– Could The Vandies Be the Next Spice Girls? They Hope So.
The Vandies want to take over the world, and we might as well step aside and let them. Formed in Portland, Oregon in 2011, the all-girl power punk troupe with hints of The Donnas, The Runaways and maybe even some Spice Girls has been hauling ass on their to-be-released LP debuting this fall. But they still have time to party, as proven in their rager “Chinatown” video. (Kudos, ladies, kudos.) Here Boxx Magazine editor Selena Fragassi gets to know a little bit more about Klara, Cassondra, Kat, Kim and Shannon, like which one’s the dentist and which lady they call “Sexalicious.”
Selena Fragassi: How did you all originally meet? Was anyone in a band prior?
The Vandies: Cassondra posted an ad on Craigslist seeking female musicians for a band. Kat was the first to respond. Shannon responded next (after a few other bass players were auditioned). We found Kimmy through a local music shop, and the four of us jammed as the band Kiss Kiss Bang with a different lead singer for a while until that lady moved to LA. Then we re-branded and found [frontwoman] Klara and so began The Vandies!
Kat, Cass and Klara were in several bands throughout high school and college. This is Kimmy and Shannon’s second band (Kiss Kiss Bang was the first).
SF: What bands did you guys bond over initially and how did you decide upon your style?
TV: The Runaways were our initial influence, along with Metric, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and AC/DC. Our sound evolved over time as each of us brought our own style into the band. People are always trying to categorize our music style into a genre, but we find it hard to fit our music under one label.
SF: What was one of the first major hurdles and also the one of the first successes The Vandies experienced?
TV: The biggest hurdle The Vandies have overcome is finding all of the band members. Finding dedicated female musicians is HARD! Our EP was our first major success.
SF: You live in Portland, which has a strong lineage of Riot Grrrl bands. Did it leave any impressions on you? Any memories of growing up in that scene?
TV: All of us, except Kim, are transplants to the Portland area. However, we were all influenced by female rock icons in our own ways. One of the reasons we started this band was to address the lack of female musicians in Portland.
SF: Did you ever find any push back being an all-girl band?
TV: It seems that people underestimate our musical talent before we even get on stage. It sometimes feels like the first or only thing people see us for is our gender. BUT it does make that moment so much sweeter when we see their faces after we BLOW THEIR MINDS!
SF: Does anyone in the band have any other creative outlets or interesting jobs?
TV: Cassondra is a dentist by day, lead shredding guitarist by night. Kat is a producer at a creative agency. Shannon teaches yoga and tutors youngsters. Kim folds towels and is a superstar student. And Klara is a bartender and former vintage store owner. We all have creative and interesting things going on in our lives, but our band is our greatest passion.
SF: Describe each member of the band in a word.
TV: We said each of our names out loud and this was the collective response from the other band members: Kat-Creative. Kim-Goofy. Cassondra-Sexilicious. Klara-Vintage. Shannon- Natural.
SF: What does The Vandies mean?
TV: After many weeks of searching for a band name, someone said ‘The Vandies’’ out loud and it immediately stuck. ‘The Vandies’ isn’t a word defined in the dictionary, but we feel that it defines us as a band.
SF: If Jack White approached you to do a session at Third Man Records, what would be your dream cover song?
TV: Our cover choices are as different as our personalities, but perhaps we’d do an EP of “Welcome to the Jungle” – Guns and Roses, “Badfish” – Sublime and “Back in Black” – AC/DC.
SF: Who would be your dream tour be with?
TV: Our dream tour would be with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mae, Joan Jett, The Flaming Lips, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Hives, The Spice Girls on one bill.
SF: What music are you listening to on the road? Who has a guilty pleasure band they’re willing to divulge?
TV: Always the Spice Girls, but we’re not ashamed of that. Cassondra has a serious crush on Michael Jackson. Kim and Ke$ha would be best friends if they met. Honestly, our biggest guilty listening pleasure is our own music.
SF: Will you guys be hitting the road soon for more national dates?TV: We are currently organizing a mini west coast tour. As of now, we’re road virgins – we’re stuck on second base with touring. We have Fandies from the west to east coast, one day we will visit them all!
SF: Can you walk us through the production of the “Chinatown” video. Who came up with the idea and who are all those people?
TV: “Chinatown” was filmed in 2 days at 2 epic parties. All the people are loyal Fandies, including Kim’s parents! The video was shot by two of our talented friends and edited by our very own Kat. We all collaborated on the video idea together and featured our fans and friends because it was our first video. Stay tuned for our second video, coming soon!
SF: What’s next for the band?
TV: We are currently writing music for our full-length album, due to be released fall 2013. We are planning a mini west coast tour, filming our second music video for our song “Bright Lights,” and doing “the same thing we do every night, Pinky – TRYING TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!” (mwahaha.)