Sarah, lead singer of Edinburgh-based five-piece The VooDoo Conspiracy is excited about her impending new release. The US-born vocalist is heavily pregnant, and will therefore be taking a step back from the band’s live schedule. A stand-in singer, Lisa, will be providing ‘maternity cover’ for Sarah in her absence.
“I’m planning to come back when I’m ready,” says Sarah. “But I’ll be cheering on from the sidelines; or maybe even be their roadie!”
Lisa sits on the couch during the band’s rehearsal, studying the songs she’ll soon be singing.
“I’m a little nervous,” she says, after The VooDoo Conspiracy have finished one of their indie-tinged rock numbers. “But I’ve been in a band before.”
“We’ll see how things pan out,” says Chris, the band’s rhythm guitarist. “Lisa will probably end up doing backing vocals when Sarah comes back.”
The VooDoo Conspiracy are another Gumtree band. They started life with local boy Chris and South African drummer Gareth bouncing music off each other, then deciding that what they had was strong enough to form the basis for a band.
Sarah and lead guitarist Jim answered the advert, as did bassist Steve (who couldn’t make it along for the interview). They’ve been together in their current lineup since May 2009.
“I was a bedroom player,” says Jim. “I’ve never been in a band before.”
As I listen to the band rehearse, it’s great to see Jim’s decided to let his guitar-playing out into the open, as his lead adds a great deal of interest and hooks to the band’s songs. It’s obvious all of The VooDoo Conspiracy have talent – and some strong songs to back that up. Sarah’s US influence on the vocals is apparent, and they lend the tracks a Starship-like soft-rock feel. Slow numbers such as the alt-country style “Free From You” showcase the band’s songwriting and live sound perfectly, and thumping rhythmic numbers like “Hate In My Heart” allow the rock element to take centre stage.
“We love classic rock,” says Chris, reeling off a list which includes Iron Maiden, Queen and US grunge bands such as Soundgarden. “These bands were an influence on the previous band I was in – The Grim Riffers.” His bandmates laugh at the mention of the name.
“That’s what we should call you – The Grim Riffer,” says Gareth. Chris laughs and turns the conversation to the band’s current experience and plans.
“We’re still finding our feet,” he says. “We’ve got four gigs under our belt now and have had some challenges. But we’re establishing ourselves now and have plans to play bigger places; through in Glasgow as well.”
The VooDoo Conspiracy have recorded a demo, using the skills of Andy Howden (recording engineer and drummer with The Nature Boys) to lay down tracks to help them promote themselves.
“We’ve got plans for a full album,” says Gareth. “We’ve got over 10 songs ready, so we’ll record those sometime soon.”
The band appreciate the camaraderie of the Edinburgh music scene.
“All the people we’ve met have been really supportive,” says Sarah.
“There’s a good selection of venues to play as well,” adds Chris, mentioning the likes of The Ark and Whistlebinkies.
The VooDoo Conspiracy return to their practice, continuing to polish their songs further and showing Lisa the ropes. Look out for them appearing live at gigs around Edinburgh soon; their melodic rock magic may just put you under its spell.
Check out The VooDoo Conspiracy on MySpace.