Introducing Vintage Boring, an up-and-coming indie rock foursome out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Vintage Boring formed in 2019 and hunkered down during the height of the pandemic to record what became their debut 3-song EP “Small Space”.
We had a chance to speak with singer and guitarist Jamie O’Halloran about the record, their new single “Oswego” and their upcoming return to the stage at Lee’s Palace on November 26th in Toronto.
Listen to the track now on Spotify and read on for the interview.
Take us back to early 2020. You guys were doing a fair bit of gigging before the pandemic hit here in Canada which prompted you to record your debut EP, “Small Space.” Were you already planning to track that record at that time or was it really born out of the circumstance?
Jamie: The plan has always been to write and record an album. Even before we had gotten together to write it was understood that was our goal. Sam and I wrote Small Space the first time we ever hung out, and “Oswego” was written the following week, so we knew we had decent chemistry when it came to song writing together, we just needed time. When the pandemic hit, it gave us time to completely focus on the music.
You and Samantha share lead vocals on the EP. How do you go about deciding who takes what lead, or does it tend to come down to who wrote the lyrics for the song?
Jamie: We write our lyrics together. Someone may come up with the initial idea, but our songwriting process is for Sam and I to spend a few weeks contemplating lyrics together. The person who takes the lead will usually have pushed for the song to be written, but ultimately it comes down to whoever’s voice serves the story/song better.
The EP has been described as great accompaniment to a road trip. Where’s one place you guys haven’t trekked out to yet that you would want to do in this way and what would you stop along the way to see?
Jamie: We are itching to start playing in the States. I don’t think any of us are picky about where exactly that is at first, although I really want to see the rockies, and I anticipate Sam wanting to go somewhere warm along the ocean.
Who are some of your other favourite “road trip bands” or songs?
Jamie: Whenever we get into the car right now someone will almost always play “Out of Tune” by Backseat Lovers, or “Booster Seat” by Spacey Jane.
Your most recent single is “Oswego” which you mentioned above was one of the first songs you and Sam wrote together. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired it?
The chorus lyrics for “Oswego” are “Took it down to empty, trying to chase a lighter sky. Wasn’t til Oswego that I got you off my mind.” This was inspired by a guy Sam and I worked with at the time who had just had a terrible breakup and drove his car as far as it could get before it ran out of gas. He ended up in Oswego, but I remember him telling us about it and both of us looked at each other and knew it would be a great idea for a song.
It reminds me of a more modern-rock-Blue Rodeo tune. Out of only Canadian artists, who would you say you draw the most influence from?
Interesting that you say Blue Rodeo, I am not sure we have heard that comparison before. Neil Young, Robbie Robertson, and Joni Mitchell are big influences for us. It might not be that noticeable in our music, but we are deeply inspired by them. Out of current artists I would have to say Dizzy and Peach Pit.
Vintage Boring is an interesting name choice for a band that is otherwise by all accounts full of engaging instrumentation and insightful, relatable wordplay; Where did it come from?
Jamie: It was a term that we used to describe our sense of fashion style, and then my mom and Sam decided it would be a good band name. Up until that point we were switching band names every few weeks, and they were all pretty bad.
Were the four of you friends before forming the band; How did you all meet and come together?
Jamie: The band started with Sam and I working at a restaurant in downtown Toronto. I had just ended things with a different project and was trying to keep momentum going, and Sam was interested in getting into the industry. We became bandmates, then friends and have not looked back. Next, we sought out Callen who I’ve known since high school. He was tasked with percussion, bass, and keys until the newest member of the band, Reed, joined this summer. We caught Reed as he was coming out of a different group and asked him to join the band after only one rehearsal.
Now that venues are back in full swing, you have a show coming up at Lee’s Palace with Club Silencio supporting. How have you guys filled the live music void while we all were under restriction?
Jamie: Writing and practicing. As disappointing as it was to be sidelined throughout Covid, we have filled our time with writing, recording, and practicing, and we are truly better for it. Our sound has completely evolved. We played two sold out shows at Horseshoe at the beginning of October this year that would not have been nearly as successful if we did not have a year and a half to work our sound.
Did you guys take on any live-streaming gigs throughout the pandemic, either as players or just viewers? If so, what was your honest opinion on them?
Jamie: We played a couple livestreamed gigs at the beginning of the pandemic and vowed not to ever again. They’re honestly so awkward. Music needs an interactive audience.
You’re already working on the follow up to “Oswego,” how’s tracking coming along for that? Are you recording in a traditional studio or have you opted to do some home-recording?
Jamie: We would love to say that we do all our own recording and production but the truth is that we do it all in a studio. We do pre-production on our own and then head to the studio for the real thing. We are all done writing the arrangements to our next recording, now it is just figuring out how to lay it down.
Can fans expect it to take on the same casual, relaxed vibe as “Small Space” or are you doing something a little different this go around?
Jamie: This is going to be far more adventurous and involved than “Small Space.” When we recorded SS, it was all so new to us being in a studio. We have taken almost a year now building an EP with more experience, and it is much bigger in terms of sound. The same importance will be placed on vocals/lyrics, but with more advanced instrumentation.
When do you expect it to be released?
Jamie: We are going to the studio this winter so it should be released in early Spring 2022.
Anything else you’d like fans to be aware of, aside from keeping their eyes to all of your social media channels, of course?
Jamie: Come see the band at Lee’s Palace on November 26th. We know we are going to put on a great show and it will only get better with every additional person that comes out.