The Cincinnati, Ohio three-piece Vacation are some active musicians. The band was formed to give them a local outlet, as other projects featured out-of-town members, and has quickly grown. They band just released two new 7”s and a tape, and are working on a follow-up to 2011’s self-titled release on Let’s Pretend Records.
As the band prepared for their first Fest, Scene Point Blank reached out to talk songwriting and The Fest.
Scene Point Blank: I figured I’d start off with the lighter questions. I don’t know much about the Cincinnati scene, though a few bands have been picking up some national attention. What’s something that stands out about the town for you? What should outsiders know?
Peyton: Cincinnati has a pretty small scene though, due to some standout bands, people think there is a lot more going on. There are few pop punk bands, a lot of garage rock, and a lot of noise.
Jerri: King Records was founded here in the Queen City. Unfortunately, Cincinnati is not known for being a very daring place when it comes to the arts, probably because of its strongly conservative past. As far as underground music goes, there are a select few dedicated to warping the minds of show-goers. House venues come and go, along with fresh blood. I just wish everyone would work together on organizing things a little more. Other than that, we've got our typical local bands who over-saturate the bar scene and never really leave the tri-state area.
Scene Point Blank: When it comes to the genre game, you’re a tough band to pigeonhole. How do you summarize your sound, if you have to?
Jerri: Good. Pigeonholing sucks and it sounds gross. I'm still learning so much about music and songwriting and my personal capabilities, so I feel like our sound is always evolving. Lately, our sound has been much tighter and to the point...but I'm sure I will get bored with this approach in a few months. Punk.
Scene Point Blank: Something that strikes me in your songs is the chaotic, noisy feel but it’s countered by a catchiness rooted in clean melodies. It’s a powerful contrast. Is it difficult to find that balance between the two?
Peyton: I'd say the balance comes very naturally. Jerri writes pop songs and I fuck them up.
Jerri: You said it partner. No, I don't think it's difficult at all. In fact, it feels so right! Lots of music is boring. I don't want to make boring music.
Scene Point Blank: Who are some bands you look to for inspiration when you contrast those styles?
Jerri: Even before I could speak in sentences I was singing along to my favorite Ramones and Jesus and Mary Chain songs, thanks to my father. That should explain a lot. Current bands include St. Dad, Dead Dog, and Tenement.
Scene Point Blank: Most of your recordings, for lack of a better word, fall in the “lo-fi” category. What about that sound do you think complements the band’s music?
Jerri: [It] sounds more natural to me. Technology has watered down so many things in our world. We are not a cookie-cutter band. We want your ears to bleed.
Scene Point Blank: When the three of you founded the band, did you have a specific style in mind?
Peyton: Not really. Jerri and I lived together and sort of started Vacation due to the lack of other music we had going on at the time. His old band The Read had slowed down a ton and my band Till Plains lived all across the country so we just started messing around. Jerri pretty much started playing drums so we wouldn't have to find [a drummer]. We wrote a handful of songs then asked Evan to join a little while before we recorded the Do Shit tape.
Jerri: I wanted to sound like SEXY but I didn't know how to play the drums.
Scene Point Blank: I asked this question to Night Birds (also in our Fest coverage) so I might as well ask it again. How did you get involved with the Larry Livermore comp?
Peyton: He emailed us mentioning it, then he came to a house show we were playing in Brooklyn and kind of sealed the deal. I guess he saw us play in Brooklyn a few times before that. None of us have copies of the record.
Jerri: Yeah, what the fuck!? I want my money back.
Scene Point Blank: You’re playing a record release show this weekend. What’s it for? What is the band up to? (Unfortunately, you’re damn near impossible to google for information—or was that on purpose when you chose your name?)
Peyton: It's for two new 7"s and a new tape. Shitty City was put out by our friend Alex York from the band White Walls on his new label called Torn Light. Candy Waves is sort of a single for our next LP. Pete from Let's Pretend Records put that out along with a tape of demos called Kirby Sessions.
Jerri: All of which I recorded!
Peyton: We just toured almost all of September throughout the east coast and did some dates with Tenement, which was great. October is pretty much the month that we have focus on all of our other bands since we will be touring out west all of November. Jerri and I play in a band called Tweens which actually just went on our first tour. Jerri also plays in a band called Dreams in Hell which is the darkest act in the Midwest. Evan lives in Columbus, Ohio and he has a band called Pretty Pretty which just released their first tape and plays a bunch of awesome shows up there.
Jerri: In regards to the google thing, we just picked our band name ’cause it fits perfectly for knuckle tats.
Scene Point Blank: This is your first Fest. What are your expectations coming in? Have you been to Gainesville otherwise?
Peyton: Vacation played a house show there awhile back when we toured with New Creases—I think it was in Bo Diddley's old house. I also did merch for The Dopamines at The Fest last year, which was absolutely insane. We are excited to play but, since we have such a long tour starting the next week, we kind of have to split out of there early.
Jerri: I'm expecting complete mayhem, but no one to actually watch our band play.
Scene Point Blank: How did you get on the bill?
Peyton: Jon Weiner bugged Tony about us playing, then Tony eventually hit us up.
Scene Point Blank: How are you getting to Florida? Are you touring? If so, what’s it like booking a tour as so many bands descend on that part of the country all at the same time?
Peyton: We are playing a show in Athens, GA with Shellshag and Franz Nicolay on the way down. Besides that it’s just going to be a lot of driving.
Jerri: We just got a new baby-blue Astro van/motorcoach which will glide us in and out of town smoothly.
Scene Point Blank: One of the conflicts of Fest comes in scheduling. Who are some can’t miss bands for you to check out? Who are some of your friends’ bands that others should see?
Peyton: Sadly we will only be around on Saturday. Luckily, a lot of our favorites will be playing that day at Boca Fiesta. I think we will be spending a lot of time there.
Jerri: GG King, Shellshag, Naked Raygun, Stoned at Heart, Teenage Softies, Delay.
Vacation photo thanks to Hilary Jones