The members of Vitamins met as students at UNC in Greeley, Colorado. Although none of the four members is a native of that town, the influence of their surroundings made an indelible mark on their music. Those early experiences as a young band in an agricultural community permeate the storytelling and emotional colorings of Calliope, the act's forthcoming full-length. Whether blending folk and country, incorporating jazz structures or playing its own homegrown brand of indie rock, this group never sounds like anyone else. We recently caught up with all four musicians and asked each one about the broad palette they draw from and the significance of childhood imagery in their music.
Westword: A lot of Vitamins' music seems to be grounded in the imagery of childhood and adolescence. Do you see this in your own work?
Crawford Philleo: I think things like that came out in our music that we didn't realize were going into it at first, but we realized it when we were recording it. In "Dear May," we used samples of children, and it was a very natural fit for that song.
Lizzy Allen: As a music teacher, I'm around children all the time. But I also think that during our college years, we were daydreaming in class and writing song lyrics.
Gary Villaneuve: There is a randomness and playfulness about the way we put things together a lot of times. If we didn't have that side to us, where we can laugh and have fun with everything, I don't know if we could make music together, because we're all different.
Ryan Ellison: When I was in music school, they all looked down on rock and roll, and I like that we can just be silly.
You're one of the few bands around that plays a variety of musical styles without compromising your sound. Did this evolve over time, or was it a conscious choice?
Philleo: When Lizzy was writing "Saints," I was, at first, very nervous about that song. I didn't think that's what we were really trying to be. Later on, I realized that a good song is a good song.
Ellison: I think it has a lot to do with influences, too. We all like so many different kinds of music. When I like something — say, for instance, a country song — I will sometimes try to write something that feels the same way.
Villaneuve: I don't think we generally set out to write a particular type of song.
Philleo: That's not to say we're not careful about what we write.
Allen: We say we're a rock band.
Philleo: The categorization of music has gotten slightly out of hand.
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