To some extent, he’s absolutely right. Emo or not, what Vagrant did was simple: they put out music by bands they believed in, and from that grew a sense of community that was then pegged by others as a scene. There never will be a consensus on what emo is or isn’t, nor is that particularly important. As Jon puts it: “Frankly, I never thought The Get Up Kids sounded like Dashboard or Dashboard like Saves The Day, but they all fit into a certain shape that people labeled as ‘emo’.”
Regardless, it’s clear that, for all the bands on the label at that time, it felt like something very special was happening.
“It truly was a fantastic situation,” says The Anniversary’s Adrianne Verhoeven, “and very cool and special while it lasted. All of the folks at Vagrant were great and very supportive of what we were doing creatively. And the scene was pretty sweet – sometimes wild and always fun! We had a blast. To quote Reggie And The Full Effect: ‘Good times, good tunes, good buds’ and now: great oldies!”
“It definitely felt like something special was happening,” says Riley Breckenridge, the drummer of Thrice, who released four albums on the label between 2007 and 2011. “We had friends on the label and we were fans of a lot of the bands on the label. They’d already done a decent job of cementing their legacy as a landmark independent label with the success of Dashboard, Saves The Day, Get Up Kids, etc, and we were grateful to be a part of that family.”
That’s something Matt Pryor agrees with wholeheartedly.
“The friendship between the bands,” he answers, when asked about his favourite memory of being on Vagrant. “The whole thing was just a really good hang.”