Sunday, May 5, 2013

Vasey: The Interview

Vasey are a Nottingham based Rock band, fronted by the singer/songwriter Karl Vasey. After spending a year in the USA, Karl generated a following through his debut EP “Out of the Imaginary”, released purely under the moniker of his surname. The Stateside journey began when Karl was contacted by two successful producers whose musical credits between them included artists such as Bon Jovi, Bob Dylan and The Grateful Dead. After spending several months working on new material in New York, his contacts in Los Angeles were starting to wonder if he would ever make the journey across America. So with just a guitar and a backpack, he bought a one-way Greyhound ticket to L.A. where he began working under a management company and record label, playing shows in Beverley Hills and Hollywood. Returning to the UK armed with a handful of beautifully crafted acoustic songs and demos, Karl made a pact to record “The Perfect Album”.

Exposed to the American “Stadium Rock” sound of bands like The Goo Goo Dolls and 30 Seconds to Mars during his time in the US, Karl decided to take this influence and expand on it by recruiting UK musicians from different musical backgrounds. Bass player David Amar coming from a Soul/Latino/Jazz background added a groove usually missing from the AOR sound.

Guitarist Ben Perdue brought a distinctive playing style that would compliment any Punk Rock band, yet somehow molded his fast down stroke attacking rhythms to perfectly suit the band’s songs. Those huge power chords laced with intricate guitar hooks underpinned Karl’s melodic vocal sensibilities, and forged the band’s guitar sound.

Aidan Hunnisett completed the band lineup providing the edgy Punk influenced drumming that is the driving force behind the band. His unique approach to writing drum parts and laying down consistent time is key to the whole platform the songs are written on.

Along with some of Rock’s greatest bands (Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Winger… Well, maybe not Winger), the newly formed four piece kept the Vasey name and got straight to work on their debut album in Karl’s home studio. The meticulous attention to detail Karl has with his songwriting made the writing and recording process slightly longer than that of some bands, but the reward is an album that sounds timeless and could be hailed as a classic in years to come.

The band are due to release their debut single “The Otherside” and accompanying video on July 30th 2012, with the album to follow in late 2012/early 2013. They will then be hitting the road and hopefully playing in a town near you!

And now for the interview: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome VASEY!

  1)   So, where are you guys hanging out these days? (Somewhere in America? The studio?)

Well, you were right with one of your guesses! To be honest, we’ve pretty much spent every waking moment of the last few months camping at our studio in the UK pushing to get our debut album finished. We finally completed the final mix of the album last night (26th March) and it’ll be sent to the States for mastering next week – we really can’t wait to get the finished product in our hands! After that, we’ve got the task of trying to get it picked up by a label and into the public consciousness so we’ve not had much time to just hang out recently as it’s been all hands on deck for finishing the record… That counts as hanging out though right?

2)  Getting any tour dates set up? (When and where?)

Tour dates are a certainty and we can’t wait to get out and play the album to people although, when and where we’re going to tour hasn’t been arranged yet. We’ve been so busy with putting the record together that we’ve got nothing set in stone at the moment. The upcoming months will see us planning the release schedule for the album and the touring cycle will make up part of that plan. All we can say right now is; watch this space!

 3)  Are all of you guys single? Married? Girlfriends? (The female population might want to know)

I’m sure we’re going to get this question posed many times but it’s always going to be deflected. Being in a band does put you in the public spotlight to an extent so we like to keep our private lives separate to our musical life to protect ourselves, and the people we care about.

Carroll: Understood. 

 4) The song “A Throne that’s Nowhere” really hits home for me. It reminds me of someone. Could you tell me the story behind that song? (Or is it too personal?)

“A Throne that’s Nowhere” is a song about a specific person so it’s probably best to leave the details out but the main theme looks at people’s faith and the choices they have to make through their beliefs. Lyrically, some of our songs are biographical, others metaphorical. Having the listener interpret songs however they wish is one of the greatest tools a songwriter has so we’d be interested to hear the story behind what you took from the lyrics to that song. 

Carroll: What I took was, a girl who wanted love so bad that she couldn't fall in love for looking for the perfect man, never realizing that there is no such thing as a perfect anything or anyone, so she is destined to live alone for all her days until she comes to the understanding that perfection is a myth and love is always a work in progress. 

5) What age did you start writing music? How did that come about? What was it that made you realize that this is what you wanted to do?

The guys in the band pretty much started writing music around the same age (somewhere in our late teens) learning to play from about twelve or thirteen or so. It’s safe to say that any musician starts for the same reason. There is an emotion that music taps into which, once you’ve first felt it, is more powerful than anything you’ve felt before. It’s like an addiction that usually starts with a guitar riff, vocal line or drum fill that hooks its claws into you and compels you to learn more about what you’re hearing. From there you become a sponge taking influence from everything while you’re learning to play until, like most addictions, you start to look for an even bigger fix, which is where you start to write your own material. Having people dig something you’ve written is one of the most euphoric feelings you could ever have and when you’ve experienced that, you realize that is the only thing you want to do.

  6)  Does everybody in the band write songs?

Everyone in the band contributes to the song writing process though typically Karl writes the bulk of each song with the rest of the band shaping up the tracks afterwards. Benji adds his riffs and gives input on any structural changes then tracks demos of these with Karl at Karl’s home studio. From there, Aidan and David then track the rhythm section against the demos, dictating the feel of the song. Guitars are then re-tracked and any orchestral elements are composed by Aidan and added in the closing stages of each recording. While Karl writes the body of the material, each member of the band contributes to shaping the way the songs end up (often with several re-writes and the occasional tug of war along the way ;).

7)  Tell us one good story about something funny that has happened with the band where fans are concerned. (Like has anyone snuck into your hotel room or something? Anyone jump on stage while you’re playing and do something?)

Not sure where to start with this one actually as looking back we, like every band, have had plenty of our own hilarious “Spinal Tap” moments. While not exactly our funniest story, the one tale that we think deserves a mention here is perhaps the coolest act of fan dedication we’ve witnessed so far. We have a couple of fans that, not only had the band name tattooed on them, but each band member’s name as well! I don’t think any of us ever thought our music would have such an impact on them that they would express this in such a permanent manner and that is totally awesome!

  8)  How did the video “The Other Side” come about? Who is the girl in the video?

The video for “The Otherside“ was a wonderful, organic artistic process for us all to go through and we had a blast making it. The idea for the shoot came from a YouTube clip Karl found – a short story called “The Broken”, directed by Michael Fernandez. Showing it to the rest of the band, the original intention was to take an influence from the style of Michael’s short film and inject it into our own video however we managed to get permission from Michael to use the footage from “The Broken” in our own video, which we were stoked about. Lyrically, the song is about there being two sides to each story and the concept was to reflect this through the juxtaposition of dark themes such as bulimia and self harm against a “Hollywood” style sheen to the filming. Michael’s short story conveyed the difficulties life can throw at you and we wanted the lighter feel of the band footage to imply there is always hope – always a solution to your problems even if the solution isn’t obvious.

9)  What are the future plans for Vasey the band? Any more videos in the works?

There will definitely be more videos from the album – the intention is to release at least a further two singles from the album both with videos to accompany them. While we’re still undecided on which song will be used to accompany the album release, we’re keen to work with Jet productions again as they were the visual creative force behind the video for “The Otherside” and we have a great working relationship with them. It is also likely that the next video will follow a darker aesthetical style to that of “The Otherside”, but with a less bleak subject matter – quite the polar opposite really! We have plenty of ideas to work through so, artistically speaking, these really are exciting times for the band.

10  Being a songwriter myself, I started out writing poetry first which led me to the next stage. Not everyone who writes songs though writes poetry. Do you? Did you? Do you think song-lyrics is the new “poetry”?

While both Karl and Benji are lyricists, neither came from a poetry background. Although as the parallels between a song lyricist and a poet can so easily be made it is difficult to know where to draw the line between the two as both offer a means to express yourself through words. When read without context of a melody line or drum rhythm, song lyrics can so very easily be compared to poetry. With that in mind, perhaps it’s fair to say song writing is an extension of poetry?

Carroll: I think that's fair to say. Jim Morrison took his poetry and converted them into songs with The Doors. Great answer.

11)  I know you state Goo Goo Dolls as an influence (and I can hear some of that in your music) but I think I also hear a little Daughtry in those chords. (Am I onto something here?) Who else has influenced your music. (Who did you listen to when you were young?)

Yeah, I think there is a little Daughtry in there although there is so much influence coming from all types of genres as well as each of us has come from very different musical backgrounds. Classic bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Police, Queen, Iron Maiden and Hendrix influenced us all at some point with each of us bringing some of our own personal influences to the table as well. Karl’s direct influences being Goo Goo Dolls and Hinder, Ben and Aidan’s being derived from heavier bands like AC/DC, Pearl Jam and Faith No More and David bringing a funk element from his influences through bands such as the Chilli Peppers. It’s hard to pin point a direct influence as it varies between the whole band but those are the main bands we grew up with.

12)  Upcoming releases? CD’s?

Yes indeed!! As we’ve mentioned before, the debut album is now finished, we’re just waiting to get it mastered and should have a release date for you shortly!! Again – watch this space!!! 

Carroll: I just want to thank Vasey for their valuable time and for doing this interview. It took a while but we finally got it done. In the end, I guess that is all that matters. Thanks Guys, and best of luck! Can't wait to hear you on the radio.

Don't forget to follow Vasey on Twitter.

Follow VASEY on Facebook. Vasey On Facebook

Check them out at SoundCloud 

To keep up with Vasey tour dates, click on their My Space Page Vasey My Space Page

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