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INTERVIEW: Very Bad Vibes

Hi Sam, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi VENTS, welcome to Sam! I’ve been good. Working on putting this new album together and kind of regrouping. This is my first solo record, so there’s definitely been a little bit of a transition trying to figure out how to do this on my own.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Sobering Up”?

It’s the first track on the album, and also the first song I wrote off it. That being said, I did later bring in bits of things I had started earlier, but I still feel like this project begins with “Sobering Up” in terms of how I think about the record. I didn’t even know I was making an album when I started it — I don’t think it really dawned on me until i was six or seven tracks in. But I feel like it all kind of ties back to this song in my head, so it made sense to make it the start of the album and use it in the music video.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

The song kind of began with me sorting through memories — mostly of highschool. I find it interesting how people aren’t taken as seriously at that age in a lot of ways. If you’re unhappy it’s just “teen angst”, and it’s not until a few years later that it’s rebranded as depression or anxiety. There’s this idea that adolescence is a transitionary phase in which things are less permanent and that whatever you’re feeling will pass — which is not always the case. Some things change and some don’t, which sounds obvious when I say it. I don’t know.. I’m 21 now and it seems like I’m just getting old enough to begin to understand the feeling  of time passing, and to have memories that feel somewhat distant.  This song kind of grew out of that, along with the idea of sobering up — both in a literal sense and as a metaphor for becoming disillusioned as you grow older.

Can you tell us more about the upcoming video?

I’m still editing, but it’s turning out great. Picture this: The camera fades in and pans across the scenic hills of beautiful Upstate New York. All is calm and serene. Cut to me! Sporting the freshest of athletic attire and strapping on a pair of boxing gloves! Then I basically just beat myself up. It’s cool. There’s a lot of ketchup.

The single comes off your new album Toothpaste – what’s the story behind the title?

This is the first record of my solo project, but before this i was in a different band for a number of years.  It’s strange to put so much effort into a project and then see it end. Brushing your teeth is something you do at the end of the day, or the beginning of the next, and it made sense to me as a title in that this record is the end of one thing and the start of something new. Also, there’s a song on the album called “Toothpaste”. It’s about running out of toiletries and having to steal them from your roommates.

How was the recording and writing process?

Nearly all of the album was recorded in my bedroom. First in North Philly and then after moving, in West. I’ve been accumulating recording gear for a few years, and just figuring out how to use it as I go. I’ve learned a lot from my friend Mark Cochi, who mastered this record, and through working with him on other projects.  This time around, I figured I would just try to do all the engineering myself and see how it turned out. It was a learning experience for sure, but I’m really happy with how it came together. I’ve found that sequencing the songs and attempting to give the record an arch always ends up being way more difficult than I think It’s going to be, and that good songs don’t necessarily result in a good album. There were a couple that had to be reworked so that they would fit into the track listing.

What were you hoping to communicate with this record?

I love the idea of music as just an elaborate form of communication. That’s really what any form of art is, or at least the stuff that resonates with me. I don’t do well in social situations unless I really know people. I’m not sure if it shows, but I rarely feel at ease. It takes me a long time to begin to think of people as friends rather than just some sort of frequent acquaintances. This came up a lot in making the record and beginning to envision what a solo project would be for me. Pretty early on I decided:  if this is going to be just me, my thoughts, and my feelings, I want to make sure that it’s the most honest and transparent version of myself that it can be —  because really that’s all I have to offer. I think that my idea of me and who I am as a person is constantly changing and being revised, but my hope is that when people listen to Toothpaste, they feel like they’re meeting someone.

Any plans to hit the road?

Booking as we speak! It’ll probably be mostly Philly for a while, but I’d love to put together a tour at some point here. Hopefully I can make that happen.

What else is happening next in Very Bad Vibes’ world?

Trying to perfect my oatmeal recipe. I often go too heavy on the cinnamon. Also, I’ve been working on some merch, and thinking I might try to make some more music videos. I’ve really enjoyed that in the past, and I’ve got ten songs, so why not have ten videos! Visual album! People love that shit. Aside from that, I just want to play shows and start working on the next record.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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