If you had told anyone ten years ago that soft rock would have a place in the music world again, they'd probably have laughed at you. However, when you look around the music industry today, the softer side of rock seems to be all over the place. Whether it be with chill wave or just folk, soft rock is definitely on the rise as a genre worth placing attention to. When you look at a picture of Houston's Vodi, it should look familiar. Aside from the fact that their debut album Talk has the best overall album tone you'll hear in a good while, the band is made up of a who's who in the Houston music world. Now, with a new album already in their sights, the Houston Press chatted with the band about their start, what's next, and what we can expect from them at this year's In Bloom Festival.
The band, with members Dollie Barnes, Buxton, Robert Ellis, and on and on is definitely a group made in musician heaven. Most artists in Houston would be hard pressed to put such a group together, though the band's name has always been something that never made sense. When we asked where the name came from, singer Tom Lynch said, "it's a word I made up. I was bouncing a bunch of ideas off of Hailey (Lynch) and band names are terrible to come up with. So we made up the word, we wrote it out, and we liked the way it looked. It turns out that Vodi is also a phone service in India, so it seems we have a lot of fans in India."
When looking at the band, as mentioned before it's definitely a list of heavy hitters. "It was kind of an add as we go type of thing. Tank (Lisenbe) and I started it out as a side project mostly because we were bored and wanted to work on something. I met Hailey and had her come sing on some of the early demos and added Gus, Dave, Marshall, and Austin along the way. We were all playing in the same circles and all happened to have time on our hands so it worked out well," says Lynch.
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The band's debut album Talk, has tone for days, and made us wonder how concentrated the band had to be to make such a sound on an album, or if it was just studio magic. Says Lynch, "it was probably a bit of both. We wanted it to sound a certain way and Steve Christensen (Destiny's Child, Steve Earle, Robert Ellis) is absolutely wonderful with sounds, tones, and tastefulness. He made it really easy to get where we were going."
That album has a mix of yacht rock and soft rock on how these songs come off. When a band is creating a record, there's typically the idea to make sure that everyone will get what the band is doing, and care about what genres will be cool or not. However, according to Lynch, the band never gave what they were doing a second thought. "I never cared how (the songs) would be received. I was at a point where I just wanted to write things that I really enjoyed and what I wouldn't get bored with playing live. I'm glad people are enjoying it though, because of the way the band started, I think anything from here out is a cherry on top."
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The band's live shows really have the spirit of friends getting together to play after plenty of beers flowing. As solid as the band is in a live setting, it made us wonder if the band had ever had a set that didn't go to plan. "I really enjoy spontaneity, it's one of my favorite things about playing live. If we were playing songs the exact same way every time I think I would've lost interest by now. We work within the framework of the set, and know where we're going for the most part. But we've played together long enough to read each other on the fly and go certain directions that were unplanned," explains the singer.
That unplanned nature has worked out well for Vodi. While In Bloom will be the largest show the band has performed on here in Houston, they've already played on plenty of festivals in and out of Texas. We were curious as to what we should expect from them at In Bloom this year. As per Lynch, "I think we're gonna' pull out a couple of newbies for it. We only have a 30 minute set, so we'll just have to see what works."
Whatever works should be just fine for Vodi. By doing things their own way, they've carved a nice future for themselves in and outside of Houston. You can stream Talk in all of the usual outlets, or order it directly from the band here. You can catch Vodi when they perform on In Bloom on Saturday March 24 inside Eleanor Tinsley Park. The all ages festival will include performances from Beck, Queens of The Stone Age, Martin Garrix and many more. Gates at 11 a.m.; tickets $79 to $299.