The Vaccines have announced details of new EP ‘Planet Of The Youth’. Check out new song ‘Disaster Girl’ below, along with our interview with frontman Justin Young.
The new six-song EP will be released on April 8, less than six months after their latest album ‘Back In Love City’ became the indie veterans’ fifth Ttp five album and just ahead of a UK tour kicking off on April 13.
‘Planet Of The Youth’ was produced by Fryars Fryars, who co-produced ‘Back In Love City’, and is previewed by the NFT-inspired ‘Disaster Girl’.
“’Back In Love City’ was written and recorded before everything was changed in the pandemic,” Young told NME. “The new EP is all music that was written on my sofa, but thematically and sonically it continues in the vein of the album.”
Speaking of the new single’s origins, he said: “I read that an NFT of the ‘Disaster Girl’ meme had sold for $500,000 and thought it was funny that memes are now worth more than songs. I thought ‘Disaster Girl’ was a good song title, then realised it’d be interesting to write about someone who thought ‘I’m a disaster, girl’. We’ve all felt we’ve been a disaster in personal and family relationships, and I was playing on the apocalyptic feelings we get when we let ourselves down.
“If artists are able to find interesting, innovative and clever ways to support themselves, good on them. Whether there’s a market for Vaccines NFTs, I’m not sure.”
Check out our full interview with Young below, where he also tells us about what went into the new EP, his yearning to get back on the road, and his love of indie sleaze…
NME: Hello Justin. On the new EP, ‘Hometown Of Jupiter’ and ‘Young Meteors’ continue the theme of ‘Paranormal Romance’ from ‘Back In Love City’ by dreaming of other planets. Why are other worlds inspiring you?
Young: “Our fascination with what’s beyond us is always there, but it’s been heightened by the fact none of us could leave our homes for two years. We didn’t have much else to do but look up at the stars and dream of other worlds, or even other streets. I’d always drawn on my life and people close to me but, for obvious reasons, that wasn’t now the most inspiring source material. It’s why these new songs are so full of superlatives, as they’ve become interplanetary, among new worlds full of metaphor.”
Is there a literal element to a ‘Planet Of The Youth’?
“Sure. Even when I was 18 or 19, I felt incredibly uncomfortable and alien on the planet of the youth. Probably everyone does. I don’t think anyone feels at home on the planet of the youth, and that’s what’s so interesting about it.”
Why did you want to release so much new music before you’ve even toured ‘Back In Love City’?
“At times, releasing music in the pandemic felt like we were releasing it into a black hole. Records are always snapshots in time of where you’re at as artists, but we’re only touring ‘Back In Love City’ three years after we started recording it. This EP is something fresher for us and for people coming to the shows. It’s been disappointing not playing the ‘Back In Love City’ songs live as soon as the album came out, and we haven’t had the same bond with it as we’d usually have with an album. We came off the back of our ‘Combat Sports’ tour invigorated and excited, focused to get back in the studio to make a record we could go straight back out to tour again.”
And that feeling never goes away?
“You have to remind yourself that an album isn’t for the month it comes out, it’s for the decades that follow. Playing live is an area where we excel, and I’ve spent a large part of the last two years grieving for that part of my life. But it makes the tour even more exciting, finally playing those ‘Back In Love City’ songs. And I can’t fucking wait for festival season.”
Last year you also released the demos of your debut album ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?’ for its 10th anniversary. How do you feel about the album a decade later?
“You’re always trying to figure out what your DNA is, what the core of your band is that no-one else does. Putting ourselves back in the headspace of who we were when no-one else knew us was inspiring. We’d planned to play shows to celebrate that anniversary, and it was also disappointing we couldn’t do that. There’s a reason why so many artists’ first albums are their most loved, when there’s a naivety and reckless abandon to your approach. Trying to maintain some of that spirit is helpful. I always want it to be one of our ingredients, while also wanting to be artful and considered.”
Speaking of artists on their first record, what’s it been like co-writing with Alfie Templeman for his debut album ‘Mellow Moon’?
“Alfie is so gifted and so driven. He’s really inspiring and helps inspire my own artistry. If you make music every day, you don’t second guess yourself in the way you can when waiting for inspiration to strike. I didn’t give Alfie any advice, as anyone offering you advice is probably the last person you should take it from.”
Even before The Vaccines, you were making music as a folky solo artist. With indie sleaze back in vogue, would you ever revive your ’00s solo alias of Jay Jay Pistolet?
“Ha! No, he’s best left in the past. But I’m really fond and proud of those songs, and I put them up on Spotify last year. It reminds me of a fun, special time in my life. Indie sleaze was a pivotal time too. I’d read all about those bands in NME, and seeing photos of that world is why I wanted to move to London and make music.”
Now the pandemic is less dominant in the headlines, have anti-vaxxers finally moved on from polluting The Vaccines’ social media timeline?
“Everything we post and anything anyone posts about the band still gets hit with misinformation warnings. We’re completely fucked by the algorithm, which is frustrating. At least most of the anti-vaxxers have moved on, it’s just big tech which needs to catch up.”
After the EP, is there a full new Vaccines album on the horizon?
“It’s still early days, but there’s the outline of a new album taking shape. Individual pieces are starting to come together. The EP’s six songs belong together, but the next album, whatever it is, will have a clean thematic sonic plate.”
The Vaccines release new EP ‘Planet Of The Youth’ on April 8 via AWAL/Sony. Check out the tracklist below, and pre-order it here.
1. ‘Disaster Girl’
2. ‘Hometown Of Jupiter’
3. ‘Planet Of The Youth’
4. ‘Thunder Fever’
5. ‘Twenty Four Seven’
6. ‘Young Meteors’
The Vaccines tour from April 13 and play a series of UK festival shows this summer. Full dates are below, and tickets are available here.
13 – Waterside Theatre, Aylsebury
14 – O2 Victoria Warehouse, Manchester
15 – Uni Mountford Hall, Liverpool
16 – O2 Academy, Leeds
18 – Guildhall, Portsmouth
19 – O2 Academy, Birmingham
21 – Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith
23 – O2 City Hall, Newcastle
24 – Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow
3 – In It Together
16 – Isle Of Wight Festival
22 – Tramlines
29 – Y Not Festival