Over the next several weeks, we’re going to be discussing a handful of bands across our home state of Florida that we think you should know about. They will be across the spectrum in terms of style and genre. First we’ll be talking to vocalist Elliot from the heavy noise-rock trio Vacancy from St Pete.
Vocals – Eliot Mayo
Guitar – Christian Costello
Drums – Woody Bond
Q – As sort of an introductory, can you tell us what Vacancy is all about?
A – We’re a loud and heavy noise rock band with members rooted in the punk/hardcore scene which allows that side of our influence to come through strongly as well. Our goal as a band is to make uncompromising heavy music that we’re passionate about, pushing our boundaries both creatively and skill wise and always trying to take our sound to the next level with every new song/record.
Q – The state of Florida has a long running history with heavy music, even past the oldschool death metal days. Whether it be bands like Shai Hulud, or Combatwoundedveteran. I know certain members have been in and out of past bands in the Florida heavy scene, as well as booking and promoting shows, and running a venue in St Pete. How do you guys feel about the current state of things in heavy music across the state of Florida?
A – Heavy music from Florida is at a high point right now if you ask me. Bands like Ether Coven, Gillian Carter, Horsewhip, Thunderclap and Witchbender have either put out incredible records in the past few years or even more recently, and a few of those bands have new albums in the pipeline as well that are sure to be outstanding. There’s a great amount of variety in sound and vision with bands across the state of Florida and newer exciting bands are popping up all the time. I would personally say that punk/hardcore/metal and it’s subgenres are hitting a new golden age in Florida. It’s a good time to be a fan of the genre and to be interested in local music here.
Q – To date. Vacancy have two EPs under their belt, ‘Empty Head’ in 2017, and ‘Ache’ in 2019. Can you give us an overview of these releases, and how you feel about them in retrospect?
A – Both of our initial EP’s were recorded with our friend Dan Byers at Rock Garden recording, and mastered by Will Killingsworth at Dead Air Studios, both who did an awesome job. As far as the performances themselves go, I definitely think we rushed things in order to get material out and as such, while I don’t dislike either of our EP’s, I am looking forward to hitting the studio again this year and really taking our time with our first LP, which will have some rerecorded songs from both releases as well as several new songs. We’ll definitely be taking our time and making sure it better represents our live sound.
Q – So the people tuning in can definitely expect new music from Vacancy at some point this year? Do you guys have anything laid out in terms of who you’ll be recording with, or are most things still up in the air?
A – A- We will definitely have a new release coming this year, absolutely. As far as details on who will be recording/writing/etc, that will be revealed at a future time, but rest assured, it’s coming.
Q – Will the new release be somewhat of a continuation from ‘Ache’ in terms of musical direction, or will the band be shifting it’s musical focus a bit?
A – A- It will definitely be a continuation of our sound thus far with several of the songs from ‘Ache’ and ‘Empty Head‘ being rerecorded, as well as some new songs where I’m sure we’ll be trying some new things as well. But generally, it will definitely be a continuation of our general sound/vibe up to this point.
Q – Two of the members of Vacancy, yourself and Christian (Guitarist) take hand in running and primarily booking for the Lucky You Tattoo music venue in St Pete, which has become one of the primary Tampa/St Pete area spots for underground/diy type shows across the musical spectrum over the last few years. The general area has seen many of it’s venues close their doors in recent memory, such as the local iconic spots at Transitions, and the Local 662. I definitely have my nostalgic memories from such places, but why is it important for you guys to have places like Lucky You Tattoo up and running for the local music community?
A – Lucky You Tattoo is honestly mostly handled through Christian aside from the one off show I book there every now and then. While I don’t want to speak for him entirely, I know that he’s been booking shows at transitions/other venues long before Lucky You, and that Lucky You was a way for him to contribute even further to the local scene and also help out bands that he’s met along the way with both touring and booking shows. It’s important to him and to us in general because the amount of smaller DIY venues that are both all ages and safe spaces continue to dwindle as time goes on, with there not being a ton of options for places to book and play shows outside of houses and bars. Lucky You is helping keep the spirit of DIY culture alive in this city and I am honored to be a small part of the work that Christian has put into it.
Q – What’s your favorite concert you’ve ever attended, that you did not play?
A – Choosing an all time favorite would be difficult, but I would say probably the Converge/Modern Life Is War/Some Girls/Gospel/Die Young show at Backbooth in Orlando in 2006 was a highlight. Neck and neck with that was Fest 16 (Snapcase, Hum, Majority Rule, City Of Caterpillar, Crime In Stereo and many more in one weekend), and Scion Fest 2009 (Converge, Coalesce, Neurosis, Pig Destroyer, Wolves In The Throne Room, Harvey Milk and many more amazing bands in one incredible day).
Q – Favorite music releases from 2019?
A – My personal favorite releases from 2019 were honestly all rap records, I’ll just list 3:
Freddie Gibbs And Madlib – ‘Bandana’.
Your Old Droog – ‘It Wasn’t Even Close’.
Danny Brown – ‘Uknowwhatimsayin’.
Q – What’s the one non-signed band in the state of Florida outside your own, that you would urge people to check out?
A – The one band I would urge people to check out is our good friends in Witchbender. They released an incredible LP in 2018 called ‘Crush‘ that you can stream everywhere, and I’m sure whatever they come up with next is going to blow minds.They absolutely wreck live and are one of the best punk/noise rock bands to ever come out of FL.
Q – Any last words?
A – Thanks to everyone who reads this and everyone who has supported us up to this point. We can’t wait to show you what we’ve got coming up both shows and recording wise. See you soon.