I tracked down the caustic, Canadian post-punk quartet to have a chat with them about their inspirations, playing live and the scene in their native Calgary.
The original Viet Cong, a Communist guerrilla army that operated in the south of Vietnam during their war with America, were either terrorists or freedom fighters depending on your point of view. The Contemporary Viet Cong, a post-punk quartet that have emerged from the Calgary Scene in Canada, can only be viewed as one thing. Awesome.
It's a word thrown around too often, usually by me, but on this occasion the band's noisy and hypnotic music really does fit the bill. A bit like hearing Joy Division reinterpreting the music of the 13th Floor Elevators, their debut album is already a strong contender for many 'best of 2015' lists.
With the band about to set out on a UK and European tour, I caught up with guitarist Scott Munro to get the low down on the band and what we can expect.
"Congratulations on the release of your self-titled debut, how does it feel to have it out?"
Scott Munro: It feels good! We had the songs for quite a while before we went into the studio and that was a year ago. It takes a pretty long time to put a record out and I'm glad to have it all done.
"I understand that the album was partially written while you were on the road, how do you think that affected your music?"
SM: It meant that we could try out everything in front of an audience at least once before we tried to put it on tape. I think the main reason that helps is because then when you're in the studio, you have a bar set for the energy level that works for that song.
"Your sound's clearly been influenced by the icier strain of post-punk, what artists or bands would you say have been the most influential on this record?"
SM: Hmmm, I guess whatever we were listening to on the tour leading up to that? That was our first long tour together and we really bonded over some music in the car. I remember listening to lots of Bowie, Iggy Pop's "the idiot," a bunch of The Cure, This Heat and some other stuff that I can't remember.
"Viet Cong's a relatively new band, how did you come together?"
SM: Me and Matt were both playing in Chad VanGaalen's band when we first started talking about it. When we got back from tour we just got together in my basement studio to jam on some riffs and make some rough demos. Then when Mike got back from the tour that he was on he joined pretty much right away and he suggested Danny (who was playing in a Black Sabbath cover band with Mike and Matt). After our first jam with Danny we knew he was the guy and we just went from there.
"When you formed did you have a specific objective for the music you were making?"
SM: Not at all. We just got together with the intention of trying out some ideas and seeing what working together was like. We'd toured together before but never written any music together. What we recorded for "Cassette" I think is a testament to our lack of direction at the time. I like those recordings for what they are but they're pretty all over the place musically. We were just trying out anything that came to us though. Once Danny and Mike joined and we started playing some shows our sound got a lot more focused.
"You've got ties with the scene in Calgary (including Chad VanGaalen) can you describe for us Brits what life's like in that part of Canada?"
SM: The scene in Calgary is pretty tight. Everyone knows one another and most people have played in one or more bands with most other people. There's actually a bunch of good places to play here though and quite a few great bands. As for this part of Canada, it's pretty cold this time of year (although today is quite lovely actually) but the summers are beautiful!! The mountains that we're close to are really beautiful too and only about an hour drive from here.
"Do you think your home state and the scene there has had an effect on your music?"
SM: I'm sure it has. I know that the winter makes a difference because when you don't want to do anything outside, it's easy to just hole up in a basement and play guitar. On the other side of that though, we don't really get much done in the summer.
"You're heading out on a European tour, what can we expect from your lives shows?"
SM: I dunno. We're a rock band and it gets pretty rowdy sometimes. Danny may or may not fall through his amp or the drums. We'll probably break some strings and deal with it in the least professional manner possible, almost as though we'd never even considered that it could even happen. I'm excited though and I think it's gonna be a fun tour.
"What have the band got planned for the rest of 2015?"
SM: Just hitting the road. We have shows booked for the next few months and then we'll see. We have most of a new record written and demoed so maybe we'll find some time to get into the studio and get that ball rolling again.
For more info on Viet Cong go to vietcong.bandcamp.comSuggest a correction