Interview: The Vaughns

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The Vaughns Are (Band Members & The Instruments They Play):

Anna Lies (Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Synth)

Tom Losito (Bass Guitar, Vocals)

David Cacciatore (Lead Guitar, Vocals)

Ryan Kenter (Drums, Percussion, Vocals)

We’re based out of: Springfield, NJ

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The Story of Our Name: Throughout the first couple months as a band, we were really struggling to decide on a name. Two weeks before our show we picked a day to sit down and just come up with something to call ourselves. It didn’t have to be permanent but we needed something. We dabbled with names such as Shampoo The Beard and Explocean (such a terrible name!). Finally, one night after practice, our drummer Ryan kept repeating the line in the movie Billy Madison where Chris Farley (the bus driver) says, “That Veronica Vaughn is one hot piece of ass.” Ryan suggested that we call ourselves Veronica Vaughn similar to the band Veruca Salt, who is named after the character from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. After discussion we decided to just call ourselves The Vaughns and the name stuck. The surname Vaughn is popular in American pop culture. For example, Mo Vaughn, Vince Vaughn, and Stevie Ray Vaughan (spelled differently) are just a couple of examples. Besides the mentioned movie reference, we think of the name as typical 1950’s American name that gives identity to our 1950’s logo and vibe.

Any new music coming out: We write so much music every month. At almost every show, we perform new material. Half of our set at The Wonder Bar will be off our debut EP, but the other half is all brand new material that is newly written. We plan to release a single in the spring and definitely a new E.P in 2015.

You’ve seen us before [in other bands]: Ryan was in a Synth Heavy Rock/ Metal band named Stepdown in high school (2010-2012). Dave played in a local cover band called Park Side Spirits and Tom played in a cover band with his father called Youth Gone Grey. Anna played folk acoustic shows and sang karaoke at senior citizen homes (her favorite pastime).

Our sound has been likened to: Speedy Ortiz, Arctic Monkeys, The Pretenders. We can’t think of any others that fit. Let us know after we perform what you think!

The Vaughns

Can you talk about the artists that have inspired you? Also, what people in your life have inspired you to create music?

Although the band as a whole is into the new wave of indie rock, we all have very different musical tastes and backgrounds. Anna’s inspired by Britney Howard from Alabama Shakes, which first led her to play electric guitar. Dave’s inspired by Nirvana’s songwriting and Eric Clapton’s and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar playing. Tom is a Beatles and power pop nut. He is also into classic bands such as Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, The Replacements, and Big Star. Ryan is inspired by bands like Circa Survive, Incubus, Envy on the Coast, Saosin and Silverstein. John Bonham is Ryan’s biggest drum influence. All of our families have inspired us! More specially, our fathers. Our parents are the real rock stars.

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There are so many bands out there in the Asbury scene to check out — what do you think separates The Vaughns from everyone else?

There are so many cool bands in the Asbury Park scene. So far, we’ve been lucky to share the stage with great local artists like Deal Casino and Garden State Line. We try to stand out by putting a lot of focus on our songwriting, the hooks and riffs of our songs. With our sound, we try to add a kick ass classic rock feel to modern indie rock; trying to mix awesome pop melodies of the 1960’s with the new fresh indie rock sound. We also see Anna’s voice as truly unique compared to other modern lead singers.

If someone read this interview and never heard you before, but decided to check you out, what song would you recommend they listen to in order to understand what The Vaughns are all about?

“J-Pop” off our debut EP is our poppy straight forward summer surf-y song. It has a common song structure led by a clean and powerful power-chord riff. The melodies are catchy and the rhythm section really carries this song.  None of the other songs we have sound like this song, but we do feel that our general sound as a band is represented well.

A bit of more broad, sweeping question — what is it that you love about being in The Vaughns?

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We love writing songs together. We all have different skills as musicians and songwriters that allow us to bring a lot of different influences into our songs. We have become really close friends over the past 10 months, and the band is really a break from college and work for us. The Vaughns represent an escape for all of us, allowing us to express ourselves while having a hell of a time. We’ve really taken pride in the huge strides we have taken as a band in such a short time together.

What can the people coming out to see you guys perform expect to see from you guys in terms of a live experience?

In your face, high energy, catchy music that attracts people of all ages. We try to emphasize the original spirit of rock and roll in our shows. Our music is intense, yet danceable. We’re just trying to kick out the jams.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2014?

We will be playing an array of shows at new venues around the state over winter break hoping to get more exposure around the local scene. As mentioned above, we will be announce the release of a new single.

The Vaughns perform with Lowlight and Semiotics at Happy Mondays at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park. There is no cover for the show.

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Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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