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Vagabond interviews: Brian Higgins, Motown influence, playing live
Posted at 1:35 PM, 22 August 2009 -

Vagabond's debut album You Don't Know The Half Of It was released this week and went straight into the iTunes top 10.

Sam Odiwe, Vagabond's bass player, said in an interview: «We couldn't have asked for a better start, and we hope that by Sunday we will have broken into the top 20 in the album charts. So much has happened this year that we are really proud of but one of our best qualities is performing live.»

The band is playing today (3:15pm) at V Festival, on the Virgin Media Union Stage. Vagabond have been consistently praised for their live shows. A recent review from their Bush Hall concert said: «A great gig from a band who tick all the boxes - they're everything pop music is supposed to be about. They're doing something a bit different, injecting life into tried and tested formulas and proving that music can be interesting and still make girls scream.»

Here's a few excerpts from recent Vagabond interviews:

Meeting Brian Higgins:
Alex Vargas – When I first met him he told me that he wanted to become successful and be the best until his dying day I suppose. He wanted to be at the top and never stop working. It’s someone like that who you want on your team. You really can’t know what you’re in for until it’s done with Brian. It can be a roller coaster ride. I guess making an album can be like that who ever you’re working with. I didn’t really know what to expect, but the outcome is definitely something to be proud of.

Working with Brian Higgins
Luke Fitton – He limits you to a certain amount of time to get the freshest ideas. We came back with a recording and loads of ideas. I said to him ‘I don’t know what you had in mind. We’ve got loads of ideas’. He was like ‘I don’t care what it is as long as it’s fantastic. As long as it’s amazing’ (...) And so that’s intense but you end up learning a lot more and you get an idea of what his thoughts are. Then you start growing and judging yourself a lot better and being a bit more hard on yourself and choosing the best ideas rather than thinking that everything that comes out of your head is fantastic.

Alex Vargas – Brian never sort of sat down and said right this is what you have to be. Brian finds your talent and brings out the best in whoever he’s working with. So there was no way we were ever going to end up being a disco/electro band. There’s one song that was very disco but we’ve taken it off [the album] because it doesn’t match our sound.

Xenomania's new direction
Luke Fitton: We are kind of a new direction for Xenomania. I think anyone will learn a lot from working with Brian. He is capable of most things.
Steve Carter: He still is having success with Girls Aloud. I could imagine if you have had so much success with something like that, you would be interested in a new direction, a new path. It shows that he can work in a different way.

Luke Fitton – It’s more other people presuming that when you work with a pop producer like that, you work with Girls Aloud’s producer. He’s worked with loads of other people. Everyone assumes you’re going to have songs like that. But if you’ve met the guy… You could talk to him about an old Blues record and he’d pull out the best Blues record and give you a reason why and what it would be nothing like Girls Aloud. They’re moving away from that as well and trying to be more interesting and diverse with what they’re working with. We’re definitely not a Boys Aloud or anything.

The Motown influence:
Steve Carter: We can find a lot of similarities in the way we formed, not just in the actual sound, but in the way the music was put together, the way the quality was looked at, and not really sneered at. There is a strong connection there, more of a relationship with Motown than, say, Factory Records. We can relate to it more.
Alex: I do find a lot of inspiration in soul music.
Luke Fitton: We all do. Much in the same way the Stones and the Yardbirds were indebted to American soul in the 60s - they were these white English guys listening to American soul music.

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