Denver is a breeding ground for livetronica music, and Vine Street Vibes have been breaking ahead of the pack, expanding their sites beyond Denver and Colorado and recently making their way from several shows in California. Having heard them play a couple of times around the Denver area, most recently at LoHi Music Festival, I jumped on the chance to pick their collective brains a little bit, to try and see what’s fueling their creativity and rise in their jamband scene. To check them out firsthand, they’ll be playing a free show (as long as you get your tickets ahead of time) at 1-Up Colfax with Spyn Reset. If you won’t be able to make the show check them out on Soundcloud.
“I feel like everyone brings something to the band. Everyone started on the same musical level, and it’s definitely been nice to grow together as musicians which has really helped us create our own unique sound. So we’re constantly listening to new music which always brings a little bit of influence to the band.” – Dylan
Their big sound, danceable rhythms and the overall fun atmosphere takes inspiration from STS9, Umphrey’s and Lotus. It was great to hear that they don’t stop there, and look to their Denver peers to draw inspiration from. Zach: “The Motet informs our sound as well, because they’re mostly instrumental, a lot of tight rhythms and tight lines just trying to keep it more fresh, not trying to sound like anyone else.” Then Dustin brought up the Magic Beans. “Another local band, and I’m actually looking at their poster right now that we’ve come to grow with is the Magic Beans. They really welcomed us with really open arms, and gave us a guideline that we’re still following like traveling with your own lighting guy, which we’ve recently done by picking up our own light rig to travel with. I mean, just how they’ve been organizing their own festival (Beanstalk) and we look up to them as far as building a really dedicated following, because their fans are really really dedicated.” This is an understatement, the Beans are awesome, and “dedicated” is a polite way of saying “obsessed.”
On the topic of who they’d want to play with, true to their roots Zack quickly said STS9, but, “We’re opening up for Tauk at the Fox Theater on October 17th, that’s a band that we’ve been listening to a LOT in the past year or two, so we’re pretty thrilled to be given that opportunity.” Another great opportunity is their recent Grassroots sponsorship, so keep an eye out for a Vine Street Vibes hat around winter time which is set to coincide with their first official studio EP.
“A lot of our music is very improvisational, about 50% of our show is jams and improv. Getting into the studio we really want to show people what our concrete writing style is, so we’ll be focusing a lot more on shortening up the parts and showing people different glimpses of us.” – Zach
The guys are hitting the studio in late September and plan on releasing the EP titled “Nebula” in its fully mastered glory in late Fall early Winter. “Nebula” is one of their newer tracks they’ve been playing live (definitely check it out a live version on their Soundcloud page.) It’s always interesting to listen to how a jamband, especially one with a big band, improv heavy sound like VSV, translates from live to putting pen on paper and committing to a single version of a song to be recorded.
To help describe their style, Dylan chimed in: “It’s electro space funk, that’s what we classify ourselves as. We’re trying to set a space and time in our music where the form is there, but there’s a sense of openness and fluidity to our music. As far as what our studio sound is, it’s hard to say at this point because we’re 80% live to 20% recorded studio music, so we have yet to explore that side of our playing. So much has been invested in getting those live tracks up, and not really focusing on the studio stuff, so we’re really excited to test that out.” To check out a preview of their studio sound, “Iridescence” is a good place to start.
I’m taking a guess here, but the Umphrey’s influence goes beyond the musical styles. With six people on stage at one time, communication becomes important. Smaller bands have enough of a hard time trying to keep everyone from leading at once. Out of the Umphrey’s playbook (and many other bands) they developed their own sign language. “We actually wrote our own sign language for the band, we can sign each other different letters and dictate majors and minor. So if you ever see some weird sign language, that’s us changing things and taking a new direction.” – Zach.
We’re feeling very strong and confident now. We’re really tying to keep everything fresh right now, pushing ourselves forward, pushing the music forward. – Zach
After the EP, the band is already planning an album for next summer or fall and have their sights set for festivals around the country (including the Midwest, my people.) If you’re interested in getting involved, give them a shout about street teaming, get on the mailing list and keep an eye on them on facebook and twitter.
Vine Street Vibes is Zack Smith on Lead Guitar, Carl Cox on saxophone & keyboards, Dylan Buddeke on bass, Garrett Grisby on percussion and Dustin Cross on Drums, taking electro space funk on tour in their brand new van.