Vintage Trouble's Ty Taylor: "People Are Looking For Something That Makes Their Spirit Move"

Ahead of their arrival in the UK this week, we hopped on the phone with Ty Taylor, frontman for Hollywood party-starters Vintage Trouble. Take it away, Ty...

Ty! Where in the world are you today?

"Right now I’m in Vitoria, Spain and we’re about to play a festival here. I was actually just thinking about how crazy it is – we have some people on our crew that have never come to Europe before and in the last week we’ve gone from Germany to Norway, we were in London for a few days and here we are in Spain. It’s just a really crazy experience. After you’ve been touring for a while, it sort of becomes the way life is. The fact that you get to see all these different cultures and meet all the different types of people and see how different people move to your songs, that’s the craziest part of it."

How have the festival shows been going?

"We were in Norway last week. The last time we played there was with Lenny Kravitz, and it was pouring down with rain. This time it was pure sunshine, I couldn’t even believe it was the same space. Since we played with Lenny Kravitz, we’ve played with The Who, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, and we’ve played such bigger stages. It was a big acknowledgement of how we’ve been so fortunate. I remember when we came over with Lenny, it felt like a huge stage, and now it doesn’t seem that big!

"It’s amazing when you do these festivals. People have no idea who you are. For us, it’s such a wild experience because they go from not just appreciating music, but singing the songs, to dancing, to lifting each other in the air, to treating us like we’re some band that’s been part of their lives all of their lives.

"I feel like with our band, when people haven’t heard us before, we give them something so new, but so familiar. I think it’s that contrast between the old and new that makes people excited to be at our shows."

When you look at who Vintage Trouble have played with, it’s such a diverse list; you’ve shared stages with everyone from The Who to Paloma Faith. What makes you so appealing to such a broad audience?

"I think we found right at the beginning that the most important part of the show isn’t us – it’s actually the audience. Right away when you start focusing on how you’re trying to connect with people rather than what you’re trying to do, then it makes people feel that you’re not just up there for yourself. I think people are really attracted to that.

"You look at the world, and what’s going on, and how we’re all so connected in the computer age, and I think people are looking for something that makes their spirit move. Whether you’re just a passerby or someone who knows our songs, the energy makes people feel like they want to be a part of it. It’s like when you walk past someone you’re attracted to; you can go by their look, or you can get right next to it and feel the vibration. That person might not be your type, but there’s something visceral, there’s something there.

"At these big festivals, when we walk out there might be 500 people in a field that’s supposed to hold 10,000, and we’ll be like “okay, this is the day that people just aren’t gonna get it”. Then after two or three songs, the field is full and people are taking off their clothes and dancing and getting crazy. It’s the wildest thing."

There’s a real throwback in your sound to the 50s and 60s, but there also seems to be in the way you play shows, too.

"We try and create dance parties rather than concerts! I’ve said it from the beginning: let’s f*** the concert, let’s just throw a party. Even during the shows sometimes I tell people to turn away from the stage and party with each other; introduce yourselves to the people next to you and party with them!

"The idea that someone can come into a space, and leave that space more alive, more in love, more angry, more happy, more elevated in every direction, that’s our mission accomplished.

"For me, what I liked about the 50s and 60s, people went into these rooms as a sort of refuge against all the stuff that was going on outside. That’s what I think people get from our shows. I know how turned on I get from people being excited, I don’t need anyone to hear me do a high note or a spin, or whatever, I just want people’s hearts to pump faster."

As a musician and a frontman, who do you draw inspiration from?

"It’s a 101 answer - it’s Tina Turner. A lot of people will say Wilson Pickett, or James Brown, Otis Redding, but that’s just because they’re guys. If anyone really picks me apart, they’ll understand my true inspiration is Tina Turner from the Tina and Ike period; where rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues were one thing. The idea was to sing like you’re singing your last note at every show, like it’s your last night on earth. That makes you up the ante! And ask Mick Jagger – you can clock his change from before they toured with Ike and Tina and after!

"In terms of current people, it has to be Beyonce. Even though she’s a big pop act, she’s singing and she’s dancing and she’s trying to represent something that makes people want to work harder. She’s a brilliant example of a performer who pushes herself to do everything."

What can you tell us about what’s to come from Vintage Trouble? We hear you’re working on new music right now…

"In our new songs, people will hear how we’ve taken the approach of not wanting to be like our parents. What we’ve been doing is really paying attention to what music is now, and thinking about how we can incorporate, or contrast that with what we do. 

"Think about Amy Winehouse, when she started singing jazz and blues, it brought a whole culture to the front again, that would not have done that without her. We’re not trying to preach to the choir: we want to meet people in the middle.

"It’s big news that we’re using modern sounds, and not just recording live as we’ve always done. We’ve been writing with hip-hop producers, country producers, rock ‘n’ roll producers and everything in between to see what they can bring out in us.

"I think without a doubt if Janis Joplin was alive, if Miles Davis was alive, if Jimi Hendrix was alive, they’d be combining modern sounds with what they do. They wouldn’t just be doing what they did in the 50s and 60s! Why would they? They’d want to be on the forefront, and adding the zeitgeist to their sound."

Vintage Trouble land in the UK this week for a string of headline shows. Get down and shake your thang at one of the following...

22 - LONDON O2 Forum Kentish Town
23 - NORWICH Waterfront
25 - GLASGOW Old Fruitmarket
27 - LEAMINGTON SPA Assembly
28 - CARDIFF Tramshed
29 - SOUTHAMPTON Engine Rooms
30 - BRIGHTON Concorde 2

Tickets are available now from the Live Nation tickets page.