Before hitting the road for the summer, NYC-based band VHS Collection sat down with Red's to talk about their influences, upcoming projects and the most ambitious tour they've ever played.
Red's: Tell us about the birthplace of the group.
VHS Collection: The band was born in New York. Conor and James grew up here and went to grade school together, I [Nils] was born here and went to high-school with James. We each pursued our individual musical interests passionately and played together whenever we could over the years. Then not too long ago we ended up back in New York at the right time to join forces and start this band and really make a run for it.
Red's: How has that place and other locations influenced you and your music?
VHS Collection: The city has definitely played a role. There’s no way not to be influenced by the incredible live music scene. Having access to and being exposed to such a wide variety of bands and genres shaped our musical sensibilities. I can’t tell you exactly how New York has influenced the music but its soul in there.
Red's: How would you describe your music?
VHS Collection: The music is really the center point on the Venn diagram of our respective musical tastes. It’s what drew us together in the first place. Growing up at the same time in the same city you can’t help but be exposed to the same music. We had a general discussion of the direction of the band in the very beginning, but it’s been much more of an organic process since then. It takes shape slowly and subtly as we play each other songs we’ve written and play new and old influences we're listening to.
Red's: What influences you creatively? Do you have a process?
VHS Collection: Our process has gotten more and more efficient over the last year or so. Generally we’ll have a month or so apart where we are each writing songs. Then we’ll head to the woods upstate and play everything we’ve come up with to each other. The best songs rise to the top, and we then spend a few weeks workshopping; improving lyrics and testing out production ideas until we end up with 15 or so demos that were really happy with. Then we send those around to producers we admire or would like to work with, see who gets back to us, go into the studio and bust them out!
Red's: How do you differentiate yourselves in a world where music is available anywhere and everywhere?
VHS Collection: We don’t set out to differentiate. We really just write and play the music that comes to us and that we like the best. It’s just a really lucky by product that our sound has been able to cut through the galaxy of music that is available at everyone's fingertips these days, and reach millions of people that seem to love it. Having almost 10mm plays on a single song is so encouraging for a new band like us and inspires us to push harder and keep improving.
Red's: Your Instagram (@vhscollection) informed us that y'all have been "Makin' Beats"? Care to elaborate...?
Last winter we were writing maniacally. We recently spent a month in London recording with Chris Zane (Passion Pit, St. Lucia) and left with 8 new songs we will be releasing over the next few months.
Red's: When can we expect the VHS album? What should we expect?
VHS Collection: We are releasing the full length album in the fall. It consists mostly of the songs we did in London plus a few others. The songs all hold together nicely as a body of work. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you may find yourself induced into mad fits of involuntarily dancing.
We’ll also be releasing select singles from the record in the coming months. The first single called “So I Met Someone” comes out this Thursday 5/25 on Spotify. We’re proud of this one so be sure to check it out and put it on repeat!
Red's: What was the inspiration behind the new material?
VHS Collection: We have been working hard on songwriting and production to stay true to our sound, but also evolve as much as possible.
Red's: What's the best way to gain access to your new music?
VHS Collection: We will be releasing all new tracks on Spotify and iTunes. Also we will be playing a few new songs on our upcoming tour in June.
Red's: How has the touring evolved for the band and each member personally?
VHS Collection: I think it’s safe to say all three of us love being on the road. Being able to explore the country has been great. We are legitimately surprised when we play a city we have never been to and people know the words! The shit is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
Red's: What is your dream venue to play?
VHS Collection: (in unison) MSG
Red's: Tell us about your upcoming Summer Tour 2017?
VHS Collection: We're super pumped! This is the most ambitious tour we have ever played.
Red's: What should folks expect from the Summer Tour?
VHS Collection: Some ripping new tunes, big improvements to the old songs, and some trippy extended jams.
Red's: Do y'all have a set list in mind for the tour, or will the look change night to night?
VHS Collection: We have enough songs now where the setlist will ebb and flow with how we’re feeling that day.
Red's: Where can we see VHS next?
VHS Collection: We’ll be hitting these cities in June:
- Thu 1-Jun Chicago, IL Chop Shop
- Fri 2-Jun Pontiac, MI Pike Room
- Sat 3-Jun Cincinnati, OH Bunbury Festival
- Tue 6-Jun Seattle, WA Vera Project
- Wed 7-Jun Portland, OR Lola's Room
- Thu 8-Jun San Francisco, CA Café Du Nord
- Sat 10-Jun Los Angeles, CA The Troubadour
- Mon 12-Jun San Diego, CA Soda Bar
- Sun 25-Jun Miami, FL
- Thu 29-Jun New York, NY Music Hall of Williamsburg
- Sat 8-Jul Montauk, NY Surf Lodge
Red's: Where can we get tickets?
VHS Collection: http://www.vhs.nyc/shows/
Red's: Any surprises we should keep an eye out for....?
VHS Collection: James will be wearing the same romper for the entire month of June.
Red's: Speaking of fashion, what is the best experience you’ve had while rocking a pair of Red’s?
VHS Collection: Onstage at Okeechobee festival in Florida. The three of us looked rad as shit in our Campbell, Rankin, and Tate frames. As the sun set over the everglades, more and more sun-baked festival goers flocked to our stage forming an endless sea of flags and lights and fist pumps. People were belting out the words, as we played the final songs under the stars, wearing our sunglasses at night.
Quick Hits with VHS Collection….
Favorite LCD Soundsystem song? “Someone Great”
Favorite spot to surf? Point Dune, Malibu
Most memorable concert you’ve ever seen? Phish Radio City, 2000
Most memorable concert you’ve ever played? Bowery Ballroom to sold out crowd of friends.
The Stones or The Beatles? Beatles
What was the last song you listened to? “Emotion” by BORNS
Most important item on your Writer that you must have backstage? Lentils
Best place to get Dumplings in NYC? Formerly Prosperity Dumplings, a New York Icon that tragically burned to the ground. Now Vanessa's will have to do.
To kick off all our road trips, the fellas were kind enough to create a summer playlist for us. Enjoy!