Vacant Lots Interviewed: Jared Artaud
Words by Justin Landau.
I recently had the privilege to sit down and talk with vocalist and guitarist Jared Artaud of The Vacant Lots in the Big Heavy World offices. Jared and drummer Bryan Macfadyen will be playing in The Vermont Movie fundraiser show at the Flynn Center on July 10th at 8:45. Formed in 2008, this duo has already recorded three albums, and plan on releasing their fourth in the near future hoping to “flesh out all of the ideas by the end of the summer.” Unlike many bands who spend several months, if not longer to produce an album, The Vacant Lots do the opposite. Each album has been recorded, edited, and mixed all within a weekend time slot. The duo is completely independent, doing all of the work themselves, from the playing, editing, production of albums and silk screening, and creation of merchandise. When asked why the recording process seems unusually short and rushed, Jared said “with speed and intensity, the spirit of the band is forced to be released as opposed to being cultivated over time. Once the sound is pictured in our minds, we go with it and don’t look back.”
According to the band, they can be classified as a mixture of minimalistic, psychedelic and dark pop. The lyrics' foundations stem from Jared’s poetry writing, and deal with themes of revolt, the individual soul, religion, and the suffering around us. The music and poetry created are meant to represent “a strong faith in your belief, which does not have to depend on God.” One listener once described the bands music as “gospel without God.” The poetic inspiration ingrained in the lyrics, which address “the darker realms of the soul and mind” can be attributed to works by Rimbaud, Poe, Alan Ginsburg, Lau Tremont, along with others.
The bands musical influences are diverse, which is indicative of the style of their music, and the various niches of listeners and fans the band attracts. Jared cited some musical influences as Bo Diddley, The Rolling Stones, The Stooges, The Doors, and Howlin Wolf, along with many other groups. Along with these groups, the Indian Sitar also plays a prominent role. In respect to the drumming, inspiration is drawn from Native American music. By playing in this style, it “allows for a primitive sound, like the rhythm of a heartbeat.” At their first practice, Jared “asked Bryan to lay all of his drums on the ground, and play them standing up. He looked at me like I was crazy.” Jared decided early on to be in a band and “was obsessed with rock and roll, garage bands, along with psychadelic music and the punk movement, all prominent while growing up in New Jersey, right outside the city.”
The Vacant Lots have toured the northeast, and have played with many bands, most notably Spectrum, which is a collaboration of psychedelic drone rock groups Sonic Boom and Spacemen 3. Some of the bands' favorite experiences were playing with the Vandelles and The Ravenettes. Rather than just appeal to the ears of their audience, they design and run their own film projections as they play. “These handpicked projections are meant to both develop anticipation and provoke ideas of the subconscious, inspired by any artistic level and means.”
The band hopes to go on tour soon, and are anxious to explore and tour the West Coast. More information about The Vacant Lots can be found on myspace, facebook, iTunes and twitter. Merchandise and albums are available both through iTunes and by email, email@example.com. The Vermont Movie benefit show is their last planned gig of the summer, as they look to begin production on their fourth album, so be sure to not miss this great show.