Interview

Shawn Braley
In their song “Edit Edit Edit” the Dayton natives, Vanity Theft, sing: “And it’s really no contest/The original version was best/But I think you lose it more and more with every new conquest”. Vanity Theft, in name and in song, are reaching past the cutesy indie of today and trying to take hold on who we really are as people.

Starting in guitarist/vocalist Brittany Hill’s parent’s basement playing covers, the band took a year crafting their sound around their influences, bands such as Taking Back Sunday and Brand New. Now, after having taken Dayton by storm, and having their EP “Post Script: Pace Yourself” as the number one local album of the year, they have signed with Vigilante Music and just recorded a new tentatively titled album, hopefully to be released this August.

The band, who is also comprised of Alicia Grodecki (vocals/guitar/keys), Elyse Driskill (drums) and newest member Lalaine (bass), are eager to start touring the nation. In reference to their new bass player, the band spoke about their former bassist Lindsey Keene, who left the band to pursue school. “It was a bummer cause we’ve been with her for so long, but now, she’s doing her thing and we’re doing ours” said Grodecki. Followed up shortly by Driskill spouting; “We were upset because she just kind of left us without a bass player. We weren’t mad at her for doing what she wanted to do; we just had to stop in our tracks until we found a new bass player. But no, we’re not mad at her, we still love her.”

It is this exact attitude, allowing someone to follow their dreams and be themselves, that encapsulates what Vanity Theft is about. The very name of the band has a depth that could be unreached by any amount of words any poet could muster. It two short words, the name describes the idea of, not only being yourself, but literally stealing vanity. Is Vanity Theft on a mission to rid the world of vanity? Lalaine explains it as being universal, she says, “Everyone’s going through something while trying to remain themselves.” The band goes onto explain how, when they first began, they were surrounded by scream-o bands, and didn’t quite fit in. “That was hard because we didn’t fit in at all, but it never mattered because even the people who listened to that kind of music still dug out stuff. That’s when we knew we could still be courageous enough to do our thing, even if it’s not what’s popular” Hill explains.

And while, they are courageous enough to be that way, it still seems as if the band is hesitant to allow the all girl band thing to stick. In every interview they provide us with the stock answer of I never thought about how we were an all girl band until someone asked us. But Grodecki described her early concerns as such; “I used to personally worry because I thought everyone was going to judge us because we’re a girl band. Now it’s kind of like, we’ve embraced it. If that’s going make you listen to our music because you think we’re going to suck then at least you listened to our music and hopefully were impressed.” This isn’t a judgment on Alicia’s worries, but more on the fact that they were aware of their being a girl band. And even when asked if they needed to add another member to the band, the possibility of it being a guy was considered a “last resort”.

This is not an indictment on the band. In fact, it is just the opposite. Vanity Theft has proven that they are more than a silly girl band. They don’t rely on their feminine qualities to get them booked or to gain fans. They aren’t playing off of any sexuality. They simply write good music, and play it for people; just as any of band does, regardless of gender. In pointing out the bands repetition in the answering of a constantly asked question, I am also trying to point out our obsession with gender and the roles certain genders are meant to play. Why is it still eye opening to see an all girl band? Why does it make everyone turn their heads and watch a little more closely? Vanity Theft has embraced the idea that being an all girl band does turn a few extra heads and in that way they can subvert the idea that girls weren’t meant to impress with their talent and songwriting. Lalaine later described the band as being “girls with balls”, which the others were hesitant to grab hold of and claim as their mantra, but in a way, it is. Vanity Theft is reminiscent of Da Vinci’s painting “St. John The Baptist” in which John looks like a woman, but, according the title; it is John The Baptist, who was certainly a man. The roles in which we play in life should not be hindered by gender, and Vanity Theft proves that.

On stage, Vanity Theft is energetic and excited. You can tell this is what they were meant to do. They have obviously been robbed of their vanity, and simply want to play music they love with people they love. If only those silly dude bands would do the same.