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Introducing: Hollywood and Vines PDF Print E-mail
Written by Nic Wright   
28 09 2011
ImageIt's a highly subjective beast, music. In these days of the interwebs and social media, the world and his wife can get hold of all of your precious outputs almost instantly, and not only that, express an opinion on it. It must be very easy then, in an environment where successes are relatively scant, to regurgitate your achievements within an inch of their lives. Florence Welch, I am in no way pointing a finger at you.

No, I'm kidding, of course I am. She's had more re-releases than she's had hot dinners. Nice to know then, that such PR-fuelled languor hasn't impressed on some young bands. Bands like Hollywood and Vines for example, who have recently scrapped plans to re-release their April single ‘Welcome to the Ocean Beach Fair' in favour of crafting a new EP.

Image"Basically we thought an EP launch would be much more exciting," says front-man Paul Barber. "At such an early stage of our band it seemed slightly pointless to re-release the single, instead we thought creating a four-track EP would not only be more exciting for us, but for listeners as well.  Hopefully it'll expand the amount of people who like us too!"

The South Shields indie-pop quartet are aiming for an October release for the record, although refreshingly the band are willing to shelve its issue until they're happy with the final result; "The new tracks are pushing our sound toward a more refined Hollywood & Vines. If an October release is still on the cards, it'll be late October. We really want the EP to define what we're doing, to do that we're spending a lot of time making it as good as possible."

ImageIt's this new-found patience that Paul hopes will help shape the band's sound, more distinct than the hurried ‘bedroom recordings' that made up their last EP ‘About This Town'. "The songs recorded then were very much in the early days of their existence," says Paul, "In our new songs you can hear the band's sound has progressed.  We try to take more time to construct interesting arrangements, we no longer rush to finish the song just so it's finished."

"We've grown as a band to appreciate a higher quality recording and arrangement in our songs.  The songs which feature on the ‘About This Town' demos have certainly changed themselves since being recorded. Live, there is a much greater energy about them."

With more complex tracks being given more room to grow this time around, Paul hopes the EP will give rise to a new stage in Hollywood and Vines' evolution; finding more ears at more gigs around the live circuit. They've even got some existing business models in line; "Our goals at present are to create a great sounding EP, which we're 100% happy with and while making that, to get ourselves about the North East scene and become as established as other great acts out there like The Railway Club, The Union Choir, The Lake Poets..."

Should the new EP help them achieve their goals, the band will certainly be in good company, with South Shields currently producing some of the scene's best alternative/indie pop acts. The Railway Club, The Union Choir, Natasha Haws, Minotaurs and Dan McClew are just a handful of the impressive outfits dancing onto the scene from the sands of the town.

Although according to Paul it's not just the sea air that's helped form the marked sound coming from Shields; the size of the place might have something to do with it as well. "Funnily enough our connection with the Railway Club and Union Choir run deeper than just our hometown. Glenn, our bass player, is also in The Railway Club.  Grant Lagan of the Railway Club is also the drummer in The Union Choir, and is also producing our forthcoming EP.  Not to mention that we're very good friends with the rest of The Railway Club. Dan (Hollywood and Vines' guitarist), Jack (Hollywood and Vines' drummer) and Richard Milburn (The Railway Club's master of the glockenspiel) used to be in a school band called Three Kings & A Jack. I used to go see Martin Trollop play as rainfalldown ages ago."


Sounds... incestuous. "It's a nice feeling to be a part of a local rising music scene," maintains Paul. "We're supportive of each other's bands." Well whatever is going on there over the water, they're clearly doing something right to be turning out such a collective of great musicians; an assembly that Paul is keen for Hollywood and Vines to ascend to.

"Everyone is friendly and there's a love and history of music in Shields which may be why there's great bands emerging now. Hopefully in the near future the same can be said of us!"

With such ambition, production ethic and an eye for perfection, I'm sure it won't be long.

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