Afghan Raiders: Leaving Las Vegas?

Afghan Raider Vincent “Beans” Campillo (right) will be a San Francisco resident come September.
Photo: Aaron Thompson

Fast-rising Las Vegas electronic outfit Afghan Raiders won't be all Las Vegas' much longer. In an exclusive interview with the Weekly, Vincent "Beans" Campillo, one of the trio's two founding members, reveals that he's moving to San Francisco in September, and that fellow Raiders Mikey Francis and Drew Marcogliese could join him there by the end of 2010.

For now, Francis lives in Las Vegas and Marcogliese (a drummer who joined in March) in LA, which will spread the group over three cities, for the short term, at least. Afghan Raiders' last scheduled Vegas show will take place Thursday at the Silverton's Sway Pool. Doors are at 6 p.m. Cover is $10. The Rooks open.

Why the move?

It's a personal choice, first. I've been in this city for 20 years, and I like it here. But I want to experience something else. I've visited San Francisco several times in the last couple years, and my lease is up at the end of the summer, so this is an opportunity for me to experience something new.

I was with Drew at the time and he felt similarly, so we presented the idea to Mike and we've been discussing it over the last couple of months to see if it's something that we can do. And I think we've decided that it's something that we do really want to do.

It started out being personal, but it really does work out for the band, I feel. San Francisco has a really good music scene, and it feels like a good next step for the band. [Leaving Las Vegas] has always been in our plans — we knew we weren't gonna stay here forever. We want to keep experiencing new things. And we want to take what we have here and share it. Go to the West Coast for a while, and who knows? Maybe like three, four years down the road we'll go to Brooklyn and experience the East Coast. I feel that's a good way to get your music out there — to be a resident of that place and tour nearby.

We all have our own personal stuff going on, but the ultimate plan is for us all to be there, and I would say that the end of the year is a realistic timetable.

It sounds like you're saying that even if your bandmates weren't on board, you'd still be leaving ...

Yeah, I pretty much told them I was going no matter what. I need this. I told them I was definitely open to work it out in any way possible, and I wouldn't want my decision to move to be the demise of the group.

There's a lot of ways around things. You see bands like Animal Collective — Panda Bear lives in Portugal and Avey Tare lives in New York. With computers, you can do a lot of writing through the Internet. The last two songs we did we didn't even see each other in person — it's that easy to do. So we're able to get work done [even if we're not in one place]. Mike and I started out trying to sit down together [to write], but we realized we didn't get much work done that way. It's better if each one of us works whenever is best for them and then bounces ideas back off each other. With Drew, we've been doing that as well, and it's really been productive.

Also, we plan on having most of our writing done before I leave. So by the time I'm gone, we'll be focusing on touring and an EP release and stuff. We want to do a 5-6 song EP with all new songs. A couple of the songs we've been playing live are on there, and some new ones that we're working on.

In terms of performing while you're living in different cities, can you guys just show up and play a gig together?

We can definitely do that. We don't prefer it. No matter how confident we all are, we really like to go through rehearsal. It really does help. But for Devo [Afghan Raiders opened for Devo June 19 at Crown Theater), Drew flew in from LA, and we were already soundchecking when he got there. He showed up around 7:15 and we played at 7:45. So there was no rehearsal. But we had played three times the week before in LA, so it didn't seem that risky.

What do you think the chances are this will be the end of Afghan Raiders?

I think it's a very low percentage. There's always that possibility, but it's not something I'm worried about. I don't see it as a likely outcome, but it definitely is a possible outcome.

If it did, I'd roll with the punches and deal with it. I'd be pretty upset if it did, but this is a personal decision that has to come before this project. But I'll definitely do whatever I can to be sure it doesn't come to an end.

Has your decision to leave created tensions within the group?

It's been pretty cool for the most part. I'd say if anything we're excited. It's definitely stressful on all of us financially, and in terms of just figuring out how to make it happen. But it's not creating tensions. We're all pretty excited.

For some of your local fans, this will no doubt come as sad news ...

I've already gotten some feedback from people who are kinda bummed to see us go, but at the same time anybody who's come to our shows has been really supportive, so hopefully they'll support this decision as well. A lot of our friends and fans just wanna see someone from Vegas do well. And regardless of whether we stay here or not, we know where our home roots are. So I think they'll feel good about seeing us do better things.

In the beginning it will mean less [shows here]. The one on July 9 will probably be our last one before I move. But Vegas isn't that far away from San Francisco, so it won't be that hard to come back. Maybe it'll make it a little more exciting when we do, because we won't be here as often.

Do you think Afghan Raiders could have gone further as a Vegas-based band?

I kinda feel we've hit a ceiling, or we're getting close to that ceiling in this city. I feel like we've definitely done everything we've wanted to with the local music scene. I feel like the next step would be conquering the Strip — infiltrating nightclubs, doing DJ sets — and that's something we really don't have a desire to do. We like to do it here and there, but we don't aspire to be a household name in the Vegas nightlife or club scene.

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Spencer Patterson

Spencer Patterson is the Editor of Las Vegas Weekly, having previously served as Managing Editor, Arts & Entertainment Editor and ...

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