It’s the month of The Big Feastival, and as well as drooling over the chef line-up (like you do the week before a restaurant reservation) there’s also loads of great music we’re looking forward to. We got in touch with Justin Young, lead singer and guitarist of The Vaccines, to find out a little more about what they have in store for us.
“It's our first time so we're very excited,” Justin says. “Inevitable food comas aside, hopefully the set will be as energetic as always. We love playing places we've never played before because it always feels like an opportunity to win some new hearts and minds.”
With a discography spanning several albums, how do you decide on the setlist for your festival shows?
I think festivals are much easier than your own shows, because really you just need to focus on giving as many people as good of a time as possible, so the sets are always very single heavy. I guess you have a shorter slot too, so it's less of a journey. Hopefully it’s just banger after banger.
Do have a preference between festivals and regular gigs?
There's something amazing about playing to your own crowd where the whole room knows every word to every song – even the deep cuts – but I do like the challenge of trying to win over as many new people as possible. I love what we do and have a lot of confidence in it, so it’s always exciting to play to new people.
Which chefs are you excited to see, or which foods are you excited to try at Feastival?
I love Chinese food – I think Xiaolongbao would be my death row meal – so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing Ching-he Huang. I also always think Julius Roberts' food always looks amazing when it comes up on my TikTok – I made his halloumi omelette this morning actually.
You’ve got a lot of dates coming up this summer – do you enjoy touring?
I love it. I miss it when we're not touring. There's a lot of time spent in transit doing nothing though, so I think you have to know how to fill the empty space. It helps having your best friends around; I don't know how solo artists do it.
What’s your worst festival experience?
We've had some pretty crazy ones. We once had to stop playing two songs into our set in Thailand because the King drove past, and they weren't allowed to play music while he did. All these guys with machine guns came on stage to make sure we got the message, but actually the festival was so fun and friendly, and I think we ended up having one of the best nights we've ever had as a band. So, I guess you gotta take the rough with the smooth.
You’ve been on the music scene for over a decade now, what do you think are the biggest changes you’ve seen since your careers began?
I mean the biggest one is social media and streaming. Spotify didn't exist in the USA when our first album was released. Content is king now. No point in fighting against it, though.
How has your approach to songwriting evolved over the years?
I think we're all constantly evolving as humans and so the way you see the world and want to document it changes constantly. I'm still as determined as ever to be as direct as possible though – even if the message is a complex or complicated one.
Oxfordshire has a rich musical history. Are there any particular artists or bands from the region that have influenced your sound or inspired you?
We loved Talulah Gosh when we first started the band. I loved Radiohead growing up too.
Who are you listening to right now?
Right now, I'm listening to a song by Hayden Pedigo, but this morning I've listened to Johnny Cash and Divorce.
What’s next for you guys?
We just finished LP6, so hopefully lots of new music and lots of touring. Very excited!