An Interview With The Class
The Class just dropped a full-length album, and it features a fantastic array of bright and vast feeling instrumentation and a pop-rock backbone that comers through with a progressive and cinematic style and it's all done with this powerful heart that grabs at you and it feels good.
The Vega Hills Volume 1 album is packed with a bright and excited set of textures in contemporary rock with danceable choruses and a memorable hooks that pop up left and right.
The record does have this theatrical or really sort of dramatically driven approach to it but it's not over the top. it's tastefully done and what is really taking the cake on this record is the sheer number of choruses that get your attention from across the room.
You also get this wonderful ambient tonality that lurks just beneath the surface of most tracks giving everything a sort of atmosphere you can't deny.
This was an impactful record with a terrific story telling vibe and the songs paint vivid pictures with plenty of detail and excitement.
The album is incredibly lush and full bodied, but it's all got such a positive feel and a touch of retro-pop embedded in the style.
This was endless fun and makes you feel like you can take on the night and win.
We need more music like this for sure. Music that feels good to crank, sing along to, put your fists in the air and put your energy right into the song itself.
There is a special feeling that these songs give you and it's a youthful energy hat you want to hold onto forever.
With such a killer album release, we wanted to touch base with The Class to find out where this all came from and what may be next.
Here's what happened.
Buzz Slayers: Let's kick things off with the Vega Hills Volume 1 EP. This record has such a great pop rock feel to it. Where did this record come from?
First and foremost, thank you for your kind words!
The record came from us trying to explore and figure out what our sound was. All of the songs are written in collaboration between us in the band. Usually a finished or semi-finished demo provided by someone in the band followed by us rewriting and rerecording the song together. This goes for both music and lyrics.
Some things were from the beginning already predetermined based off of the two previous singles: “RUNNERS” and “summer nights”. This included production aspects such as blending midi and real performance, production aspects (plugins i.e. Valhalla vintage verb, Chorus Jun-6 and various tape fx). Another aspect was concept wise. We all grew up in small towns and wanted something more out of life, that’s why we all ended up in Stockholm to pursue greater things. This made it easy for us to write about small town angst, longing for something new or better in life. We quickly realized this was the theme of many John Hughes films and took inspiration from that, which is also why we have a song named Breakfast Club on the album.
The name of the album is partly based on a real place actually.
A few blocks away from our studio, we came across a place called Vega Hills, a boring suburban neighborhood with ultra modern houses that probably cost a fortune, the Swedish equivalent of Beverly Hills. Undeservedly so, we thought, and found it absolutely ridiculous. However, the name stuck and at some point it transformed into something else and we gave it a new meaning. On the one hand yes, it’s obviously us taking a jab at Beverly Hills, the imagery, iconography and symbolic representation in movies and music. In a loving but not too serious matter. On the other hand, Vega Hills doesn’t necessarily exist, it could also be viewed as a metaphor for a lot of things or themes. Heaven, a state of being, a mindset, a symbol of dreams, the idea of “making it in the big city” and so on. We have a tendency to not take ourselves too seriously, as the observant listener might discover through our lyrics here and there.
Buzz Slayers: When did this all start for you guys?
The initiative was Henning’s. Him moving to Stockholm meant starting the band he always wanted to have. Through recommendations and mutual friends, the band started to take form. This was back in August of 2020. It became clear early on that we needed this band as an output to channel joy and a positive outlook on the future, which we also hope to spread to the people listening to our music. Times have been pretty grim all around the world for a couple of years now, a pandemic and now war. To some degree we needed to make music as a means of escapism. We discovered that using sounds that evoke a sense of nostalgia can be really powerful and quite effective. Nostalgia is like a state of being homesick, an excessively sentimental yearning. It’s both beautiful and awful at the same time, which we find fascinating. Still, it’s purely a stylistic choice and we always look to the future whatever we do. After all, we’re a band born in and defined by the 2020s and creating new and interesting music independently is easier now than ever. We want to make our music accessible, easy to sing and as memorable as possible without sacrificing our own creative curiosities or lust for experimentation. We always try to find balance between the two, writing music that’s both interesting for other musicians and enjoyable for those who don’t know or don’t care much about how the music actually works and just want to enjoy it for what it is, dance to it and have a good time.
Buzz Slayers: This record has some great styles! Can you give us some of your top musical influences?
We have a lot of influences but here are some:
The Killers, The 1975, U2, Coldplay, Radiohead, Walk The Moon, The Cure, The Japanese House, The Midnight, Tears for Fears, Jacob Collier & Charlie Puth.
As you can tell, a lot of indie bands and pop acts. Of course we listen to other stuff as well but these picks felt the most obvious. We also listen to a lot of classical, fusion, jazz, metal, folk etc.
Buzz Slayers: What are you all doing when you're NOT working on music?
When we’re not working or studying these activities come to mind:
Todd: I’m currently studying Japanese for fun (and for nostalgic reasons), I like to watch anime, youtube, play videogames and cook with my girlfriend.
Henning: I enjoy running for many reasons. Apart from the health benefits, to me it's also therapeutic and almost spiritual in a sense. Taking care of your body is important in the life of a singer. I like to play video games and read books too.
Carl: Like Henning, I enjoy running, which I try to do a couple of times a week. I have also researched a lot about my heritage in the last few months.
Buzz Slayers: Who's in all your headphones right now?
Todd: I have currently been obsessed with Japanese music. Main Japanese artist right now is Yuuri and his album 壱 (ICHI, meaning one). There is something really nice with a variety of songs that feel very 2000’s musically but with a Japanese twist. Of course some Casiopea and game soundtracks get played from time to time.
Henning: Phoebe Bridgers is a favorite right now, especially her album Punisher. Everything she does is just pure gold, she's great. I've been taking a walk down memory lane lately and revisited some of my favorite artists from my teens. A lot of early Queen records, some of The Beatles' later ones and My Chemical Romance. Some classical stuff too like Chopin and Debussy. These are some musical picks that'll never leave me.
Carl: Everything from Harry Styles to The Beatles are artists I’ve been listening to at the moment. Harry Styles’ new album is really something else, and I’m really glad that kind of soulful pop-music is mainstream right now, and (like a lot of other people I assume) I’ve re-discovered The Beatles since their ‘’Get Back’’ documentary was released.
Buzz Slayers: Are you doing any live performances right now?
After our release show for Vega Hills: Volume 1 we went on a break to decompress and write new material. The process of finishing that album was exhausting and we took much needed time off.
We are toying with the idea of doing venues or trading shows with bands we like in our local scene and maybe even some acts in other cities. However, this is in the future but for sure in 2022!
Buzz Slayers: This EP feels like a big undertaking, is there any advice you'd give to other up and coming bands out there?
What we were good at was to plan every recording session and mixing session well in advance. There even was a schedule spanning from December 2021 to the release in May of 2022. This gave us plenty of time to strategically finish one song at a time: prepare sessions, record instruments, editing takes, record vocals, editing takes again, mixing and then lastly mastering. However, there was one flaw in our plan, if anything went wrong, the time to fix those issues was slim to none at times. This was because we announced release dates for the singles, EP and release show before anything was finished, a deadline if you will. It was stressful to keep up and work late nights or push back a release a week to barely get it done in time.
What we took from this was that a rushed song or album will always be rushed, but a delay will hopefully do nothing but improve the project. We did delay it slightly and it was definitely the right call. Deadlines are great for finishing, but not if it means sacrificing your health or your work. A combination between eagerness and patience is probably the way to go, that way you’ll never become lazy and indecisive and you’ll have enough time to make mistakes without cutting corners. Because we are an indie band nobody can tell us when the product has to be finished, although you have to release it at some point. Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Buzz Slayers: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?
Hopefully a new single, and as the title of the EP suggests, Vega Hills: Volume 2. Until then we will post updates, bts and silly shenanigans on our socials.
Buzz Slayers: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
We are grateful to everybody who has taken their time to listen to our music. Thank you! Hopefully it gives you as much joy as it gives us. If you were there from the start, thank you for staying with us and if you've just discovered us, welcome to the family!
It doesn't matter to us who you are or where you are, our music is for everyone. Anyone can be a “classmate” or a “classy mate”.
If you want to follow us on social media, TikTok and Instagram is where we're most active. And you'll find all of our music on all streaming platforms, such as Spotify and Apple Music.