The Vettes Talk Voodoo Fest, Louisiana + What It’s Like Playing In A Family Band [EXCLUSIVE]
One of the things we love about New Orleans’ Voodoo Music + Arts Experience is the fact that is is so diverse. Not only are there bands like Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Metallica, but there are also artists like Dave Stewart and K’Naan. It’s all over the place, and we really dig it. The other thing we love about Voodoo? The local love Louisiana gets every year. This year was no different, and we had the chance to talk about one of the biggest acts coming out of New Orleans, the family band known as The Vettes.
We grabbed a few minutes with The Vettes before they took the stage to close things out Saturday night (Oct. 27) on the Le Carnival stage. Thinking we’d only chat with lead singer Rachel Vette, we were pleasantly surprised to get the rest of the Vette family, Todd, Chad and Brian, and their unofficially adopted brother, Mitch. We covered everything, from what it’s like playing at the same festival as Metallica to what they love about Louisiana.
As a true New Orleans hometown band, what does it mean to be playing Voodoo this year?
Rachel Vette: It means a lot because a festival like this that recognizes that we should be a part of it is just awesome. This is our fifth time doing it. It means a lot to us.
There are so many different genres represented at the festival. How does it feel playing on a bill that includes Metallica?
RV: It’s so fun because you can say that you opened for Metallica, and it’s actually true. It’s really cool. It’s a bunch of artists that have influenced us all through the years. It’s cool to be sharing a festival and stages with them.
Todd Vette: Not to mention that the crowd is just a bunch of different groups of people and we get to be in front of them all.
There aren’t too many of these types of festivals in America, it seems like they’re more popular in Europe.
TV: Definitely. I think America is definitely going away from the big festivals where it’s a one-hour show with two bands beside the headliner. I think America’s attention span is getting a lot worse each year.
As a family band, do you guys engage in sibling rivalries, or are your relationships different?
RV: I don’t know if it’s rivalry, but there is definitely a tension that is there. You know, it’s just life.
TV: I find that in other bands that I’ve been in before this one, you couldn’t say what you really meant. There was always that one guy in the band that you hated and everyone grouped up against him. With this band, it’s family. You can’t hate everybody. You’ve got to get it out in the open and move on.
Chad Vette: Yeah, some practices could last an extra hour just from arguments. We’ve got to schedule our time with that in mind and say, “OK, we’re probably going to argue for about 30 minutes before practice so why don’t we get there at 6 o’clock instead of 7.”
Mitch, is there extra tension with you not being a blood brother?
Mitch Vette: Not really. I’ve basically lived with them since before we were even a band, so I’m just like the youngest brother essentially. It’s all out in the open with me, too. There is no extra tension, unless they all secretly hate me.
CV: There’s always that one person in the band that you just don’t like, and with us, it’s obviously Mitch. [Laughs]
Your album ‘Plasticville’ has been out for a couple of years now. What’s on the horizon for your next release?
RV: We just released a new single and music video called ‘Textual.’ I think we’re going to release a series of singles, that’s the plan. Then we’re probably going to compile everything. We’ve been working on a lot of stuff since 2010. We definitely have enough to put out another release, but we’re just trying to keep things interesting. We don’t want to put all our cards out on the table. We’re trying to make it smart and try something new. We’ll see how it goes. And that first song is really representative of what’s to come.
Will the new stuff be similar to ‘Plasticville?’
RV: Things that I knew I wanted to do before we started The Vettes was to keep a dance feel and to keep synthesizers heavy. With me singing over that, it’s going to always sound a little like that. I think we’re going to get Todd to sing more, though. He’s an awesome singer. He’s going to be on some tracks. We’re switching things up, like we have a guest rapper on one track. We’re just trying to keep things fun and keep putting out new things.
Before Voodoo, a local paper put you on the cover with Neil Young, Metallica and Jack White. What was that like?
RV: What was up with that? I took a picture of it today! It’s crazy! Metallica, Neil Young, Jack White and The Vettes! My mom actually called me and told me about it and I was like, “Oh, whatever.” I didn’t realize it was just the four of us on the cover. I was just blown away.
CV: I just found out right now. I’m so surprised.
Brian Vette: It’s pretty cool to be supported like that in the home city.
RV: There are a lot of local artists they could’ve put on there. It’s just a blessing, it really is. It’s such an honor.
Besides playing music here, what’s your favorite thing about Louisiana?
RV: I love that it’s home. I love that it’s warm, like pretty much 10 months out of the year.
TV: I like the people. They’re different here than anywhere else in the world. Nobody cares, I like that.
MV: I was going say people, too, but I’ll add to that. With Louisiana people, you just never know what you’re going to get. That’s what keeps it interesting. You might meet the craziest person ever and it might just be the nicest person you ever meet, too. You never know.
CV: It’s the coolest thing to tell people that you’re from New Orleans. It gets an instant reaction from people. People think we’re all crazy and they always say, “Mardi Gras!” It’s always fun, there’s always something to do. It’s just like a party, you know?
BV: Da gumbo, man! [Laughs] New Orleans has the most laid back vibe of any place we’ve ever been. The people are so nice here, as opposed to the people we meet in New York and Los Angeles. They have a totally different personality that just would not fit down here.
RV: You all said the same thing!
BV: Well, we all love the people of New Orleans!