After forming in 2010, Sydney's VIGILANTE have decided to bring their 5 year existence to a close. Injecting a much needed fix of a NYHC influenced sound into the Australian scene, VIGILANTE made an impact on both the local and global hardcore scenes. We caught up with frontman Dave to find out why the band was coming to an end.
Photos by Cam Buckley and Ryan Willmott
So why is Vigilante breaking up?
There's no specific reason, we all kinda think the band has run its course. Since the December 2014 shows with Iron Mind in Sydney we've hardly played because of travel, work and families. I also think if the time allowed, we'd prefer to play more regularly with the odd weekend tour but where we're all at as a band, it's just not possible.
What was the appeal of playing a final show with Rival Mob?
We tried to book a final show earlier in the year but the bands and venue we wanted just didn't work out. We attempted that once and probably could have kept trying but it just got more and more difficult with everyone travelling and work. When the Rival Mob show was offered we thought it'd be easier to end it then because Jake couldn't play the recent Gorilla Biscuits show. Unfortunately Dean now can't play the Rival Mob show because of work but it'll still be our last show with Phil who used to play with us stepping in on bass. I'd be shocked if there aren't a lot of kids at the show so we also felt it might add to the vibe.
Got a favourite Vigilante memory and fave show?
I'm grateful for all the shows we were asked to play and actually did play. The shows with international bands come to mind but to be honest, we just shared a show with them, there was little or no interaction with them so I personally found hanging out with the local bands most memorable. Any show with Iron Mind was memorable for me because the energy was already there thanks to them! If I had to pick one though, Mindsnare at the Annandale was crazy!
What do you think has changed both in the scene and in the band over the 5 year existence?
I could easily judge so many things here but that's too easy to do. It seems like there's a lot of kids doing a lot of creative things and plenty of unity which is what hardcore is supposed to be. Some things I do like, some I don't but that's the beauty of it – variety – and I hope it stays that way. Who thought it was a good idea to bring tapes back?
What about a fave Vigilante song and why that one?
I like that we don't have many songs and didn't put pressure on ourselves to write for the sake of it. Quality over quantity was our approach. But if I had to pick one, probably 'Victim Of Society'. I just like the vague message of not settling for what society serves up, especially ignorance to social issues.
How much would you estimate the band donated to the Station homeless shelter over the period of the band?
It's a at least a few thousand dollars and plenty of second-hand clothes and shoes. We also have to give credit to other Sydney bands who contributed from the benefit show we did a couple of years ago and the individuals who have given us cash to donate when buying merch.
Do you feel like social awareness has made a comeback in the hardcore scene?
I'm gonna be positive and say yes. But I also hope there's an awareness for how we're doing it by donating to an organisation that's not politically or religiously aligned so there's no hidden agendas. At the same time I think it has always been around in different ways but I think it's perceived to be a crusty punk initiative rather than a bunch of clean cut older dudes talking about it.
What are you most proud of when it comes to the existence of Vigilante?
I like that we did a 12" EP, donated a lot of money to a genuine charity, recorded with Jonathan Boulet, joint released a record with SFU Records, got Jake to record some dub and didn't take ourselves too seriously. We didn't change the world but we weren't trying to.
How come the Murphy's Law "Quest for Herb" cover never eventuated?
You won't know until the last song of the last show! Covers are interesting and we've only covered NYHC bands, deliberately. Sometimes they go over well, other times they're greeted with silence, like 'Vigilante Song' but regardless, we've always played what we want. I saw a photo the other day of the poster for the Murphy's Law show we were supposed to play, kinda wish that happened because I assume it would've been too expensive to bring out their horn section so they only would have played the classics.
Any new projects forming out of the band's breakup?
Jake and Dean are jamming with Adam (Boneless) and Mick (Irrelevant) so expect something interesting in the near future. Luke has Choke, Stone Age and Mark My Words is still on ice (not the drug). Coyle has Controlled and Society's Chain and always has more ideas brewing.
How do you hope Vigilante is best remembered?
As a genuine and fun hardcore band who tried to give back to the scene and society.
Any final words or thanks?
Thanks to Rest Assured, Dave at SFU Records and Graham at Resist Records. Our demo 7" will be released sometime on Control Records (Europe) and SFU Records (USA). Don't forget the struggle, don't forget the streets.