They haven’t even been together for a whole year yet, but young Campbell River band Vogue Villains has already put their name forward in an attempt to win one of the country’s biggest independent music prizes.
CBC Searchlight, the long-running contest put on by CBC Music where they go “on the hunt for Canada’s undiscovered musical talent,” started its latest round of voting on Tuesday, and Vogue Villains is one of the names in the British Columbia section of the contest. The band is hoping to advance through the competition with their single, “Ghost of a Ghost.”
Lucas Antoni (guitar/vocals), Andrew Baskin (bass/vocals) and Nate Cox (drums), formed this band from the remnants of now-defunct ensemble How Could I about a year and a half ago, but truly became the band they are now when they found Nicholas Vanderschaaf to round out their ranks on the keyboard and rhythm guitar about 11 months ago. They have been touring Vancouver Island hard since then, slowly but surely gaining a following and making a name for themselves as a high-energy, dynamic rock band that can dominate a room.
But although they haven’t been together very long, they feel they have the same chance – if not better – than any of the others who have submitted songs to the contest.
“With how much work we’re putting in to make this thing go, it was never a question of whether we should enter or not,” Vanderschaaf says.
Antoni agrees. With full-time jobs on top of rehearsing three nights per week and traveling for gigs all over the island on the weekends, Vogue Villains, he says, has more than earned the right to be considered.
“With all the money and time and effort we’ve put into this already, I think we owe it to ourselves to put ourselves out there in something like Searchlight and see what happens,” Antoni says.
Should “Ghost of a Ghost” make through to the second round of the contest (and therefore be named to “The Long List”) by reaching either the top-50 in public voting or by being scored amongst the top-50 by the judging panel, another round of public voting will again take place between Feb. 20 and 26. At that point, with the contest whittled down to 10, the panel of judges will decide which musician or band will win the grand prize of a week in the Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class artist development program at Coalition Music in Toronto and a trip to the 2020 JUNO Awards, as well as a week in a recording studio at the National Music Centre in Calgary and a chance to perform at the 2019 CBC Music Festival in Toronto.
But while that would certainly be amazing, these guys have no intention of giving up, no matter how it goes.
“We aren’t taking this so seriously that it’s going to crush us and break our hearts,” Baskin says. “There might be 1,000 entries and we totally lose,” he continues with a laugh. “That’s gotta be okay. We still believe in us and we’re still a kick-ass band. It’s our hard work that’s going to get us somewhere, this thing would just be like winning a lottery. We’re gonna keep doing what makes us happy, and that’s making our music and playing it for people.”
Speaking of “Happy,” that just happens to be the name of their debut EP, which is set to drop Feb. 15. “Ghost of a Ghost” is the first single from that album. But while the band makes its plans for the album release party, they’ll be watching their Searchlight vote tally and awaiting word on whether they’ve made it through to round two.
You can vote at cbcmusicsearchlight.ca and selecting “Artist Entries.”
Find Vogue Villains’ “Ghost of a Ghost” by selecting “British Columbia” and scrolling about 2/3 of the way down the page or simply enter their name in the search bar.
And head over and follow them on Facebook to watch for concert announcements and future video releases.