The Basement – 2/20/2020 – V*A*S*E

Andrew Herner

Matt Burdick, Live Music Director

The members of V*A*S*E detailed their upcoming project and gave us an exciting performance of several unreleased songs.

You can hear more about the band on Facebook and Twitter.


Transcript below:

Gia Haddock: Hello everybody, you are listening to The Basement, Impact 89’s live local music show. Tonight we have the band V*A*S*E on. Going to be very exciting. I hope you guys enjoy everything that you will be hearing tonight. I am Gia. 

Matt Burdick: I’m Matt 

Christian Thibodeau: Christian. 

J.T. Jasinski: He’s the singer by the way. 

Christian Thibodeau: Christian – vocals. 

J.T. Jasinski: My name is J.T. I’m one of the guitarists. 

Elijah Simmons: My name is Elijah Simmons. I play drums. 

Derian Parsons: I’m Derian Parsons. Play the bass.

Drew Kussmaul: I’m Drew. I play the guitar. 

Gia Haddock: Okay, so without further ado, if you guys would like to get kickin’, feel free. 

Christian Thibodeau: Yeah, we’ll start off with the song called “Good as Dead.”

*Good as Dead*

Matt Burdick: You’re listening to The Basement on WDBM and we are here with the band V*A*S*E. Do you guys want to talk a little bit about how you all met, how the band got started?

Christian Thibodeau:  Yeah, sure. J.T. and Drew ,our lead guitar and rhythm guitar, they started the band about a year and a half, two years ago. 

Drew Kussmaul: Yeah, basically it was very interesting at the beginning. We weren’t with all these guys. It was just kind of a conception J.T. and I had to start this band and we had a couple songs right at the beginning and after we met these guys, we started writing with them a little more and, you know, making more songs that sound more like we have an identity versus like when we’d play covers and stuff early on. Our first day we actually met Christian, we did a radio show as well, you know, like we picked him up,  “Nice to meet ya,” and then we’re off to the radio station.

Christian Thibodeau: To the cave we went. 

Gia Haddock: So how did you guys all meet? Like, how did you meet everyone else? 

J.T. Jasinski: So Drew and I are obviously cousins, but first off we met Christian. We’d been playing probably like six or seven shows, just us singing at that point with a different bassist and drummer, and then we met Christian in April.

Drew Kussmaul: He was in an old band called The Vidya. 

J.T. Jasinski: Yeah, we met him online, sent him a dm, and it was good timing. They had just broken up actually. Yeah. Sliding in. And then we met Derian in late June, early July. His first gig was actually at Mac’s Bar, so the Lansing ties run strong. And then Elijah on drums. We met him in  mid to late August, and his first show with us was in September, so we’ve been going as this five piece for a little less than half a year, but it’s been a lot of fun. 

Gia Haddock: You guys are definitely sounding very tight if you’ve only been going for a little less than half a year.  You guys are doing great. So I gotta know, “voz” versus “vase”, what is the rationality behind going by “voz?” 

Christian Thibodeau: Well, you talk about it. 

Gia Haddock: That’s true, that’s true. You got me talking.

J.T. Jasinski: I think one thing when we came up with the band name, it was less of like, what does the word mean? We kind of wanted a word that had like , a sound that when you say it, it sticks. And we’re a pretty distorted, like I guess heavy rock band, so we wanted a name that wasn’t like too, you know, you don’t metal or anything. We just wanted like a simple word. So I mean “V*A*S*E” just had that nice like, “Ahh,” you know, so I mean we say “voz“, but others say “vase” and we correct them but at the end of the day the word is two different things. 

Gia Haddock: Okay. Well, if you guys want to get into your next song, go on ahead. 

Christian Thibodeau: This one’s called “Sock It To Me.”

*Sock It To Me*

Matt Burdick: You’re listening to V*A*S*E on The Basement, WDBM. They’re playing some music, you’re listening to it. It’s a fun time. So you guys clearly have a lot of older influences like seventies, eighties, nineties hard rock and metal stuff, and a lot of modern sounds too. How do you guys kind of  take all these diverse sounds and bring it together into something new?

Christian Thibodeau: Well we listen to everything we like to listen to and then we play what we like to listen to as well. So I think that helps a lot to make kind of a collaboration of what inspired us. 

Matt Burdick: And what are some of the bands that are the biggest influence on the music you play? 

J.T. Jasinski: Definitely, I mean I guess I’ll just go from sixties onwards, you know, we like a lot of that psychedelic early heavy metal acid rock. Bands like Grand Funk Railroad from Michigan, obviously Black Sabbath. And then another band that’s one of our favorites, another two bands are early Michigan proto-punk/heavy metal bands in a way – The Stooges and MC5. Then moving on to the late seventies, early eighties, we like a lot of that early punk-rock going from The Ramones and then moving on through bands like Television. 

Drew Kussmaul: And DEVO. 

J.T. Jasinski: DEVO is a very cool band. A lot of post-punk bands. The Feelies, Wipers, and then moving on, we like a little bit of hardcore punk. Black Flag. I guess I’m just naming off names, but I’ll just finish it up with grunge, obviously, is probably our biggest influence. So bands like Nirvana and even a band like Sleater-Kinney.

Drew Kussmaul: And Local H. 

J.T. Jasinski: Local H is very cool band. And then moving on through the 2000s, the new millennium, we got Queens of the Stone Age…

Christian Thibodeau: Foo Fighters. 

J.T. Jasinski: And then it ends. Nah but we’re definitely –  White Stripes, I mean, do you guys want to add on? I know I’m just talking.

Elijah Simmons: Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, a lot of nineties stuff too.

J.T. Jasinski: Yeah nineties are probably the biggest decade for us. 

Gia Haddock: So when you guys are writing, I guess what’s your process of writing and like, will you hear something cool in a song that you love and you’re like, “I kind of want to do something similar to that,” and then you kind of channel that energy when you write a song? Like what’s the process? 

Drew Kussmaul: It’s kind of different for every song. There are some songs where J.T. has come to us with the complete idea and he’ll have the vocal melody and the riffs going and he’ll tell us like certain bands or a song that he was listening to at the time that influenced that. So we have specific bands for specific songs.

 And also since we’ve been coming together as a band, you know, we’ll have, someone will come together with a riff and it’ll be Derian’s riff or something, and then Elijah will hit the drums, and then J.T. will orchestrate the whole thing and be like,  “How many times should we play this? How many times should we play that?” Christian will come in with his vocal melody, or even sometimes before we even get going in practice, usually it’s Derian and Christian, you know, going at the jams and we’ll hear something where we’re like “That could be a song!”  Then we’ll secretly record them while they’re playing.

J.T. Jasinski: Yeah, we get out the iPhone.

Derian Parsons: It kind of just happens spontaneously a lot of times. 

Christian Thibodeau: Yeah if you’re lucky enough to catch a good improv and capture it on phone, then you can repeat it and make a song out of it. 

Matt Burdick: So let’s throw it back a little bit. What was the first song you guys ever learned as a band? A cover or an original.

Drew Kussmaul: The very first day that we ever played as a band was in the fall of 2018 and it was just J.T. and I with two other guys on bass and drums at the time. We were just getting started and we learned a Queens of the Stone Age song, we learned a Yes song, we learned a Nirvana song, and we had two originals at the time that were written by J.T. And now that we’ve, you know, implemented with these guys, we’ve mostly been focused on creating our own stuff with them. But actually, we’re just now working on a new song by The 13th Floor Elevators, so that’ll be hitting the stages soon. 

J.T. Jasinski: Yeah, they’re another really cool late sixties band that we like to champion a lot.

Matt Burdick: Awesome, if you guys want to go into your next song, you can do that now.

Christian Thibodeau: This one’s called “Fired and Free.”

*Fired and Free*

Gia Haddock: You are listening to The Basement and just listened to V*A*S*E kill yet another song of theirs. It was absolutely wonderful. So you guys have been playing a lot of shows it seems like recently, and as I’ve seen, and you guys have a lot of shows coming up. So when you guys are playing a show, where does your mind go? What are you thinking about? 

Derian Parsons: Absolutely nothing 

Elijah Simmons: Just in the moment with everything. 

Derian Parsons: Yeah. 

Christian Thibodeau: Just making cool noises to a lot of people that are trying to have a very good time.

J.T. Jasinski:  I think the more we play, at first you just get super amped for one part of a song and you play it, but then you realize you have to like hit another pedal and then you always forget. That’s definitely one of the worst feelings. But now that we’re starting to play more,or now that we’ve just got more shows under our belt, you focus maybe a little more, but you still have that same intensity and fun. But your mind is a little more zoned-in and just rehashing the same thing, so it’s like clockwork at some point 

Drew Kussmaul: It’s pretty easy to forget where you’re at if everything’s going pretty well, if you haven’t made any mistakes that you can tell, and everything’s sounding good and you can hear the crowd cheering in between each song. It kind of just puts you in that place where you’re not thinking about anything else other than just trying to enjoy it really. 

Matt Burdick: So on you guys’ website, it said you played around like 50 shows in the last year. So how do you go about booking that many shows and just balancing the rest of your life with it?

Christian Thibodeau: J.T.? 

J.T. Jasinski: Ha, I mean I guess like comparing it to like a resume, almost. Like the more shows you play, you add it to your resume and then you kind of look at other bands, where they’re playing in a way. Like when we first started, since we didn’t have a lot of songs, it was kind of just sending out a bunch of emails. “Look, we’re a new band,” and then you start kind of getting connections. 

And then I guess within the past few months, people have started coming to us like, “Oh, play a show.” So lately a lot of the shows we’ve signed on for, we’ve been asked to play, but there’s still a lot of shows we set up. Like, a little less than a month ago we played at Mac’s again, and that was a fun one we set up. So it’s kinda like risk-reward in a way at the beginning. And now we’re almost trying to bring on some other bands that we haven’t played with before. Just kinda grow friendships. And obviously if we like them then it always makes it much more fun to play.

Drew Kussmaul: But if they don’t like them…

J.T. Jasinski:  We’re pretty diverse. We like a lot of different things, especially today, since it’s so, you know, rocks branched out so much that you just kinda have to be open minded about it all. 

Christian Thibodeau: And as far as time management goes, you know, I don’t think , work shifts that I’ve called off, called in sick too, I wouldn’t have remembered, but I remember the show you go to, you know? 

Derian Parsons: That’s right. 

Matt Burdick: That’s a good point. 

Christian Thibodeau: So it’s a lot about how bad and how much you want to go out there and play. 

Drew Kussmaul: If you like it enough, you’re not worried about how much time it’s taking up. You know, you’re just worried about, “When’s the next time we’re going to get together?” type thing.

Christian Thibodeau: Right. Some people hear 50 shows and they’re like, “Whoa,” but we hear 50 shows and we’re like, “Why wasn’t it a hundred?”

Matt Burdick: Growth mindset. And if you had to pick your ideal type of gig, would you go more like the bar show route or house shows? 

Drew Kussmaul: Well, we’ve never really played a proper house show, but if we were doing this interview in two days, I wouldn’t be able to say that. 

J.T. Jasinski: Basically we’re playing at Phoenix tomorrow. 

Drew Kussmaul: That is correct.

Matt Burdick:  Awesome, and you guys can go right into your next song when you’re ready.

Christian Thibodeau:  We’re going to play a song called “The Rite.”

*The Rite*

Matt Burdick: You’re listening to The Basement on Impact 89FM. We are still here with V*A*S*E, the band, and if I’m not mistaken, you guys are right now recording your debut project? 

Christian Thibodeau: We are. 

Matt Burdick: Do you want to talk a little bit about how that’s going?

Christian Thibodeau:  It’s going well. We went into the studio – a little shack called The Loft in Saline – and we laid down sample tracks and we’re trying to get back there in March and put lot of work down.

J.T. Jasinski: It’s the home studio of a guy named Tim Patalan. He produced a band from the nineties in Detroit called Sponge. They have a song called “Rotting Pinata” and “Plowed.” Well, the album is called Rotting Piñata and their big hit’s called “Plowed.” So Tim’s been nice enough to let us use his studio and he’s going to be producing a track or two. So it’s just been a really cool experience cause it’s most of our first times in the studio. So it’s a learning curve, but it’s definitely gone pretty well so far.

Matt Burdick: And is this going to be an EP or a full length album? Are we allowed to know yet? 

Drew Kussmaul: It’s going to be most likely an EP. We have enough songs in the works to make an album, but we’re kind of, you know, thinking forward, it’s like if we want to go for the album it’d be months and months in advance. And you know, who knows how long it takes to finish a song, and do all these songs in general belong on the same collection together? Would it be better to separate them? So it’s all things we’re figuring out currently, but I’d say it’s probably going to be an EP.

Matt Burdick: Alright. And what’s kind of the master vision for this project right now? What do you hope people take away from it? 

J.T. Jasinski: From us as a band or the EP? 

Matt Burdick: Both.

Drew Kussmaul: I hope that they would say that this is something that’s a little bit different than what they hear from other new bands, other local bands. I like to think we’re different. We play a lot of shows, we hear some good bands, but we don’t really hear bands that sound quite like we do, I feel. So I hope people get a sense of, you know, refreshment, I’d say. 

Christian Thibodeau: Yeah we’re just trying to get people’s feet to like tap and head bang. Get them intrigued, you know?

J.T. Jasinski: Yeah, definitely a throwback to the nineties is cool in a way. You know, a lot of sound today’s really cool indie rock and we like that a lot, but I guess we’re playing more of grunge, so I guess we’re trying to appeal to fans of that. You know, there’s bands like Greta Van Fleet, kind of trying to appeal to the Led Zeppelin fans. I don’t know if I’d say we go that far in being like a band. I mean, we like those guys, but it’s kinda cool to play like who some of your artists are, like Nirvana. It’s cool to kinda take inspiration. 

Matt Burdick: And do you guys, when you’re writing and recording these songs for the project, do you think a lot about the effect they’re going to have live or are you mostly just focused on the listening experience right now? 

Christian Thibodeau: I mean, when we write music we will do something again and again until we get it down if we think that it’s good enough to play and record if we want to keep it, and we play what we like to hear. So we kind of go off that. And usually  you pick your venues and we usually play at places that are also playing like four or five piece bands, so you’re bound to find people who kind of dig it. 

Matt Burdick: Awesome, you guys can go right into your last song whenever you’re ready. 

Christian Thibodeau: We’re going to close with a song called “Johnny Be Joan.”

*Johnny Be Joan*

Gia Haddock: Thank you for tuning into The Basement with us tonight. We just had the lovely band V*A*S*E playing, so keep an eye out for their new music that hopefully will be coming out sometime soon, possibly?

J.T. Jasinski: Hopefully within a couple months. 

Drew Kussmaul: Anywhere between two and ten months. More than likely two.

Derian Parsons: Time’s flyin’ by.

Christian Thibodeau: We’ll get it done. 

Matt Burdick: Cool, well, thank you guys for stopping in! 

J.T. Jasinski: Thanks for having us!

Christian Thibodeau: Have a good night!