A Chat with Vasco (03.12.18)

Vasco band press image band sitting down and smiling
Image courtesy of Vasco

It’s time for another interview (yay!), and this time the interview is with a very talented alt-rock band out of Texas.  Pausing in the middle of their day, or at least that’s what I think, the lovely Vasco take time to answer some of our questions.  Chatting with Nicole, they talk about their new album Chapters, how they came together, and what ice-cream flavour they’d be.

OSR:  What is the tale behind how Vasco was formed?  I mean, how did everyone come together?

V:  Vasco formed one member at a time.  Back in 2016, I (Sam) was looking for more instrumentalists to play live shows with; Matt was the first connection I made.  He filled in as a drummer for a show I had in Six Flags, of all places.  He had played with Benjamin before, and Benjamin filled in for us at a show in Plano.  Both Benjamin and Matt were looking for a new project to get involved in, so it worked out perfectly!

Lauren was becoming my best friend in college and Brendan, Lauren, and I all shared the same major.  Lauren first got involved recording backup vocals for our single, ‘Ain’t No Love in California’, and then joined our gigs from that point on!  Brendan was the last to join, but certainly not the least.  For a long time, we wanted to move more into the direction of alternative rock, but Brendan’s lead guitars finally made that possible.

OSR:  You say you have a vision for Vasco; that it’s more than a band.  What would you say that vision is?

V:  We believe that music has the potential of reaching audiences in a really special way.  I think our culture today struggles with a lack of connection.  The internet seems to have an inverse relationship with personal connection, and in a day where mental health issues, depression, suicidal thoughts, and real emotional pain are more rampant than ever, we are in dire need of real connection.  Music provides us with a platform for connection. Through our songs, we seek to reach out to our audience and let them know that they are not alone in their struggles, feelings, or circumstances.  Once creating that bond with our audience, we hope to share a message of hope.

OSR:  You recently released an album called Chapters.  What can you tell us about the album?

V:  Chapters is a big one for us.  It is our first full-length album as a band.  The name comes from a counselling session Sam had early on in the writing process.  They were discussing how sharing about one’s life is a lot like opening up chapters in a book that you have kept hidden.  This is what the album is about.  Opening up in transparency to chapters of our life, some of which we never intended to share.  It is also the result of a lot of shows and a lot of work to find our ‘sound’.  We wrote and re-wrote the songs over and over before finally settling on the tracks on the album.

OSR:  What was the recording process like?  Did you have any arguments when writing the songs?

V:  It was definitely a difficult process.  We used gigs as a chance to develop our songs as a band.  Once we got to the recording process, we had a hard time working our busy schedules into recording.  The band is everything to us, but we are an independent band.  Essentially, that means we all have to work day jobs and raise our funds to pay for everything.  It was a lot of work, and it ended up taking a lot longer then we had originally scheduled, but it was all worth the wait.  We didn’t really have too many arguments when writing.  Most of the disagreements came later on in what elements we wanted to include in each song.

OSR:  I always wonder how artists decide which of their songs to put on an album.  Do you just write them and put everything you have on there, or is it a select few you choose from a mass of tracks?  If the latter, how did you choose the songs you have on Chapters?

V:  Throughout the writing process we had a few songs, like ‘Fama’ and ‘Window’, that we knew they were going to be on the album.  As for the other songs, we wrote around ten to twelve songs in total.  Some of them were discarded really early on and just didn’t click with the whole band.  Others didn’t fit stylistically, and then others were discarded after playing them live.  We use live shows as a trial run for a lot of new songs.

I think this time it happened without much disagreement since a lot of the songs didn’t fit the band’s new style.  For example, ‘Catch On’ used to be paired with a song called ‘Ash’.  Both of the songs had strong pop-jazz influences and didn’t fit at all with the rock vibe, which was really apparent when we first recorded the demos.  We decided ‘Ash’ was a lost cause and were able to rework ‘Catch On’.

OSR:  Why did you choose to release a full album and not continue releasing singles after ‘Window’?

V:  We felt a definite urgency from our fans.  We thought the album would be a better fit to lay the foundation for who we are as a band.  Also, in all honesty, we kind of miss the days where bands just released albums.  It might not be the most profitable way to release music, but I think it is the best for our followers.

OSR:  What do you find is the most difficult aspect of being in a band?

V:  Being self-managed.  We have been looking for a new manager for a while now, but can’t seem to find the right fit.  It makes scheduling, booking and funding a daily struggle we have to all share.

OSR:  This question is for Sam: do you find it easier to be in a band or work as a solo artist?

V:  It is MUCH easier to be in a band.  Well, maybe easier isn’t the right word.  It is a lot more rewarding to be in a band.  I hate self-promotion and having to bring people’s attention to myself.  I would much rather put the same effort into promoting a project and band bigger than myself.  It is also so rewarding to have other people who share the same goals and aspirations; it makes me feel a lot less alone.  Also, I love them, and I love hanging out with them; so, that’s a plus.

OSR:  If you could be a flavour of ice-cream, what flavour would you be and why?

V:  Maybe like rocky road, ’cause, you know, we play rock music and drive on the road?

OSR:  Are you more a coffee or tea person?

V:  COFFEE.  Two of our members are baristas.

OSR:  What is the one thing you could not live without?

V:  Sam – love and affection.  Lauren – her toothbrush; it’s the expensive fancy kind.  Benjamin – oxygen.  Brendan – hydrogen, because without it the universe would just be a bunch of disembodied baryons and photons hanging around.  Matthew – air conditioning.

OSR:  If you could ask Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys on question, what would you ask?

V:  Need an opener for your next tour?

OSR:  Thank you for chatting with me.  I wish you all the best of luck with your album and future endeavours!

V:  Thank you!  We are always down for a good talk.

To enjoy more of Vasco’s music, check out their Spotify account.  To engage with the band, follow their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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