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Vacationer’s Kenny Vasoli Talks Influences and Coming Back to Boston

Stephanie Richards ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

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Last time Vacationer was in town, they played a fun show at Brighton Music Hall and teased a couple of songs from their soon-to-be-released album, Relief. Now, that album is out and Vacationer is wrapping up their promotional tour in Boston at the Sinclair this Monday. In anticipation, Emertainment Monthly called up frontman Kenny Vasoli to get the scoop.

Emertainment Monthly: We’re so excited to have you here in Boston on Monday—we haven’t seen you since March; are you stoked to come back?

Kenny Vasoli: Very stoked! Yeah, that was one of the standout shows.

This time around, is there a venue or city you’re most looking forward to revisiting this tour?

Well, there are only three days left, and we’re playing Albany today, and we’re playing Northampton the day before Boston, and then Boston. So out of those three—not to knock the other cities—but Boston is definitely the one we’re looking forward to the most. And we have a show the day before Thanksgiving at Union Transfer in Philadelphia that we’re very excited about, as well.

Cool. What was a show that you really had a lot of fun on earlier in this tour?

The show we played in Los Angeles at the Roxy was really great. I felt like that performance was most locked, and I can really remember it, and the crowd was just incredible. For LA crowds, they can sort of swing either way for us, like if we’re performing with another band that’s drawing a lot of the crowd, it’s easier for the crowd to be toned down. But this show is anything but. Pretty rowdy and really fun.

So last time you guys came around, you were co-headlining with Hellogoodbye; this tour you seem to be matched up with a couple of other bands—how’s that experience different for you?

Yeah, Hellogoodbye picked us out to do that tour, and then this time around, we got to pick Brick + Mortar to tour with. And as much as we love Hellogoodbye, it’s a nice change in energy to tour with Brick + Mortar, and in some places be the majority of the draw. Only because people are in the know about our band and they’ve already got the memo… It just already gives us a leg up, and we end up having a more enjoyable time when everybody is in the know.

So do the bands you tour with have any influence in what you write—melodically, lyrically or vibe-wise?

Certain bands, for sure. I’d say that Bombay Bicycle Club is the greatest example of that. We were fans of the band before we even toured with them, or we even go the offer to. Ever since touring with them, it kind of astounded me how well they established themselves as musicians and as a band, and also remained down to earth. They’re a pretty exemplary band, in my mind.

Your latest album, Relief, was released in June. What would you say were some of the stronger influences while you were writing these tracks?

Musically, we were listening to a lot of ‘60s, ‘70s soundtrack music. Like, everything from Martin Denny Brazillian music would weigh in on production of this record. In terms of modern stuff, we still liked listening to instrumental hip-hop. We were influenced by like, J Dilla, and then the Talking Heads and LCD Soundsystem. The bands that do the dance thing in an artful way.

Is that how you would describe the difference between Gone and Relief?

Yes, when people ask how I differentiate them, or how I see the progression going with the circuit, I like to say that it’s along the same path, but it’s a little bit more dimensional than the first one was. I think we just expanded our horizons on this one. We brought in a lot more ensembles to record and used a lot more natural orchestration, instead of just trying to do it all in the box.

On the whole, your music evokes certain images—it’s a tropical feeling—yet Philadelphia and Brooklyn don’t really seem lend themselves to that atmosphere, I’m guessing.

I think it comes from a necessity to escape the cold; we go to Brooklyn and turn up the heater and write this. It really helps our mindset during the winter. We usually start writing in the summer, but then once it gets to crunch time, it ends up being winter. It’s a nice retreat. It’s funny that people call it ‘tropical’ so much because there’s never really—I guess there’s mention of summertime, and stuff like that—but we never really talk about the beach or anything specific to tropical… I guess it’s just the vibe of the music.

I guess it might also be on the part of some of your music videos including pictures of palm trees.

Yeah, we definitely use that imagery a lot.

On the whole, would you say this shaped by any personal motto or attitude towards life?

Definitely. This record is much more of a motivational attitude kind of record, rather than a specific time-and-place kind of record. The first record was very much marking a place in my life, and documenting certain memories that I had and wanted to hold on to. This one is more a mindset record, and reminding myself to relax and enjoy life and stay in the moment.

I think that’s a great message for us all to hold on to.

Thanks. That’s my hope: that people can gravitate towards that, and find it useful.

Last question! What have we got to look forward to on Monday when you guys are in town?

We’re gonna see some friends; the singer of Rhinos, from back in the day, lives in Boston now. He’s a good friend of ours. He always puts a smile on our face. Besides that, we’ll probably get in with just enough time to chill out a little bit and then play the show, and that’ll be the last show of the tour. A nice, last ‘hurrah’ for this run.

Thank you so much for you time!

Thank you very much, I appreciate it.

Don’t miss Vacationer tomorrow night at the Sinclair

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