THE VACANT LOTS ( … the return … )

23 Apr

It seems like just yesterday that we began 2012 within the confines of The Vacant Lots, praising their evolving, meditative meshing of grey-sky sonic subtlety and kicked-in-the-gut garage-rock gears.

At the time, it was the gift of their “Kingdom Come” re-mix (featuring astral assistance by Spectrum drummer Roger Brogan) that had us eagerly anticipating the band’s next move. That next move – following an upcoming summer-time seven-inch release by the Reverberation Appreciation Society – is a full-length album, currently being recorded in NYC with the able assistance of engineer Ted Young.

It is that very recording session that fell victim to the Interruption of the Apes, as we disrupted the surely rockin’ recording of guitarist/singer Jared Artaud and drummer Brian Macfadyen, in our quest to fill a few vacancies within this lot. In anticipation of the band’s repeat appearance at Austin Psych Fest 2012, we feel fortunate to share our second interview with The Vacant Lots. Enjoy.

What are your memories of traveling to Austin for the Psych Fest in 2011, now nearly a year later? Were there any performances in particular that made a lasting impression on you – and any that you were somewhat surprised that you found so compelling? How, if at all, did the experience shape the past year for The Vacant Lots?

Jared:  It was a standout time.  It was cool to connect with a lot of other bands and meet a lot of new people.  I enjoyed Spectrum’s set and Crystal Stilts, A Place to Bury Strangers, Black Ryder and The Black Angels.  We were introduced to the Reverberation Appreciation Society after our performance there and we were offered a  vinyl release.  So, in that sense the experience led to signing with a new label. And we got to finally meet The Black Angels which was a highlight for us.

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Speaking of compelling performances, we would put Spectrum’s appearance from this past year in that department, and it would seem that you’ve developed something of a mentoring friendship with the band, for lack of a better term. What has this relationship taught you about being an artist in general? How has this relationship contributed to the evolution of The Vacant Lots’ sound?

Jared:  Yeah, after touring with Spectrum we’ve remained close and they’re some of the best musicians I’ve ever met.  Sonic Boom is an architect of sound.  He’s produced so many powerful records.  I’ve certainly learned a lot from him.   He has been an incredibly insightful and positive influence for us. I think the rigorous discipline and concentration of vision with which he brings to his music has certainly inspired me in many ways for my own work.

Which one artist or album best captures what you love about rock and roll … at least for today? Setting aside for a moment all of the music that has influenced your musical path, which one artist or album best represents what you aspire to accomplish with The Vacant Lots in the near future? As someone who feels a distinct connection with and appreciation for the music of “the past,” what does the concept of evolving with The Vacant Lots mean to you, if anything?

Brian:  The Stooges’ first record has always been a huge source of inspiration for us.  Everything has this very raw yet focused quality to it that we’ve always strived to work into our own sound.

Jared:  I think there is a great deal of continuity and evolution with The Vacant Lots.   It seems like we go through a process of transformation that deals with refining and developing our sound.  Although the elements have always been minimal we strive towards a greater simplicity and accuracy in our sound.  I think balance is key.  A balancing act between madness and order.  I believe in making music that will inspire others to do so.

We understand that the near future for The Vacant Lots includes the recording of an album to be forthcoming on the Reverberation Appreciation Society label. What are your thoughts on the batch of songs you’ll soon begin to record? Is there anything either overt or subtle that ties these songs together in your mind?  What difficulties arise from working with a shadowy cabal bent on world domination, as is the case with the mysterious Reverberation Appreciation Society?

Jared:  Well, we are recording our debut LP right now but it hasn’t been decided yet what label we will put that out on.  However, we are putting out a 7″ on the Reverberation Appreciation Society in the next few months.  The album is coming together.  The new songs correspond with each other in a way that allows them to conceptually take on a lot of the ideas and symbols I have been exploring.  There is a lot of duality within the songs, and ambiguity so the listener can interpret the songs to fit their own life.  I think we have a strong and clear vision for how we want the first record to sound.  We are working with Ted Young, an engineer from NYC.

What images or sounds appear in your minds eye when you think of psychedelic music? What would you suppose is the defining psychedelic experience of your life? What combination of the two would you most wish to experience?

Brian:  Blue-y, green-y colors.

What music have you been listening to lately? If push comes to shove, what’s your favorite Kraftwerk song and why?

Brian:  Susan Christie, Beat Happening and Teenage Filmstars.  I’ve also been getting into some of the artists on this year’s Austin Psych Fest roster like Acid Baby Jesus and The Blue Angel Lounge.  I’d probably say “Radioactivity” for my favorite Kraftwerk tune.  I remember hearing that record for the first time with the “Geiger Counter” that sputters in just before.  It’s so dark and emotional.

Jared:  Lots of Gun Club, Bo Diddley, Television, Joe Meek.  Seeing Kraftwerk perform “Pocket Calculator” live at the MOMA Retrospective was a highlight for me.  That was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to.

What’s next for The Vacant Lots?

Brian:  We’re in the studio for the next week or so working on material for the new LP, then we’re headed down to Austin for Austin Psych Fest next weekend.  Our 7” release with Reverberation Appreciation Society will be dropping in the summer time, and we’ll be headlining the Bug Jar Psych Fest in Rochester at the end of July.  We’re also starting to line up some shows up for a US tour in the Fall.

The Vacant Lots

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2 Responses to “THE VACANT LOTS ( … the return … )”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. ECHOES WEST (L.A.) + PSYCHEDELIC LIGHT AND SOUND (ATX) + WHITE HILLS (RVA) « Revolt of the Apes - August 31, 2012

    […] intense line-up is this time headlined by the red-hot The Vacant Lots, piloting their c-a-d-i-l-l-a-c from their Vermont home heading for a destination in the […]

  2. TEN TUNES AND TEN TOMES WITH THE VACANT LOTS | Revolt of the Apes - May 30, 2013

    […] than the fact that what you see below marks the third time that the band has been interviewed by this very (and very ridiculous) […]

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