Following the release and successful debut of their album Gone in 2012, Surf Collective sat down with Kenny Vasoli, the lead singer of the critically acclaimed “nu-hula” group, Vacationer to find out just what makes them tick. And now, almost 2 years later, we are revisiting that discussion in time for the purveyors of feel-good vibes’ release of their follow-up album, Relief. Just as their music gives us that itch for adventure, we at Surf Collective were eager to catch up with Vasoli to discuss everything from his aspirations for the future, to what bands have most influenced our generation and much more.
Be sure to catch Vacationer at Webster Hall in New York City on October 4th; you won’t be disappointed. Full tour schedule can also be found below.
INTERVIEW | KENNY VASOLI
Surf Collective: Who, in your opinion, are the top 10 bands of our generation ? And how have they impacted you and your music?
Kenny Vasoli: Love this question. Radiohead. I just never get sick of them. They are like 3 great bands with different wonderful sounds, rolled into one anomaly.
Nirvana. From good bands to bad bands, they’ve arguably influenced rock and roll more than any other of my generation. Since I’ve first heard them at 9 years old until now 21 years later, I’m still a fan.
LCD Soundsystem. Fun, hilarious, thought provoking, dance-inducing, genre-melting, and (in my opinion) generation-defining.
Aphex Twin. I believe he is the most influential figure in electronic music. True icon.
Bjork. She’s a miracle of an artist. Awe inspiring in terms of ability a well as creativity.
Talking Heads/David Byrne. I might be sliding slightly out of my generation, but this music had blown my mind at an early age. It’s now more relevant to me than ever.
Beck. The dude is such a force. I respect and connect with his desire to always try something different. He follows his heart and shines bright doing so.
Fugazi. This band is what punk is all about for me. They brought the punks to the edge of the universe. They started a movement that took the monotony out of the genre. They continually prove to be vastly ahead of their time. On top of that, I always soundcheck my bass with the Waiting Room riff.
Beach House. Let me put it this way, it was between seeing Bjork for the first time or seeing Beach House for the first time at Bonnaroo 2013. I went to Beach House without hesitation. They hit me just right, I can’t get enough of their songs. A major influence on my melodies in Vacationer.
Grizzly Bear. They get better with every record. Something tells me that I’ll be revisiting every one they have put out many times throughout my life. They are a perfect combination of musicians
SC: If you didn’t start a band, what would be another passion you would pursue?
KV: I’ve had visions of opening a small, chill coffee place. Specializing in cold brew coffee. I think that’s the main option that could hold my interest outside of music.
SC: Favorite new artist right now… and go!
KV: Louis Cole. He is new to me. Album 2 is a masterwork in my opinion, cannot recommend it enough.
SC: Your video for “Wild Life” is so awesome, where was it filmed and what was the inspiration behind it?
KV: Thanks! We filmed it in Nosara, Costa Rica. Josh from Downtown Records took a surf trip down there a few months before our shoot. When he returned, he insisted we make the video there. He was right, the vibe is perfect there. I took to it right away. The air is warm and muscle-relaxing. The beaches were foggy and mystical with gorgeous waves. The people were as friendly as I’ve encountered. We wanted to capture all of that in the video. I was unfiltered showing my enjoyment in front of the camera.
SC: Where is your favorite place to vacation/ what is one of your favorite vacation stories?
KV: I love Holland. I once took a week long vacation there by myself. I brought a guitar. Spoke to very few people and just observed the city and its inhabitants. I loved it. It inspired many lyrics. I hope to return in the near future.
SC: A lot has happened since our last interview in 2012, what had you hoped to accomplish and what are you looking to accomplish with the group and personally?
KV: Every accomplishment has been right on track with my hopes for this band. We are able to sustain ourselves a bit better on the road these days, which is crucial. We’ve gotten to play some very cool festivals, which was a big goal. I had hoped to make another record I could be proud of, and that has been fulfilled with Relief. I want to keep this same path on the incline. I can’t put into words how much enjoyment I get out of people engaging with my music in this band. I love my bandmates, the shows and the concert goers so much. I want to keep it growing, and for our full potential to be completely realized in a natural progression. I want us to be the causers of good times.