Chillwave doesn't have to be about being chill, which is best proven by Philadelphia's Vacationer.
"I have been making music since I was 14, mostly loud rock music and I wanted to give my voice a break. I caught LCD Sound System and I was blown away at how they controlled energy without being loud. Seeing them was the catalyst for why we started this band in 2010," says singer and bassist Kenny Vasoli.
It's been four years since the last Vacationer album, something that took more time than expected, but also helped Vasoli become a better producer and songwriter. "We started tinkering with ideas after the last tour. We retooled the process for two to three years. Exploring more in my home studio, I have enough gear to work on my own. I found myself having a hard time getting ideas down, and I was having writer's block. I learned new production techniques and that made it easier to get my ideas going without forcing them. You have to wait for music to come to you," Vasoli says.
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The band's new album Mindset takes the listener on a journey, mixing in an elaborate assortment of indie pop and an easy going vibe. "I guess the bulk of the influence comes from elaborate producers like Brian Wilson. When it comes to the art of beat making, I was teaching myself drums to get in the pocket behind the beat. I don't shoot for catchy, cause' if I do it comes off as cheesy. I try to start with something interesting and hopefully I get a hook. Artists like David Byrne and Todd Rundgren make pop music interesting, so that's what I was looking towards," says Visoli.
Where they once had a stage show adorned with screens and crazy lights, they're scaling back and focusing on their playing more than anything. "We take our performance and playing our instruments seriously. We used to have projections and crazy lights, but then you're too focused on how it all syncs up. This tour we have a crazy backdrop with art by Dewey Saunders, and the way the lights bounce off it alone is cool enough. Without worrying about all the other stuff, playing this way is more fun for us, and hopefully for the audience as well."
You can stream Mindset as well as the rest of the band's catalog on all platforms or purchase them here. You can catch Vacationer in person when they perform at White Oak Music Hall on Saturday August 11. The all ages show has a support set from Sego as well. Doors at 8 p.m.; tickets $15.