VISTA BLUE – WONDERBAND

 

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To celebrate MLB’s Opening Day Vista Blue will release Wonderband, on April 2nd.

Sweet Sweet Music talked to Mike Patton about the baseball theme, saber-metrics, Nashville, releasing 8 (EIGHT) EPs last year and, of course, the new record.

Listen to Designated Hitter ( a Sweet Sweet Music Blog EXCLUSIVE!)

New album, release April 2nd, what can we expect?

For Wonderband we went back to our baseball theme, which seems to be something of a “home base” for us. Aside from music, my two main hobbies are baseball and horror, so I could probably write songs about that stuff all day.

On this baseball album, we also went back to more of a Ramones-core kind of sound, so I think it’s a lot like our 2015 debut, Good Eye. And Mark just got a new Fender Jazz bass that he was excited to debut here.

Overall, it’s still just Vista Blue, with songs that tell stories about normal stuff, this time related to baseball.

Songwriting seems easy to you? What’s the secret?

Haha! I don’t know that it’s any “easier” for me, but there is this thing where I constantly have new ideas and melodies popping into my head. Most are not any good, but every now and then I like one enough to put it into my “idea pile.”

Using themes for my songs and releases has completely changed my approach. When we started Vista Blue, we decided every release would have a theme. And like I said, baseball and horror seem to be the easiest for me. So we’re starting 2017 with another baseball album to celebrate MLB’s Opening Day.

One thing I’ve been doing lately is listening to Nashville’s Hippie Radio 94.5 and just having fun taking titles of classic songs and adjusting them for my themes. So that’s how we ended up with songs on this album like “My Best Friend’s Glove” and “WAR (What Is It Good For?),” which takes a look at the use of saber-metrics. And there’s the Ramones-inspired “I Wanna Be Your Shortstop.” Stupid stuff like that.

So we ended up with about 20 baseball ideas this time and decided to go with nine tracks.

Will there be some live gigs to promote the record?

You know, I don’t think so. We were hoping to do the International Pop Overthrow again this spring, but it isn’t coming to Nashville this year. We’re looking into a couple of possible shows this summer, but we’ll see if that works out. I’ve been very picky about playing shows with Vista Blue. I see it as more of a project where we can make lots of fun music, as opposed to playing live as much as possible. We’ve all done that already. Nashville just isn’t a great place for a band like Vista Blue, so it takes something special to get me to play live now. I’d really like to hit New Orleans or even Cincinnati soon though.

The definition of ‘success’ has changed the last couple of years. When would the new record be a success to you?

Everything we do from this point forward is just a bonus for me. Having podcasts and radio shows play our music, and having blogs like yours pay attention to us… this is totally success! We just enjoy knowing that we’re reaching people and making new friends.

Of course, playing with Weezer or Nerf Herder would also be success… Gotta keep some dreams alive.

Where can we hear, buy, see the music?

As always, Wonderband will be completely free to stream or download through our bandcamp  site as a digital release. We really like having all of the songs available for free. This hasn’t been about money for us for a long time. We just want people to hear the songs.

There are no plans for a physical release right now, but those projects seem to come after the digital release these days. So we’ll see.

What’s up next for Vista Blue?

Well, we have some other ideas for releases this year. Last year we released EIGHT EPs, so we definitely had to slow down a little. But we have a number of themes we’re considering, including football, covers, and a set of children’s songs.

Something fun that is coming out soon is our debut 12-inch, from Something To Do Records. It compiles a lot of the music we recorded the last two years. The title is Seasons, and the two sides represent Summer and Fall.

We’re also hoping to do a really cool split 7-inch with The Zambonis for the 2018 Winter Olympics, where we both record songs about curling. For those who may not know, The Zambonis only write songs about hockey, and they were a major influence on us when we started Vista Blue. The Olympic split would be a blast, and we’re hoping to find a label who might be interested in releasing it.

 

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V SPARKS – New Sensation


V Sparks’ New Sensation is a six song ep. High Energy Glam Power Pop! Addictive!

That high energy attitude/controlled madness (please take that as a compliment) does that come naturally to you?

Haha! I think what you mean by that is our songs can at times seem chaotic with a lot of layers for example in “Death Of A Star”. It comes naturally in the form of song because we have a case of A.D.D. and cause we enjoy walking the line between pop and abstract. That being said, its not like we go around all day breaking shit and jumping in front of trains.

New Sensation has that ‘here is a band at work-feel’ is that hard to achieve with all those modern recording technologies?

We go into the studio having a very clear idea of what we need to accomplish. The modern recording technology in our case actually helps us achieve that. The technology allows us to plan ahead and pre produce demos and know exactly what we want to do on the final recording. 

‘Sebastian you are a bastard’, you knew you had something when you wrote that line?

That was actually the first thing that I sang when I wrote it. In a weird coincidence our drummer is a grade school teacher and the day after I wrote it he received a letter from an angry parent. The parent told him that their child was being bullied by a child named Sebastian and he was calling him a bastard. So after that we decided to just stick with it cause it must’ve been fate. 

Watch Sebastian

Is it hard to makes the lyrics fit to those glam rock, power pop, indie rock tunes? Or is that a stupid question?

Not particularly. We generally write our music/melodies first and have gibberish lyrics to work it all out. Then we come up with a concept and fit the lyrics to it. 


What are your expectations for New Sensation? How will you promote it? How many people do you want to reach? Or am I talking only marketing bullshit now?

We put it out there to be heard by as many people as possible. The fact that someone such as yourself in the Netherlands has heard it and is interested is really encouraging. We’re gonna push the shit out of it and then back it up with another record were hoping to release in July.

THE LUNAR LAUGH – Mama’s Boy

And then there were three … . A lot has changed for THE LUNAR LAUGH the last couple of months; a new member (the third), a new Spanish record deal and 11 beautiful new songs. Sweet Sweet Music talked to Jared Lekites about the new record, Mama’s Boy.

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A lot has changed since the last record?

That’s true. We expanded the core lineup from a duo to a trio by bringing in Campbell Young on bass and vocals halfway through recording the album. Also Connor was only on some of the first album but with Mama’s Boy he’s on every track.

Connor and I also co-wrote about half of the songs on the album together instead of just me. So those factors contribute to the overall change, I’m sure. But also we didn’t want to attempt to recreate the sound of our first album anyway. We wanted to just make a new album and avoid any sort of formula.

A bit more harmony vocals and some extra westcoast, ‘softer melodies’, violins and trumpets?

We had more voices to work with this time around. The first album was a lot of me overdubbing vocal parts all over the place but this album has a bit more organic feel. We had some friends singing along with us on some tunes and with the three voices we were able to create some really nice and thickened vocal beds.

I love to arrange background vocals so it was great to have all these great voices mixed in with my own. It definitely contributed to that John Phillips/Brian Wilson/Bee Gees type background vocal parts that pop up in some of the songs.

Since I spent a significant portion of my childhood in Southern California, that west coast vibe always creeps in. It’s a certain mellowness that colors the music a bit. I really like the idea of working with the players out there, too. Adam Marsland played on a track on the last album and on the new album, Jim Laspesa and Derrick Anderson are the rhythm section on “She Gets Stoned”. It’s an honor to have guys with those kind of chops playing our music.

Same for the strings and horns. It blows my mind how a little song we came up with in my living room (The Bedroom Door) now had charts for trumpet and cello. I think we all got goosebumps when we heard the final mix.

A very comfortable, warm record (please take that as a compliment, let’s put it differently I liked evey song straight away). Was that something you were looking for?

We didn’t set out for it to be that way, though I’m happy you think so. I think our voices have a warm quality and that informs what we do in instrumental terms. Plus we had the opportunity to road test a lot of the songs by getting to play them in concert throughout the making of the album.

So I think that helped us become pretty comfortable with the music itself. But I was also really trying to get out of the comfort zone so that’s why songs like “A Better Fool” and “Living A Lie” are a bit of an about-face compared to the other songs.

 

 

And a Spanish record deal! That would not be possible 25 years ago. That’s the new music industry, isn’t it?

We were just as surprised as anyone. I remember we had a band meeting at Freebirds World Burrito and we were talking about the album and how we all wished we could get some kind of deal so that the album would reach more people.

We made a plan to release a really strong single and hoped that maybe something would happen locally with it. Well the single came out and within a few days, You Are The Cosmos was contacting us and asking if they could hear any rough mixes of the other new songs we were doing.

A fan of ours in Spain really liked the song and had passed it along to the label. I was so knocked out by it. It was right place, right time, and the right song. You hear the term “music industry” a lot but in my head it used to only apply to places like Nashville and LA that just keep churning out stuff like factories.

But then, I take a moment to think about it and realize “oh, I guess we are in the music industry now”. We are in the business of making records. Legitimate records too. We’re on a piece of vinyl! That’s a priceless feeling.

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Will you go on tour? Or any other plans for 2017?

Once summer rolls around, we hope to play a number of dates in the states. We don’t know if it’s just going to be us loading gear in a car and going it alone or if we are going to maybe plan on doing dates with another band. Naturally, we’ll do more in Oklahoma than anywhere.

We also got asked to contribute a song to a movie soundtrack which we did, but we have no idea if they will use it yet.

WYLDLIFE – Out on Your Block

WYLDLIFE recently released Out on Your Block.

In the words of http://www.jerseybeat.com ‘s Jim Testa:

They are young, loud, sweaty, snotty, irreverent, catchy, and clever. And maybe best of all, they’re almost the complete antithesis of the disengaged, Uber-ironic, overintellectualized, chillwave/chipcore/hipster scene currently dominating the lofts, basements, and alternative spaces of Bushwick. This is – proudly, unabashedly, unapologetically, and frequently shirtlessly – a rock ‘n’ roll band.

 

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Sweet Sweet Music talked to Dave Feldman about fuckboy bullshit, The Vapors, suck a T1000’s liquid metal dick, Little Steven and the French cult band Dogs.

And, of course, about that great great record they made.

 

Tonight, we are going to party like it’s 1978. How does a young band capture that sound?

We did our homework and really love those records and that era, and we’re frustrated with all of the mainstream fuckboy bullshit.

With all those modern day recording technologies a lot of bands do no sound like bands anymore. Doesn’t seem a problem for you?

Fuck robot rock, fuck auto tune. If you need a computer to help your band, go suck T1000’s liquid metal dick. Lucky for us, we work with people who don’t wanna change our sound. We sound like a real band because we are one.

Teenage Heart has it all. How did that one come together? Is it always like melody first, lyrics second?

I was listening to Vapors’ “New Clear Days” record A LOT at the time. I love that fucking record. I’m not talking about “Turning Japanese” I’m taking about the entire record. Anyway, I wanted to make a song with that type of new wave vibe, plus anything with “Teenage” in the title usually is a hit right? Everybody wants to be young, right?!

So anyway, I wrote the lyrics and had a melody in my mind that was almost exactly like “News at 10” or “Spring Collection” and Sam, brilliant sort, was like welllll lets do this instead. That’s how a lot of our songs come about. I will write the lyrics first with a melody in mind, I’ll kinda sing out to Sam since I don’t play any instruments and Sam will translate it to a WYLDLIFE song. Almost always it will turn out different and better than what I had originally. That’s Sam’s touch.

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How will you promote Out on Your Block?

I dunno, that’s really on Wicked Cool and Little Steven, isn’t it? We already got a couple tracks on the radio which is neat. We just gotta hit the road again. West Coast, Europe, your kid sister’s house, wherever. We’re trying to be smart about our shows, but let’s face it: we’re really dumb. We need as much help getting our shit together as far as playing out as possible. It’s a work in progress.

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

That’s basically fucking impossible to pick! Let me see…

  • The Equals: “Diversion”
  • Stones version of “Mercy Mercy”
  • Dogs: “Maureen” , because that’s a fun song and almost everyone who listens to anything off of “Legendary Lovers” wants more.
  • BCR: “Rock & Roll Love Letter” and finish it off with
  • The Toms:  “Let’s Be Friends Again”

 

I would save Rubinoos “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” for the second mixtape because I don’t wanna come on too strong.

Alternate ending for this question: If this chick wants a mixtape after our first date she’s probably too needy and should take a fuckin’ hike.

If you could tour the world with two other bands, which ones would you chose?

I’d love to tour with our friends Dirty Fences because they’re our buddies but also they’re so fucking sick. But I’d also be really scared to play with them night after night because they’re so good on stage it’s intimidating! For the same reasons (minus the friend part) I would also say the Hives.

If it’s defunct or dead bands, I’d say Thin Lizzy or Bon Scott fronted AC/DC because, shit, why not shoot for the stars right? Get to see them every single night. That’d rule.