The Vintage Caravan
They come from the land of the ice and snow. Little wonder they're “super-inspired” by Led Zep bootlegs.
Icelandic trio the Vintage Caravan started making waves outside their homeland earlier this decade when they were still teenagers, but their sounds are steeped in rock history, from bluesy psych to 70s hard rock and prog-tinged wigouts. They’re especially known for their live shows, which are raucous and brimming with infectious energy.
They’ve just released their third album, Gateways. We caught up with singer/ guitarist Óskar Logi Ágústsson to find out more.
It’s been three years since your previous album, Arrival. What have you been doing in that time? There were three years between [second album] Voyage  and Arrival, and after that we were like, we’re not gonna let three years go by again without an album, that’s too long. Then we did it again [laughs]. I guess we were just touring our asses off – we played like a hundred shows per year. So then in August , for six months we basically took a tour vacation to write the album.
Gateways, Voyage, Arrival. What’s the significance of those titles?
I think the theme between the album titles is movement. When we saw the album artwork, we felt that the word ‘gateways’ fit the image.
So the album artwork came before the title?
Yes. The artist is Julian Haas. We met at a festival in 2014 and we saw the photos he did of our show, and they looked great. We decided we didn’t want another painting, another drawn album cover. This time we wanted to do a photo. It’s like colours underwater, but you can’t really tell what it is. It’s good with album artwork if you have more questions than answers. Musically, Gateways sounds like a step forward for the band.
Voyage was more of a straightforward hard rock album with some prog influences, and Arrival was a really important album for us because we didn’t care what people thought, and wanted to experiment, to dwell on the dark prog influences of the 70s. With Gateways we learned from those albums, and tried to be the best songwriters we could be. I think it’s more song-based, and we made more space for the vocal. I also think the lyrics are more mature on this album. They are more personal.
“The new album is more songbased, the lyrics more mature.”
Are there any songs on the album that are particularly important to you? With Nebula I was trying to make a progressive rock song that fits into a four-minute format instead of a twelveminute opus. That song has a lot of chapters. It came out of me when I picked up a guitar that was my brother’s, an old acoustic guitar, and I started playing these chords I wasn’t used to playing. It was like that song lived in that guitar. You are known for your live shows. Is there anyone who particularly influences your performance?
The Led Zeppelin bootlegs were superinspiring for us. It was kind of different for them, and each night it was never the same show. That’s one thing I took from them: if we do a few shows in a row and I see some of the same people there from the night before, I’m like,
“We totally have to change what we did last night!” I try my best to make each show special.
Gateways is out on August 31 via Nuclear Blast. The Vintage Caravan tour the U K in November.