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First say your name and your role in Vacationer.
Yeah, okay! I'm Kenny and I play bass and sing in Vacationer. I play guitar on the record too.
Then maybe a soft one to start off. Obviously you do your fair share of touring with this band. What are like three things you must have while on the road to survive?
The three things I must have on the road?! I like my pillow but I lost it on the last tour so I don't know if I'm going to trust myself to bring another one. What do I like? I like my music collection. It's important! Then the third thing. Pencil and pad or pen and pad. Either one will work but it's good to have something as an outlet to rub your brain out onto something.
Then maybe how has it been headlining? In comparison to opening for other people?
We really haven't headlined too much. Have we done anything that's headlining? I think that this is it. I want to say we've headlined like one or two other shows but they've been in really off places or really small cities like when we're trying to fill dates on tour and those are usually pretty cool. They are usually something where local bands will help to bring people out. What's the word? I guess it's a little bit touch and go because we really haven't done it yet. We're trying to make our way out there and make more of a presence and trying to see who are our fans.
Considering, like I said, it's kind of under wraps, how did the band come to be as Vacationer?
Well, a couple years ago, I wanted to do something in the electronic world. I wanted to have some sort of project that I could set up kind of simply at shows. Just with electronic backing and maybe just play guitar and sing over top of it. I started making music with these guys Matt and Grant who are in a band called Body Language. Because I heard their band and I really liked it and they do some production. I met with them after never meeting them before. We just went straight into a session and started writing some stuff and it went really well. I went up there again and we doubled our production. It just really flowed well from the get go and then the more we started writing music together and the further along we got with making our record, they convinced me that I needed to have a full band and then needed to really go all out with this. Not just have it be some sort of little side project that I do. Try to stand in front of a computer and try to look cool. They were totally right because the electronics is really just the start to it. It's just a bed for it because it's really interesting. Meaning the world of like hybrid electronic indie music that has full band elements and also electronic equipment. That's how it started! So, we did that the summer of 2010 and then by the next year, we pretty much had the record done.
And even though it has only been out since March, it is a new project. Are you working on new music or do you think that's going to be a while?
Yeah, they've been sending me lots of stuff. They've been wanting to get the ball rolling and I've been working every day. Like building off of that. Really, just in the past few weeks, it's picked up as far as new material goes. Yeah, nothing totally complete yet but we're trying to get enough songs and enough ideas together so I can go up there and have a session with them. After that, I think the production system will be moving a lot quicker.
So that's something where they don't tour with you, you have like a different band live?
Well, Matt is one of the producers and he's going to be playing vibraphone and singing with us today. It's tough because he's in Body Language and they're pretty active too. So the next couple headlining shows, he won't be with us and when we go out on Bombay he's not going to be able to go. Anytime that he can came out with us though he tries to and always enjoys himself and we always enjoy having him. He's such a force!
Force to be reckoned with!
And then obviously this is a bit different from the other bands that you have been a part of. Do you think that time spent with those bands has helped you as an artist in doing something very different?
Oh, yeah absolutely! I mean that's how I really cut my teeth. From being in those bands. I was never really traditionally schooled in music. I just really came from the streets (laughs). So anything I've learned has just been by trial by fire and just putting my hands on instruments and trying to pretend to sing like people I like and I'm glad that I've had the experiences I've had to go and work with these guys because they went to school for music. To be able to hang with them, it's a good feeling I'd say that they even were willing to bring me in and have me collaborate with them and I'm glad that it's gone so swimmingly.
Then those two (Matt and Grant) may be your dream collaboration but is there anyone that pops to mind for you?
I mean there's lots of people. It would just be ridiculous dream stuff. Like, I mean because I'm so happy working with them I wouldn't really be quick to work with another producer because they have it so down and I love the dynamic. I like that we can work in both production and songwriting together but if they were willing to bring someone in or just go to someone else like that, I would love to work with like James Murphy. Or like David Byrne or Thom Yorke. Just people that have been going on tour doing what I do.
Then a little softer one! Do you remember the first CD or first cassette you ever remember buying and the first concert?
Oh, man! The first cassette was, this is so embarrassing, something where I heard this song and I was like 'Oh I like that song!'. I must have been like seven or eight but it was Doctor Feel Good by Motley Crue (laughs) and that couldn't be further from what I do. Even maybe three months later, I was like 'This is a little bit not good' but after that, pretty soon after that, it was Nirvana 'Nevermind' and then I remember 'Fields of Gold' Sting was another cassette I had and then when I started learning bass. The first cassette that I brought into him was AC/DC's 'Highway to Hell' and I was just like 'Can you show me 'If You Want Blood'? Can you just show me the bass line to it?'. He was like 'No, no, no! We're going to learn the whole thing. This guy was like a whole rock and roll guy through and through. I was just like 'Oh I saw this song in Empire Records'. So first record I learned on bass was 'Highway To Hell'.
Is that how you like first got interested in music? You were just being taught these things?
Yeah! I just thought bands were cool. I thought Green Day was like the coolest thing in the world. I guess I was just a slave of Nirvana and Green Day when I was eight, nine years old. Then I started playing bass!
Because you're still pretty young even though you've been playing music for a really long time.
I'm 28, yeah!
I mean in the grand scheme, yeah.
Perfect then what is coming up? Obviously we talked about that time with Bombay and I know you personally are doing Starting Line shows at the end of the year but what is coming up in particular for this project? Are you going to be writing more, touring?
Well, we're going to be touring all through October with Bombay then right after that we're going over to Iceland to do Iceland Airwaves. Yeah, I know it's crazy.
How did you get on that?
It's really, really nuts! Yeah it's Sigur Ros and Dirty Projectors and Phantogram and all these really, really good bands. I don't understand how it happened.
Especially being such a new project.
Yeah, we're really, really blessed to get to do that. And then after that, we don't have anything else in the books at the time being as far as shows go for Vacationer but I think I'm going to take that time through November to work on music. I think we'll rehearse a handful of times for those shows and then I'll be trying to get together all the ideas for Vacationer and try to get some new songs.