One of our favorite indie music duos is Jenny & Tyler. They have been a …0 comments Read More
Q&A with The Vespers
Brothers Taylor & Bruno Jones and sisters Callie & Phoebe Cryar make up the dynamic new Americana quartet The Vespers. Their sophomore project The Fourth Wall has established them as one of the best and brightest new talents on the music scene. I recently sat down with them to talk about the band and their art.
DT: When did you guys form as a band?
Callie: Well, we met at a Bluegrass jam and we didn’t really get along super great during the first meeting. We kind of laugh about it now, but we had some interesting first impressions. But over time, we warmed up to each other a little bit and decided to collaborate on some music stuff.
Bruno: If you could almost think of two people who are completely alike and then two people who are on the most opposite spectrum that is humanly possible known to humans, then that was my brother and I versus Callie and Phoebe Cryar at the beginning of our friendship.
Taylor: Yeah, we met at a cookout and then like six months later, we started going to each other’s local shows in Nashville. Then someone got the bright idea that we should collaborate and we tried it out and we just went from being a fun little side project to what we do all the time now, three years and a half later.
DT: What was the overall goals you had with your latest project?
Callie: We definitely were all in agreement that compared to our first record, The Fourth Wall is a lot less sweet. Our first album… it’s a little more juvenile, I guess, just because we were soyoungwhen we made it and this one is a little more gritty and a little more rustic. And most of the production of the songs was formed because we were touring and playing those songs to live audiences. So, I think the new album has more of a live feel, and that was what we wanted to convey. More energy and how our show has kind of evolved as we’ve been travelling a lot and learning how to perform better.
Taylor: I think an album in its definition is basically summing up where an artist is in this moment in time in their career. And I think that was one of the things that was in the back of our heads too, “Hey, look, that first record was exactly where we were when we made that one. So let’s document where we are now.” And we didn’t have to try all that hard to try to push the differences because it’s just gonna be obvious because we were different people than we are now. We did 200+ shows since then, compared to zero at first. We made that first record almost like a science project in your garage. But, yeah, we just wanted to sum up where we are now and enter another part of our personality that hadn’t been documented yet.
DT: Were you excited about how the full production of the opening track “Better Now” turned out?
Phoebe: I was excited about it ever since we decided we were going to make a record because it was a newer song, so I was more excited about it. But I didn’t realize that it was going to sound that good afterwards. In the studio it was a lot of deciding to put instruments on it on the fly. We put a bunch of organ sounds and really cool keys and stuff that we had never really experimented with. And we had them in the studio so we decided to try it out and it just really filled it out and made it sound huge… a lot better than I was expecting.
Taylor: Yeah, we had a string section on that too. Production-wise, I think it went deeper than the rest of them – there are probably more instruments on that song than the rest. Also, she said, “it’s new”… I think that’s exciting. As a writer you’re more excited about your newest song than any song, and the direction that you’re going rather than looking back – whereas fans are looking back always at what you had, and we’re always kind of looking ahead. I think that song is a good representation of where we’re going and what maybe the next record is going to vibe and sounds like. We’re just improving and learning more about what we’re doing.
DT: You seem to be open about your faith. Are you comfortable weaving spiritual themes throughout your music?
Phoebe: Well, honestly, I find it hard to keep it out of the art. All four of us are pretty serious about this – this is our life. We’re children of God – He made us – we’re instruments for Him. It’s hard not to let that guide your every step. When you make music, you make music about your life and things that you’re going through, things that you’re struggling with. It seems pretty natural to me.
Bruno: Yeah, it seems like there’s a lot of guys out there who don’t want to mix their faith with their art because they think it’s bad for business. I think for us, we write songs and then we play them and we release them. We don’t target it to one type of believer. It’s like, “Hey, this is our deal. It doesn’t have to be your deal. But if it is your deal, we hope you can relate to it.” It’s pretty simple.
Callie: I think it can work the other way around, too. I think some artists don’t want to write anything that is not about faith or God, and I think we’re comfortable writing whatever we feel like writing. I think that’s where the balance comes in. It’s not really a very pre-meditated thought-out balance; it’s just sort of what you naturally feel like writing at times.
Taylor: It’s as simple as being honest as a writer. Whatever you’re feeling that day you need to embrace it as a writer. You can’t fabricate something - which is so huge where we come from. [In Nashville] it’s like, “Okay, I need a song for this artist, it’s going to sound like this last artists’ biggest hit.” We’re just the opposite of that. We’re trying our best to just be honest with what’s inside here, creatively or whatever. And all that’s God – it’s just whatever He’s given us. Great songs are found, you know what I mean? Some decent songs are written, but the great ones are found inside or elsewhere. We just try to be honest about it, and we’re not worried about what genre we get put in or how we get judged, or if we’re good enough for Christian radio or if we’re not “Christian” enough, or if we’re too “Christian” for pop radio. We don’t care. In this market right now, you can sing about whatever you want to and if people like it, there you go.
Make sure to listen to UTR episode #191, where The Vespers are our special guest all hour. And beginning June 27, we will be giving you a chance to win a stack of autographed CD’s including their latest, The Fourth Wall.