After years of refining their artfully bombastic sound on stages all over Long Beach and OC, The Vespertines continue to be a major force on the local live music scene. Featuring vocalist/ trumpet player Vanessa Acosta, drummer Chris Walker (with current fill in drummer Dan Birker), guitarist Alex Kater and bassist Kyle Cavness, the group have been making music and playing shows since 2009. With an extremely eclectic sound, listeners can hear everything from jazz, funk, folk, soul, ska, dub reggae, post rock, prog rock, psychedelic all in one song. The Vespertines have built up a local following of dedicated fans who cant get enough of the groups slick, spacey, passionate brand of rock fusion.
Kater and Cavaness recently took time to speak with the Weekly about the band's many musical influences, favorite local venues, and what it's like to be part of such a vibrant, bustling local music scene in Long Beach. The band is currently promoting a new album, Areté, which was produced and recorded in the Joshua tree desert, at a studio also used by Queens of the Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys.
The OC Weekly (Alex Distefano): Tell us some of the music that has influenced The Vespertines' sound.
Alex Kater: We listen to a lot of different music and have a ton of influences. Jimi Hendrix Led Zeppelin, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Mars Volta, just to name a few. I'm sure if Vanessa were here she would definitely say Miles Davis among other great jazz musicians.
Kyle Cavaness: We all like to listen to all sorts of stuff. Dub Reggae, post rock, anything that sounds good and turns us on, really. We're instrumentalists first. Our singer writes most of the lyrics and melodies, but as musicians we're focused on what we're playing. We want to keep the music that we play interesting to people; a lot of people focus on the singing.
Tell us what's it like being a part of the Long Beach/OC music scene
Kater: We're exposed to a lot of great artists out there. It makes it more difficult for us to stand out, but it still improves us as musicians because we're constantly surrounded by some of the best musicians and bands here in LA.
Cavaness: We're friends with some great bands who take their music as serious as we do; bands like Bella Novela, and Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel. You get to see, and hear bands like this and it makes you want to push yourself.
What are some of your favorite local venues?
Cavaness: We had a residency for six months at Harvelles, which ended like a year and a half ago. It was cool we got close to the people there and made lots of fans and friends. We also liked playing at Detroit Bar as well, but it's not called Detroit Bar anymore.
Kater: The sound at Harvelles in Long Beach is really good, and they are all professional and on top of their game. We like playing Alex's Bar as well, but we'll play anywhere.
Do you have plans to tour with The Vespertines?
Cavaness: It's more of a goal than anything. We would love to get out there and share what we're doing with our music. We just have to find like-minded weirdoes into what we're putting out there. We all definitely have to have day jobs. I am a writer, Alex does Web design, and everyone else in our band works in retail.
Kater: It's kind of hard to grow our audience without getting more press and getting our name out there. I would say that of the fan base we've built, they are fans that are really into our music. We don't really attract casual listeners we attract real music fans, we're not drawing in the average Justin Beiber fans.
Tell us about your new album Areté.
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Cavaness: It feels good to get this new album out; finally we want to get back to writing more music and playing more shows. Arete was recorded by a guy named Eric Ryan, in a studio in Joshua tree where bands like Queens of the Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys recorded. It was a really fun, interesting process. With this album we took Long Beach to the desert and got a little but out of our comfort zone. We recorded it last year but we're releasing it now, and are very excited, because we can't want to get back to playing more shows, then eventually writing more music.
The Vespertines perform at Federal Underground in Long Beach, Wed. Sept. 3, 2014. Located at 102 Pine Ave, Long Beach, (562) 435-2000.