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When you think of the Boston local scene and take a real look at it, you see a lot of electronica, acoustic guitar driven hooks and pop punk but something that may have seemed to be missing in the city is a hole that'€™s been filled by VISIONS. Self described as alternative country, TJ Petracca took eight months to record '€˜Re:Visions'€™ which quickly became a project that entailed up to eighteen live musicians at once!

Since the release, VISIONS has become sort of a collective interchangeable band but there are a few members who have been with TJ since the release steadily with Dylan Martin and Taylor Pile who I got the chance to talk to this past week about everything from how the record was recorded and how those songs have been going over live to a pretty exciting announcement regarding their time spent at South by Southwest next month! They are hosting their own showcase this year which has quite an impressive and long list of bands including Caspian, Analog Rebellion, The Spring Standards, The Rocket Boys, Fried Ice Cream, The Pepper Rabbit and fellow Boston locals The Blue Pages and Rodeo Church and of course..VISIONS! You'€™ll be able to catch this talented group at Bayside Bowl on February 25th and can look forward to hearing a lot more about the boys in these next few months!

We'€™re all pretty young still obviously so take the band member sitting next to you. What would they be doing if they weren'€™t in music?
Dylan: I wouldn'€™t be able to do anything but music. Like because music life .I don'€™t know. That'€™s all..I can say.
Taylor: TJ would be doing math.
TJ: He'€™s right, I'€™d be doing math. Dylan would probably be riding his bike or running around Oregon.

Perfect, then how did VISIONS come together? I know that it was one person originally and now it'€™s a full band obviously but how did it all come together to this point?
TJ: Basically like it started out just me and I had this solo project. Visions of Kody was this side project that I started and it was just like an acoustic project that I did with like a cello player and a mandolin player and we toured like that for a while and came back to Boston and we realized that the songs could be a lot bigger. I went into the studio with out a band and just had like my friends come in and do different things and write an album. It took like eight months or something but yeah we made a record and then after the record was done, I just kind of like talked to different people and showed people the album and found people who wanted to play it.

Then with RE: Visions out, obviously there are a lot of members but you are playing this material off of it at shows together so how is it going over? Like how are kids like reacting to everything?
TJ: They'€™re a lot more insane then they are on the album and something I'€™ve realized like I'€™ve never really had a band like this before. I'€™ve never really been in a band before I just did solo project stuff. It'€™s different in like the intensity and chemistry and like the things you learn about each other with in the songs. It'€™s a lot more magical to be like playing with people then to be like creating, fabricating like one track at a time in the studio.

And then are you guys maybe like writing together now that you'€™re like a full band after this record? How do you normally go about the writing? Is it one person, more collective, has it like changed?
TJ: We haven'€™t we just barely started writing.
Taylor: TJ will get angry about something and then he comes in with his guitar and he just freestyles a song about it and then me and Dylan will start playing.
Dylan: Occasionally we'€™ll play something or sing something that we like and, you know, use that.

And then it is a little something different then what we'€™re hearing with a lot of the local Boston bands but in a good way. How do you think you stand out because I know there'€™s a bunch of instruments on the record like a violin but then you have drums and guitars altogether. So how has that been going?
TJ: I don'€™t know I mean at our CD release, we played as an eighteen piece band and we tried to re-create the album like as much as we could. Which was really challenging but it was really fun and we have like a live DVD of that show coming out pretty soon. I don'€™t know I mean, how do we stand out? Like when we play those pop shows and stuff?
Dylan: I think we stand out because we have a lot of emotion, more then like the scene bands. TJ puts his whole heart into everything in a performance and you can see it in his face.
TJ: Aw, thanks bud.

And then how does the album come off live? I'€™m not sure how it exactly comes off but do you have like the string instruments with the guitar or how does it go about?
TJ: I mean we just did a show on Saturday and we played with a guitar, pedal steel, bass, drums, organ and then we had three background singers and I think that actually worked the best out of everything that we'€™ve done so far. We'€™ve played as like a four piece with two guitars, just drums and bass which is kind of like pretty rock band-y but I don'€™t really feel like it'€™s as dynamic or speaks as well as arranging it differently. It'€™s fun adding, like especially being an interchangeable band. We have so many people in our rehearsal space all the time.
Taylor: It'€™s basically like us three are the actual members and then we collaborate with other people.
Dylan: We just bring in all of our friends. I mean we go to Berklee. Not that hard to pick some great players.

So then I actually talked to Dear Zim yesterday and yeah, it was very, very extremely different from you guys.
Dylan: Yeah definitely but we'€™ve actually played with them a lot.
But there are a lot of Berklee bands that are based in Boston or they leave school here then they go play somewhere else. Do you think it'€™s personally affected you? Like has it helped you guys as a band?
TJ: Absolutely we all wouldn'€™t know each other. I mean I'€™m from Utah, he'€™s from Ohio, he'€™s from Oregon. Like none of us would be playing music together with out Berklee. I don'€™t know I went there for six semesters. I'€™m taking this semester off though.
Taylor: Yeah we'€™re taking a semester off because we'€™re doing South by Southwest.
TJ: Yeah we have a tour planned in March and we'€™re going down to South by Southwest and we'€™ve been working on organizing a showcase to benefit the Austin Humane Society. We'€™ve got a really great venue right on Sixth Street and we'€™ve got some amazing bands playing with us. Can we say who they are?
To be honest, I talked to Rodeo Church because I was supposed to talk to them and they told me they were playing.
TJ: Yeah Rodeo Church is playing but we'€™ve been able to get some really great national bands. Should we tell her?
Taylor: Caspian, The Spring Standard, The Rocket Boys. I'€™ve been talking to Analog Rebellion today and I think we'€™ve got them which is pretty awesome. I'€™m really pumped about Caspian. They'€™re like my favorite.
Yeah that'€™s awesome!
TJ: Then we have like two or three other shows that we'€™re playing down there. We'€™re trying to play every day then we'€™re touring on the way down there and the way back which will be cool.

Then maybe what'€™s like the strangest thing you'€™ve seen or experienced? I mean I know you guys are really different from like Dear Zim and the electro dancy thing so what'€™s the strangest thing you'€™ve maybe seen?
Dylan: I can'€™t really think of anything that'€™s too strange.
TJ: Strangest thing to me was like playing a lot of shows with like Dear Zim and Love Via Dance Machine. Like those bands that are not necessarily in the same genre as us but still getting a really good response from everybody there. I was really nervous about how they would react but we'€™ve definitely like been able to, you know, connect with a lot of people there. What also was really strange is at our first show, every body was singing along and it was like two weeks before the album came out. We had just kind of like leaked it a little bit like we hid flash drives around different venues and stuff. We tweeted pictures of them and it kind of like spread a little bit and the next show we played everybody was singing along and I just like teared up.
Taylor: We all cried.

Then I have been listening to some of the stuff and one of the songs that sticks out to me is '€˜Drunk Children'€™. I think it'€™s really good, I actually think that'€™s my favorite but I know it'€™s a concept album from what I believe. So how does that come out during the shows? Do you like play through it? What happens?
TJ: At the release show, we played it front to back and we played it in order. For a while, we were only playing the first five songs. That was like what we played. That was like our set and now we know everything and we'€™ve kind of mixed it up a little bit so I don'€™t know it was definitely cool to play it all front to back but I love mixing it up now. Like we'€™ve found some really good ways to arrange it and transition it.

Then these are a few kind of goofy ones. What was like the first CD or cassette you bought and then the first concert you went to?
Dylan: Metallica and Metallica.
Taylor: Um. Oh my god. Okay the first concert I went to was Lit.
TJ: My first concert that I can consciously remember was Tim McGraw but the first concert I ever went to period was Fleetwood Mac. My parents took me in and they forgot to bring ear plugs so they put like cigarette butts in my ears and they had front row seats so they had to give them up because I was just bawling because I could tell that Stevie Nicks hated puppies.
Taylor: We emailed Stevie Nicks to play our showcase. She never got back to us.
Dylan: We'€™re pretty bitter about it.
She'€™s going to open the night.
Taylor: Yeah she'€™s opening for us!

Then what is coming up? You have a lot of shows obviously and playing South By which is actually coming up pretty fast next month so with the CD, you'€™re just going to be playing a lot? Is it going to be a while for new material because the record did just drop.
TJ: This month is just like a lot of business. We are like emailing. Crazy stuff is happening like every day. Every day something changes. South By is going to be crazy!
Dylan: The only show we have this month is in Portland, Maine.
TJ: Yeah on February 25th we'€™re playing up in Portland, Maine at the Bayside Bowl which is a really cool little bowling alley. It'€™s the new hot place in Portland apparently. So we'€™re playing there and other than that, we'€™re just like practicing and working!

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