Sussex Sounds: Band that needs to be heard

Image is everything. A band need to leave a unique fingerprint in the industry if they want to be a success, but sometimes posting flyers on traffic light poles and pasting them to shop windows is not enough.

Four-piece rock band, Vacant Paradise, have learned this through their collective experiences on the Horsham music circuit.

JPCT 110414 S14161006x Horsham. Vacant Paradise -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141104-133045001

JPCT 110414 S14161006x Horsham. Vacant Paradise -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141104-133045001

There is something resonant about the band name Vacant Paradise. You could have everything anyone could ask for – complete and total serenity – but if nobody knows you exist then what is the point?

It is like that age-old conundrum – if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it still make a sound?

If an amazing band play an explosive potential hit, but nobody else is there to hear it... you get the gist.

Nick ‘Woody’ Wood - the lead guitarist speaks frankly about getting noticed amongst the crowd.

JPCT 110414 S14160852x Horsham. Vacant Paradise -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141104-131140001

JPCT 110414 S14160852x Horsham. Vacant Paradise -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141104-131140001

“Back in the day, sometimes to get a place just to practice was hard and with the way technology is now you’ve got Twitter and you got Facebook,” says the 38-year-old.

“I remember in the early ’90s there was nowhere other than putting your posters on lampposts and stuff like that just to get anyone to come down.

“Nowadays if a band is starting out it’s free to get yourself these sites and get so many people to know where you’re going to be playing, but I remember in the past it was a lot more difficult.”

Bass player, Guy Stockley, was the last member to join the fold a few years ago. He interjects: “I think it depends on where you’re going. If you’re younger than we are and you want to make it in the business it’ll be harder because you’re not going to be working and you’ll be scratching around to put money together and you might get kicked in the teeth.”

The band have used social media to flaunt their work and notify people of their approaching gigs. Something they agree is crucial to attracting your audience.

YouTube has also played a big part in Vacant Paradise’s promotions, with videos of their performances at local venues and charity gigs.

The drummer and oldest member at 47, Clive Powell, discusses his days promoting bands, by entering pubs with a briefcase full of press releases, newspaper clippings and demo tapes.

“I would open the briefcase and say to them, this is my band, but now we’ve got a Facebook page for that,” says Clive.

Fronted by lead vocals, Holly Moore, the band mainly perform the cover songs of strong female led singers like Blondie, Alanis Morissette and Garbage.

As the only girl in the group, Holly says she does not feel singled out by her fellow male band members.

“It’s good. I’ve known them all for such a long time. I knew Woody and Clive from before and then I got to know Guy.”

Together now for more than three years, Vacant Paradise have become well established in the Horsham music scene.

Woody says: “The attitude we’ve always taken is we’re just doing it because it’s good fun, there’s nothing too heavy about it.”

Although Woody writes all the original material for the band, he refers to his songs as a team effort.

“I come up with an idea, like the basic structure of a song, and everyone puts their own into it. Overall it’s a combined effort. I love writing when I can.

“I’m a big fan of The Beatles, so John Lennon’s stuff.”

I turn over my phone to reveal a Beatles hard case and the four members cheer in unison. It is not just the covers that prove to be crowd pleasers, the band’s original music has garnered great support from locals.

“You sometimes get someone singing to one of your original songs that you’ve only just performed for the first time,” laughs Guy.

Woody adds: “He could have just picked up on our chorus, (laughs). It’s all good fun.”

If you would like to see Vacant Paradise in action, catch them live on:

n Saturday, July 5: Malt Shovel, Horsham.

n Saturday, July 12: Open Air Charity Festival at Sayers Common, Millards House, BN6 9HL, 4pm to 11pm.

n Friday, November 7: Potters pub, Burgess Hill.

Do not forget to ‘like’ them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/VacantParadise. Also, follow them on Twitter: @vacantband