"...I want to tip strippers every time I hear them..."
Leonard Warren (of Lucid Ground)
Hey, blogspot readers, the letter V may stand for many things however in the local scene, it proudly stands for "villains". And SouthSide has met her share of villain-themed bands over the years. None of them can compare to this new villain band poised and ready to make its debut on June 11 at Bottom Lounge as V Is For Villains. Fans might not recognize the new moniker or the music that accompanies it but will instantly recognize the mastermind and his brother behind V Is For Villains - Nick and Jon Santiago ...yes the same Nick and Jon of Digital Mindy. You're probably wondering like SouthSide why the switch ...and she had a chance to ask Nick Santiago aka Mr. Agitator of V Is For Villains that same question and more during a recent interview.
To begin the interview, Nick was asked to describe the new band in which he said "...steampunk carnivale noir..." Instantly that picqued SouthSide's interest about V for her to ask him why choose the name - "V Is For Villains". Nick stated that the new band was going to be named "Villains For Hire" but after doing some research (via web), he discovered someone else already had taken it even though never really trademarking the moniker. He said "...this began as a solo project ...I had fun putting together the idea of a mercenary-like band for hire..." however suddenly "...took it to the next level - adding costumes..." That's when his father coined the band's new name - V Is For Villains. So why the switch from his original band, Digital Mindy to V? Nick replied "...while recording the new Digital Mindy album, it didn't have that Digital Mindy sound..."
Hm, so what's different about V Is For Villains compared to Digital Mindy? In case you're wondering, blogspot readers, Nicks sees the new band as a "...natural progression out of the teen angst bubble..." since Digital Mindy was formed with his brother, Jon in 2000 when he was 15. And that really shocked SouthSide - most of Digital's sounds (such as Popular) were written around that time of his life. Yet unlike Digital Mindy, V Is For Villains was first designed to be a "swede" (i.e. fake) band but Nick was able to find some great musicians including brother, Jon, to join him on this new music venture. While Digital, according to Nick, has a dreadful, teen angst sound, V is completely the opposite - it has a poppier, agressive sound, more electronic music and the singing is clearer. However, don't fret, blogspot readers, Digital Mindy isn't completely "dead" ...it's merely taking a break but Nick did promise Digital will return. He doesn't know when. He briefly told SouthSide about how he was working on a V Is For Villains song recently that sounded more like a Digital Mindy song in the process. So, at any given time, he can easily switch between the two entities.
That thought lead to SouthSide's next question in which she asked him how will they win over their loyal Digital Mindy militia (fanbase) with new the band. After saying that was a great question, Nick went on to say he was worried (at first) convincing the already-established Digital fans with V Is For Villains. According to him, the response so far looks promising. "...the fans have [accepted] the new entity ...[even though] at first the kids didn't like it ...[V Is For Villains] wasn't this, that or the other like Digital Mindy..." Soon, that gradually changed over time after listening to songs like Evolve or Die or Rise Above - now V has an eager street team of costumed villains spreading the word about the new band. "...the response is so overwhelming in the last three months than compared to when Digital Mindy first started..." said Nick. SouthSide then asked him what made V Is For Villains uniquely different from the other villain-themed bands in town. Nick simply replied "...we take the villain concept to the extreme..." which goes beyond wearing the costumes. The band has created characters ...alter villain egos of themselves. Then, he added "...we're creating an experience ...more like performance [theatre] art..." So don't be surprised if you see a costumed Villain or two attending Inkfest (happening this weekend in Chicago) or anywhere else around town. Plus Nick said soon V will be able to convey more if its "steampunk carnivale noir" message via music and promo videos, merch and even a comic book "...anything we can do to bring that experience to you..."
Since V's debut performance doesn't happen until June 11 at Bottom Lounge, SouthSide wanted to know what could we expect to happen during their show. Well, V is going for more of a subtle approach instead of hitting your face with everything at once ...allowing people to get familiarized with the new look and music which, in SouthSide's opinion, sounds like a good strategic move. Nick said "...it's going to be a little different from a Digital Mindy show..." Plan on experiencing an increased level of energy that's way faster and fancier than what was experienced when attending a Digital performance. "...we're having fun performing [the show] at rehearsals ...[sometimes] changing the lighting and atmosphere..." to fit what the band wants the show to feel and look for the audience. Nick did propose a Digital Mindy-V Is For Villains show ...now that would be very interesting to review, blogspot readers. What's also different about V's show from a Digital show - no drummer. As Nick pointed out earlier to SouthSide, it's basically all electronic - keyboards, bass, guitar, and vocals (not only Nick's but also Ava Vice's [not her real name] to add that female element to the band). He's very excited to present this non-Digital Mindy band and then revealed the band members/alter egos to SouthSide. There's Ava Vice, Foster Von Trox, Fallon Flynn and of course, the mastermind villain of them all - Mr. Agitator (if you haven't noticed, it's a reference to the Digital Mindy song - Meet Mr. Agitator). Except for Nick's, the others' real identities had to be sworn to secrecy ...sorry, blogspot readers.
To wind down the interview with Nick, SouthSide for fun had Nick to compare V's sound to other bands to which he answered it's a combination of "...Nine Inch Nails ...Prodigy ...Depeche Mode with a Hans Zimmer score..." In other words, "...[V] sounds like Digital Mindy ...so shut up and take it..." Seriously, blogspot readers, V Is For Villains sounds nothing like Digital Mindy. SouthSide highly recommends checking out songs Everyone Hates Me (a wicked, computerized-cyborg sound featuring Ava Vice on vocals with Mr. Agitator), Rise Above (V's unofficial anthem song) and Evolve or Die (there's no choice in the matter, blogspot readers - either be a villain or else...) SouthSide asked Nick if he had any final words to say about V Is For Villains before ending the interview. He would like to stress one thing "...you haven't seen anything yet...", blogspot readers, "...you've only seen a glimpse ...a small preview..." of what V Is For Villains is all about. Oh - sounds so intriguing, huh? Nick cannot wait to see how people will react to V's final version as well as to read SouthSide's review of their first show.
If you happen to be in Chicago, head to Bottom Lounge on Saturday June 11 to see V Is For Villain's debut show (sorry, kids - it's an 17+ show) ...dressing as your character villain is highly encouraged. SouthSide already has her villain name and look ready. Thanks to Nick "Mr. Agitator" Santiago for granting SouthSide this exclusive interview.
For more information about V Is For Villains, blogspot readers can find them on Reverbnation.com and Facebook.com or their official site, http://www.visforvillains.com.
Until next time, support your local scene,