After a huge 2011 which peaked with the release of their debut album Batmania, The Fearless Vampire Killers are about to embark on a national tour in support. We got in touch with lead singer and guitarist Sean Ainsworth and asked him a few questions regarding the band, the album and other future plans.
No Jackets: Hey mate. I bet you’ve had hundreds of these so we’ll try not to keep you that long
Sean Ainswoth: *LAUGHS*
Firstly, you have an interesting choice for your band name, especially with the world’s obsession with Vampires. How did the name come about?
We got it from the Roman Polanski film. We didn’t intend it to be a pop culture reference when we thought it up seven years ago. We didn’t want to take ourselves too seriously and I had just watched the film in media class. At the time people thought it was a bit weird, vampires, but we couldn’t think of anything better.
You might have gotten a little lucky that the world went this way towards vampires. Do you ever get asked about any links to Twilight?
We don’t really get related to Twilight that much. I mean, we’re Vampire Killers so we technically hate vampires.
I guess that’s like a lot of people then.
Your debut album Batmania was released in October last year. We first saw you guys opening for The Hives at the end of 2008. Obviously that’s a pretty long time ago, did you feel any pressure to release an album sooner?
No, there wasn’t much pressure. We didn’t have a label behind us pushing it out, making us play an album, then selling and making a new album. I don’t like it when people say that it took us so long to put an album out. They’re often surprised that it did take us so long. The actual album recording only took 6 months, but the mixing took another 6 months and then a year to put it out self-financed.
We didn’t want it to be half-arsed. We could have done it in 12 months or wait another 12 months and put out something we’re really happy with. We just did everything important and didn’t dwell on anything and act like anal musicians in the studio. We weren’t in the studio saying “no no no, we need more didgeridoo.” We weren’t like that.
But the next record will be a lot smoother. We know what we’re doing this time around.
Why did you choose the name Batmania? Melbourne was potentially going to be called Batmania, was that part of your consideration
In the same way we chose the band name, we didn’t want it to be too serious. We brainstormed titled for fucking ever, but decided on this because it takes the piss a little. But it means something. We love Melbourne. We were travelling up and down the east coast while thinking of a name and everytime we got home, I’d think “Ahh I love being home in Melbourne.” Most people think about the whole Vampires and Bats thing.
I’d actually never thought of that. Being from Melboune, I automatically picked up the reference.
Yeah, there are a few levels to it. Lots of people wouldn’t have any clue what it means.
The album was produced by Lars Stalfors of Mars Volta, was it intimidating working with him?
It wasn’t intimidating really, he wasn’t first option. Mixing the album, it was all recorded in Melbourne and he was really just another guy. Hw was in LA and we had to do everything via internet because we didn’t have the money to go over.
We met him (Lars Stalfors) when we were playing with Kasabian, when he was touring with Mars Volta for the Big Day Out in 2010. He didn’t drink or smoke or anything, talking to him in a bar, we went outside because it was loud and ended up chatting for 2 hours about all our influences, what we wanted the record to sound like and just talked about music in general. We didn’t see him again until played again at Splendour
His sample mix was by far the best compared to others, not that it had to do with Mars Volta. It was good to put it in the press release, makes an impact. Our drummer really likes Mars Volta; I haven’t really listened to them. I listened to their other band, At The Drive In; they are a good band, wild.
To be honest we were more excited about playing with Kasabian and the Hives.
Your twitter account has only ever sent one tweet, but your Facebook page is quite active. Do you think it’s important for bands these days to maintain a strong social media presence?
It’s definitely important to keep in touch with the audience all the time, it can’t just be when you’re on the stage like it used to be. Social media is a good thing, it’s sometimes not the easiest, Facebook and Twitter. Twitter is more an American thing so we might get into it more if we get big in America.
You’ve had a few Warehouse parties for video and EP launches announced through Facebook. Why would you choose to have these style events rather than a traditional launch?
Funnily enough, the idea came about because we made a film clip and we were drinking Melbourne Bitters, we managed to get a sponsorship out of it, Fosters. They gave us a bunch of free beer and wanted us to throw an event with young people drinking Fosters and get photos. We though a venue or a warehouse would be okay but house parties are always the best, the most fun. We found the right house and it was incredible, a wild gig, people were hanging out of the windows.
The second one we threw (A video launch for Tell Me What You’re Trying To Say) we had no sponsor, just found a warehouse in Abbotsford and the owner didn’t want the party to go late so it wasn’t as much of a success, but still good fun.
You’re touring Batmania around the country in March. Do have any big plans coming up after that?
We’re doing Apollo Bay festival in April, but not sure what other gigs. There will be a few more here and there, and maybe another tour later on in the year. We’re writing another album, which is really important and there’ll be some new songs on the Batmania tour, just to try some stuff out. We’re really just trying to get out of debt, maybe tour overseas but you’ll hear all about it on our Facebook
What are you currently listening to?
I played at Southbound in WA with Lanie Lane, playing guitar for her. I had a backstage pass for the entire festivals and it was quite surreal. Seeing a lot of bands I wouldn’t normally see, and then just seeing them walking around. But I thought Arctic Monkeys were really cool. They were headlining the festival and I watched them from the sound-tent. It was an incredible show. I thought their early stuff was shit, but really liked their more thought out and clever later stuff.
But it changes every week. Things from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, spaghetti western sort of stuff.
Finally, we want to ask you a Would You Rather.
Sure, go ahead
Would you rather listen to one song for the rest of your life or never be able to listen to music again?
Does the one song play all the time?
No, but anytime a song is playing it will be that song.
What if I pick up my guitar?
You’ll play that one song.
I think I’ll pick one song. No music would be weird. Have you seen that movie The Birds? I don’t think I’d like that.
I’d imagine for someone in your position it would be quite difficult to live without music. Well, what one song would you listen to?
Right now probably Cornerstone by Arctic Monkeys. But I’d get sick of that and probably end up shooting myself.
Haha. Good answer. Thanks for your time Sean.
The Fearless Vampire Killers play The Toff In Town on March 17th, with shows in all major centres around the country. More information available here
Batmania is available now.