Getting to know The Vacationists

The Vacationists

Sydney-based six-piece The Vacationists are about to unleash their debut EP. We asked them to tell us more about themselves:

The Vacationists are a six-piece band from Petersham, who share a common love of soulful surf rock and punky indie pop. We count among us: Swedish-born Johan the Tourist, the dynamic Dibbayawan-brothers Tom and Matt, the smooth bass grooves of Seb Agudelo, the guitar acrobatics of Eli Harvey, and the trumpets and vocals of one Kim Griffin. Johan, Tom and Kim started the band in 2013, with the aim to fuse Pixies with Beach Boys and then filter the blend through hearty layers of hazy guitars. Our scruffy and scraggy debut single, “Smile, you’re in Kensington”, was released in late 2014, and enjoyed a couple of months of steady indie-radio play. We have been busy on the live circuit this spring, supporting Bears with Guns at the Annandale Hotel, as well as headlining shows around the inner west at venues like Lazybones Lounge, Record Crate, Mr Falcon’s, Gasoline Pony and many others.

A Trip to the Moon is our debut EP. It bristles with sunny harmonies, horns and summery gloom. We wrote and recorded it over the course of a two-month visit from our faraway friend Martin “Mooney” Cox. It was the beginning of summer, which, in tandem with Martin’s yesteryear charms, lent influence to the EP. It stomps, rattles and grooves from smooth opener ‘Moonshine’, via rollickin’ single ‘Moonset’ to closing track ‘Come (mo)on now’.

Our EP launch will take place at the Petersham Bowling Club on Friday October 23rd. We are excited to return to our home suburb to tell of our recent trip to the Moon. It is going to be a swell night – we’ll be supported by one of our favourite Sydney artists, Wartime Sweethearts, who will bring her expressive, layered keyboard textures and vocally-driven jazz pop to the stage. The night will also feature local madcap legend Moolk, whose guitar loops do strange and wonderful things to a heart.

Sydney is our home. Except for trumpeter Kim, we all hail from different places (Sweden, Thailand, Northern Rivers, Central Coast), but Sydney is where the band was born, took its first steps and eventually reached sexual maturity. Sydney inspired our debut single “Smile, you’re in Kensington”, and has continued to influence our songs as we’ve started to venture further afield.

We spend too much time re-stringing guitars. Well, Johan does – he breaks a lot of them. J̶̶̶̶̶o̶h̶a̶n Some say it comes down to too much passion, others correctly point to his technique. I guess we’ll never know.

It might surprise people to learn that while Martin only makes up 13.8% of the total band bio mass, he sprouts the lion’s share of total band facial hair with a whopping 93%.

In 2016, we’re going to record our debut album “Coney Island”, which we are terribly excited about. We are also going to play a whole bunch of shows, including our first ever interstate tour! So in 2016 we’ll also need to rent a van, buy some spray cans, commission a band logo, and read a whole bunch of documents on liability and damage to automotive property.

Keep up to date with The Vacationists on Facebook and find out more about their EP launch on the 23rd October here.

bobby townsend


Interview by Bobby Townsend. Photo by Allan Swann.