BUZZNET EXCLUSIVE: Kenny Vasoli On His New Band Vacationer & More

I have been a Kenny Vasoli fan ever since I heard The Starting Line’s 2001 EP With Hopes Of Staring Over. Kenny had a “way with words” that spoke to my 15-year-old heart and ever since then I have been an admirer. These days Kenny has a new project called Vacationer that I love just as much! Vacationer definitely has a different sound but at the heart of it, it still has Kenny’s signature lyrics and catchy hooks. It’s really incredible to see an artist take a whole new direction and still maintain that certain spark! 

Take a look at all the insight Kenny gave me on Vacationer’s album Gone and much more!  

For people who were fans of The Starting Line, how would describe Vacationer to them? In what ways are you still the same musician from that project and in what ways are you different?

To anyone, I usually describe Vacationer as dream-pop/trip-hop or slow-motion surf music.  I try to treat everyone the same whether or not they were a Starting Line fan. In return, I would hope they treat me simply as a musician regardless of the first piece of music they had heard from me.  In every way I’m still that same musician.  I’m not pretending to be someone new; I’ve always stayed true to the type of music I want to make at any point in my life.

Who inspires your song writing? How has your approach to song writing changed over the past 10 years?

My inspirations these days range everywhere from The Beach Boys to LCD Soundsystem.  I started absorbing a heavy diet of electronic music around ’05 or ’06, getting into the Four Tet and Album Leaf style of organic/instrumental electro.  

In resent years I’ve opened my self up much more to a collaborative approach to songwriting.  I’ve embraced sharing the control of how the songs are shaped.  It makes the process more enjoyable and I believe it also results in more dynamic material.

This project has a very unique sound and feels like I am inside a dream when I listen to it, what motivated you to go this direction?

Originally, and somewhat embarrassingly, I wanted to have a project that I could perform solo without an acoustic guitar (trading it up for a computer.)  I also was eager to make music that’s not loud; the typical punk/rock band live set-up became very taxing on my ears.  I was driven to make music that tread the line between dreamy and danceable.  Once the project and the songs began to take shape, my partners Matt and Grant convinced me that I needed a full band to have a dynamic and interesting live show.  I completely agree with them and am grateful that I didn’t go the route of standing in front of my computer with a microphone.

The music also makes me want to lay on the beach, where would you want to spend a day in the sun and who would you take with you? 

I know it’s not coastal, but I’ve had the urge lately to vacation in the middle of nowhere in the vast lands of Montana.  I want to get lost there on purpose.  I can think of nice lady I’d love to bring along, but she’s still existing in the crush dimension of my life.

 Which song off of  “Gone” means the most to you?

They all hold a great deal of sentimental value to me.  I was deeply in love when I wrote these songs, but unfortunately the relationship didn’t last.  Her and I were no longer together and I feared that the tone of the songs would change.  So I became determined to write with the same optimism I had when I was euphoric with love.  The first lyrics I wrote after the break-up were for Trip.  It made me so relieved that I could write a song about ended love that was true to what I was feeling without being inherently negative.

What can fans expect from a Vacationer show? Should we bring a beach chair and a Hawaiian lei?

We are slightly more hyped-up live than on record.  I think it’s the kind of show where it’s appropriate to either dance and sing or just sway and vibe out.  Beach chairs and leis would not be out of the question.  We are also trying to get more serious about projecting visuals during the show, so look out for that and feel free to self-medicate accordingly. 

Who are some new artists you are keeping your eyes and ears on?

There is a beatmaker who goes by the name of Vanilla that I’ve been listening to a lot, recommended for J-Dilla fans.  I also really love the Father John Misty record; the guy has a fantastic voice. 

What was the last record you bought? 

I think it was the latest Vanilla tape “Soft Focus”.  I’ve been meaning to get out to the record shop and pick up a vinyl of The War On Drugs’ “Slave Ambient”. I’m so in love with that record right now. 

It was such a pleasure to chat with Kenny and I am very excited to see Vactioner live soon and catch The Starting Line’s 10 Year Anniversary Tour later this year! #musicrules

Let’s talk music, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

What do you think of Vacationer?