Vassals is a band that embraces the loud/quiet dichotomy of the 90s through the lens of 60s rock and psychedelia.
In this interview spotlight, we chat with Jonathan Smith of Vassals about influences, their newest project, navigating the digital world and more.
Full Q&A along with links and streams below.
Where are you from and what style of music do you create? (In your own words, not necessarily in marketing terms or by popular genre classifications.)
Vassals is based in Brooklyn, NY. For a lack of better words we make “indie rock”, but the current elevator pitch is “Vassals is a band that embraces the loud/quiet dichotomy of the 90s through the lense of 60s rock and psychedelia” and we think that works pretty well!
What led you down this path of music and what motivates you to stay the course?
We all hail from very different places but ended up meeting through mutual friends / music school. I think if you ask most people who are doing this with their lives, the motivation is that we can’t imagine doing anything else. Like something inside each of us at an early age decided that this is what we’re doing with the rest of our lives for better or worse. Staying the course simply means not giving up on your dreams.
How is your new release different than previous ones? Did you set out to accomplish anything specific?
We like to think of this as a sort of back-to-basics effort. Our goal was for it to sound pretty live, like more or less a band in a room. Not getting overly cluttered with arrangement and overdubs. That said, for the next release I’m sure the pendulum will swing the other direction and there will be *synths*.
Do you face any challenges as an indie musician in a digital age? On the flip side, how has technology helped you (if it has)?
Many of the challenges as an indie musician are the same as ever but just a little bit more difficult. These days it seems impossible to make money off of merely selling your albums. And also the sheer amount of bands that are now accessible because of the internet, it’s just a lot more noise to cut through. Yet we persist.
Technology surely helps more than it hinders. The three of us are pretty DIY and the fact that we can record our own music and put it out on our own is very cool.Not to mention having more control. So many bands are doing that and while I previously mentioned having to cut through the noise, it’s also exciting that we have so much more music to access.
Where can we follow you online and hear more music?
Right now we just use social media and bandcamp, but maybe we’ll have a Real Deal Website soon!
Anything else before we sign off?
Support local music. Always.