The Vovos: “Funny, nostalgic, danceable, epic!”

Original photo by Rick Clifford. Handmade collage by B.

Beth, Lu and Ruby from “punk bitch” band The Vovos, collectively answered our questions about their invigorating new split 7” release, Vampire Club, with one of our favourite prolific Naarm-based punks, Billiam.

What have you been up to since last we spoke for Gimmie issue 5?

THE VOVOS: We’ve recorded and released Jessica Day, with an upcoming split 7-inch with Billiam. We went to the ABC to perform a song on Spicks & Specks, which is airing on Sunday 11 September. Meeting Adam Hills and having the whole ‘rockstar-on-TV’ experience was really fun. Our songs have also been featured on the new ABC Me show, Soundtrack to Our Teenage Zombie Apocalypse; seeing our name in the credits was truly surreal. We’re also gearing up to record our next album this month – so it’s been a busy year for The Vovos!

What’s your favourite experience as a band so far?

THE VOVOS: Seeing our projects come from random silly ideas to become real things in the world, like on physical vinyl and on the internet is really exciting. We all love writing songs and the moment that a song comes together for the first time is magical, and seeing it recorded & released & then watching people listen to it is honestly amazing. 

You’re getting ready to release a split 7” with Billiam called Vampire Club; where did the title come from? I know there’s a line in your new song ‘Jessica Day’ that’s on the 7” that mentions a vampire club.

THE VOVOS: We took it from ‘Jessica Day’, and the line is reminiscing on our childhoods being part of spooky clubs and making believe about vampires & witches. It has since evolved into an obsession for some of us with all vampire-based media, but the line ties into the theme of the whole song about how it was easier to be authentic as children, and missing that.

We’re premiering the video for ‘Jessica Day’; what’s the song about? Tell us about writing it.

THE VOVOS: ’Jessica Day’ was written in the midst of Year 12 and COVID lockdowns, and it reflects that moment of transition out of high school, and struggling with new ideas around what is acceptable in terms of expression & creativity. It’s a rejection of the idea that art should be a certain way or people should behave a certain way in order to be taken seriously. 

While we were in lockdown, we were all obsessed with the show, New Girl, and its main character (after whom the song is named) served as inspiration as well.

Describe the new song in five words.

TV: Energetic, funny, nostalgic, danceable, epic!

The video was made by Kalindy Williams from Hearts & Rockets; how did you first come to her work and why did you want to work with her?

TV: We love Kalindy & have played shows organised by her and with Hearts & Rockets for a long time. We love her bright colours & vintage aesthetic, and thought they really suited the vibe of the song, so when we heard that she made music videos we jumped at the opportunity!

Where was the video shot?

TV: To fit with the New Girl-ian tone, we shot in Ada’s sharehouse. We asked her housemates very nicely and bribed them with food and ended up essentially throwing a daytime house party equipped with Billiam Beers and a terrible Vovos cake to film it.

What do you remember most from shooting the video?

TV: Fatigue. The night before was the election, so we’d all been out late and when the day came, we were all hungover, the house was freezing cold, and it ended up being a 12-hour shoot. But it was so nice to have all our friends there supporting us, and dancing so enthusiastically to our song – even though they were essentially being forced to. 

‘Justice For Pretzel Man’ is the other song on The Vovos’ side of the Vampire Club; what’s the story of this song?

TV: This is one of the weirdest songs we’ve ever written. Its inspiration came from a beautiful soft sculpture that Lu made, for Year 12 art class, out of recycled clothing, which we lovingly dubbed Pretzel Man. It took all of her energy and months of work, and yet in the end was given a brutally mediocre mark. The song ties in with a broader theme to our side of the record which questions the idea of ‘good’ art and grading creativity. 

The 7” art is a collaboration between Billiam and The Vovos; how did it come together? You had an Art Day, right?

TV: Making the art for this was very stressful, as one of our chief artists, Ada, was in Europe for much of the period when we really should’ve been doing it, which led to mass procrastination. Eventually, we got together with Billy, some pastels and a photocopier at Ruby’s house and made the art together one Sunday afternoon after Ada got back. We dubbed this, Art Day, and made a little vlog.

Has your creative process changed much since your first release Constructive Criticism in 2019?

TV: The process itself hasn’t changed much – we’ve always gotten together to brainstorm lyrics, worked through the sections and added finishing touches to each of our parts on our own, and we still do that to this day. However, we’ve definitely gotten much better at each step in that process, and even since our latest release, Jana, we’ve gotten a lot more attentive with adding dimensions and complexity to the songs.

What’s your favourite Billiam track on the split release? What do you appreciate about it?

TV: Our favourite song is Jenny Destroys Records. The opening absolutely slaps and, as always in a Billiam song, the riff is catchy and sticks in your head. We love the distinctive Billiam sound & production style, and are very excited to be releasing this record with him!

What have you been listening to, watching or reading lately? Why does/doesn’t it rule?

TV: The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, The Twilight Saga (movies), Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead, Vampire Diaries, What We Do In The Shadows, ‘Vampire’ by Antsy Pants, Jennifer’s Body, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ‘Dracula, You Broke My Heart’ by bis, Scooby-Doo and the Legend of the Vampire, ‘Monsieur Dracula’ by Fleur, ‘No Vampires Remain in Romania’ by King Luan, Doctor Who Season 5, Episode 6. We love the way all of this media captures the experience of being alive in the 21st century.

What’s the rest of the year look like for you?

TV: We’re currently writing and recording our next album, and in the coming months we’ll be continuing to work on it. We’re very excited to have it out in the world sometime next year! We also have our launch for Vampire Club on September 16 at Nighthawks with Billiam & the Teethers, so come dance with us.

Get Vampire Club HERE. Follow @thevovos and @billiamofbilliam. Get TIX to the 7″ launch HERE.