Chatting up Elyse Driskill
Now touring with lesbian fave Hunter Valentine, up-and-coming pop-punk band Vanity Theft is making waves and heating things up with their cheeky “Anatomy” video. Comprised of Elyse Driskill (drummer), Alicia Grodecki (lead vocals and keyboards), Lalaine Vergara-Paras (bass and vocals) and Brittany Hill (lead guitar and vocals) the group skillfully infuse their upbeat dance tracks with punk edge creating their infinitely playable new album, Get What You Came For. To get to know this hot queer-inclusive band we caught up with Driskill who shares the bands origin story, how Lizzie McGuire alum Vergara-Paras joined the band and wild nights touring with Sick of Sarah.
How did the band get together?
We formed in high school. We weren’t serious…for almost a year, around the end of our senior year. Brittney saw Alicia playing at…they were raising money for the homeless and Alicia’s band was playing there. Then me and Brittney went to the same high school so we knew each other, and then, when Brittney met Alicia, Alicia started coming over to Brittney’s and we all started playing. We had a different bassist at the time.
How did you get the name Vanity Theft?
We tried a couple different ones before we stuck with Vanity Theft, but the other ones just weren’t working. So one day we came up with different ones that we liked and we wrote them all down and we voted. Vanity Theft kinda of stuck with us because, like we always say, it kinda describes us in a sense, we try and stay humble and close to our roots.
How would you describe Vanity Theft’s sound?
If I had to say it in a few words, I would say “indie dance pop rock.” It’s just hard because we have dance-y songs and then we have electronic songs and then we have more rock or songs that are indie-sounding. I don’t know, we’re just hard to pinpoint.
What other bands have influenced Vanity Theft?
We’re influenced a lot by The Saint of Montreal—that’s definitely the electronic side—and in high school we used to listen to a lot of Taking Back Sunday and Brand New. That’s where a lot of Brittney and Alicia’s harmony and wordplay comes from. I’d say as far as lyrics we get a lot of influence from Death Cab [for Cutie] for just putting things together that are clever and not necessarily straightforward but you get the point.
Tell us about Lelaine Vergara-Paras joining the band.
She was a [friend of a friend]. She came by one day because she was interested in what we were doing and kind of just wanted to hang out. It just started out as a joke. We were like, Oh, wouldn’t it be funny if Lelaine was our bassist? So, she thought about it and started taking lessons.
What was touring with Sick of Sarah l like?
Playing with Sick of Sarah was kind of crazy. They’re a little bit more nuts than we are, which is a good thing because they brought out our nutty sides. On the last night of the tour we played in St Louis. We all went to the parking lot and somebody got a piñata for their drummer—and we smashed it. We were throwing its arms and legs everywhere, making a mess, and singing crazy songs. I’m not sure what we sang, but it was hilarious. Everybody was cracking up. We were hitting each other with the arms of the piñata, Alicia had its head on her head—it was nuts.
If Vanity Theft were the Scooby-Doo gang, who would play?
I would say Brittney is Velma because she’s the smart one. I would be Shaggy just because I’m the nerd and the goofy one. Lelaine would be Freddie. I only say that because she’s more laid back, kinda chillaxed. Alicia would be Daphne because she’s smart, girlie and laid back.
Tell me about your tour with Hunter Valentine.
We’ll be on tour starting Feb. 2. I think it will be awesome—it will be really fun to get to know them. It’s a lot more fun to go on tour with another band than by yourself, for sure, because you just have someone else to hang out with and get to know. I know they probably have more experience than us, so maybe we’ll have more to learn from them. Kind of like we did when we went on tour with Sick of Sarah—we learned a lot from them. I’m sure we’ll learn a lot from Hunter Valentine, too.