INTERVIEW: Count Vaseline

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

I’ve been doing pretty well.

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

I wrote it in the run up to the US presidential Election where it was become apparent that the whole USA / USSR thing of my childhood was hogging the news again. Potential fallout between Obama and Putin and god knows what after Trump took the presidency. Like most kids my age the culmination of the Cold War was probably Rocky Balboas bout with Ivan Drago…It took me a few years and a little more maturity to learn what the post-WW2 East/West conflict truly meant.

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

Not exactly, it’s just a story I made up of two lovers or friends living in Modern age Russia hoping for some kind of future together, or in general. Think of it like a crappy version of David Bowie’s “Heroes” with less sophisticated synth arrangements haha

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

Cascade is a street in Atlanta, where I live. I moved here from Berlin almost a year ago but am originally from Dublin, Ireland. There is a famous nightspot in ATL called Cascade, basically it’s a Rollerskating Soul-Disco. I went there one night and it blew me away…The cover of the album is a photo I took of the place as I was leaving.

How was the recording and writing process?

I have my own studio 10 miles from my house. I dreamed up a lot of the tunes and lyrics on my way to and from the studio as I was writing the record. I pre-produced it at my own place OCDC Studios and then cut it in a few days at Studio 234 with Peter Furgiuele from Gringo Star.

What role does Europe play in your music?

Well… I’m from there and this album in particular has a lot of European new wave/post-punk influence…Echo and the Bunnymen, Can, Wire etc. I’m a North European boy who loved The Velvet Underground so between Berlin and NYC is where most of my influences come from. Like Nick Cave and Rowland S. Howard, I have learned much from being in mainland Europe and applied it to much of what I do.

I am getting a very ’80s vibe on the music, did this particular decade played a significant role on the album or is it a pure coincidence?

I suppose so. Russia in particular was designed to be a lo-fi dance track. Its the same BPM as “Billie Jean.” My first contact with music was ’80s music so it’s fun to reconnect with that. Human League, Duran Duran, & Bowie’s Lets Dance album were all huge in my world as a child.

What aspect of politics did you get to explore on this record?

I guess I’m putting it out there that politics, the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex and capitalism itself are simply cyclical trends from which humanity may never break free. No matter how we support or oppose what’s happening….the involvement of the average person is arbitrary, tokenistic and not real. The easiest way for me to live free is to accept the degree to which I’m fucked from every angle and just make the most of it!

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes! Working on a US tour for June/July and a European one for the Fall.

What else is happening next in Count Vaseline’s world?

I’ve signed up to make two more records with a label from Texas called Saustex. The first will be a quickfire punk record..the second more of a slow burner.

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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