Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life are pleased to bring you an interview with Brighton, MI grunge-metal band, V*A*S*E.
1. Hello V*A*S*E! Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. How are you all holding up with the current Coronavirus pandemic?
We’re healthy and thankful on these fronts. Musically, we’ve been working on fine tuning some old songs and throwing around ideas for new ones.
2. Can you give us a brief overview of how and why V*A*S*E started?
V*A*S*E started in October of 2018 by cousins-turned-guitarists, Drew Kussmaul and J.T. Jasinski. The idea was conceived when, one day in 2015, J.T. played a very poor version of Smells Like Teen Spirit on acoustic guitar. Drew, intrigued, decided to buy an acoustic to practice covers on, before upgrading to an electric Kurt Cobain signature Fender Jaguar.
3. If pressed, what genre would you put yourselves in?
Well, with all the Nirvana fandom, we’re a grunge band. Singer, Christian Thibodeau, has a natural grunge voice, but teeters more on the Chris Cornell/Layne Staley side of things. Somehow, we have the best of both worlds, though: instrumentally more punk, vocally more metal.
4. Can you explain the name? It’s pronounced ‘Voz’, right?
It is! You’re the first to get that. Just kidding, but, in all seriousness, V*A*S*E was more of a look thing when deciding upon a name. The logo is an homage to the old TV show, M*A*S*H. We’re quite the war junkies, you know, yet, even more so, we wanted a name that was short and sweet. As you can imagine, most four letter words in the alphabet had been taken up by bands already, but vase, surprisingly, had not. Of course, there’s surely some other local bands around the world to tell you the same thing, “We’re Vase”, but this V*A*S*E will just have to beat them out for that claim in the long term.
5. For such a fledgling band, you’ve certainly been putting in the time live. Is this where you belong?
Most definitely! Since we were so inexperienced when we began a year and a half ago, learning on the fly has been huge for us. Live, we feel, is the best environment to do so. Playing in your bedroom for an audience of one is fun, but unchallenging. You feel the most at pressure when performing in front of others, and it makes you a better player in the process. Of course, we still put in the time on the practice room floor, but we’ve only had our current five piece incarnation going since June of 2019. We love it!
6. What is the most difficult thing you’ve found about trying to get V*A*S*E off the ground?
So far, it’s been personnel changes. As we said, June of 2019 was when the band truly began. Before that, Drew and J.T. had to sing, while many bass players and drummers were involved. Christian was the third truly dedicated member to join in on vocals, after we had discovered him online. Bassist, Derian Parsons, joined in late June of 2019, while drummer, Elijah Simmons, did the same in August of last year. Since then, we’ve been steady, while planning on recording our debut songs for release in the near future.
7. Where are you at when it comes to releases?
These debut songs are just demos at the moment, but having played most of them close to 20 times live, they’re very much complete. It’s just a matter of getting them down in a studio setting, which we’ve found to be much different from that onstage.
8. Have your 2020 plans been put on hold for the most part now? What do you have in works long term?
Our gig calendar has largely been postponed at the moment, as has our studio time. We attracted the attention of producer, Tim Patalan, who recorded Sponge’s debut gold record in the 90s, and had been in the initial stages of recording an EP at his home studio. However, the virus has slowed these plans quite a bit. When everything returns back to normal, though, we’ll be headed to work with him again!
9. If you could put yourself on a bill with three other bands that you cite as important to the creation of V*A*S*E, who would you choose?
We’d have to choose Nirvana, The Stooges, and Queens of the Stone Age. Our three biggest influences are punk, psychedelic, and metal, and we feel we’re closest in each genre to these bands. Nirvana’s songwriting and drumming, in particular, resonate with us, while The Stooges’ Michigan-made look/stage appeal and Queens of the Stone Age’s guitar playing/chord progressions have been big for us.
10. What do the members of V*A*S*E do when they’re not making music?
We all either work and/or go to school, but when not making music, we’re listening to it. Additionally, studying old YouTube videos of live performances from our idols is a hobby, so just picking apart their songs and showmanship comes with the territory. With each band member having a shared love for giving song/album recommendations, our sound is shaped by the diverse tastes of what comes through our headphones at night.
11. Games, Brrraaains, Head-Banging… what of three categories are you the most drawn too and why?
Head-banging, most definitely! If we aren’t headbanging onstage, we’re probably head-banging, moshing, and stage diving at other shows. Iggy Pop anyone!? Bueller? Bueller!
12. Where can people find V*A*S*E and what can they do to support you?
People can find V*A*S*E, first and foremost, on our website. There, you can find the links to our social media pages, peruse our upcoming show calendar, see exclusive photo/video content, and send us a message. We’d love to hear from you! This is V*A*S*E, over and out.