The group consists of Alex Vargas (vocals, acoustic guitar), Stephen Carter (backing vocals, guitar), Luke Fitton (backing vocals, guitar), Sam Odiwe (bass) and Karl Penney (drums). They have roots in Uruguay, Denmark, East London and Huddersfield.
"We were a band before we even knew it", says guitarist Luke Fitton. "It's luck I guess, being in the right place at the right time. Just so happens we found each other in a studio in Kent".
Front man Alex Vargas explains Vagabond's sound: "The most important and key thing for us is that our music is soulful. We are influenced by many genres of music - pop, rock, lounge, funk and blues - as we all come from different parts of the world but we always come back to soul."
Alex Vargas explains the music writing process: "You get a track ready, you blast it out of speakers, you have a Dictaphone, and I'll sing over that, trying out different ideas, looking for varying melodies. It could literally just be a 4 bar drum loop, (...) and after that you go back and listen to the melodies again and pick out the best ones. Quite often you find the best ones come out in a string, and you can find yourself taking something from the beginning and something from the very end, and they'll fit perfectly well together. It was quite intimidating when I first did it, it's a really interesting, really productive way of writing."
"They like to get the best out of you as producers", says Luke Fitton. "Brian [Higgins] is so driven and likes to try new ideas. He makes you re-learn what's worth playing in some ways, he had me trying all sorts of different things out, it's good to get out of your comfort zone from time to time".
Alex Vargas admits that it required some adjusting to work with Xenomania: "It was a bit of a mindf***, to realise, not that what I'd been doing before I met Brian was wrong, but to go in there as a 17-year-old, a bit arrogant, used to having a band and telling everyone what to do, and suddenly meet someone with such authority. He's a very intimidating man. I was so impressed with how he opened my eyes; just the brutal honesty - you don't get that with many people."
Brian Higgins says he was attracted to Vargas because he could hear in his head the music he felt the front man should be making. "As important as I knew I was for Alex, because I had a vision of where he could be, he was of critical, enormous importance to us, because of this sense that we would be able to move forward into areas we hadn't been able to go to before, because there hadn't been a voice of that nature." In the early days, Vargas was all higher register and rock phrasing, a sound his rock-poster-boy image and looks would certainly suit. Higgins, though, had "a hunch that he wasn't particularly a rock singer but a soul singer".
Vagabond were asked to be the main support to James Morrison on his UK Spring tour, in 2009.
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