Saturday, October 15, 2011

Interview With Deas Vail

Deas Vail has been a band around for close to ten years, and have been constantly blowing away people with their exceptional musicianship, stunning vocals, and great songwriting. The band has just released their eponymous third album, which I enjoy greatly. Guitarist Andy from the band took some time off in the middle of travelling to the band's upcoming tour to answer a few questions from us at MuzikDizcovery, such as the reasoning for starting the record off with keyboardist Laura's vocals, the long delay in releasing the record, the band's partnership with Sony Red Music, the self titled record's more guitar based sound, an upcoming Christmas EP, and more which you can read below.

How has the response been to the latest record?

So far it's been good. We were honored to be part of an Amazon promotion called Deal Of The Day and we found out about that two days before the album came out, and that really helped spread the word about the album coming out. We heard a lot of things online from fans and from reviews and we heard some really really encouraging things. People have really liked it and a lot of people have noticed what we're doing. We're kind of taking another step and it seems like they're following right along with us as far as what we're trying to do and we're just encouraged that our goals are getting accomplished. It's not like we wanted to send this message out, but we are sending it out. Sometimes it doesn't translate, and that's very encouraging.

The album was delayed due to a decision to work with Sony Red Music. Did this agreement happen after the initial announcement of the record, or were there initially plans to join with Sony Red beforehand?

It kind of just happened out of nowhere. We were with Mono Vs. Stereo Records and they had a distribution change in between Birds and Cages and our self titled record. So originally we were with Warner, and now they're with Sony. So we were with Sony Distributions and then Sony Red, which is a division of Sony Distributions, they heard the album and they were really excited about it so they asked if we would be willing to let them promote it some more from their end, but they asked for an extra month. So we thought it would be a pretty good opportunity for more promotion and to hopefully reach a lot of people. We're excited to see what happens.

Are you still working with Mono Vs. Stereo, or are you purely working with Sony Red?
We are with Mono Vs. Stereo right now, and they are really the ones that are working with Sony Red. They are taking us along for the ride right now, which is cool. I think it helps that they wanted to be part of this record in particular, so it's really flattering to us that they would single us out from the roster of Mono Vs. Stereo, but we're very excited. Mono Vs. Stereo has been really good to us, and taking us under their wing. All of last year, all of the tours and promotion that we did was all based on what those guys were doing and what was coming out of their heads. They've done great.

Do you think that extra month hurt your sales or did working with Sony Red make up for that with extra publicity?

I'm not sure honestly. I don't think it had too big of an effect at all, but I'm hoping that in the long run the strategies and stuff, hopefully that will make it a little bit more, but I kind of feel like that it didn't really hurt too much. It was a little disappointing to our fans that were anticipating it. I know it was disappointing to us too, we have been wanting to get this album out for a year. I guess it was just one more month of waiting, and if you've already been waiting for a year, I don't think it was too detrimental, but I don't really know.

The record is more guitar based rather than piano based like Birds and Cages. Was the a conscious shift in sound, or was it more of a natural thing?

Actually, it's kind of funny. On Birds and Cages, when we originally wrote the songs they were more guitar based, and when we went to the studio he really wanted us to stick with our roots and try to match with the older albums. We were a little hesitant to do that, but we didn't have a lot of say, and it didn't change the songs too drastically, but the end product that you got was a piano based rock songs, and the original versions were more guitar based. From our perspective it wasn't that big of a jump, but we knew that it would be a big jump for people that have only heard our records and listened to the piano songs. At the same time, Laura has stepped up vocally. For example, the first song. I know that she sung before, but now she's taking more of a front role. Not necessarily as a lead singer or anything, but she's much more prominent and standing out more vocally. The piano stuff she's doing is still there too. It's funny, because a lot of stuff that the guitar is doing is what the piano is doing as well. The goal of the record was to be as honest sonically as possible and what is honest is what we can play live. We wanted the guitars to stand out a bit more on this one.

I was actually going to ask about why Laura was chosen to open the record, since she never really had a lead part before. Starting the record off with Laura, it almost shows a change in the band's direction somewhat. Did you guys purposely plan for her to open the record, or was it more "this is how we're going to do this song, and this song fits best at the beginning"?

I think it was more of the second one, since that was the song we wanted first, but we were all very excited about the idea that the first thing that one would hear would be Laura's voice, because a lot of our fans have asked for more of her voice. Whenever we play live they hear her voice more, so people have been asking for that. Her voice is just wonderful. Her and Wes sing together a lot at home and practice harmonies all the time. Her voice is just strong for what we are doing, but we haven't really been putting it out there. It was exciting for us to have that as the first thing. And as you said, it works kind of as way to let our listeners know that we are going in a little bit of a different direction, but we aren't like changing the band. This is kind of more being excited on what we're doing and we wanted it to be obvious.

At the Cornerstone festival, Listener performed Quiet Like Sirens with you guys. are there any plans to record a version of the track with him in it?

There aren't any plans for that, but that night when he sung with us, why didn't we have him come to the studio with us, that would have been perfect. We would love to do that, and some day we might be able to do so. Right now there aren't any plans.

Are there any upcoming touring plans. I know you guys did a few dates with The Dear Hunter and O'Brother, but those weren't really announced tour dates. Do you have any headliners to support the new record on the way. Any country wide tours?

We're leaving today for a tour that's all headlining stuff. It's not really a whole lot of dates, I think there's about seventeen shows in the next two and a half weeks. We have a plan, it's not announced or anything yet, but we have a tour planned for December. It's not confirmed or anything, but it'll probably be another headlining tour and that would be in support of not only the new record, but also did a Christmas EP that is going to be coming out in November or December, and it's just four Christmas songs. We're going to do a Christmas tour where we can play those songs and the ones off the new record. 

Are those four songs originals or are they covers of Christmas Classics?
They are four old carols. "God Rest You Merry Gentleman" and stuff like that that's older. I think most of the songs are at least 300 years old. We went for the super classics and we made them very good, but very different.

Are there any last words you have for us?
We just want to say thank you to our fans because of the support we've gotten for this release and the patience they've had with the delay being so long. We're really really grateful and we love our fans, and they're the reason we get to do what we do.

I'd like to thank Andy and the rest of the band for spending some time to talk to me. While some reviews have been mixed about the new record, I for one really enjoy the self titled record, and everyone should give it a listen. The band deserves the support and you can check out tour dates, stream songs, and purchase the record on the band's website which you can reach here.

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