» Simon/Jeremiah - Vended
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Interview conducted June 9 2023
Interview published July 29 2023

Metal Covenant got to spend some time with drummer Simon Crahan and bass player Jeremiah "JJ" Pugh of the American modern metallers Vended as the band made an appearance at Sweden Rock in June.

Tobbe: Where did you guys find your biggest sources to play this style of music that you play?

Simon: I wouldn't say we influence anything. I think we just wanted to create our own genre. Do something different. People will say it sounds like this or this or this, but I think it's more how we write and what we like to do. I don't really influence my drums from anybody in particular. I just play how I wanna play, so.

Tobbe: What did you guys listen to in your younger days, in your youth, or maybe I should say in your early teens?

Jeremiah: Nirvana. (Simon:) Lots of hip-hop and jazz, I'd say.

Tobbe: That's kind of different to what you're playing right now.

Simon: Yeah, it is. It's a big, big jump.

Tobbe: Sometimes when I meet new bands, like modern metal bands, I ask a question like this one: Can you sometimes wish that you were born in a different age and were a band in a different time than in the 2020s?

Simon: No. I don't know how well it would work. I feel like this is probably the right time for us. I don't know how well it would have worked back then, you know. I think we're doing just fine.

Tobbe: Tell me how the band got together in the first place some years ago.

Jeremiah: Cole (Espeland, lead guitar) saw Griffin (Taylor, vocals) walking through the hallways singing lyrics, and Cole was like, "That's my dude!", and the rest is history. (Laughs) (Simon:) Pretty much, yeah.

Tobbe: A little longer answer than that, please. (No response…) So, you're five guys. You had to be picked up, like, one at a time.

Simon: They picked me up, and then we were just writing, the three of us. Then I picked JJ up, and then I picked Connor (Grodzicki, rhythm guitar) up, and then we'd start writing even more music, and practicing a shit-ton.

A lot of people don't know, because they think we just played our first show after a week of being a band, but we were a band for, like, two or three years before we even played our first show. And not a lot of people know that. So it's like we really perfected our craft before we even showed it to anybody.

Tobbe: What happened on the initial sessions for the band, when you guys didn't really know each other and knew what everyone was able to play, perform and write?

Simon: It was perfect. We got fucking lucky. JJ was the first audition we had, and he just knew how to play and he knew how to slam, and that's all we cared about. And he knew how to look. And same with Grod. Everyone just had their own thing.

I know a lot of bands struggling finding people that work, but it was seriously the most luckiest shit, even to say, in Iowa, which… there's nobody there. I couldn't ask for anything better, for sure.

Tobbe: So pretty much there were no short-lived members in the beginning and just the five of you.

Simon: Pretty much.

Tobbe: Pretty much, yeah. I wanna hear about it.

Simon: No.

Tobbe: What might we expect now in terms of new music coming out in 2023?

Simon: Can't really say. It'll happen when it happens. That's all I got for that.

Tobbe: Lita Ford told me yesterday that she had a new album coming out, that nobody knew about. So, she's cool with telling stuff.

Simon: But I mean, we wanna keep things under the blanket, I guess. We don't want people to know.

Tobbe: So now if you're making new music for a possible album, might you take a little bit step sideways, or are you gonna stick to the original idea of what you have been coming out with so far?

Jeremiah: I don't know. We just kind of do what we wanna do essentially. Fuck, who knows? Our next album could be a pop album.

Tobbe: If you see it in long terms, do you guys think that Vended will become an album band like the classic bands, or will you keep on releasing more singles and EPs along the road?

Simon: I don't know. It's hard to say now, but I think we'll just do whatever the fuck we want, because we don't wanna follow a formula. I mean, we'll follow a formula, but we don't wanna listen to businesspeople. We just wanna be teenagers growing into old men doing what we love.

Fuck, I mean, there will be a point where we don't wanna release an album for four years if we don't feel like it, you know what I mean? Like, every band releases an album every two years, and it gets boring, and we don't want to do that. We wanna, like, hide, disappear, come back bigger than ever, and then we'll just keep doing that.

Tobbe: I'm kind of still the album guy, if you know what I mean? It's kind of hard to keep track for me when bands release singles.

Jeremiah: That's kind of the game right now, though.

Tobbe: Yeah, and I totally respect that you have to follow these times and not the 80's or whatever, so. So, you're touring Europe right now and it seems like you guys are trying to hit the European market now more than ever and not only focus on the American market, right?

Simon: It's expensive, but I mean, we try to. We're trying to come out here more, because it's better out here, for sure. (Jeremiah:) It's a lot of fun. When we came and played out here last year it was, like, the best shows we've ever played.

(Simon:) It's fun to come out here and it's tough at the same time, 'cause you're so far away from people that you love. Let's say, like, my parents wanna come and watch a show; they can't, you know what I mean?

So, that's, like, the benefits of touring in America, but there's also cons, like not really good shows, and, you know, people just see it all there and people here in Europe don't see anything that much, you know what I mean? So it's like when they do it's like a blessing, and we're gonna be a part of that.

Tobbe: The band has been to other parts of the world as well, besides North America and Europe. To what degree are you guys involved in those decisions? Or is it just management's decisions to go out to other places and you just follow their lead?

Simon: I think we just get messages, really. (Jeremiah:) Well, I mean, all we get is just offers and we just say yes 'cause we just wanna go and we're getting ready for what we can, you know.

Tobbe: So you have no say at all?

Simon: No, we have a say. We definitely have a say. No one is our boss. We're our own boss, so.

Tobbe: You're a young band, so it still must be cool to come out to different parts of the world, even if you maybe don't have time to see the culture and stuff.

Simon: Yeah, we definitely don't have time to do any of that. We're always traveling. Soon though, I mean, it'll get better from here on out when we'll have more days to actually see the world. (Jeremiah:) We've seen a couple of things, when we have time, but we usually are super busy.

Tobbe: You belong to a generation where instant success is important. Do you guys have the needed patience to go through all this if things don't happen quickly?

Simon: Yeah. I will wait forever. It just all depends, if I'm 40 and I'm not getting well, then I don't know. It's gonna be a little tough.

Tobbe: What else are you up to guys, besides doing music?

Simon: Chilling at home, really; I don't know. When we're not doing music I don't even know what the fuck we do. (Jeremiah:) All I do is music. I mean, I go fishing sometimes. That's about it, yeah.

(Simon:) When I'm at home I try to, like, isolate myself away from music so I don't have to fucking get bored of it. 'Cause I'm afraid I'm that kind of person, like, I get bored of things really fast, you know what I mean? Of course I practice every day, but I don't listen to music when I'm at home, 'cause I don't wanna tire myself.

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