The Vaughns on Vinyl, Santa Cruz, and The Band’s Evolution

The Vaughns

Three years ago we first discovered The Vaughns when they were performing at Happy Mondays at The Wonder Bar. They were relatively new, and were sharing the stage with local heavyweights Lowlight, and Semiotics. 

Fast forward, and that young upstart band has matured into an absolutely killer unit that delivers an alt rock sound that combines sublime pop sensibilities and a driving alternative edge.

That’s why we’re excited to have them as a part of our line-up on December 9 at The Grand Arcade at Convention Hall for our Second Annual Locals Christmas Party and Toy Drive.

The Vaughns Are: David Cacciatore, Anna Lies, Ryan Kenter, Tom Losito

Year We Were Formed In: February 2014

We’re Based Out of: Springfield, NJ

The Story Behind Our Name: We needed a name for our first show and Ryan our drummer referenced Veronica Vaughn from Billy Madison. It got us thinking about pop culture figures with the same name… Stevie Ray, Mo, Vince. We ran with it and we have turned it into the Vaughn family.

Cool/Famous Bands We’ve Shared the Stage With: Japanese Breakfast, Laura Stevenson, Aaron Carter, The Kickback, Cruisr.

Our Sound Has Been Likened To: Pixies, Speedy Ortiz, Alabama Shakes, Arctic Monkeys.

You’ve Seen Us Before In Other Bands: Basically just The Vaughns (laughs). Ryan played in metal bands in high school, Tom & Dave played in local cover bands.

It’s been a long time since we first interviewed you in December 2014 when you guys were performing at Wonder Bar for Happy Mondays. How do you feel the band has evolved both as performers, and as songwriters in that time?

That sure was a long time ago.

Since then we have learned a great deal around creating, harboring and executing an engaging live performance. We have really disciplined ourselves around developing a tight live performance through a click-track and countless hours of vocal/harmony practices.

As far as songwriting and image, we really feel like we have taken a big step forward in the last year with our new batch of unreleased songs. We are truly proud of the work we have put in at Lakehouse Studios and some of the live new recording techniques we have learned.

You just dropped the single “Bby Save Me” — is this single just a taste of what we can expect from a new full-length or EP from The Vaughns? Also when can we expect new music from the band?

We just released our new single “Bby Save Me” through our good friends at Sniffling Indie Kids Records in both Vinyl 7″ and digital formatting. As many already know, this is a taste of our debut full-length we will be putting out in 2018. We can’t give away too much more info.

The song was also released on vinyl for a limited edition Record Store Day purchase. Can people still pick up copies if there’s some left? Also, talk about the experience of having your song on vinyl?

Yes, this was a very limited run and they are going extremely fast. We’ve been having some fun on weekends shipping vinyls and writing personalized letters to those fans who purchased them. There aren’t very many left so head to thevaughns.bandcamp.com for your orders.

When we debuted “Bby Save me” a few weeks ago, we actually included four stories from each of us on our experience and connection to vinyl. It was a whole lot of fun and I think Dave’s quote sums it up best for us….

“There is something truly magical about picking up a record and listening to it play. I think part of the reason is because vinyl is a personal piece of art. I feel that the purpose of art is for the connection and imitation of human emotions, which vinyl does effortlessly. I think all four of us agree that vinyl provides an artistic listening experience like none other and I’m just elated that our new singles are now available in this format for all our continued followers.”

If someone’s coming to check you guys out at the 12/9 shows, and they want to do a little pre-gaming and check your music out, what would be a good song to start with and why?

I think a great starting point would be our two new singles “Santa Cruz” and “Bby Save Me” because they represent the current state of sound and some of the maturity in our songwriting over the last year. They have been staples in our live set over the last year and really foreshadow our new batch of unreleased tunes heading into 2018.

What has been one of the coolest and/or most satisfying moments you’ve had as a band? Conversely, what’s been the most frustrating/disappointing? And why to both questions?

Some really satisfying moments over the past year have been around releasing a brand new music video for “Santa Cruz” and the response we have received from it. The support and embrace we have had around our new singles and sound change have really made us excited for what the future holds.

We were also featured on Little Steven’s “Underground Garage” on Sirius XM an well as the MTV international show The Brothers Green Eat, over the last year and a half which was really cool.

New Jersey right now is exploding with crazy talent right now — how do you feel you stand out from everyone else out there in the scene?

The Jersey scene especially around Asbury Park is definitely exploding at the moment and we really humbled to be a small part of that. I think our comradery and fun high-energy live performances help us stand out a bunch….. but honestly, that’s a hard question because we never look at our music as a competition versus our fellow NJ counterparts. We have definitely been inspired by other artists throughout the state we have played with over the past three years though!

What do you guys love about being in The Vaughns? You dedicate your lives/free time to this band — so what is it about it that makes you want to put some much time and effort into this?

We consider ourselves a family and I think everyone sees how much fun we have with each other creating and performing. We have grown to be such a tight unit over the past few years and we really feel like we are just scraping the surface in terms of our experiences as a band. The band also allows us each as individual songwriters to bring songs/ideas/riffs to the table which really allows for collective creativity and healthy relationships both as friends and musicians.

What are you most excited for in 2018?

We are very excited to release our debut album we have been working tirelessly on. As they say, you only get one shot at a debut album! We are also looking forward to traveling some more outside of NJ/NY as well.

The Vaughns perform with Deal Casino, Gay Guy/Straight Guy, and latewaves at The Pop Break’s 2nd Annual Locals Christmas Party on December 9 at The Grand Arcade of Convention Hall in Asbury Park, NJ at 8pm. This is a free show. An unwrapped new toy is suggested for the AP Toy Drive.

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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