Vasudeva Interview: “We’re not trying to force anything.”


No Clearance is out now via Skeletel Lightning.

Just under a year ago, New Jersey based instrumental post-rock group Vasudeva released their sophomore album No Clearance via the reliably impressive Skeletal Lightning label. With an abudnace of major chords, their music soars with a hope and optimism which is not so prevalent in the genre. Having said that, there remains an underlying melancholia which is beautiful in its subtlety.

To celebrate the near one year anniversary of the release of No Clearance we had a chat with the group about the raw sound of the album, considering adding vocals in the future, and the ArcTanGent festival near Bristol in the UK.

Overblown: It seems to me that your most recent album, No Clearance, has a real raw vibe. Why head in that direction?

Vasudeva: I think it’s the recording that makes it sound raw. It sounds like us playing live to me because there was fairly minimal mixing done after everything was recorded. That wasn’t necessarily a conscious decision it just worked out that way. All the effects like the reverbs/delays and old tape sounds were recorded live. We had new equipment this time around as well that allowed us to get tones that seem to us to be more present than what we’ve been able to achieve before on the previous records.

Overblown: Compared to many instrumental rock bands out there, your music has a real major chord, hopefulness to it. Is that a conscious thing or is it the way things turned out?

Vasudeva: When we started playing together we gravitated towards bands that had that sort of hopeful tonality. Our favourite music is still the kind where you can’t tell whether it’s happy or sad, i think it’s just what we like playing.

Overblown: I really love the track ‘Goner’ on your record. What inspired that song? How was it written?

Vasudeva: That’s a unique one because we were demoing it and writing it simultaneously, so we were sitting at the computer recording different layers on top of the initial piano & loop idea that grant wrote. We wanted it to not feature a drum kit and wanted it to be pretty minimal structurally so there are only one or two parts that build until the end of the song. Some of the sounds we used in the demo made it to the final recording.

Overblown: Your home is on Skeletal Lightning. How did you come to work with them? They’re one of my favourite labels.

Vasudeva: Sean from Skeletal contacted us out of the blue on Facebook actually which is really awesome. We were aware of what they do and the bands they worked with, a lot of them being screamo and heavier than us, but after speaking to them about everything we had a lot of similar ideals and realized it’d be cool to be a part of what they do. They helped us a lot with the release of no clearance and have been nothing but supportive.

Overblown: Do you ever consider adding vocals to the songs? Perhaps an album with a load of vocal guests!

Vasudeva: Yeah, we’ve always thought about it. We’d love to have some vocals on a track one day, our own or a friend’s, be it sampled and manipulated or not, we’re always up for messing with new stuff as we continue writing together. We have tried it a few times but nothing has felt natural. We’re not trying to force anything.

Overblown: You have played our favourite festival ArcTanGent before. Any plans to come back?

Vasudeva: We played ArcTanGent 2016 & 2017 and both we amazing. It was our first time at a festival in 2016 and we couldn’t have had a better time. We would love to come back and play ATG again as well other festivals. Festival culture in UK and Europe is really amazing even for this niche of music. Stuff like ATG doesn’t exist where we live so it really is a treat for us to travel overseas to see it all happen in real life.

Overblown: What are you listening to right now?

Vasudeva: We’re all listening to a million different things at once and most likely not the same things as one another so anything from hyperfast electronic music to soul to math rock to indie.

Here are two records I listened to so far today:

Gulfer – Dig Bless
Donny Hathaway – Extension of a Man

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