It’s been two years since the release of Gone, the last album from Philly’s Vacationer. They make their seasonal return with another instant Summer anthem album in the form of Relief. This shines through by the time you hit the second track “Paradise Waiting” with frontman Kenny Vasoli singing “there’s a paradise waiting for us in summertime.”
Listening to Vacationer, it’s almost hard to believe that these guys are creating such great summer, islander influenced music from the depths of Pennsylvania. Needless to say, Relief is another signature Vacationer album. Featuring the perfect combination of effects, sample tracking and unique instrumentation to give you the sense of basking in the sunshine, no matter where you are.
If you’ve been following Vacationer the last few months, you’ll find some familiar songs on Relief. Tunes like “In the Grass” and “Wildlife” have been sitting on their Soundcloud page for about two months and have been played at some of their shows recently. It’s understandable for these tunes to be the first ones released, as I think they’re some of the highlighted tracks from the album. Get ready to gear up those summer playlists with some Relief.
In between the hectic preparation for the album release next week, I got to chat with Kenny about what Vacationer has been up to, some of the inspirations behind this album, and general summer shenanigans…
TSI: What were some of the inspirations behind the new album? (both lyrically and musically)
Kenny: The three common threads I try to stick to are exploration, relaxation and love. At times I will attach any of those themes to a specific place or person while writing. I like to stick with those three ideas as a starting place because they are the key elements that make up the spirit of Vacationer. On this record I focused a bit more on relaxation and the search for it. The pursuit of relief is an exploration we all embark on. I’ve becoming increasingly fascinated with that concept.
TSI: Were you looking to do anything differently when going into making the album?
Kenny: I really wanted to raise the bar in terms of my contribution to the song writing. There was a lot I felt capable but was not producing before. I also wanted there to be an evidently ramped up, bright energy on this record. The more that we became a live band we started to realize that energy was lacking a bit on the set list. I’m happy with what we’ve achieved in that sense, I think we struck a healthy balance between chilled and excited.
TSI: When you’re writing, where do you find the most inspiration? / Where did you find yourself writing most of this album?
Kenny: Most of my writing happens in my house. I have an upstairs room with cedar walls that I’ve dedicated almost purely to writing music. I’m completely comfortable there. So as long as I can muster up some initiative to pick up an instrument and scribble some words on a pad, then I have an easy time being honest and uninhibited with music. Once it comes time to expand upon the ideas I’ve gathered at home and record properly, I visit Matt Young and Grant Wheeler’s studio up in Brooklyn. Up there a completely different type of creative energy is happening, it’s apparent. I totally dig finishing the songs with them up there, time seems to swallow itself and productive creativity always seems to thrive in that environment.
TSI: What’s been going on between the release of the last LP and now?
Kenny: We had toured on the first record for just over a year with minimal breaks. So many great tours. After that we took almost a full year off to write and record this album. I got to live a relaxed life at home for a lot of it, which is really rejuvenating and meaningful to me. It took a while to get into the zone with the new album’s material.
TSI: You were traveling recently (as we can all see documented on theFB page), how was that trip (no pun intended)?
Kenny: It was completely groovy. I was in Costa Rica for about a week for a music video. Before I left I had a feeling I would enjoy it, but I had no idea the magnitude of beauty that exists down there. Hopefully you’ll be able to see in the music video that I completely elated being there. I came home with a whole new take on what it is to live a relaxed life. People down there seem to exist without any aggression towards on another, it was enlightening and refreshing. That will not be my last trip to C.R.
TSI: We’re all gearing up for summer, and obviously your music is best fit for this time of season. What’s your favorite summer activity? / Favorite thing about summer?
Kenny: I love when I get my bicycle tuned up in time for long, sunny rides in summertime. Vacationer was very much inspired by the shoegaze music I was heavily into right when I got my bike 4 years ago. It was stuff like Beach House and The Radio Dept, I’d always vibe out to those albums rides. It feels appropriate putting some of those records on when it turns to summer, along with some of the exotica I’ve been collecting this past year like Antonio Carlos Jobim and Les Baxter. I can brew cold coffee, skateboard to the record store, lounge in the hammock, and hike with my dog.. Summer feels like my time to shine.
TSI: You’re trapped on a desert island and you somehow have a working record player. What two albums would you choose to listen to until you’re rescued (which could be never)…
Kenny: Radiohead – “Hail To The Thief” and LCD Soundsystem – “The Sound Of Silver.” Those are two records that age unbelievably well.
Relief is available June 24th through Downtown Records. Pre-order the album HERE and get an instant download of ‘Wild Life’ — Also be sure to catch Vacationer’s record release shows in Brooklyn, Philly, DC and Boston next week!
“In the Grass”