Why is it that we never dare to act purely from what we think and feel in the moment? Why is it that our world seems to be guided by unwritten rules and the judgement of others? And what would it sound and feel like if we didn’t feel that way? On March 17, The Vices will release their second album ‘Unknown Affairs’, a starting point in trying to answer these thoughts. For the Vices there are no universal truths. The only thing we can do is seek truth in our own feelings and thoughts. The album includes previously released singles ‘Strange Again’, ‘I Had A Name’ and ‘Tomorrow I’ll Be’. The album will be released on Mattan Records.
Since the release of debut album ‘Looking for Faces’ in March 2021, everything seems to be falling in place for The Vices. Their first club tour sold out, right after the announcement, Nothing but Thieves asked them to join the stage in Europe’s biggest venues, they opened for Kensington in the Ziggo Dome 3 times and major festivals like Best Kept Secret and Sziget could be ticked off the bucket list. And so the rest of the world seems to turn around for the energetic Groningen natives, after kicking off with their first small headline shows across Europe, until the very last person is convinced. Anyone who has seen The Vices live knows they have always played with confidence – and above all joy and energy – and after a year like this, confidence is something that can only grow. ‘Unknown Affairs’ reflects this new gained confidence audibly. Both in lyric and sound, the band dares to make choices, take risks.
Floris: ‘For me ‘Unknown Affairs’ is about finding your own voice in a world flushed with taste and opinions, and the realisation that voices can change and grow both musically and lyrically. I have found more peace to reflect on this. I allow myself to feel deeper and express this too.’ The band’s close friendship, who are constantly together in the band bus or studio, is like a safe bubble in which all observations and thoughts about this crazy world we live in are shared, doubted and spoken about. This bubble motivates and inspires, resulting in lyrics that read away like philosophy. The twentysomethings have often wondered why the world around us is the way it is, but now slowly but surely they dare to take a stand in it themselves. Especially the truths we consciously or unconsciously take away from our upbringing and pigeonholing are popular subjects to be discussed in the band bus. Singer and writer Floris van Luijtelaar: ‘We all have our things you know, that we believe in, that we value that we think are important. It’s like boxes or lines that we colour within. These things feel like inherent truths but in fact they’re not. The issue here is not that we don’t like to colour outside of the lines, but the fact that the lines are contrived and therefore don’t actually exist. If you close your eyes, you don’t see lines. And when you see no lines, you’re
free to think, feel, create whatever you want. That’s the only thing we can do or say that is meaningful, that is true, about what you think and feel yourself. From that train of thought, Floris allows more of his feelings and thoughts into the process of making music and writing lyrics. Whereas themes such as turmoil, addiction, friendship, loneliness and love were mostly treated as universal and general struggles on their debut album, ‘Unknown Affairs’ dares to show the face of these everyday problems and what they mean to him. This sometimes comes hard, but in this case, can also lead to beautiful realisations. Expect an honest, and most of all very personal view of The Vices’ their world on this new album. This same mindset also applies to the musical choices made; even fixed laws and (un)written rules that exist in pop music may be ignored. With a certain stubbornness, the band does not stick to conventional sounds and explores new musical structures, writing- and recording techniques. In the end, a good song does not necessarily need a bridge or an outro.
Those rules were only ever made up by someone, right? The Vices have a variety of personalities and musical preferences. Drummer Mathijs is not averse to a bit of TOTO (although he hardly dares to say it out loud), while Floris likes to lose himself in the voice of Lou Reed, much to the annoyance of bassist Simon, who thinks everything by Lou Reed and TOTO is ‘boring and shit’. Instead he prefers some Red Hot Chili Peppers. Combine this with acts they all like, such as Cage the Elephant, Mac Miller and The Strokes, and you have a nice and interesting musical palette from which The Vices can choose. Therefore it is possible that ‘Unknown Affairs’ features both a ballad ‘Tomorrow I’ll Be’ kept as small as possible and a bombastic rock song ‘Strange Again’. Similarly, the psychedelic solos on ‘For My Mind’, the orchestral intro of ‘Fooled Away’, and the closing gypsy jam are typical of the diversity that The Vices stand for, and which they have mastered even better on this new album. Whereas many a group of men actually take on more of a single face when together for long periods of time, each of The Vices manages to keep their individual faces just right. ‘When you respect each other for who you are and trust what you can do, it’s very easy to stay yourself,’ says guitarist/keyboardist (and illustrator of the band) Jonathan Kruizenga. ‘But just because we know each other so well both personally and musically, it doesn’t mean we don’t challenge and motivate each other to try different and new things.’ 2023 promises to be a special year for The Vices. This year’s ViceFest, launched in home town Groningen, will see international editions in London, Antwerp and Berlin, and with a new album under their belt, the band will play their biggest Dutch club shows to date before touring all over Europe. In March, they will travel to the U.S.A. for major US showcase festival SXSW and shows in New York City.
The Vices are: Floris van Luijtelaar – Vocals, guitar Jonathan ‘Jones’ Kruizenga – Keyboards, guitar Simon Bleeker – Bass Mathijs Louwsma – Drums ‘Unknown Affairs’ will be released on 17/03 on Mattan Records.