New Vega Chase Rock and Roll Dreams
By Tim Anderl
Taking their moniker from the brightest star in the constellation Lyra, Dayton- and Cincinnati-based quartet, New Vega, is a bold, contemporary modern rock band that is quickly becoming one of the most promising acts in Southern Ohio. In 2009, the band released a self-titled, three-track EP that earned them a spot on Cincinnati’s Midpoint Music Festival. Then in July of 2011, the band released its Tempo LP, a self-recorded-mixed-and-mastered affair that New Vega conceived and executed in their practice space/recording studio; built in Dayton’s old Huffy bicycle factory.
Just a few weeks ago, the band was offered a record deal from the up and coming, New York-based WHOA (What’s Happening With Original Artists), and will beginning recording their next album for a fall 2012 release. Dayton City Paper caught up with New Vega bassist Adam Sabin to discuss the differences between the Cincinnati and Dayton music scenes, the band’s new label and what they plan to buy if they make it big. Here’s what was said…
I read that you guys recently relocated from Dayton to Cincinnati.
Alex (Rundle), our singer, and I have. I was working with Dan McCabe who owns MOTR Pub and puts on Midpoint Music Festival in Cincinnati while I was putting on events in Dayton and decided it was time to branch out a little bit and get a little bit closer to the Cincinnati music scene. My hope was to make Cincinnati and Dayton a little more relative.
Do you feel like you have a kinship to one scene over the other now?
I spent 10+ years in Dayton doing shows and being in and out of every single music venue there. I really feel that Dayton has this absolutely amazing home-based scene. I’ve never seen it anywhere else.
What would you say the major differences are between navigating the two cities’ music scenes?
They are two totally different scenes. They are both dirty, edgy cities where people are doing things at the grass-roots level. Cincinnati sees a lot more nationally touring acts, and because they’re on a national circuit they have a lot more streamlined shows. So there are maybe only two or three acts to see that night, and they may all be from outside of town.
In Dayton I was used to four or five bands on a bill. In Dayton it was easy to build camaraderie within the music scene because you were paired up with more local or regional bands, and there weren’t as many national package tours coming through. It was easy to get to know everybody and there is a lot of regional strength that comes from that. It allows you the freedom to build your own shows and scene a lot more easily. That experience has been definitive to us as artists. It has broadened our musical horizons and helped us find ways to figure out how to play with a diversity of acts.
Those characteristics of the Dayton scene probably played to your advantage in that your sound is indicative of multiple genres like jazz, progressive rock, funk, indie rock and those kind of things?
Alex, my brother and I met in high school and began playing in marching band, jazz band and concert band, so our influences have always included a lot of classical, jazz and funk stuff. Before we were New Vega, we were playing out as a jazz ensemble. That allowed us to define how we played together as musicians. We had a history together before we started this rock band. So we have a lot of history in all of those influences. But as for our real influences, what we listen to, Radiohead is a major influence for all four of us. Coldplay, Mars Volta, Death Cab For Cutie, stuff like that are all things we appreciate. But our guitar player Chase Campbell loves Don Henley, and we like everything from Miles Davis to Sade to other things across the board too.
You guys recently signed with a new label, correct?
Two weeks ago we signed with the new WHOA record label out of New York City. Previous to becoming a label they were primarily a music marketing and music and arts magazine with a quarterly publication of 250,000 copies globally. They also have an Internet radio station called WHOA 100. To date they’ve signed five artists to the label. We were actually featuring in the spring issue of the magazine, which people can pick up at Barnes and Noble and FYE.
We did a lot of homework to determine whether this was something we wanted to do. Most important to us was the ability to keep the significant majority of the copyrights to our music. Amongst other things, this deal will allow us to do that. Basically, the only way that our deal with WHOA will allow them to succeed is if we succeed. So everyone is motivated to make sure that this works for both the band and the label. And everything they’ve done in the past has been a success, which is a good indicator that they’ll work as hard for us as we do for ourselves.
Have you started writing and recording the follow up to Tempo then?
Yeah, when we recorded Tempo we pulled 10 songs from a batch of about 30. We’ll be doing the same thing here over the next month or two and narrowing down the next album to 10 of our best songs. There are a couple songs we may revamp from Tempo, due to our new journey with WHOA too. We just talked to the label and our public relations team and they aren’t interested in rushing us on the creative process. That being said, we have plans to release the new album on the label sometime this fall. We are shooting for September or October. We may release a couple singles around July to try and get people interested in the album, and we’ll be going to LA around the same time to do a video for one of the singles as well.
If you make it big, what is the first thing you are buying with your rock star dollars?
Probably a van. We aren’t the materialistic type; we’re more the necessity type. Everything we’ve earned in our lives we have pretty much invested in this band. I imagine any money we will be making will be a reinvestment in the next album, a van, whatever it is to make this dream keeping running.
(New Vega will perform Friday June 1 at Mainstay Rock Bar in Cincinnati, and Saturday, June 2, at Blind Bob’s with Town Monster, Oui Si Yes and Grendades!?. For more information about New Vega, visit http://www.facebook.com/newvega.)
Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Anderl at TimAnderl@DaytonCityPaper.com.