Q&A: Villainy

What’s Hot New Zealand talks new music, opening for AC/DC and favourite tour food with Villainy lead singer Neill Fraser.

What can we expect from your upcoming album Raised In The DarkThis is our third record and it feels like the true evolution from the first two. We wrote something like 110 songs before committing to the 15 or so we recorded and then paired it back to 10 for the final sequence. We’re not a one trick pony “rock” band and there is a lot of variation across those tracks from the really balls-out heavy songs to more introspective tracks. I’m really looking forward to hearing which ones hit home for our fans because there is so much depth in there.

How would you say the music industry has evolved since you guys first started out? When we started up it was still all about getting on radio, selling CD’s and hitting the road to get seen. All of that is still true but streaming has totally changed the game when it comes to getting music out there and helping new fans discover the band. All the traditional forms are still hugely important for us, radio still opens up a lot of rock listeners to us and while the CD isn’t quite what it was we’re all passionate about getting our music out there in the physical form – particularly vinyl. If people want to stream it that is totally cool too.

You opened for AC/DC on the New Zealand leg of their tour. That must’ve been a surreal moment for you guys? Totally surreal! We’ve done quite a few arena size shows but stadiums are just a whole other ball game. And then to also do it with a band like AC/DC who have literally plane loads of productions is crazy. It was a really humbling experience to open up for such a legendary group and both gigs were massive for us.

If there were one band or one musician that you could collab with, who would it be and why? I’ve always been a huge fan of NIN and Trent Reznor rarely puts a foot wrong so that would be a lot of fun. Hell of guy to learn a thing or two from as well and the stories he could tell!

Craziest fan encounter? Our fans are really great, a heap of familiar faces at shows and we’re even lucky enough to count many of them as friends. That said, we played a show in Masterton, might’ve actually been on the Dead Sight tour, and we had a very insistent, more mature, lady working very hard for us (ANY of us) to follow her home. Oh and the guy that offered up his wife to one of the band members, I think that was in Christchurch actually. Politely declined of course.

Festival you’d love to play at? Coachella. I went along a few years ago and it’s just such a great vibe. Californian weather, great lineups and a perfect setting. They don’t have a lot of rock these days so it would be a real honour to fly that flag. Oh, and even though we played the last one, the Big Day Out whenever it gets brought back to life (cause that has to happen sometime?!).

Favourite food to chow down on while touring? Dumplings are the long standing band tradition. A few years back we hit a great place in Sydney and Thom took $50 to drink the entire ramekin of chili on the table. He really needed the money it was a bad idea, I repeat bad idea for everyone…

If you were a super hero, what would your superpower be? (Feel free to tell us what your handle would be too). The band is called Villainy so it has to be a villain right? For me it’s Jack Nicholson’s Joker – incredible characterisation and the pairing with Prince for that art gallery scene is genius.

Villainy: Raised In The Dark tour 2019
July 11 and July 12 – Blue Smoke, Christchurch
July 13 – Starters Bar, Dunedin

July 19 – The Royal, Palmerston North
July 20 – San Fran, Wellington
July 26 – Totara St, Tauranga
July 27 – Powerstation, Auckland