Vigil and Thieves is one of Kansas City's strongest emerging bands. With two EPs and a slew of singles under their belt, the band have been honing their "loud and pretty" indie rock since 2014. Their most recent single, "Heroin and Automobiles" is about what it means to carry on with life in the face of shocking loss. We are grateful to share an interview with the band about this song, their songwriting process and their efforts to record to their full-length album.
Your new single, “Heroin & Automobiles,” is dedicated to the memory of two friends of the band. Talk about how the losses of Anthony Saluto and Sammy Jo Watson inspired the new song.
The heart of the song is coming to terms with mortality and the idea that life is fragile. Both of them were people that I saw nearly every day and the realization that the rest of the world carries on even after the tragic, sudden loss of young, caring and loved people was a lot to swallow. Their deaths inspired a song which, to me is about trying to carry on and reminds myself and others that life has value. Life happens in the moment and even though our loved ones are gone their memory carries on and we are better for having known them. Dealing with death, especially of young people, can make things seem bleak and I really wanted to make a statement that life is worth living and won't wait for you.
How does songwriting work in Vigil and Thieves? Who brings what to the table?
We like to just play our instruments (jam if you will) and see what comes out. We'll find one riff or rhythm that stands out and build on that. So musically the parts come together collectively. Lyrics happen different every time but I (Sarah) am always writing, I bring notebook with me everywhere and there are hundreds of songs on pages that may never make it to a stage. Recently the way songs have been becoming songs is once we have an idea for the instrumentals I'll either have something in mind from a piece I've been working on, or I'll start from scratch. The vocal melodies come together pretty organically.
What have you learned so about the recording process that you’ll bring to future projects?
I (Sarah) actually went to school for audio engineering and a lot of our music online was stuff that I did shortly after that. It was difficult to do it myself and I'm not super proud of how they turned out. I like to think that we're actually pretty good studio musicians at this point, we know to be prepared before were on paid time, which means doing pre-production in our home studio, knowing tempos and changes, and having a clear vision to present to producers and engineers. We're actually about to begin recording our first full length with local producer Aaron Crawford so we're in preparation stages right now!
What inspires you about new music in Kansas City?
Kansas City is rich and vibrant. There are so many great bands in both KC and Lawrence that put on amazing sets and tons of venues that support them. Almost any night of the week theres something going on in the city, UpDown has Local Tuesdays, 105.1 has an amazing regional show on Sunday nights, Replay in Lawrence always features local bands, Recordbar and Riot Room both encourage local acts, and new venues like The Truman and Rino prove that it is all growing. Kansas City is an artistic town, we love the vibes at Jazz clubs and I could walk around crossroads for hours. Three of us got KC tattoos because it honestly feels like home.
Vigil and Thieves' recommendations from the Johnson County Library collection:
Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg
The Natural by Bernard Malamud
Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin