New York City’s rising stars in New-Wave Dance music, The Virgins is getting down to business on their first major American tour this weekend. Along with fellow blossoming musicians The Black Kids, The Virgins first stops are in Florida, playing in Jacksonville on Friday, Orlando on Saturday, and finishing off at FSU on Sunday.
The Oracle was able to chat with the band’s Bassist Nick Zarin-Ackerman about the tour and their recent rise in popularity.
The Oracle: In the past people have compared your sound to that of the Strokes or the Rapture. How would you describe your sound and from where do you draw most of your influence?
Zarin-Ackerman: This album has a lot of white-bands-doing-disco influences: The Stones, Rod Stewart, Bowie, Tom Petty, The Modern Lovers, Richard Hell, Lou Reed, and early eighties dance records like the first Madonna album, Culture Club and Duran Duran: lots of black-influenced dance pop. [Just about] anything Nile Rodgers had a hand in, which is a shitload of music.
O: Since the band was formed you’ve played with Jet and Sonic Youth. How does it feel headlining your first major American tour and where do you hope this will bring your career?
ZA: Well we’re “co-headlining” with Black Kids so we’re really excited to be with another band that’s just starting and getting a little bit of attention. I think we have a similar type of fan so hopefully it’ll be a good night for anyone showing up who likes either band. I have no idea how it will affect our careers. I’m just excited to go back out and play every night.
O: Was there any reason in particular you chose to tour with the Black Kids? Have the two bands collaborated before in the past, or how did this all go down?
ZA: I’m not sure how we got the tour actually. Our manager just told us one day. It was great! We’ve never worked with them before but we’ve hung out with them in London a couple of times and they’re awesome.
O: In their review of your self titled album, the Rolling Stone had this to say: “[The Virgins’] debut screams debauchery, with its funk- and disco-spiked odes to oversexed debutantes and every club kid’s favorite meal, ‘cocaine brunch.'”
Do you agree with this assessment of your style, and do you think this is a fair judgment of your art? After all, they did give your album 4 stars.
ZA: I think it’s an accurate description of that album, which was certainly intended to be an up-beat party album. I don’t consider it our “sound.” Our next album will probably be a bit different. But we definitely wanted this album to be light, fun, and cohesive in its subject matter and style.
O: You guys caught a big break in television. Your track ‘Rich Girls’ was on MTV’s ‘The Hills’ and on the CW’s ‘Gossip Girl’ your songs served as the sound track for an entire episode. What was it like having TV launch the band into the public eye?
ZA: It was great! We got a lot of attention from that show and still do all over the world. It’s also really exciting and fun to watch (or hear) our music being placed in a completely different context as a servant for this teenaged soap opera story.
O: One last question. On your MySpace, one of the first visible links is for “Rock The Vote.” What significance do you think the election this coming November holds, and what is The Virgins doing to help out?
ZA: Voting is important. There are lots of people with no jobs and lots of kids in the military getting blown up. So I’d just ask people to please vote for whoever you think can help cure those things. I think Obama would get those kids home quicker, which is important to me personally; however I don’t think either candidate have been specific enough yet about economic plans.
If you’re interested in catching the two bands this weekend, a few tickets are still available through ticketmaster.com. The tour will continue making its way across the country until October 16. For the full list of tour dates visit thevirgins.net/dates.