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Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words to describe music or a band. Not because I believe in that whole line that writing about music is like dancing to architecture and therefore a fruitless waste of time. And actually, there’s maybe more than a kernel of truth to be found if you tear that metaphor apart. For Vladimir construct an amazing wall of sound that, initially, could be quite intimidating though thrilling, dense and atmospheric.

In the last year though there has been more light and space in their sound that lets the sound breathe and the songs take new shapes without losing any of their power or intensity. The first indication of this was the single ‘Cold Winter’s Grasp’ which really blew me away on record and live. It achieves a more melodic feel and a subtlety without shedding any of the energy that made earlier Vladimir shows such a great spectacle.

The new E.P. Vladimir 2 features an image of block of flats torn in half, awaiting their final destruction, still retaining a strong sense of the structure that was there before but teetering on the edge of total destruction. Like the music it’s an eerie image, an old edifice torn out and made anew. With Vladimir, like the interior walls of that derelict building, emotions are laid bare, however raw or deeply felt they are and performances can verge on the chaotic but retain a solidity and coherence rather than merely being self-indulgent noise.

The four songs on Vladimir 2 are fantastic, a real statement of intent from a band always moving forward without destroying what went before. There is a genuine sense of movement and growth in these and more recent songs. My favourite song changes from listen to listen and I’ve been playing them for months now. It has to be said that I initially took a while to get used to the songs in their recorded form as opposed to the live renditions but I’m pretty hooked on them as recordings now. I honestly feel that this E.P. is as strong as anything released this year, it’s a truly beautiful record from a truly excellent band unafraid of expanding their sonic palette into something that is epic but lacking in pomposity, dark but full of gorgeous melodies.

Live, the new songs keep coming and despite my reservations of how they would come across during an early set in broad daylight at a festival they were pretty fantastic (as ever) at Doune The Rabbit Hole recently. Arriving in the carpark we could hear them starting things off and the sound seemed to fill the surrounding countryside pulling in a pretty impressive crowd early on – a real mix of familiar faces and curious newcomers. In a situation where the band could have felt out of place or uncomfortable they took full advantage playing a set that mixed up new songs with familiar favourites and tracks from Vladimir.

Having interviewed Vladimir several times in the past, I wasn’t sure either myself or the band were that keen on another interrogation. So, knowing what fans they are of music, having seen them many times at other shows and enthusiastically talking about music other than their own I went for a different tact. So, thanks to Josh, Peter, Ross and Sam I present a portrait of the artist as a young fan. Apologies to any literary fans for that one but here we go…

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SONY DSCPlease introduce yourself briefly and tell us what your role is in Vladimir.

I’m Joshua, I play bass and I’m notably the perfectionist and pessimist of the band.

What or who first got you into music?

My sister’s boyfriend played guitar and he left one of his guitars at my house for a while. I decided to start to learn on that and bought a: “How to play guitar” book. I started learning songs and then when The View kicked off I took an interest in bands.

What was the first record you ever bought for yourself?

Myths of the Near Future – Klaxons

And the most recent?

Wakin on a Pretty Daze – Kurt Vile

Have you ever played in any other bands apart from Vladimir?

I played drums for a band named AyeCandy when I was 14 for a month then guitar for a band named Dixie Narco.

What was the first gig you attended?

Editors at Radio 1’s Big Weekend at Camperdown Park.

And the most recent?

The Cribs – Fat Sam’s

Do you have a favourite all-time gig you’ve been to?

The Strokes – Rockness

Dingy basements or outdoor festivals? Which do you prefer?

Basements – the sound isn’t great at outdoor festivals [if I was listening to a band]. If I was playing I’d prefer the outdoor festival.

Favourite five records?

Bandwagonesque – Teenage Fanclub

Raw Power – The Stooges

The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground

In Utero – Nirvana

Songs of Love and Hate – Leonard Cohen

Having made a video for a song what are your feelings in general about music videos?

Music videos are cool.

What are your favourite films/television programmes?

Kubrick films, Young Frankenstein, Star Wars I don’t like television and feel like I would get too distracted watching these shows everybody seems to be hooked on. I liked Dragon Ball Z as a child though.

If someone made a film about Vladimir who would you like to play you and why?

Mark Hamill [Luke Skywalker] – I don’t know why.

What are your favourite books/authors?

The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne White Fang – Jack London A House of Pomegranates – Oscar Wilde

If your house caught fire what would be the first thing you tried to save once you knew your family were safe?

My drawer full of memories.

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vladimir_230313_petersPlease introduce yourself briefly and tell us what your role is in Vladimir.

I’m Peter. I play guitar.

What or who first got you into music?

Danny Dyer, Nah just kidding – My mum first showed me good music, The usual generic stuff like The Beatles. I think my mum was a bit of a hippy back in the day so she has shown me a few good bands. My good friend from school Wayne showed me lots of cool bands like Sonic Youth, Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine when we are around 14 and I just instantly really liked them.

What was the first record you ever bought for yourself?

I don’t really remember the first record I bought exactly but it was maybe Iowa by Slipknot about 11 years ago. I used to really dig them. I remember my mum banned me from watching them on MTV as she thought they were quite obscene. Looking back at it they actually were.

And the most recent?

The last record I bought was Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse, I really really like that album and have listened to it nearly everyday since purchasing it. Probably going to be up there with one of my favourite albums this year.

Have you ever played in any other bands apart from Vladimir?

Me and Ross played in a few bands before but we were quite shit. We were just kids really making noise. We both have been playing music together for about 6 years now.

What was the first gig you attended?

When I was younger I went to see Travis at the Caird Hall with my mum, ha ha.

And the most recent?

The Cribs at Fat Sams, It was a really good show. My friends Scary People supported and also a very cool band from Glasgow called PAWS. I try and get to as many gigs as possible.

Do you have a favourite all-time gig you’ve been to?

That’s a very tough one. Watching Wu-Tang Clan at Primavera was pretty cool, One of those nostalgic things. I’d have to say The Strokes set at Rockness in 2010 was my favourite.

Dingy basements or outdoor festivals? Which do you prefer?

I like them both, Think it depends on the acts and the mood I’m in.

Favourite five records?

The five albums I get the most pleasure out of listening to are; The Velvet Underground and Nico LP, My Bloody Valentine – Loveless, Pavement – Brighten The Corners, Brian Jonestown Massacre –  Take It From The Man! and Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers).

Having made a video for a song what are your feelings in general about music videos?

I don’t really watch music videos. Sometimes I find it hard to concentrate on the song if there is a lot going on in the music video. I would really like Vladimir to do a high budget video with famous actors appearing in it like P.Diddy – Bad Boy for life. I think that would be a great laugh. I cannot see us getting two million dollars or whatever daft amount of money was spent on that video.

What are your favourite films/television programmes?

I’m always watching shows, I get a bit of stick off the band for it as I’m always watching TV. I really like my American police shows like The Wire, The Shield, All the CSI’s. My favourite series was probably the Sopranos. Recently I have been watching Breaking Bad, Prison Break and Sons of Anarchy and I have thoroughly enjoyed them all. Favourite movie is Training Day. I like anything Denzel Washington is in really. He is my idol. Goodfellas, The Godfather and Taxi Driver are all pretty decent as well! I also really like a good Rom-Com.

If someone made a film about Vladimir who would you like to play you and why?

Will Ferrell because he has curly hair and is funny, like myself (I like to think so anyway). I think he’d be the perfect character I’m sure the rest of the band would say the same.

What are your favourite books/authors?

Irvine Welsh, my favourite book of his is Porno. Really good read. I still need to read Skag Boys. I think the way he writes and the fact it’s in Scottish dialect. Really fun to read and keeps you on your toes, Likesay?

If your house caught fire what would be the first thing you tried to save once you knew your family were safe?

Probably an old Rangers FC scarf that belonged to my grandfather. I would be pissed off if my musical equipment was destroyed but all that stuff can be replaced. I get a bit sentimental about things. Also my dog, but I’m sure that gets included in family!

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vladimir_230313_rosssPlease introduce yourself briefly and tell us what your role is in Vladimir.

Ross. I sing and play guitar.

What or who first got you into music?

My Gran used to love Elvis so he was probably the first musician I ever heard and loved but there was a boy in my class at primary school who got his hands on a Nirvana album. So one night at his he put it on and for about 3 months straight we went to his every night and listened to it. So I guess he was the one who properly got me into music.

What was the first record you ever bought for yourself?

Oasis – Don’t Believe The Truth

And the most recent?

Wet Nuns – Why You So Cold

Have you ever played in any other bands apart from Vladimir?

None that I would count as proper bands.

What was the first gig you attended?

A U2 cover band at Perth Concert hall called NU2.

And the most recent?

The Cribs at Fat Sams.

Do you have a favourite all-time gig you’ve been to?

That’s a hard one for my age. I think I’ve seen some pretty amazing bands in a short space of time. Primal Scream at the Barra’s is pretty high up there. But The Strokes at Rockness and The Jesus and Mary Chain at Primavera were also special for me.

Dingy basements or outdoor festivals? Which do you prefer?

Dingy basements every day of the week –  no contest. Seeing the whites in peoples eyes makes you feel like you really have control of an audience.

Favourite five records?

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy. Oasis – Definitely Maybe. The Strokes – Is This It. The Libertines – Up the Bracket. Glasvegas – Glasvegas II.

Having made a video for a song what are your feelings in general about music videos?

Not that into them but they need to be done. I would rather get someone else to be in our band’s music video if we do one again. We started a band to be musicians not actors.

What are your favourite films/television programmes?

I dont watch TV but I do listen to XFM on my TV so I guess that counts? My favourite movies are Trainspotting, Step Brothers, Pineapple Express and Rocky.

If someone made a film about Vladimir who would you like to play you and why?

Ryan Gosling because in Drive he hardly even speaks but still manages to make it so emotional and intense and I think that is pretty much what we do as a band. I also wish I was as good looking as him.

What are your favourite books/authors?

I don’t read never have and probably never will. I guess that makes me uncool.

If your house caught fire what would be the first thing you tried to save once you knew your family were safe?

I don’t really have any sentimental belongings so probably one of my Adidas track suit tops cause they make me feel amazing and after your house burns down you would still be feeling on top of the world.

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vlad_230313_sams

Please introduce yourself briefly and tell us what your role is in Vladimir.

Sam, drums.

What or who first got you into music?

Don’t know, myself I guess.

What was the first record you ever bought for yourself?

Gorillaz – Feel  Good Inc.

And the most recent?

Sigur Ros – Kveikur vinyl.

Have you ever played in any other bands apart from Vladimir?

No.

What was the first gig you attended?

Fuck, might have been Arcade Fire at the SECC.

And the most recent?

Doune the Rabbit Hole.

Do you have a favourite all-time gig you’ve been to?

Nah, not really.

Dingy basements or outdoor festivals? Which do you prefer?

Dingy basements. People are less reluctant to fucking let go and the atmosphere is way better.

Favourite five records?

Howler – America Give up

The National – High Violet

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Belong

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy

Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo.

Having made a video for a song what are your feelings in general about music videos?

Not my thing.

What are your favourite films/television programmes?

Lincoln, Only God Forgives, Drive, Clockwork Orange, The Young Lions and 5 Card Stud.

If someone made a film about Vladimir who would you like to play you and why?

James Dean. He was cool as fuck.

What are your favourite books/authors?

Hunter.S.Thompson: The Rum Diary, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Jack Kerouac: On The Road, The Dharma Bums, Desolation Angels.

George Orwell: 1984 and so on.

Ernest Hemmingway

Albert Camus

Aldous Huxley.

If your house caught fire what would be the first thing you tried to save once you knew your family were safe?

Records and turntable.

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