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The Vandelles are an original band of this era. They bring audiences a mix of musicial ingredients with a dash of Jesus & Mary Chain, The Ramones, and The Beach Boys all twisted up into one to create a delicious taste known as The Vandelles.
This psychedelic band wasn’t created so suddenly, before they became the band they are today, they were two duo bands called, The Mercenary Gang and Del Black Aloha. In 2007 they found each other in the most unique fashion through social networking on Facebook and combined their two bands into one. The rest is history.
Since then, they’ve created experimental sounds that have rocked the East Coast. Earlier this year, they self-released their first full length LP in March 2009 entitled, Del Black Aloha, but with limited production. With the help from Safranin Sound they will be releasing a 12-track LP that will be available to the public later this year (Details of an actual release date are unknown at this time).
The LP is filled with distortion and harmony and flows from one track to the next. From the start of "Dash N’ Dive" is one journey of old school punk, and then immediately taken for a turn to "Get Down" a Beach Boy’s meets Jesus Mary Chain style of surf’n punk that puts listeners into a tempestuous psychotic frenzy. There is absolutely no shortage of inner journeys within Del Black Aloha.
From a conversation with singer and guitarist, Jason Schwartz aka Jonny Strings, here was our conversation:
The band has an interesting story on how you guys met. Is it true that you and Christo or David contacted Suzanne and Lisha through Facebook to join the band? Tell me how that began.
Dave is an original member of the group, and we did meet in college. After several months of playing as a duo we found Sue through Facebook, upon joining Sue invited Lisha to a practice to try out on bass and it turned out Dave and Lisha already knew each other as well! We met Christo in Boston while touring in '07, Dave decided to leave in '08, and Christo was moving to brooklyn at that time so he started practicing with us and it all went from there.
How did the band end up in New York? Was the move based on expanding your musical career, or was it to continue school?
We had a professional mindset from the start. Basement shows are one thing, but we knew we wanted to tour and get our music out there so we played the majority of our early shows in manhattan.
How hard was it adapting to the New York scene? Would you recommend other bands to follow your same foot steps? If no, why not?
The NY music scene is very diverse and competition is very high, so don't expect any kind of attention unless you're willing to work very hard for several years. It is much easier to make a name for yourself nationally if you are coming from a smaller pool of bands. Its a Big fish small pond type of thing.
So, your music has really gained some popularity in recent years. Has your music been offered to appear in any shows or movie productions? If so, which ones?
Our music has appeared in several movies, most recently with Lovely Weather in the film Water Wings, which you can check out here www.resolverfilms.com
What other accomplishments do you feel is worthy of mentioning with band? Like, have you received recognition by major labels or the radio market or accolades from other artists that you’re proud of?
We've definitely received recognition from college radio stations across the country, which has allowed us to play with bigger groups such as the Warlocks and Dead Meadow most recently. It is always fun to play with other bands other bands around the country because we're all a part of this larger scene that has been developing for the past several years and its great to connect!
I hear a lot of “surf” mentions when other critics speak of your band. I hear a lot certain cross of 60’s style rock n’ roll and 70’s punk rolled up into one, and of course Beach Boy's surf rock music style in there. What do you consider your style of music to be like?
I think if you listen to the EP you hear more of the Beach Boys influence with songs like Swell To Heaven and Dead Wave, but we think of our style as a continuation of the surf side of rock n roll - Starting with the surf legends like Davie Allan and Dick Dale, to the Beach Boys, to the Ramones, to the Mary Chain, to us.
Before you began to record and perform live, who was your major music influences?
The first major influence on me was definitely the Beach Boys. When I was seven my dad took me to the beach for the day and randomly the Beach Boys were playing so I got to see them.
If you had the chance to meet a music legend from past or present and you were able to perform with on stage, who would it be?
A lot of people ask this question and it depends on what I'm listening to - right now I'd have to say Mick Jagger circa the late sixties.
Since I am on the West coast, I had a hard time finding your music online to purchase. When and where can people buy a copy of your new music?
Out EP is being released by SVC Records in the UK and is already available on iTunes. We just had a limited edition pressing of our full length Del Black Aloha, and we've sold out of the run but the album will be released officially soon.
What is the future of The Vandelles? Any plans to expand your tour and hit some bigger venues? Is there a possible CD release party coming up?
Definitely touring and releasing, we are already working on new material for our next record and we have a cover of the Cramps' Aloha From Hell that will be coming out soon as well! This spring we expect to be heading over to the UK, Europe, and maybe even Japan...so be on the lookout!
For a free 4-track preview, plus bonus track of The Vandelles, go to The Great Unknowns Presents For more information about The Vandelles, go here