Infectious and unique songs are the trademark sound of The Vespers, a Folk/Pop/Americana foursome consisting of 2 brothers and 2 sisters from Nashville. The band is built around the 11 instruments they travel with, the wailing harmonies of the sisters, and the wild energy of their live performances. LTTM spoke to the band to find out the full story - and we also bring you a free song download from their new album 'The Fourth Wall'.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and how you got involved in making music?
Well, we are a sibling band in that the girls are sisters & the guys are brothers & we both had fathers that were musicians and had guitars laying around our houses, so inevitably, we were affected by that somehow. It was different for the girls & guys. I can only speak for the the guys. Our dad never pushed us to be musicians; at times, they even recommended anything but, but still, he taught us what he knew over the years. From there, the performance/playing/writing addiction took hold of each of us, and we dedicated more & more time to it from there. The rest is history, I suppose.
What's it like having 2 brothers and 2 sisters in a band together?
It has its advantages and disadvantages. Mostly advantages. It's great that we basically have two parties in our band and no more. We're always one phone call away from being together to accomplish whatever we have to do, rather than several calls. The girls live at home & so do the guys so it's pretty easy to communicate with only those two agendas to be worked out. Also, we just know one another so well that we can do things musically that other groups can't do as easily, such as harmonize tightly for the girls & lock in rhythmically for the boys. It's like we both know what the other is thinking or intending to happen without having to think about it much. It's just naturally there.
The songs on "The Fourth Wall" were all songs that we wrote as we learned how to play & live on the road for the first time. We're all still pretty young (19-22) so most of the road lifestyle was new to all of us. Songwriting wise, we just chose the songs that we wrote that we felt like we're going over with audiences the most & tried to communicate the energy of our live performances. Several of the songs on the record are testimonials or just ballads that have to do with our ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ & what goes into that being musicians. We wanted an honest reflection of who we were at this time in our careers & lives to document for the future.
Which is your favourite track on the album and why?
Each member has a a different opinion, I suppose, & I can't speak for them, but my favorite is 'Better Now'. The reason is that it was the last thing we wrote for the album & I think it reflects where we are going now, moving forward as songwriters. I think it's a glimpse into what our 3rd album will sound like and that's exciting to me. [Download 'Better Now', right]
What's your song writing process?
It varies. Sometimes one of us will come with a finished product that they have written on their own to present to the rest of the band and we'll keep it as is & arrange it from there. Other times, one or two of us will start a chorus or verse idea and present it to the rest, and then we'll collectively finish it together. Any number of co-writing combinations can happen between us and we embrace all of them.
You seemed to have embraced the folk sound that is so popular at the moment, are you influenced by groups like Mumford & Sons?
No, not any Mumford fans in our group to the point of influence. When we started in 2009, the girls were really into Iron & Wine and the guys were really into Led Zeppelin & we just figured that if we combined that two that it could be a sound that hasn't happened yet. Simultaneously, as we progressed over the next year, Americana & Folk hit mainstream really hard, and we were right smack in the middle of that scene due to our sound. We were thrilled & considered the timing & prevalence of the Americana resurgence a blessing.
How would you define success in your career as a band?
Success, in my opinion, would be to become as "big" (for the lack of a better word) as we possibly can and still do business honestly and independently. We don't wanna have bosses. We don't wanna "sell out" (as cheesy as that sounds). We intend to honor God with the talent he has blessed us with, as long as we can, & make the best living we can for as long as we can. Our big short term goal is to be able to sell out the Ryman Auditorium and be parked outside it on a sweet tour bus.
What advice would you give to any aspiring bands out there?
My best advice would be to listen to your fans. To reach them on as many levels as you can, and build real relationships with them in the early going, because those people, if you have them all across this country, will help you make your living touring and buying your stuff. The key is real friendships & relationships. You just gotta be real & honest with the folks you meet & they'll feel it and take care of you.
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your mp3 player. What track is it?
Probably "Laundry Room" by the Avetts. I love that song & have for a long time. It's one of those songs that I'm not sure totally what it's about and somehow it stays fresh to me because of that. Just a great lyric set to melody.
What does the next year hold for The Vespers?
Probably to just continue what we are doing. We wanna continue touring the cities we already have & make new friends in new territories that we haven't played in yet, such as out west. We also wanna grow as songwriters too, cause that's the most important part of anything we do musically.
Find out more at TheVespersBand.com