Gino Gianoli of the Brooklyn trio offers a track-by-track breakdown of the band’s new EP and talks fear, constant change and a bar that never closes where the party never ends
When it comes to music, typically I’m just privy to the process. I only see and hear what’s on the stage and on the record—the resulting madness, not the actual method. However, Duke of Vandals‘ Vandalism is the exception. Back on a cold-as-balls night in March, Gino Gianoli (guitar, vox) of the Brooklyn trio invited me behind the scenes to witness some EP recording in action—
He also tricked me into participating.
That evening, I was under the impression that I was meeting the band to have a drink and catch up, when Gino casually informed me for the very first time that, along with photographer Michelle LoBianco—whom I imagine was similarly bamboozled—I would be contributing backing vocals to the band’s record.
Now, I’ve set it before, but musical talent… not something I possess. My electronic drum set mostly serves as a drying rack for my delicates, and in a high-school Wizard of Oz audition I was literally cast as Tree 2. However, I had already paid for my Uber, Gino is very convincing, and it turned out that by “backing vocals,” he meant the band just needed a couple people to shout some stuff and clap mostly on beat. And even I can do that.
Under the instruction of the engineer, Phil, the five of us—Gino, Michelle, myself, and Duke of Vandals bassist Missy and drummer Danny—arranged ourselves in a loose semi-circle around a single mic. And after clearing throats and cracking both necks and beers to get appropriately loud and loose, the group recording session, led by Gino, officially commenced.
“24… 24… 24!”
“Car crash TV… CAN’T STOP WATCHIN’ EEEEE-IT!”
This is where I would tell you that you should listen to the songs to get the full effect. And good news: as of today, you CAN! Because five months after that evening and one day ahead of the release of EP, I’m beyond pumped to premiere the kick-ass five-track EP from Duke of Vandals right here and right now!
From Duke of Vandals, this is Vandalism.
Ready to kick a door down? ME TOO! As I learned that evening in the studio and was reminded last night when the band joined me on the radio, Duke of Vandals are a work hard, play hard, play hard group, and along with hustle, humor and occasionally too many whiskey shots, the band packs a lot of power. While the trio released several killer singles (“Porno Witches” // “Young Offender” // “Blackout Transmission”) in 2020, the musicians’ chemistry, intensity and talent have never been more evident than they are in this punch-in-the-face of an EP—the first set of songs the band has ever tracked in the studio together.
Of the record as a whole, Gino told me: “Vandalism is not merely our latest musical output, but rather it is our starting point. These songs are the raw and essential sound of Duke of Vandals. I’m pretty sure they will inform all our future music.”
He was also kind enough to go through the EP and offer some insight into the songs, which are packed with symbolism and satire, and explore topics ranging from change to fear to a bar that never closes where the party never ends.
VANDALISM—TRACK BY TRACK:
1. “Horror Cinema“
“Sonically, this track is a blend of Doom and Punk, the musical essence of Duke of Vandals. The song itself is a litany of horror movie tropes: such as vampires, demons and alien abductions. In other words, the best type of movies.”
“This track is both a rant and a love letter to the city in constant change. It’s the feeling of falling in love with aspects of New York – streets, bars, delis, record stores – just to watch them disappear and turned into something new. We know change is inevitable. But as the closing lines of the song state: change is not enough.”
“’24’ is the name of a bar that is an amalgamation of all my favorite bars in my life – so far. A place where thing get wild, and people are strange; where there’s drama and there’s love; where there’s whiskey and drugs and lust and everything else that makes you come here back every week.”
4. “Car Crash TV“
“A tongue in cheek account of everything that can go wrong in someone’s life. And the worst part is, no matter how tragic you just can’t look away. Just like a car crash.”
5. “The Thing“
“This track perfectly encapsulates the overall mood of the EP as it brings everything to a close. Upbeat and catchy choruses might make one forget that this song is about an unseen monster: fear. But as the first part of the song comes to an end, one is quickly disabused of any cheery notions by the second part: fast and aggressive riffs, double time drums and screams of Run Away, Stay Away, makes one realize that we all just might be living in a horror movie.”
Vandalism is out on all platforms TOMORROW! Stream it LOUD + catch it LIVE when DoV hits the stage at FirstLive Studios for an EP release show with Dead Tooth this Saturday—
You probably won’t be asked to participate… but no promises.
Follow Duke of Vandals at @duke.of.vandals, buy music on Bandcamp and add their songs to your Spotify playlists!
Get your tickets to Duke of Vandals’ EP release show here.
Feature image (provided by the band): Michelle LoBianco