Montreal Band Vesuvio Solo Are Smoothly Strange on "Mirror Held to the Flower"

We have their new single and an interview with them about dogs and murder.
September 21, 2016, 3:18pm

By way of Montreal, Vesuvio Solo is a pop act led by former TOPS bassist Thom Gillies and Cam MacLean. They skillfully mix 70's soft-rock and 80's synthpop influence but  with a modern flavour, resulting in a very contagious and inspired sound. They've recently shared the lead single of their sophomore album Don't Leave Me in the Dark through a surreal music video featuring the band driving around the city at night alongside with a mysterious, long-braided and disco-ball-headed woman in the back seat. Out today, the second single "Mirror Held to the Flower" is a slower, yet languorous, pop jam filled with luxurious synth layers, racy basslines and warmhearted vocal harmonies.

Don't Leave Me in the Dark drops next week on Banko Gotiti (North America) and Atelier Ciseaux (World). If you're in Montreal tonight, don't miss their opening set for 80's electronic mastermind Wally Badarou at Pop Montreal festival.

Noisey: What is your new single about? Walking the dog and loving it?

Thom Gillies: I still don't get it, but that's it. That's pretty much what it's all about. [laughs]
Cam MacLean: Sure there's that metaphor, but "Mirror Held to the Flower" happens to be a very old Japanese Noh theatre piece. In Noh theater, I think 'til the 1940's, no women could play the parts of women and they were all played by men. While writing the song, the idea was to play with gender ("Baby look at me like I'm the only girl") and the track title is a direct reference to this particular piece.
Gillies: Hey! We're not supposed to tell them that stuff! [laughs]

You guys have been friends and bandmates for a while now. How's your relationship going? Is it easy working together?
Gillies: [shakes head]
MacLean: It's contentious and positive. I think the creative tension is a positive force in our relationship. We're good friends and we continue making music together, but naturally having two frontmen brings disagreement and we fucking hate each other sometimes, but it's good, it's positive.
Gillies: [playfully chokes MacLean]

Do you write together or separately?
MacLean: It depends.
Gillies: Sometimes together.
MacLean: Sometimes separately.
Gillies: Sometimes with our friend Zac MacArthur (who plays keys). I think he's alive somewhere in town. We (Cam & Gillies) have been collaborating since five or six years ago in Montreal. We wrote songs together living in an apartment on Mont-Royal. We had a piano there! Then we kept doing it and changed the band name to Vesuvio Solo. It's been good.

And your drummer?
Gillies: We killed him.
MacLean: Yeah, he's dead. [laughs]​

You took about two years to make your first album Favors and only a couple of days for Don't Leave Me in the Dark. Does it make a difference?
MacLean: There's a couple songs that initially came off of a project I was doing by myself then Thom joined in and we renamed it to Camp and then it turned to Vesuvio Solo. We ended up writing songs more together and became equal partners, but yeah it took a while to put out the first album.
Gillies: And then we murdered our drummer (laughs). For the second album we recorded the bedtracks in a couple days at Hotel2Tango and then worked on overdubs throughout the year.
MacLean: It was a more efficient process and it's the reason why it has a more cohesive sound from beginning to end. The goal with the second record was to make it less sort of all over the place. There's not necessarily a thematic consistency, but at least there's a sonic consistency.

Vesuvio Solo tour dates:

09/22 Montreal, QC @ La Sala Rossa +
10/10 Paris, FR @ Supersonic *
10/11 Lyon, FR @ Le Sonic Lyon *
10/13 Brussels, BE @ Le CHAFF *
10/14 Amsterdam, NL @ De Nieuwe Anita *
10/15 Groningen, NL @ De Gym *
10/16 Rotterdam, NL @ Worm Institute *
10/18 Cologne, DE @ TBA *
10/19 Berlin, DE @ Das Gift (dj set)
10/20 Berlin, DE @ Loophole *
10/21 Warsaw, PL @ Chmury *
10/22 Riga, LV @ Aristids *
10/23 Vilnius, LT @ Kulturos baras Kablys *
10/26 Lucerne, CH @ Gewerbehalle *
10/27 Lille, FR @ TBA *
10/28 London, UK @ Birthdays *
11/3 New York, NY @ Alphaville ^
11/5 Montreal, QC @ Casa del Popolo ^

+ w/ Wally Badarou
* w/ Promise Keeper
^ w/ Alec Nicholas

​Dominic Berthiaume ​is a writer from Montreal.