The Brave New Kosmiche World of Vision Fortune’s ‘Country Music’

Vision Fortune

Brothers Alex and Austin Peru of Vision Fortune.

Whittled down to a duo after their Colombian drummer’s visa expired, London’s Vision Fortune set off to record a second album in a villa in Tuscany, a seemingly idyllic setting. But, Vision Fortune, now just brothers Alex and Austin Peru, found themselves isolated in a rural paradise, ultimately creating the uneasy and far-from-pastoral Country Music, recently released on ATP Recordings. The brothers—Austin, 23; Alex, 22—created a slo-mo, experimental soundtrack using intuitive found-sounds, staccato beats, washes of synths and reversed guitar tracks, and nervy monastic vocal harmonies. The result is both jarring and meditative. Just before Vision Fortune headed to Brooklyn to play Baby’s All Right, April 2, and Palisades, April 3, the Observer spoke with Austin Peru and found testing brotherly bonds, even to breaking point, can be a good thing (creatively).

Your album’s title might confuse some people.

It was recorded in the countryside; it is our country music. It was a strange time. We just went a bit insane with no contact with anyone: Two months in this huge, very isolated villa. What we created was in contrast to the scenery we were looking at everyday. But we were recording in a wine cellar and it was very dark, and very damp. So, perhaps that’s why we made these sounds.

It’s not an entirely bleak record; there’s some light and prettiness.

We’re not bleak, we’re jolly people. We’re optimistic, positive people. Maybe the pretty parts are the bits we recorded when we were outside in the sunshine. We recorded in the pool house, maybe that inspired those.

Does where you write and record influence the result?

Personally, I don’t think so. We’re going to record our next album in Los Angeles; so will Hollywood celebrities influence it? With Country Music, we used the building for its sonics and acoustics, and we did that with our first record as well. But we don’t think, oh, we’re in the countryside so it should be a lush, pretty record. Or, we’re in London so it should be dark and grimy. We’re creating whatever.

‘We just went a bit insane with no contact with anyone: Two months in this huge, very isolated villa. What we created was in contrast to the scenery we were looking at everyday.’

One thing that says Tuscany is the church bell on “Blossom”—you can’t turn a corner there without finding a church.

There was this really lovely church near to the villa. There was this really sweet priest; he let us do some sound recording in the church. There are bits in the layers that sound like Tuscany.

Which musical artists influenced you growing up?

We listened to The Beautiful South a lot—that was the first album we got for Christmas. I can’t remember if it was Alex’s birthday or mine, but we got a Chemical Brothers’ record. When we were a bit older, we were really into Oasis. In dynamics, we’re quite influenced by the Gallagher brothers. The tension between them, there are some similarities there. [Laughs.] While we were recording Country Music all we were listening to was Cat Stevens. That’s all we could agree on to listen to.

Country Music is far from Brit-pop! Is the album a meta life view: Idealism vs. realism?

Definitely. The crushed atmosphere we were creating in these lush surroundings. It’s very strange. These surroundings that are so beautiful and we hated it by the end. All this time we spent going insane and losing patience with each other. [The record] is a good interpretation of that, and what we were feeling.

What’s the take-home for you and Alex?

It’s unhealthy. (Laughs.) We always discussed recording in a longer time frame, but it seems the way we work is this really intense claustrophobic 12-hour day routine. It’s very intense and unhealthy. We had to take a couple of months off from each other after doing this record like that.