Founded out of Los Angeles by Kate Strand (vocals, guitar), Henrik Linde (guitar) and Dylan Howard (drums), The Vitals possess a dreamy, post-punk rock sound. Following their debut album “Qualia,” the band rocked the stage at the 2014 installment of SxSW. Their “Gold Night” EP was released this past June, and newest music video “Pigskin” dropped late August.
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Sean Ritchie: Coming from LA, describe the atmosphere a little bit. What are some places you enjoy?
Kate Strand: LA is a pretty crazy place. I was born and raised here. I think I realized more as an adult that growing up here was pretty weird. The whole cliché of everyone being a musician or an actor is totally real. I grew up middle class and always went to public schools. I was exposed to everything from rich and famous families to very poor areas. It’s kind of a cocktail of cultures and personalities here.
Something I really like to do with people when they come into town is to take them hiking up Runyon Canyon or Griffith Park. It’s really beautiful and you can get a sense of LA. You get some really iconic views.
KS: Yeah it does. It’s really cool. I love the views of downtown from up there. I actually did that hike this morning. I really love seeing it from that perspective. You can also go to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery; they show movies there in the summer. I think that’s one of the most fun things to do around here. You can take food and alcohol and sit outside watching movies projected on the mausoleum. It’s really cool.
SR: What type of vacationer are you? Are you more laid back on a beach, or active looking for adventure?
KS: It really depends. I don’t think I’ve taken an actual vacation in almost three years. I don’t really have time for that. But, if I do have a vacation, my favorite thing to do is walk around the streets and see where all the locals go. Just find coffee shops, bars and restaurants. I’m not huge into only relaxing on a beach or only getting into crazy adventures. I just kind of like to see the city and get to know it that way.
SR: Going off that, how important is it to immerse yourself in the local culture when traveling abroad? What does it mean to you to connect with those locals?
KS: Experiencing different cultures always leaves lasting impressions on me. I long for it all the time. It’s making new friends that you can grow and have a lasting relationship with. They all take on such unique personalities in my mind. It makes me feel more fulfilled and excited as a person.
SR: Does that play a role in your musical inspiration?
KS: Yeah definitely. I think I’m the kind of person that goes crazy if things feel stagnant or if I’m stuck in one place for too long. So going out and seeing different cultures plays a huge part in my writing. Even just being able to daydream about doing it in general plays a huge part in my creativity.
SR: How does music and travel fit together for you?
KS: Both music and travel do really similar things to me. They both transport me to totally new ideas and mental spaces. They both take me out of the stagnancy of being in one place. Travel is incredibly romantic, as is music obviously. There’s also a mental space that I’m in when I’m traveling to play music. Touring is a lot of work and it’s often not luxurious. When I’m touring I’m usually ready for anything and more open than I would be otherwise. I really like that music does that to me in relation to travel. To me they’re one-in-the-same.
SR: Do you have a funny travel story or an experience that happened while away that’s memorable?
KS: We toured to Brazil a couple of years ago. Henrik, the guitar player, and I traveled together and Dylan met us there, because he was already traveling. I got a call the day before we left saying our flight was cancelled and there was nothing we could do about it. We were supposed to play a show in São Paulo the night we arrived. So that was not okay! I spent hours and hours on the phone getting the flight changed.
We changed it to something where we had the layover in Rio [de Janeiro] and had to spend the night. We got off the plane with tons of guitars, merch and luggage. Henrik and I couldn’t carry it all, but somehow we dragged it all onto the bus, drove in circles for over an hour with no one that spoke English. We ended up getting off this bus in the middle of Rio. Finally, we got to the hotel and they didn’t have our reservation. It was just so insane, but we did finally make it there and played the show. It was all good!
SR: Everyone has a bucket list, what are three destinations on yours that you haven’t been to, but want to see?
KS: Yes, I have always wanted to go to Iceland. I would love to go play there. The culture is so unique and the language just blows my mind. Also, the musicians that come out of there, like most notably Björk, create such scenic, sonic landscapes. The sound is so particular to Icelandic artists. I’d love to go play for the people there and go see it for myself.
I want the cliché experience of Italy. I want to walk cobblestone streets, drinking red wine and eat pasta. I’ve always dreamt of that. Then, right now the way I’m feeling, I want to see Switzerland. My best friend in the whole world lives there and I’ve never been. It looks beautiful. I just want to go take long walks up the mountains and talk with her about life and love. That’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for years.
SR: Wow that’s pretty inspiring. So lastly, when’s the next trip or tour? Any new music coming out?
KS: We just put out a new EP called “Gold Night.” So that’s out. We’re going to be touring through the [United Kingdom] in November. We’ll be going all through the UK, I think it’s about seven shows in seven days. We’ll be driving overnight between each show.