Three years after their last release ‘Arrival,’ Iceland’s classic rockers The Vintage Caravan are back in the game with their brand new record ‘Gateways,’ awaiting its release via Metal giant Nuclear Blast Records on August 31st, 2018. After a successful festival Summer all over Europe, we had a chat with singer, guitarist and songwriter Óskar Logi Ágústsson in order to find out where the band is heading next on their journey.
Looking at the three album titles ‘Voyage,’ ‘Arrival’ and ‘Gateways,’ being on the move seems to be a major recurring theme for the creative output of the young Icelandic band. “Exactly”, Ágústsson agrees. “The feeling of travelling and movement is even reflected in our band name The Vintage Caravan. To begin with, it was not really planned to stick to this theme. The first album ‘Voyage’ was about taking the person listening to the album on a – it sounds pretty pretentious – spiritual voyage, some sort of travel with us. And with ‘Arrival’ we felt we had musically arrived at the next level. We were not going to continue this sort of thing but we ended up kind of doing it anyway. Originally the name for the new album was ‘Gateways and Reflections,’ but it’s quite a mouthful and we have to say that album name quite a lot. So we decided to shorten it to ‘Gateways.’ It also fits really well with the album artwork.”
Photographer Julian Haas (Through the Haze) from Austria designed the optically enticing and somewhat cosmic album cover, and Ágústsson speaks highly of the cooperation with the visual artist. “We met him at a festival in 2014 and he was a really nice guy. We started checking out his art page and contacted him about doing something for us. This time we wanted a photo and not a painting or drawing as the album cover. Now it’s two pictures glitched together, with a bit of an underwater effect. It really fits everything that is going on in the new music.”
Ágústsson is pleased to hear that the album left a coherent and round impression, with the energetic tunes Set your Sights and The Way starting the musical adventure, a bit of mellowing down towards the middle with tunes like On the Run, as well as more Proggy up-and-down waves towards the end, with fittingly concluding song titles such as Farewell and Tune Out. “We wanted it to feel like a concept album – but it isn’t. It doesn’t really have a concept but I really just wanted everything to flow seamlessly. Before we recorded the album we weren’t really sure in which order we wanted to put the tracks but I mapped out the order after we got the first mixes. I found that it takes you on a nice little journey. We are really happy about the result.”
In addition to that, it is more than obvious that The Vintage Caravan really fine-tuned and progressed their sound on the new record. Collaborating with producer Ian Davenport, the album was recorded in Reykjavík’s iconic Sundlaugin Studios which were converted from a swimming pool into a recording space by Sigúr Rós in 1999. Ágústsson comments on the crystal-clear sound production that leaves the listener in awe of its plasticity and roundness: “This was our first time working with a pretty big producer, in a really respected studio and all. With this album, we wanted to get the best of both worlds regarding sound; we wanted to get some of the analogue feel and warmth prevalent in classic rock, but we also wanted to have the punch and clarity of some of the stuff that is going on today. It was always our aim to bring something different to the table in this realm of music. In the past we were sometimes rushed to do things, and now we really took our time. It was a a conscious decision working on making the album sound as good as possible.”
The Vintage Caravan really lived up to their own expectations, which is especially impressive regarding their travelling lifestyle. On top of having called Denmark their home for two years, and currently using Belgium as a base for European touring, the band members like to expand their travel horizons, which is where modern technology proves to be essential for creative work. According to Ágústsson, mixing ‘Gateways’ took half a year. “We were all in different countries, and all work was sent back and forth via email. We all had different speakers and set-ups but in the end, the album sounded really good on all these different platforms. That counts for something, I think!”
And the journey goes on. The album release is going to be celebrated with a dedicated show in Reykjavík, with a European headliner tour following from October till early December. In addition to that, fans worldwide can prepare themselves for exciting things to come. Ágústsson drops a hint for us: “We are going to be on the road for the next two years.”
THE VINTAGE CARAVAN’S ‘GATEWAYS’ IS RELEASED AUGUST 31ST. PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY FROM NUCLEAR BLAST HERE!