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So Vain: L.A. Bad Boys Rocking Your World

So Vain: L.A. Bad Boys Rocking Your World

So Vain

So Vain: L.A. Bad Boys Rocking Your World

If The Stooges and My Chemical Romance were to spawn a great mutation after a blurry night out that neither would be able to recall in the morning, the beautiful nine-month hangover would result in a diabolic pack of quadruplet rockers going by the name of So Vain. With sinfully chaotic live shows and super catchy songs that are rapturously way off the hook, So Vain is ready to rock music fans from their Los Angeles hometown and beyond.  Highwire Daze recently caught up with So Vain for an interview and photo shoot at Dystopian Studios in Downtown LA.  And while the photo shoot went great, the free for all interview was 10 minutes of nonstop madness that was unusable for print.  But we at Highwire Daze love the bad boys of So Vain, so an email missive was sent via the email – it still reads like sheer carnage, but here you will find out a whole lot more about an absolutely amazing band ready to rock your world and leave you craving a whole lot more!  Enter the wickedly wonderful world of So Vain at your own risk here…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in So Vain, and how long the band has been together.
Saifest Kane: I’m Saifest Kane (after a hypothetical cowboy from my childhood), I play leader guitar, I write the songs and I drink! I’m sort of the heart and soul of the company.

Anton Quail: I’m Anton Quail (after a homoerotic WW2 fanfic I had in high school), little bit spunky, little bit spooky, I sing and write and tap dance for the band.

Link Sappho: My name is Link Sappho (after the knight and poet respectively) and I play bass on most songs, guitar on others, as well as do the screams, highs, and backing vocals, and also act as the band’s resident fashionista. You could say I’m kinda like the sexy bad boy, apart from Kiki, of course.

Kiki Mora: I’m Kiki Mora, I’m the sexy bad boy of the band. Ask any of them, they won’t stop talking about it.

What do you think of our local Los Angeles music scene, and how does So Vain fit into the scheme of things?
Saifest Kane: Ooooooooh I’ve fancied a great love for the LA scene, since I moved here from BlackRock, Dublin… 16 months ago.  Lots of good Irish boys out here, treating me and the lads real well.

Anton: I think LA is fokken great, a lot of weirdo punk and art energy, people hungry for shows, etc. It feels like everyone wants to go for it and if they’re not there yet they’re approaching that mentality.

Link: So Vain has been active in our local LA Scene in its current form for about 6 or 7 months, and in that time, I’ve seen that we have so many goddamn talented bands playing in these streets just waiting to be found, it’s kind of insane. As far as where So Vain fits into our local scene; even though I said what I said about how our scene is so densely packed with talent, I truly believe there is no band that fills the niches of both live shows and recorded music quite like So Vain does. No other band on the scene, or that I’ve heard on the internet has quite the same sound we do with our mix of pop punk, emo, midwest emo, indie and britpop, latino music, horror, and gang vocals. It creates a feel that makes us my favorite band in the scene, unironically removed from the fact that I play and write for us.

Anton Quail

Mood – what is the inspiration behind this song?
Saifest: It started with Link singing the words “I’m your broken booler lover boy, don’t you find another boy,” and I got really stoned in the woods soon after that and took a long hike writing music in my head for the theme song to an imaginary show about a teenage girl struggling to adjust to her circumstances. Obviously, I had to change the words once I had the harmonies and chords figured out, so I pawned it to Anton, who did his typical bullshit to it. The only lyrics I insisted on keeping from my original forest composition were the chorus lines, “I can’t help it if you can’t help it, I’m not laughing, you’re not laughing,” where I was really resonating with this hypothetical girl struggling to keep afloat in a tumultuous scenario where the people around her were making her life difficult. This is sort of how living with Anton is, which is what I was doing at the time I wrote it, lol.

Anton: Sai sent me a demo of the song and I was seeing a person at the time, a local teeth collector who is a talented music lady in LA who also owns a baby head based clothing line, and I was on her floor singing ideas over it, tryna make it poppy and energetic to impress her. I think it turned out great but she’s hard to impress. Anyway, lyrically it starts with a line Sai had “Won’t you tell me what you think of me?”  And he had a loose melody I started mutilating into “Or we’ll settle on acetylene: often I’ll set it, I’m often already, I’m off and on, I’m rated R,” playing with the word sounds, but touching on the idea that I just can’t start this fucking thing sometimes, lol. Whether that thing is: impressing a big headed lil gnome woman (god bless her) or even getting yourself together and stop being lazy or sad or loaded or so on
and so forth.

Link: and I sing the highs, cause Anton can’t (what a schmuck).

Tell me about the video for Moods and Wankys Adult Store.
Link: Well, the idea for the video actually came from the fact that Anton used to work at a sex shop, and one day while working there, he came up with this shot idea of us robbing the sex store and tossing all of our stolen goods in slow motion as we were chased by the cops or security. As for the inspiration for Wankey’s specifically and that title card, when I (Link Sappho, pleased to meet ya) was color grading the video and doing final edits, I decided to make this little skit for us leading into Anton’s initial shot for the video, I chose a random funny name for a sex store and then I spoofed the title card for the band’s favorite comedy show, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”.

Anton: I used to work at an adult store called Excitement in Tarzana, amazing place and honest to Allah, it’s the best sex store in LA (sending love to Bill, their bossman). I wear my Crave Vesper necklace from there all the time, and I’ve even met women via their recognizing it and soliciting me, which is about the strongest endorsement one can give a product, and I do expect a band sponsorship from Crave. Anyway, I got the idea that the video would be us robbing a sex store and getting pursued by a sex cop, but invert the usual sexy woman cop to be like a Tom of Finland big ass man cop. Now, we’re a mess so we never coordinated using Excitement, who was totally down for this idea cause Bill is the best, and the biggest ass man we know is my brother Saifest so the video is in some sense a failed approximate of the original idea, that said, I love how it turned out and I plan to shoot at Excitement down the line.

Saifest Kane

Select any other So Vain song and what inspired the lyrics.
Anton: I’m always mutating the lyrics until they seem just right, truly representative of how I feel or the exact amount of pissy that makes the broth sour. “How It Sounds” is one of my favorites of ours and it’s the only one besides Mood that has like, “finished” lyrics. Link and I have been drug addicts on and off for like a decade at this point and realizing all the mental gymnastics you pull to contort yourself into situations where getting incredibly high is possible and how it shapes your identity, inaccuracies in how you’re perceived or perceive things around you, etc. Saifest had sent me an early demo of that song with Kiki on drums, and I was in Hollywood looping the voice memo listening to a lot of I Brought You My Bullets and 1017 Thug so I just started babbling about self medicating over prescribed medication, and what would even be the difference, “SSRIs I don’t need them, I found a way,” and “Ask around, mate, you’re sick but you’re no fun,” being in that place where you could be biting the head off a bat doing backflips, and everyone laughs but you’re just totally depleted inside except when you’re ABOUT to get high, whether that’s picking up or a new romance, even just buying a lil treat for yourself. Always chasing highs of some sort, and an entire world built around it.

The chorus to that “Takes the best of me, it’s just the girls in me, this passionate love offal,” that I alternate to “passionless” being this image I had in my head where if you step inside yourself to like, figure it out, it’s that meme of a bunch of women gossiping about you, but that’s your own feminine energy- something that you’ve fetishized, tried to communicate with, heal with or hurt with, identify with, and that could go either way, depending on what energy you’re grappling with inside yourself, point being that to what degree do your vices arm you for self confrontation and what remains of you? It may just be the bleeding meaty bits that someone’s going to hump and if that’s all there is, why not just embrace the process of chasing, learning to enjoy the chase. I kinda want to make an empowering nihilism that approximates Faith possible, but more in a Gerard Way than a GG Allin one. “Tsk tsk tsk, guess I should’ve known better- I mean, this IS how I go between/ Going Clear as Piss Christ off Amir/a mirror man I’m just happy to bleed,” being a nod to the Andres Serrano artwork, playing with words, Scientology, and growing to accept that: all the religions, all the arts n’ entertainment, living laughing loving, life liberty n’ the pursuit of happiness, it’s all kinds of bollocks on paper, but you learn to love chasing something to use and go between those cracks between yourself and the real world, back and forth, and “it’s a horror scene” and “of course it’s all my fault” but that’s just what life is and ideally the song sounds like that. In the demo I quote some of A Season in Hell by Rimbaud, the “You will always be a hyena, yells the Devil who’d crowned me with such pretty poppies. Deserve Death with all your appetites.” That lil bit is one of the things I always come back to.

Link: Yeah so “How it Sounds” was written by my dog playing with those refrigerator magnets, y’know, the ones with words on each of ‘em, and you make little sentences with them? Well, we piled a bunch on the ground and we’d write down the word, then the next one he brought us and that’s how we got the lyrics. What did Anton say it was about?

What could one expect from a live So Vain show?
Anton: Our goal is to create a massive weirdo arthaus Jackass gang, so we try to bring a lot of positive energy, campiness, pursue that cathartic emotional release but rapidly and every song. We all have a big vision for our stage show, and the mannequins are only the beginning. I want to start incorporating fire, glitter, blood, more mannequins, big headed papier-mache figures like from the “Mood” video. I want it to feel authentic and pure every step of the way while still being twacked out and over the top.

Link: WELL, Firstly you better be ready to receive a papier-mache mannequin body part being thrown at you or your drink during “Release the Bats”. You could expect to see all of us give all of our energy at every single show and perform like our lives depended on it. Sometimes they do. You can expect to see Anton climbing something, Sai will most likely stick his tongue out while doing a guitar solo, I’ll walk into the crowd and look all moody and bounce around and make goofy faces too or whatever and then Kiki


Saifest: I’m this close to having my ass out at any given time, but you have to make the crowd work for that. You’ve got to have self-respect, and that’s what we’re all about, Self-Respect and big meaty cheeks.  So…expect that, and loud songs about our feelings. My feelings, specifically, cause I have to write everything.

Kiki: You can expect me to be chilling on stage, not having moved an inch, because I don’t have to. I’m effortlessly cool and it puts them all to shame, so they need to overcompensate by being zany and “interactive and funny” or whatever.

Kiki Mora

If So Vain could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Saifest: I mean, if Olivia Rodrigo would just return my calls I’m still open to opening for her (I forgive you). Aside from that, I’ve always fancied me StarCrawler, they have great stage presence. And Sad Park, they put it all on the line, and they’re sad, and I’m Sad, and Irish (but I’m not sad THAT I’m Irish, that’s a wellspring of joy for me, always).

Link: Either the Beatles, My Chemical Romance, The Used, Pierce the Veil, The Cure, The Mars Volta, (old) Arctic Monkeys, beabadoobee, Grimes, or (cause she’s my favorite artist of the last few years) Clairo.

Anton: The list is long m8. First and foremost, I’d love to get gashed up and bloody with the snake boys in Cancer Christ, play before them with their deathmatch wrestling shit going on between our sets. I adore that band, their stage show is massive and pure and totally unhinged. Historically I mean, shit, we were born by and for Warped Tour, 2003-6 AFI, MCR, The Used, I’d love to open for any of them still but AFI in 2005ish was an absolute beast. I also love DLR Van Halen, even if Link hates him, or Jane’s Addiction round 89 would’ve been fokken monumental for me. Zamboni Zound Zystem with Shamon Cassette and Desmadre from East LA, Hurt Hawks, Against the Sun, Hvnted, and Nu Godd out of Long Beach, those would be bands going on in the area that I would love to play with, get absolutely unhinged with.

What was it like performing at the LA Rock Collective Show?
Saifest: – Oh It’s been an absolute thrill to play with these Lads, though a wee bit nerve racking- you see, they run a tight ship and me and the boys here are, well, we are not a tight ship. We’re sure to make a mess whether we want to or not, whether they like it or not. We just happen to be in the fortuitous position of, so far, they like the mess we make hahaha.

Anton: LA Rock Collective is a gem. They’ve put us on twice now and they’re creating a consistent and professional flagship for bands to meet and connect, book shows and play together, etc. It’s really important that all these promoters get support and respect and we pay it back, all of us meet, create a scene and unite the tribes so we can all get filthy fat and rich, you know? That’s what I want, all these different cliques and scenes in SoCal to be under one banner making a lot of noise. Sending love to Clear Vision Collective, Venom Verbatim, Planet Everything, everybody who’s been putting us on, man.

Link: So far we’ve only played 2 shows with the LA Rock Collective, but even from those 2 shows we can tell that this collective is made of such great people who are all so insanely passionate about the art they make and those they make it for; it’s really inspiring to be a part of. As far as the PERFORMANCE itself?  Awesome. Always such a helpful sound crew that makes getting set up a breeze, and they’re definitely some of our best sounding shows from the audio live mixing perspective, I can always hear myself perfectly when we play their shows.

How did you wind up being a Brand Ambassador for Hot Topic?
Link: So with Hot Topic this started a few years ago when I was in college studying photography, and one of my finals was to take a series of self portraits of myself showing 5 different sides of me or my style. And up to that point I’d been enjoying photo so much, but had never actually shot myself before, and that project, along with studying Cindy Sherman (the grandmother of modern self photography (and her series Untitled Film Stills changed my entire photographic career. From the works of Sherman, as well as the experience gained in the project (in which I actually did my own take on one of Sherman’s most famous photos from the aforementioned series) I continued taking photos of myself in all of my different outfitsduring the pandemic lockdown, and soon enough I got pretty good at and really into the combination of self-modeled-photography. My sister, who herself used to be a part of the Hot Topic ambassador program, saw the quality of my work and outfits going up, as well as my follower count XD and recommended I apply to the program now that my work was getting good and my followers were past their application threshold (which honestly isn’t that many). So, I did, and to my surprise, I was accepted! Since then it’s only been so much fun, shooting clothing campaigns for them, appearing on their front page and on their Instagram feed multiple times have both been lifelong dreams for me since, well, I’ve been shopping there since at least age 11. I’ve even been invited to go to Anime Expo and LA Comic Con with them as an ambassador, and both of those were such a blast, and I met so many great people. For this one event, they had YUNGBLUD playing at some closed soundstage in LA, so I brought Anton with me as my +1
and booooy I’m telling ya, it’s exactly what you’d imagine when you think “So Vain at a private celebrity show”…meaning we took advantage of the free whiteclaw and hors d’oeuvres.

Anton: Yeah, I’m not gonna lie to you, I got pretty loaded on YUNGBLUD’s time. I’m sure he was great. I think I missed the show I was so busy with the cooler they left unattended. We did take a picture together, YUNGBLUD and I, and he said he liked Shaun Ryder, which makes me like him cause Happy Mondays and Black Grape are two of my favorite things ever.

Link Sappho

How long have you been doing photography and what kind of equipment do you use?
Link: I’ve been doing photography for about 8 years now, professionally for about 4 or 5. I shoot mainly fashion, events, self photos (also fashion), wildlife, my everyday life, and street photography, the street stuff is mostly on film. As for my equipment, my digital camera that I use for all of my professional and personal – most of my fashion work is the Canon 5d Mark IV with a Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art Series lens (which is my baby). My other lenses I rely on with the 5D are the Canon 50mm f/1.8 and a 70-300 f/4-5.6 telephoto mostly for wildlife and sports tournaments (I work with a youth club soccer league and do tournaments for them around the country a few times a year). And I also love shooting wildlife. Then I have 2 film cameras that I adore both of the classic Canon AE-1 for all of my 35mm needs. That’s the film camera that alongside my 5D got me through my photography bachelor’s. Endless nights in the darkroom till the sun peaked over the hills and I’d have to be back in 6 hours to get critiqued… it was tough, but I’ll always miss it. Film photography is so much different from digital, but just as valuable. Learning both alongside each other other made me realize that. Photographers who put down one, as if the other is somehow superior based on some arbitrary merit of “feel” or “computer editing”, are just as short sighted as the artists who put down photography as an art vs all the other classical art forms. Photography is art. As if a darkroom isn’t editing. If you used one a single time in your life you’d realize it is literally editing without a computer. Film and digital photography are both equally beautiful, difficult and valuable. Then lastly, my other film camera which I got last week is just a classic black Polaroid, which I’ve been loving so far.

What’s up next for So Vain?
Saifest: Yer mummy and daddy, ye Tory wanker.

Anton: We’re trying to get more organized, good luck to us right, but I want us to book at least 100 shows in this first year of our band and keep that pace. I want us to play everywhere, the cool spots that the kids all clout about in, the gnarly bars, the lame ass nowheres, any backyard or bar mitzvah, fuck it even a Bar Exam. I want us to get a feel for everything and everywhere. We’re in the process of shooting more videos for songs we’re about to release called “Sugar Ray Toro” “Dead Girl” “Suelta Los Murcielagos” “Woof” and “Sick New Dabset”, learning to do all the social media stuff as well. We’re gonna try to have merch out by the next show we have.

Link: THE WORLD.  Ideally we want to keep playing as many shows as possible, meeting as many people as possible, and making as much content as possible. We are without a doubt the most hungry band on the scene and we know that for a fact. We are here to take over the scene, and bring all our homies up with us. And ofc, make kickass art ‘cause that’s what we do. Have you seen our name?

Any final words of wisdom?
Anton: I want to pay respects and send love to everybody supporting us as we finally get this shit together and make all the necessary moves. I believe in what music can do for your soul and your life, and know we can bring an intensity and positivity to people, we’re just honing it. We’d all like to pay specific love and respects to: Nick Mick, Adam Bretall, Mark Picar, Chris Watkins (RIP all) and their families. Also love and respect out to Toren Brown, Vivian Ortega, Bridget Frances, Chloe ‘Soupcan’ Campbell, my lawyer Jesse Printz, Wynn Tutt, Isaiah Rolow, my work homies from Nueva Venice, Charlie and Topher at TK Rehearsals, Jessica and Josh and Richard who are all photographers we recently met, and especially thank you to Mister Big Daddy Ken for putting us on like this, m8, appreciate and love ya lots, band parents Dano and Carrie mega smooches. Cheers.

FOLLOW US @sovainofficial ON INSTAGRAM

Anton: Wait, yeah, fuck all that shit I said about thank you to people, go stream our music, come to our shows and check out “Mood” on Youtube and Spotify!

Saifest: Listen to Thin Lizzy and cum hard.’

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Vivian Ortega of So Finch Photography)

So Vain on Instagram

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