Volly & Jamey Blaze of Vantana Row.
KIM ACRYLIC: Hey there, Volly! Thanks for joining me. I have interviewed several musicians, however, your style of tunes, and way of life is very unique. Let's start first with, you live in a van and that's where Vantana Row got it's name:
VOLLY: Aw, I thought she was going to interview both of us.
JAMEY: That's alright. Maybe she is only interested in you, and not the band. A rash assumption. But it wouldn't be the first time that someone feigned interest in our band while holding a crush during the post/hardcore years.
JAMEY: Wait, wait just go ahead and maybe Kim Acrylic won't mind if I answer some of the nerdier questions.
KIM ACRYLIC: Are you kidding me?! I'm SO glad you showed up! I wanna pick your brain ,too! So, here we go! You and your only other band member, Jamey *grins* are actually married,
does that make for difficulties being together that much, or are you each others muses? Jump in here, Jamey!
JAMEY: We fight a lot. And, "We fight a lot..." was actually something that Volly said in our wedding ceremony.
VOLLY: Oh my god you are ruining another interview.
JAMEY: MAUMEE I LOVE YOU!!!!
KIM ACRYLIC: *laughs!* I'm dying over here! So, Chiptune and Trapunk. That is original. What made you say, OH! THIS IS THE STYLE I'M FEELIN'?
JAMEY: Lol, well, our Florence and the Machine / Lana Del Ray / Adele youtube playlist just wasn't giving us that direct hit of videogame nostalgia and low frequency hood-reminiscent legato.
KIM ACRYLIC: Chiptune in case our readers didn't know, is video game sounds/tunes. What are some of your favorite games and consoles? I'm personally hooked on Left 4 Dead 2. I'm a Zombie killing junkie!
VOLLY: WE LOVE KILLING ZOMBIES! We still have Resident Evil 2 for our N64! We even watch non-commentated walk-throughs of some of the newer Resident Evil games. We are addicted!!!
JAMEY: Right now, Volly and I are playing Morrowind for the original XBOX. It's the prequel to Oblivion, which is the prequel to the popular medieval and magical role playing game, Skyrim
VOLLY: Oh, Morrowind has zombies too
KIM ACRYLIC: I definitely need to get more into video games. My boyfriend would love that as well. *laughs* For those who are deprived of Vantana Row, how many records have you released, and where can they buy them?
JAMEY: We should keep it simple and say that our three self-titled records are buyable and stream-able online (iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, etc)
KIM ACRYLIC: You, Volly, are on lead vocals, so, who are some singers you are envious of?
VOLLY: The first that come to mind are Courtney Love and Kathleen Hanna, then come Bjork and Dolores O'Riordan. Jordan Blilie and Johnny Whitney from The Blood Brothers have a really interesting timbre to their vocals so I will include them. Something you may not know is that Jamey is a vocal inspiration for me, he has been a vocalist in many of his past projects, I've always envied and fallen in love with his vocals.
KIM ACRYLIC: You also have a online TV series about living in your van. I've seen a few episodes, and I'm diggin' it. What is the story behind that?
VOLLY: I think it was a mixture of things. On the surface it was because people always have questions about the way we live and due to our creativity (and social awkwardness) we decided the best way for us to answer those questions was through visual media. Jamey has a lot of experience in video editing due to jobs he has had in that field, so it made sense to utilize that skill. The more personal reason stems from my issues with memory. There have been many times where Jamey would recall past experiences, with me unable to remember them. This has been a hard thing to cope with, but through ingenuity he came up with the idea of us filming most of our experiences in order for me to remember them. A very sweet gesture that has resulted in our web series.
JAMEY: Ya know, reading your answer, it's kinda hard not to think of "The Notebook" right? Vantana Notebook. Shoulda gone with that one! We missed our chance at a great band name. Isn't Ventana a bicycle production company already anyway? It might be cringey but let's just change our name to The Notebooks. At least it's better than just Notebooks, right?
KIM ACRYLIC: Or "the Chromebooks?" *laughs*Your lyrics are actually written by fans, right? Explain that story a little bit.
VOLLY: Now, do remember that I am a poet/lyricist myself. Not all our songs are written by fans. Usually we will decide an album will be a #iwriteforvantanarow project before we start and let people know that we are ready for lyrics. We have always loved the idea of community. The #iwriteforvantanarow program was based on that love. The idea being that if anyone could write for Vantana Row, then anyone could be IN Vantana Row. We want people to be a part of what we're doing, writing lyrics just seemed the most participatory way.
*KIM ACRYLIC: No I did not for get that you were a writer. I was just in love with the idea of your#iwriteforvantanarow That I wasn't sure how much was all yours or all fans *giggles* Hey, So do you actually go out and play gigs much, and where has the best place to play live been?
JAMEY: We played out maybe a half-dozen times last year when we were forming, but since January, we have been saving, dealing with some serious family matters, getting married; the less interesting essentials of life. We actually had two shows booked for this month but cancelled them in May because there are just a few more things with our live show (lighting equipment, crew) that we are solidifying last-minute.
KIM ACRYLIC: When we met,Volly, you talked about fate and things being "magical" I found that beautiful. Is that a mutual belief you and Jamey share about the world?
VOLLY: Jamey actually grew up around women who have a magical mentality. It's a part of him. For me, I had to find it for myself. I grew up reading fairytales, legends, and myths. I wanted them to be real. Once I was old enough, I surrounded myself with people who reminded me of those magical stories I used to read. That was partially what drew me to Jamey.
KIM ACRYLIC: I'm an urban legends geek. Just love them! You also mentioned to me that you, Volly were Bipolar. How has that affected your music, if at all?
VOLLY: I think my disorder was going to effect our music whether we acknowledged it or not. To me, the real effect has been us choosing to be honest with bipolar, to use it as an expression. In Vantana Row 3 we go back and forth between different genres and styles, similar to the way that bipolar causes my emotions to go extremely back and forth from happiness to sadness to anger. Almost all of the lyrics that I write are me trying to deal and accept my disorder. For us this is not only the type of music we want to hear, but it is also our way of dealing with it.
KIM ACRYLIC: Are you guys political at all, who are you voting for this time around?
JAMEY: No, we aren't political in a way that we exclusively address concepts and issues brought up in mainstream debates or things like that. The lyrics that we write are meant to shroud awkwardness for the outsiders, giving courage for weird and lgbtq people to show each other timid affection.
VOLLY: In my family politics was the main discussion rather than sports or music. I think at this point in my life I could really give a f***. I'm over it. Lol.
KIM ACRYLIC: You had said you use other people's lyrics and poetry for your music...
JAMEY: She must have said that, I... don't know where she went...oh, there she is!
KIM ACRYLIC: * hehe* That being said, What kind of poetry do you tend to fall in love with?
VOLLY: I used to love old Victorian poetry the most, but as I've gotten older the most real is what I prefer. The kind that flows without thought, that comes from your soul and you can't control it and it may not rhyme, but it has more meaning that way. I love poetry that makes me feel okay about what I'm going through. Stuff that makes me think.
KIM ACRYLIC: Is there any music that you wont listen to?
JAMEY: If there's any music I won't listen to, it's anything with rapping or screaming lol Terrible...distorted guitars, meant to be clean, acoustic and natural. I think it was electricity, a great transgression upon this planet that ruined music.
VOLLY: Oh god.
KIM ACRYLIC: What really turns you off musically and lyrically?
VOLLY: Anything that is soulless. I hate people speaking of things that are not encouraging or don't promote self understanding. Musically, I just can't stand anything that is weak or sleepy. I like sad music, just not sad and droopy music.
KIM ACRYLIC: I love sad, melancholy music. That's my true love! You guys are from the East Bay area, what's going on as far as scenes over there these days, and do you feel like you have a fan base and are able to reach other and be listened to?
VOLLY: Jamey you take this one, I don't know. Haha.
JAMEY: I feel like the scene died instead evolving like it should have. I sincerely feel to blame for not helping it when I could have. I wasn't aware of the scene's level of dependence on people like myself to stay in it for it to not become awkward. I've always been the clown that filters the awkwardness to themselves, freeing the fiesta to continue with a lower standard of false sophistication.
KIM ACRYLIC: Besides music and the band, what else would you say ranks as the most important thing in your lives at the moment?
VOLLY: Truthfully, we've made Vantana Row our life. Everything we do is related, but if I were held at gunpoint and forced to answer something unrelated I would say, "Oh god, um sh** I guess Morrowind? It's not that important, but it's the only thing I can think of. I'm sorry please don't hurt me."
JAMEY: We go out, film, jam, talk..The confusing aspect to your question derives from us making all of those things a part of Vantana Row by now. What were previously a bunch of random activities are now all things done in the name of...The Notebooks (previously known as Vantana Row).
*KIM ACRYLIC: Any interesting "starstruck" moments while living the dream?
JAMEY: Buzz Osbourne( of the Melvins) walked by me and ten minutes later some guy comes up to me asking if we have jumper cables, I don't like this guy this much for some reason telling him I don't, we watch him as he walks back to Buzz Osbourne's car as Buzz is still tinkering with it. So we end up figuring out that the guy was asking for Buzz Osbourne and I feel like a selfish, shallow, judgmental snobby piece of trash, etc.
KIM ACRYLIC: Ah! The Melvins, great band! What are some of your personally favorite songs out of your discography?
JAMEY: Capitalism Tastes Like Sugar, Tap Water On The Roxx, Sachiko Drippin Jelly.
Sometimes it's easier to find them if you just type them in a search engine, make sure to spell correctly though, lol tricky, tricky search engines
VOLLY: WITCHIE WOOCHIE, Gamora, I Adore Ya, Who The Fuck Is Robert Soley?, Tap Water On The Roxx, Social Coffee & Tea Garden, Ich Lebe Noch
KIM ACRYLIC: And lastly, tell us why we should listen to Vantana Row, really convince us!
JAMEY: Tough one. What if I said that we a a self-proclaimed LGBTQ punk band that lives in their van and has an online show about it? Come on, that's gotta be something, geez idk. How about: We're two internal lesbians who wish that our skin tone was actually a category-confusing shade of nothing.
VOLLY: Haha, what he said. And also, I feel we are a different perspective of the young-adult lifestyle, something to learn about and listen to that you haven't heard before. To me, that's a lot.
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