Long term collaborators and friends Lilla Vargen and Nick Hahn spent a year apart during the pandemic but when they reunited they took on a completely unguarded approach to revealing their emotions set to music a world away from what they previously recorded, capturing the mystery and elegance of Mazzy Star with the ethereal immersiveness of Beach House and the broad crossover appeal of Wolf Alice.
Lilla Vargen was already making waves as a solo artist, her dramatic yet intimate songwriting has earned her over 35 million streams, tastemaker tips and Radio 1 plays. Meanwhile, Nick Hahn was firmly established as a songwriter and producer. The result is the pairs brand new project VETS, which they today introduce with their debut single ‘Anti-Socialite’ along with the track’s official video.
‘Anti-Socialite’ immediately introduces VETS’ contrast of alt-pop innovation and shoegaze atmospherics with their blunt, take-no-prisoners lyricism. The song initially sets off in a modern indie-rock direction, with Lilla’s angsty, astute lyricism quickly declaring, “I’m an anti-socialite, but you keep dragging me outside.” But then it changes tack in arresting style, as the song’s soaring hook and her stylishly phrased topline commands your attention with the line, “You keep telling me my songs are cool, but I don’t think that’s true.” Nick’s more rugged voice brings an equally defiant statement before their voices intertwine in unison.
‘Anti-Socialite’ expresses the unsettling feeling of outwardly having your life on track, but still feeling just as much of an outsider as you did when you were a teenager. It was written by Lilla and Nick, both multi-instrumentalists who co-produced the track.
“When COVID hit, we went from writing together pretty much every week to not writing at all for over a year,” says Lilla. “Our first session back together was meant to be a Friday afternoon session, but it turned into a full weekend of venting about everything that had built up since we’d last seen each other. ‘Anti-Socialite’ was born out of boredom and my frustration with the record deal I was in at the time.”
Nick adds, “After a year of isolation, we both arrived at that session with a state of mind that brought ideas to the surface that we had not approached before. For our own sanity, we needed to try something completely different, and that’s how we started VETS.”
Directed by James Hofbaueur, the ‘Anti-Socialite’ video initiates VETS’ wider visual aesthetic. With austere monochrome, looming shadows and a distinct ‘90s feel, it places the duo and other characters in locations including a large abandoned house and the city’s underpasses. The overwhelming mood is that no matter how big the location, couples can find more contentment at being away from the world at large. Watch BELOW:
There’s more to come soon from VETS, which will see the duo further use influences such as Bleachers, The Beach Boys, Youth Lagoon, Sharon Van Etten and Grouper as a launchpad for their mesmeric, melancholy pop.