Contributor’s Note: Winnebago Vacation is one of the hardest working bands around. Some how their extensive touring schedule hasn’t stopped them from releasing some of my favorite indie music I’ve heard in a long time. Fans can find Winnebago Vacation at the following locations:
How long has Winnebago Vacation been around? What have been the biggest changes from your inception to your latest release, the split cassette with Schmave?
The ideas for Winnebago Vacation songs have been around for a while, but I started recording and turning these ideas into actual songs around early spring 2017. I released the EP later in the spring, and it was a simple bedroom pop anything goes kinda thing. I didn’t have a strict sound in mind, which is probably the biggest difference because I’m focusing more on a certain sound and vibe. The split with Schmave sort of hints at where I’m going with Winnebago Vacation.
Is the juxtaposition of the upbeat major melodies and the wistful lyrics in ‘C U (Vacation)’ intentional? Did you set out to write a sad/happy song or did it just come out like that?
I write all the melodies and instrumental parts first for my songs, and then the lyrics follow. I don’t set out to do anything really, it all is just sorta realized in a weird disorganized fashion. I think at the time i might have thought it would be nice to start the song off happy the way it sounds and then bring it to a darker place, possibly because bad news can come at anytime, even when it seems bright out.
How did you get those great drum sounds in ‘C U (Vacation)’?
The drums are usually the thing I have the most trouble with and I will spend a lot of time tinkering with EQ and other effects. I use sampled drums, and I like to add a bit of distortion to liven them up…I’m not super clean with my mixes. It’s pretty different every song, I guess I just mess with them until it fits.
‘Stand Back’ reminds me a lot of Dawes or even Neil Young. The interplay of guitar and keyboard is really pleasant, how did you originally write this song?
I write most of my songs on the guitar first. I came up with the lead melody and then realized everything else while recording. I like the songs to remain new and to keep evolving even when I’m writing. Even when they’re fully recorded and released I’ll change songs to keep them new otherwise I’ll get bored of them pretty quickly. Neil Young is definitely a major influence for me, but I think for that song Cat Stevens came into play a bit more.
What’s coming up for Winnebago Vacation?
I’m working on our first LP! It’s taking a long time but I want to make sure it’s something I feel comfortable releasing and something I think people will enjoy. The songs are on the chill side for the most part, which is possibly to combat all the loud music my other band TOP nachos makes. We’re doing a couple tours; 8/14-19 with Foxy Dads, and 9/6-16 with The Co Founder from Seattle. We’ll still be playing local shows around New York, Mostly in New Paltz where we’re based out of, and NYC. We’ll also be releasing some cover songs and a couple benefit comps but I don’t want to ruin the surprises so keep your eyes peeled!
What’s your favorite place to play on tour?
It really depends what band I’m playing with, but for Winnebago Vacation specifically; Akron, Ohio has been super kind to us! We’ll be playing the Highland Square Porchrokr fest in August on our tour with Foxy Dads, and a huge shout out to our bud Kenny Averiett! Other cities we’ve really enjoyed are Boston, Albany, and Rochester, but anywhere that will let us play is our favorite spot (:
What was the biggest disaster show you guys have played?
When we first started playing live we used to use a backing track and that would cause some problems. We’ve stripped the live set down a little now. I use a kick drum and foot tambourine for all our percussive needs and it’s definitely made everything more efficient. I don’t think we’ve ever encountered a true disaster show, but we’ve had our fair share of broken strings, keyboard problems and bad sound. I guess we’ve been pretty lucky!
Now I also know you run the DIY venue NACHOHOUSE, why did you decide to found a DIY space?
I co-run the space with my co-nacho Kenny Hauptman, and we decided to run one because there aren’t a lot of spots to play in New Paltz, NY, and we had a ton of bands we really wanted to bring here. Just to name a couple of our favorites; A Deer A Horse, Kal Marks, Peaer, Jonah of Krill, Professor Caveman, Jouska, Dolly Spartans, Queer Kevin, Trace Mountains, Sound of Ceres, and so many more wonderful bands! We also really wanted to give people a space that was safe, welcoming and focused on music rather than partying/drinking, which can be hard to find in New Paltz where the majority of places to play are bars.
What are some things bands and concert goers should know walking into a DIY space?
That there are people behind the scenes working their butts off(hopefully) and to respect the space and know how lucky you are to have a space. If it’s someone’s home treat it as your own. Respect other people that are attending the show, be aware of your surroundings and help each other. Don’t steal from bands who drove hours just to come play for you, buy their merch, donate, actually watch their set because it is a ton of work and driving just to come and play a 20 minute set. In the words of Tommy Wiseau, “If a lot of people love each other, the world would be a better place to live.”
- Photo Credit: Rebecca Kaveler
And there you have it! Check out Winnebago Vacation perform at “Sauna Sessions” and follow them on Facebook for latest news and happenings!