Evolving from a skittery bedroom project into an ambitious, preciously talented band, Vondelpark have avoided categorisations since releasing their debut EP ‘Sauna’ in 2010. With no MySpace page and little information about their identity, their atmospheric gloompop ditties were originally thought to be made by an enigmatic Burial-like production whizzkid.
“Were always trying to better ourselves and push ourselves,” says lead singer Lewis Rainsbury of their musical transition. Becoming interested in production after listening to one of his sister’s old Michael Jackson tapes, he and school friends Matt Law (keyboard) and Alex Bailey (bass) would shut themselves in their bedrooms as teenagers in Surrey and play with guitars and weird drum machines.
Following a short-lived incarnation as a My Bloody Valentine-esque rock band and two rough, experimental EPs (released on R&S records) influenced by the jittery, emotive electronica of UK bass, the band learned what Rainsbury describes as “space and patience” in making music.
The result is their debut album ‘Seabed’ (due out April 1st), a hypnotising blend of looped samples, slick R&B and intimate songs about coming of age. Talking about the record’s more dreamy and organic sound, Rainsbury explains, “There was a sense of returning to our roots for us.”
Stripping away the swathes of reverb and delay has also helped the band reinvent the tracks for their live shows, making them more electronic and “exciting” for crowds. While they’ve been well received by bass and dubstep fans who embraced James Blake and The xx, Rainsbury is adamant to keep the band’s music changing, citing influences from Motown artists and Timbaland to jazz-soul pioneer Robert Glasper.
“It would be nice to make a Motown record in 2013,” he ponders. It would be a departure from slow-burning album highlights like the title-track (which Bailey names as his favourite due to the John Martyn influence), but with their talent for genre-bending and a “focus on rhythm” emerging in jam sessions for record number two, the results could be striking. “This debut record is just the start,” affirms Rainsbury. “We definitely want to make people dance.”
Words by James Evans
What: Lush, romantic bedsit electronica
Get 3 Songs: ‘Dracula’, ‘California Analog Dream’, ‘TV’
Unique fact: Vondelpark have a great love of steam rooms and saunas.