Vinyette is a rock quartet based in New York City, their music reminiscent of the grunge exuberance of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There recent single, “Charlie,” is a hard-driving rock protest song about love?with an American-style gypsy?gone bad, a paean of praise to the charms of the lost love at the same time as It’s an expression of grief and bitterness. Last year the band members quit their jobs for a four month tour that took them from California to Europe (they opened for Marky Ramone and Andrew W.K. in the Czech Republic). Recently, lead singer Nathan Frye and drummer Jonathan Crowley took the time to answer Wanda Waterman’s questions about their musical influences.
What influence has New York had on the development of your sound?
JONATHAN CROWLEY: Probably monumental. It makes things a bit more urgent. Every week seems like a month, in a good way. You can pack so much into one day. It goes by fast but you also catch yourself saying, “Wow, that was a week ago? Feels like months ago.”
The best thing about New York is that you never know where the day is going to go. It’s best to just have an open mind. I’ve been told the best thing about our music is you never know where It’s going. It’s full of surprises if you just walk through the right door.
What personal life circumstances lead to the writing of “Just to Get Away?”
NATHAN FRYE: The inspiration there is true to the band’s actual experience. We all quit our day jobs to tour the nation and then Europe, both writing and performing our music. The song was inspired by all the struggle and strife that led to the decision to take such a big risk and follow our dreams as a band.
There’s a wonderful retro quality to your music and also to the video for “Just to Get Away.” When you look to the past for inspiration, what do you search for?
NATHAN FRYE: I think It’s extremely important to study the past for historical truth. Humorous as well as critical looks at the development of our society and humanity are important to us. The playful side of our digestion of the past is definitely at work in the video for “Just to Get Away.” Light and shadow are interacting.
Your songs project a degree of introspection. Is that deliberate?
NATHAN FRYE: Thank you, it is absolutely deliberate. I think we aim to be introspective in an open fashion, in hopes it will inspire introspection in others. It’s a fine line as productive songwriters? introspection versus self-absorption. Self-awareness is a key factor in societies? growth, past or present, whether it be to a negative or positive effect.
If your band’s life were a movie, what kinds of scenes would fill it?
NATHAN FRYE: Those “ah ha” moments, as we say. The reveal. Moments of harvest. Moments of either deep confusion or understanding. Somewhere in the place where Yin meets Yang.
What conditions do you require in your life in order to go on being creative?
NATHAN FRYE: I need to be really busy, to the point where I have to hustle to work with the band. I find it harder to focus on writing or musical inspiration when I have only the band to focus on. I need to be active physically and socially. I love to be studying all sorts of subjects from politics to lighting techniques for cameras; even just watching smart comedic or dramatic television and film. I eat up shows like Weekend Update with John Oliver, Arrested Development and Twin Peaks.
I find a lot of inspiration in music from our present and past as well. Lately I’ve been listening to Nirvana’s Bleach on repeat, as well as Run the Jewels 2.
Last but not least, traveling, exploring, and absorbing new places and cultures are great inspiration. I like to collect stories to compare and contrast with my own personal experiences.
If you had an artistic mission statement, what would it be?
NATHAN FRYE: To be so open and honest in our humanity that our art will be dancing in the universe like the earth in our solar system.
Tell us about your current and upcoming projects.
NATHAN FRYE: we’re pretty focused right now, writing tons of new music and coming up with some fun and unique ways to share it with people.
Wanda also writes the blog The Mindful Bard:The Care and Feeding of the Creative Self.