An Interview with Thomas Peters of Modern Vices

Modern Vices is a band that is artistically unparalleled. Upon the release of their 2014 self-titled album  they created a sound so original that it cannot be limited to the confines of general description, thus resulting in the band self-coining the term ‘dirty doo-wop’ as its style. With a  natural ability to not only  invoke emotion through their work but allow listeners to revel in it, Modern Vices succeeds in achieving a level of artistic sophistication that most simply do not have.

They are a band you, without a shade of doubt,  must know about and listen to.

A note to the reader: all interview questions were answered by guitarist Thomas Peters, who spoke on behalf of the band. 

AMPLIFY: You have a wonderfully unique sound, which has largely been described as ‘dirty doo-wop.’ How has your sound evolved over time to arrive where it is today? Did you ever experiment with any other styles?

Modern Vices: First off, thank you very much! It’s funny because we actually came up with the term ‘dirty doo-wop’ and coined it as the album’s style. At the beginning, we were all listening to music from the Phil Spector/ Roy Orbison realm, and we still take from those vibes a lot. I’d say we always knew that we didn’t want to just be ‘doo-wop’, but to rather carry on our “style” with that sense of sadness and nostalgia that doo- wop brings. We always have had this post-punk fascination and with our new album, we’re incorporating that genre’s elements more so. Think if the Flamingos got punched in the face by Echo and the Bunnymen.

AMPLIFY: Your live shows are totally awesome. Do you have any special pre-show traditions or rituals?

Modern Vices: Ah, rituals. Well, we’ve actually talked about, like, getting hyped, pump up circle, all that, but we’re more of the anxious, 5 minutes till’ showtime and we all end up in the bathroom line kind of guys. I don’t even have to use to bathroom 98% of the time. I usually just smack myself in the face a bit, stretch it out and hit the stage.

AMPLIFY: Your music seems like it would be just as fun to create as it is to listen to. What is your creative process like when working on new material?

Modern Vices: We are very particular in terms of forming each and every song. This time around, we’re all really investing ourselves and hanging onto every last chord (melodrama). But in all honesty, its been really great forming this new release, because we just feel like we are forming into the band we want to be. We’ve been at it for a minute, growing up, working jobs to fund our outside lives, and it’s not all roses and daises. However, those emotions through struggles and life experiences are what we try to convey to our audiences. This band isn’t “beer, weed, rock on!” garage band stuff, this band is way more of a “anxiey, crying, that day sucked” kind of deal, which is just the way we like it.

AMPLIFY: What emotions or feelings do you hope people experience when listening to your music?

Modern Vices: Sadness, regret, love, mystery, confusion, anxiety

AMPLIFY: What aspect of your work are you most proud of?

Modern Vices: Our newest album!

AMPLIFY: You guys have performed all over the country. Do you have a favorite tour memory?

Modern Vices:  Honestly, the last tour we did with Twin Peaks and White Reaper, the whole thing. All of those guys are the best people, it was like being in camp with all your best friends.

AMPLIFY: As a band, it must be so exciting to get signed. What was the moment like when you guys found out Autumn Tone was interested?

Modern Vices: It was incredible. I remember I had been lazily sending the album around instead of studying for a final on my birthday, and then the next day they emailed back. I remember telling Pete first about it and I swear to god he almost shoved me through a wall he was so stoked. For the first album, it was really a bunch of songs Peter and I had had since high school. We recorded them in Peter and Patricks (drummer/ cousin) coach house basement in Chicago. Miles (bass) and I were at DePaul at the time, and we’d always be coming over, and the album Alex was away at school in New York at the time, but I had been keeping in contact, sending him the songs whenever we’d finish recording them. When he (Alex) came back for winter break, we were so pumped because we had pretty much finished recording everything and the first song we practice as a full band was Smoke Rings and we we’re so pumped, it all just came together like that. We we’re very proud of the album, and we owe all the love to A/T guys for getting us our start.

AMPLIFY: How has Chicago’s DIY community shaped you as artists?

Modern Vices: I’ll say this, it is absolutley amazing having support from the scene. I thank everybody who has every come to our shows in Chicago. I really wish all of our closest friends didn’t have to pay to get into our shows, but the fact that they do is unbelievable. Twin Peaks, though, they’re everything to us man. They’ve guided us so much and are such inspiring people. They’re the ones who have brought us on the road (twice) and have supported us the most, which I think is really what has shaped us.

AMPLIFY: The music videos for Smoke Rings and Cheap Style are stunning. How did you come up with the concepts for them?

Modern Vices: To be honest, I really don’t remember. They were really spontaneous! Shout out to Ryan Ohm though, he is the Directing Guru of Chicago. He’s got the sauce like no other.

AMPLIFY: Lastly, what’s coming up next for Modern Vices?

Modern Vices: New album this year!

-Interview by Lindsay Teske

Modern Vices is Alex Rebek (vocals), Peter Scoville (guitar), Thomas Peters (guitar), Miles Kalchik (bass), and Patrick Hennessey (drums). To learn more about Modern Vices and listen to their music, click here, here, and here.

{A huge thank you to Thomas for taking the time to thoughtfully answer these questions!}

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