By Ciara Reid, staff reporter
LAWRENCE - Lawrence-based band Vigil and Thieves may have just released their debut album, defective [book one] in early September, but they give off a vibe of seasoned musicians ready to flex their road muscles on an extensive national tour. Self-described as “a group of vagabonds who ignore the rules of real life and instead create sounds and poetry that will make you want to dance,” Vigil and Thieves is Sarah Storm (vocals, guitar, and keys), Steph Castor (guitar) – formerly of the band Grenadina, and Andrew Flaherty (drums).
While in Illinois for a show, Sarah Storm took some time to chat with Liberty Press about all things Vigil and Thieves:
Liberty Press: Tell readers a little bit about your new band, Vigil and Thieves.
Sarah Storm: Our band, Vigil and Thieves was originally Andrew Flaherty and I. The two of us have been playing music together for four years starting in Lawrence and roaming around Phoenix and the San Diego area for a while as a duo. We came back to Lawrence where Steph Castor joined us on lead guitar. Which was really the missing link and turned our sound into a much fuller, more melodic kind of rock and roll that we had been always kinda wanting. We are all about telling stories through lyrical poetry in the hopes that others could relate to our songs and gain something positive through listening, singing along, or maybe even dancing a little bit.
LP: Your debut album was just released. What was the writing/recording process like?
SS: I write all the lyrics and my guitar parts usually with a melody thought out. Andrew and Steph must have a gift for reading minds because as soon as we start putting drums and second guitars together as a group it usually comes together flawlessly. We are super lucky to have such great chemistry and be so like-minded because when we all come together working on a song we capture the mood and the emotions in the lyrics with matching tones and melodies.
[defective] book one is the first half of a full-length album that we wrote as the result of feeling kinda displaced. I was kicked out of my parents’ home during my senior year of high school, which made me feel like there was something wrong with me. A lot of the songs are a little bit tragic but they aren’t supposed to be sad songs. I am an optimist and we all wanted to keep the message of our music hopeful. I may write about feeling homeless or maybe even a little bit crazy, but as cliché as it may sound I think everything happens for a reason and we are all in control of what we do with our experiences and looking forward is always better than looking back.
LP: Speaking of the recording process, you produced the record. What was that process like?
SS: The recording process was extremely stressful. I went to school for recording and interned at an amazing studio in Phoenix called Tallcat. We managed to gather a bunch of recording equipment when Andrew came into some cash from the World Series of Poker Main Event. We had tried recoding elsewhere beforehand, but nothing ever sounded exactly how we imagined.
We, by luck, acquired half an office building in Ottawa, KS, which we decided to call Vigilante Studio. We spent nearly the entire four months from May to August trying to record all 11 tracks. Which, in early July, we decided was too ambitious, so we split it up. There was definitely a lot of blood, sweat and tears but we got it done. We financed the record, the master, the artwork - by our friend Kassidee Quaranta - and printing ourselves with a little help from the Flaherty’s. As overwhelming as it all was it’s a good feeling to hold the final product in our hands and say that we created something out of nothing.
LP: Vigil and Thieves already has a packed fall, with dozens of tour dates. How have you been preparing for your first tour? What are you guys looking forward to the most? Any challenges or things you’re not looking forward to about touring?
SS: Well we all have specific skills and jobs that helped us pull this tour together. I wrote the songs and handled the production of the album. Steph has a knack for PR and booking which has been crucial for getting everything organized and getting venues interested. And Andrew plays drums - kidding - he organized all things with the vehicle and is our driving captain and heavy lifter.
We did a lot of research as far as necessities on the road and at this point - we are writing to you from the middle of Illinois - the most challenging thing has been showering regularly. Our friend Randy and two of my brothers built a raised twin bunk in the back of our 12-passenger van; Steph and I sleep up top and Andrew has the bottom. We managed to acquire a donated bright purple trailer which tows our equipment and all of our clothes.
As of right now I suppose we’re all homeless. We are very happy to be traveling and meeting new people, including fellow musicians. This entire fall/winter is a most excellent adventure. We are excited most about opening for The Misfits in November, and being in Southern California, where Steph and I have family, around Christmas time. Oh, and the ocean, god, how I miss the ocean.
LP: What can people expect from Vigil and Thieves in 2015?
SS: In 2015 we are hoping to release the second half of our album, or maybe even do a full-length. It’s hard to predict what will come of this tour, we are hoping to gain some momentum and go for round two as soon as spring hits.