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Vaeda

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For this edition of Inside Track we speak with Vaeda to get the lowdown on their new CD. Ian Cole (guitar/vocals), Aristotle Dreher (bass), Oliver Williams (drums) all took time out of their busy schedule to take part. 

Inside Track: First off what inspired your name?

Aristotle One day when we were in Brooklyn, we were watching an old man play basketball. He kept throwing the basket ball up against the backboard, missing every time. We said "Naw man, you've got to do a fade away jumpshot!" He was hard of hearing, so he said "A Vaeda day what spot?" And we were like "Yeah!" That man was none other than the 79-year-old Tom Amberry, who later went on to hold the world record for basketball free throws with 2,750 in a row. 

Inside Track: Can you give us a little background on how the band formed?

Oliver: Ian and I grew up together in Washington, D.C., playing some terrible versions of Metallica and Slayer in my basement. We moved to NYC together right after 9/11 and started working on songs. At the same time, Aristotle was playing in a band called The Bastard Kings of Rock, the singer was from Size 14 (on Volcano). Ian and I put out an ad on Craigslist and Aristotle was the first guy we tried out. After two shows with our producer (including one in the woods of upstate NY, a stone's throw from Canada), Aristotle joined the band and we became Vaeda.

Inside Track: For those that haven't heard you yet, how would you describe your music to them?

Ian: It's as if Smashing Pumpkins and the Foo Fighters are making out in the corner at a party, and AFI gets extremely jealous. And then out of nowhere Condeleeza Rice and Dick Cheney start going at it because they hear Journey come on the radio. And then Thrice beats the hell out of them. 

Inside Track: How was the experience of recording this album?

Aristotle: Heaven and hell. As a band we love playing live and working out new songs on the road, and for me personally the studio can be a bit trying at times. It takes a lot of patience. But the end result was magical, so I guess you have to go through the tedious times to get to the good stuff. One thing that makes it bearable is our producer, Kyle Kelso. He's the man, and has an amazing ear for both sound and song. And he lets us rock the Vaeda Halen every once in a while.

Inside Track: I'll give you the title of the song and if you can tell us a little bit about it. Either the story behind the song or a story associated with it etc. Whatever you'd like people to know about the song.

1. Money

Oliver: "It's never enough just to have just enough" - although, when we wrote this, just enough would have been just fine - that was sort of the point though, at what point is just enough enough? Enough to cover rent? Enough to eat? Enough to buy the things you want? 

2. All For You

Ian: It's a song about being thankful for the things you have, and not taking them for granted. I wrote the lyrics when a friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer, and it was such a shock that it made me realize how fleeting our time is on this earth. For us, the people who love us and who have supported us throughout the years, they are our greatest gifts, and the song is a sort of tribute to them, and our fans. 

3. Battle Song

Ian: This is a song about a life wasted. A friend of mine decided to drive home drunk one night and died, wrapping his car around a tree and killing himself and his brother-in-law. I was horrified that it had happened, but at the same time so angry that he had decided to put his life and another life at risk like that. Battle Song is a diatribe against those who put others and themselves in danger. 

4. Jesus Rides The Subway 

Oliver: The title originally came out of a discussion about "The Big Lebowski." Someone mentioned that John Turturro (he who plays Jesus in the movie) lives in Brooklyn and rides the D train. Someone said "Jesus rides the subway" and the song title was born. 

5. Wait Your Turn

Aristotle:I like this song because it's a little more on the experimental side. To me this song is more of a visceral and forceful experience. It's like smashing a pie of raw, rhubarb flavored, emotional pie in your face! Oh, and never before has there been a better use of the word "Poland" as a song lyric. 

6. Bite My Tongue 

Aristotle:This is the first song that we collaborated on when Vaeda first formed. I specifically remember when we were coming up with the bridge section. We all got chills and a million thoughts went through my head like "Holy Crap, this chord is awesome!... We need to take over the world with our rock music!!!... I'm hungry... Is Oliver really wearing a brown belt with black pants??!... Who farted?" 

7. 1.25

Ian: It's a song about what drugs can do to you. Personally, I have had problems with them in the past, and they almost destroyed me. They present an alternative reality that is so appealing, yet so deceitful. Thankfully I've gotten past that self-destructive point in my life, but there are so many others that have not, and the drugs have taken them from us. It's a lonely world when you're a drug addict. Maybe this song can speak to people about that darkness. 

8. Thief

Aristotle:This song was kind of the dark horse of the album. I don't think any of us knew how cool of a song it was until it was recorded. It was more of an arrangement/idea first and then it took on a life of its own when in the studio. All the right effects and parts sorted themselves out when we were holed up in the SoHo Dungeon recording. 

9. Imperial

Oliver: Imperial was the working title for this song because of this one riff that reminded us of an imperial march song, a la "Star Wars." Then one day we realized that riff totally ruined the song and that it would rock much harder without The Imperial Riff. The working title stuck, and then Ian wrote the lyrics in Disneyworld. 

10. Kneejerk

Aristotle:This song was fun for all of us because we blatantly tried to think of the silliest parts that we could play on our instruments. I don't think any of us did more than 2 or 3 takes when recording it. Oh yeah, my favorite part of this song is the hand claps on the second verse. They are faint, but they exist! 

11. Son Of The Viper

Oliver: Saddam's nickname for Bush I was "The Viper" - logically, Bush II would be "Son of the Viper." So this song is really our serenade to our beloved Dictator-in-Chief. 

12. Cacophony

Ian: The song was inspired by the stories of Haitian zombies. There's a poison made by the puffer fish called tetrodotoxin, and when given to someone in a manageable dose, the patient exhibits a very low heart rate, paralysis…basically appears dead. There's a legend that in Haiti, for criminals, they would give them this poison upon convicting them of a crime, then bury them as they were in this state of suspended animation. A couple days later, they would dig them back up, and revive them. The criminals would then be told that they had died, and were raised by their captors. They were then told that they would have to serve their captors as slaves for the rest of their lives. What a mind f***. 

Inside Track: Any favorites? Favorite to play live?

Aristotle:My favorite song to play live is "Jesus Rides the Subway." Before we start the song, we do a bit of a free form jam (not jazz) with our instruments and effects. I think this displays the chemistry we have as musicians, and raises the audience's awareness of our presence. At that point in the show people's ears tend perk up, and hopefully they lose themselves in the moment. Then we launch into the instantly recognizable intro drum beat, snapping the audience back into it. I think that this is a song that best exhibits the dynamics of our sound and is weighty in its subject matter. And it ends with a huge explosion, up to the sky. 

Inside Track: What's been your proudest moment as a band so far?

Ian: So far? Seeing our album in the Virgin Megastore in New York City. That and opening for Anberlin. 

Inside Track: Looks like you've already been on the road quite a bit this summer, what have been some of the highlights? What future tour plans do you have?

Oliver: We played a frat in Bozeman, MT on Labor Day - we called the house cold at 2pm and were playing in their living room in front of 100 people going nutzo at 10pm. Also we have been bringing back the hi-five in various forms. We have The Flip, The Double Flip, The Switcheroo, The Whichitgonnabe, Version One, Version Two, and Karate. Those are all patent pending I might add. As far as the future goes we're looking to hop on as an opening act for some bigger bands. A lot of the time I feel like we are this caged sonic beast that is just waiting to be unleashed on a big stage in front of large swaths of music lovers. So hopping on a bigger tour is key. Until then, we'll be rocking the area around NYC, west to Ohio, south to the Carolinas. 

Inside Track: Our usual dream gig question. If you could play with any artist(s), who would it be? 

Ian: For me it'd be the Foo Fighters or Green Day. Both bands are two of the best live bands around, and to share a stage with such incredible musicians and performers would be more than an honor. 

Inside Track: Finally, What's next for Vaeda?

Ian: Touring, touring, touring, recording, recording, recording, and, of course, sampling fine cheeses from around the world. 


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