Andrew Baskin, Lucas Antoni, Nate Cox and Rob Johnston make up Campbell River band Vogue Villains, and they’re taking another shot at the CBC Searchlight competition again this year. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Campbell River’s Vogue Villains take another shot at CBC Searchlight

Band didn’t make it through the first round last year, but say there’s ‘zero downside’ to entering

Despite failing to reach even the second round of voting in last year’s CBC Searchlight competition, Campbell River’s Vogue Villains are taking another shot at it.

They’ve certainly grown as a band over the past 12 months since their last entry into the national contest, and they feel their sound and feel has developed to a point where they might be taken a bit more seriously this time around.

But mainly, they just see the value in entering, even if it doesn’t go anywhere. They don’t see last year’s contest as a failure, by any means.

“We gained a lot of attention through it last year,” says vocalist/bassist Andrew Baskin. “It felt like it really kind of pushed us into a lot of people’s minds.

“We noticed a huge uptick in people paying attention to us, especially here in our hometown, which we certainly didn’t feel before that.”

“I think that’s evidenced by the fact that we actually ended our tour last year with a show at Painter’s Lodge,” adds drummer Nate Cox. “I mean, they were turning customers away because it was so packed, and I don’t think we’d ever played a hometown show before that one.”

The band is made up of Baskin, Cox, Lucas Anotoni (guitar/vocals) and Rob Johnston (Keyboard/Guitar), who just joined the band last fall. The band’s first full-length release, Happy, came out this time last year, and while the boys were happy with how it turned out, they think this second, soon-to-be-released album is a much better effort.

The first single, “The Arsonist and Gasolina,” off this new album, entitled Subglorious Songs For Subpar People, is their submission to CBC Searchlight this year, just as the first single off their first album was their submission in 2019.

“This album sounds a lot bigger and more refined,” Baskin says. “The music video also doesn’t have a girl tied up in a basement,” he adds with a laugh, “so people will have to find something else to complain about this time.”


Inside a Vogue Villains Tuesday night practice session:

While they certainly recognize that people get a lot of requests to vote for things or contribute to various causes or sign various petitions, and that it can start to become “white noise” in people’s Facebook feeds, they certainly hope the community will rally behind them and get them a little further into the competition this year.

“Personally, I learned from last year’s experience that when anybody sends me one of those for their project – or one of their friends’ projects – I jump on it and vote every day if that’s what you can do,” Baskin says. “It really makes a huge difference to people, and it takes such little time to just go click a button.”

And they’ll appreciate your vote as much this year as they did a year ago. You can vote every day for ten days starting Tuesday, Feb. 4 at noon.

“I’ll admit that I was a bit disappointed [with last year’s result], but I certainly wasn’t surprised,” Antoni says. “That’s the problem with voting things: there’s always going to be someone from a bigger city with more people they can reach out to. Or maybe they’re in high school and have direct access to a huge number of people who are already glues to their phones and are more than willing to go click something for them, over and over.”

But even if they don’t make it through the first round again, they’ll have fun watching the numbers roll in and seeing the support they do have out there.

“If nothing else, it’s free exposure, and it’s actually super fun,” Antoni says. “There’s zero downside to entering, and a ton of positive that comes of it, even if you don’t make it deep.”

Watch for the full release of Subglorious Songs For Subpar People this coming April by following the band on Facebook, Spotify, Instagram, or YouTube.

Check out the video for “The Arsonist and Gasolina,” which is their submission to this year’s Searchlight contest:

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