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Interview with Michael Wynn (Vocalist/Guitarist) of Vicky von Vicky
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I think from an early age I was into music, more because my parents were. They had a lot of music in the house, etc. I remember early on I was getting into Elvis with my siblings and friends. And then we moved onto the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Grease (movie), and so on.
I am not sure exactly what I would be doing but it would likely still be an artistic outlet, so probably visual arts. Even though I do that once in awhile. I just need something like that for problem solving etc.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I have a day job (haha)! Music is just a sideline for me, and always has been, at one point I think a band I was in thought we could potentially do this as a career, but that never really panned out.
I do a lot of other things, I think if you’re not doing music you should have other hobbies interests, we all need them. For myself, I have sourdough! (Which I started in early 2020 and I haven’t stopped).
Creativity comes from a need for me, its not forced, but it can be obsessive in a way. I let the music sort of just come to me, like a melody or chords etc. I also like to take long daily walks to break up the day and I find the rhythms in walking get me to be creative sometimes.
How long has your band been around?
My drummer and I have been playing together for over 3 decades now! And Vicky von Vicky was first spawned in the late 1990’s. We really didn’t do anything again until reuniting in 2019, after the passing of a former band mate, we played an open mic in tribute to him and that’s what got us going again.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
The band is from Toronto, I just live outside of it but still in the GTA. Toronto is a great place to be a music fan, because it is everywhere, but I tend to like the smaller venues etc. The big ones are just like any other metropolis. But there are a lot of bands in Toronto, actually everywhere, there is just so much music, it’s difficult to keep track of.
I am not really aware of it but I’d say seeing the various bands, sharing of music between friends etc, that is probably what has influenced our music somewhat. I have my own ideals about what I want to achieve in music, I like the REM/Pixoes type of pop song, you know something with a neat hook and the lyrics that are kind of quirky, etc. And over the years I have seen tons of bands in Toronto that are trying to achieve the same thing, so that had to be an influence.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Our drummer Paul came up with it, but it’s actually an obscure character from a 1980s sitcom. It’s just a name really and I guess now our identity, a lot of people think we are a female singer, and I’ve heard some disappointment when they find out that’s not the case.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
We once opened for a stripper at a bachelor party in Kingston (well this was us in a previous band), and the funny thing was we had more in common than the guys who were gloating over her. We both had a mutual friend who promoted shows in Guelph. Anyways it was quite strange!
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I would say I don’t really have a favourite, as we haven’t played that much, but yes for sure I would love to play Massey Hall one day, or the Bowery Ballroom in NYC.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Us, Pixies, King Buffalo, The Beaches
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
If you are just starting as a band, make sure you are having fun, and don’t get too serious. I think the music business is hard to navigate, and just because you’re good doesn’t mean you’ll do well, there are a lot of other factors, so first and foremost do this for yourself.
I would probably tell myself, spend more time thinking about how to get more people to hear your music, rather than just keep writing and expect people to love it just because you do. That’s really where I think we have gaps in the past.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
See above! LOL
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
“Liberty”, I just love that song for some reason, “Jealousy” for the lyrics, and “Not the Man” for the chorus melody.
With “Liberty” it was just a song where I sang my heart out, and it may not be the best vocal performance but I just love that song. “Jealousy” I was really happy with the lyrics, they are very memorable to me, as it all came together very quickly.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
We seem to like to play the songs “Duck in a Mailbox/Saved My Life”, it’s very fun to play.
The song “Mangirl” gets the most requests I’d say, it’s one of our more catchy songs, and despite the title is really about me becoming a father many years ago.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
I think some songs come directly from things I’ve demo’d alone, at least that is lately how it’s gone, and we have some other songs that came from jams, so far I have led mostly in the vocal lyrical front, although Paul (Pasanen) wrote “The Cuba Libre song” based on an old instrumental song we had.
Others in the band have expressed interest on the lyrical front, like Rolston (Miller) our bass player, and Tom Nesbitt (Guitar). My brother Chris used to be in the band, and he had a great song he wrote called “Everything”, which was on our 2nd album “Farmers & Artists”, it had just 2 chords! And is a Jam!
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I do dabble in politics a bit, but mostly I like to be optimistic, I enjoy uplifting music, so it’s tricky but generally I like to give the audience (and myself) something that is enjoyable for the most part. I don’t like misogynistic lyrics at all, it really turns me off. But I did grow up listening to all of that kind of stuff from the classic rock bands, but I really tend to stay away from that.
For me it’s the story I am telling, and for some reason I really love the optimistic break-up pop song. I gravitate towards that for some reason.
Ultimately though I am always searching for the right message. One that I won’t find cringe worthy if I look back years from now, just think of Robert Plant’s disdain of his early Led Zeppelin lyrics.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
We do, but they aren’t memorable so in the end we somehow work them out, it’s usually over song structure, etc. But in the end
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We are planning some small shows in Ontario and possibly Quebec over the next few months, and we may have some more music released as well. But I’d say the biggest thing is finishing off a few more songs with a larger release possibly next year.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
We probably post to Instagram/Facebook the most, just starting to do that with Threads etc. So @vickyvonvicky for instagram is the best place.