VanScott vocalist/guitarist/namesake Jamie VanScott beams with a wry smile, discussing his reasons for forming one of modern rock's most melodic yet aggressive and thunderous outfits to date; reveals himself to be like so many other men throughout history from Adam's concession to Eve on down to modern day: susceptible to the all-powerful female.
“Actually, I'd been bothered to play in bands for a long time because people appreciate my voice and I play piano,” he notes. “That was since I was a kid. But the truth is that it happened kind of simultaneously. I was singing at a party one night and a person liked it. They started asking me to be a part of their band. I was apprehensive but did join because I broke up with a girlfriend and in order to get her back, I wrote a song and sang it to her. When I finally got into the band, I fell in love with it.”
Regardless off the cause, Jamie VanScott now boasts a lifelong dedication to music. Through that adoration of writing and performing, he's shared stages with the likes of Nickelback, 3 Doors Down, Billy Talent, 30 Seconds To Mars, Alice In Chains' Jerry Cantrell, The Guess Who, Our Lady Peace and many more of rock's most definitive sculptors. During that time, VanScott has also come to understand the true dominance and force of a great song as delivered by a great band with conviction.
Therefore it's no wonder that despite initially forging out as a solo artist, the Sarnia, Ontario native was uncomfortable working alone, preferring the unified vision and collective impact of a band. Working through a number of incarnations yet refusing to relent, he continued to hone the band over the course of the past year until finding like-minded individuals with equivalent talent and drive.
Bolstered by bassist Dean Abram, guitarist Jason Dyck and drummer Todd McIntyre, VanScott is that powerhouse; that unshakeable foundation delivering a supercharged blast of hard rock via debut six-song EP Thief Of Time (Reapit Records). Thick and aggressive yet sultry and lilting, from the album's debut single “You Break” through to its title track, Thief Of Time is the perfect amalgam of VanScott's own songwriting prowess as filtered by the band's sincerity and incomparable ability.
“I did start off on my own but now we're a band. We share a similar attitude, viewpoint and present a unified front,” VanScott declares. “This band finally has the feel I've been looking for. Many of these songs were written before I had the band but I don't want to be a solo artist. I prefer the band vibe, so to me this is a band.”
A consolidated mission, Thief Of Time features some of rock's most pivotal names. The likes of veteran producer Duane Baron (Ozzy Osbourne, Brian Adams, Buckcherry, Motley Crue), mixing genius Stu Young (Guns 'N' Roses, Prince, Sum 41) and Nick Blagona (Green Day, Foo Fighters) have all lent their abilities to Thief Of Time to ensure its true impact is undeniably perfect, resulting in an effort The Wall Street Journal has declared as a “chart topper.”
Despite the compelling catalogue of talent behind Thief Of Time though, VanScott concedes that there is still one overriding aspect to the band, an element that permeates the recording's entirety: enjoying life.
“To me, music is therapeutic. That's what this album is about. Playing music is the only place I get to spazz out and scream my lungs out and it's allowed. I can act like I'm insane. We're looking to inject some of that fun back in music because it is such a lost art today. We're not serious about ourselves; out there trying to make people think we're the ones that will change the world.”
Which is not to say that VanScott—and by default Thief Of Time—is without levity. In fact, it is quite the opposite, the album featuring a number of hard-hitting tracks ranging from demonic personal experiences to opinions and observations on the weight of life. However, it is the band's uplifting twist that creates a cathartic, all-encompassing aura.
“We are influenced by day-to-day life. I've seen a lot of drug addiction in my life, the loss of friends and other more positive elements. I believe people can do what they want in life. There's inspiration, hope and love in there amongst the uglier side of life: that addiction and despair.”
At that, VanScott notes his personal mission to inject such a purgative essence back into music via raw emotion delivered through inspiring, illustrious, enduring songs and an unforgettably passionate band has never been more attainable. With a gripping EP, some of the scene's best players and his own will to prevail, even those sultry women that initially snagged him are in for a sinister twist of fate.
“I want our fans to get away from what's going on in their life. I want them to be inspired; feel that if I can do it, so can they. I want that positive spin out of it. We may point out the ugly things in life but there's the good too and we're gonna have fun while we do it. That's what people connect to. There are enough politics in the world—and in music. People need to remember music can be fun as well and that's what we're here for.”