember which gig this recording was taken from, but we want people who hear the album, but haven’t been to a live show, to get a taste of what we do.