It’s a hard life if you’re in a band and live in Silverlake, Los Angeles – grab a latte, walk the dog, wave to Beck, write a song, play a gig. One band you might see ‘chilling’ in Silverlake are Vanaprasta and we’re tipping them for big things in 2011.
They’re still working on their debut record but have built up a reputation as something special on the live circuit. The biggest compliment you can give them right now is to say Vanaprasta manage to sound like, well like Vanaprasta. Flush the Fashion spoke to guitarist Collin Desha about Rooftop gigs, Hindi traditions and the Taco Zone.
What are you up to at the moment?
Right now we just finished our last show for 2010 and taking sometime to relax during the holidays. We spent most of the year trying to accomplish a list of goals we set and we feel really good with what we accomplished.
Who is in the band?
Ben Smiley – Drums
Cameron Dmytryk – Guitar
Taylor Brown – Bass, Keys and Vocals
Steven Wilkin – Vocals and Keys
Collin Desha – Guitar, Keys and Vocals.
Where does the name come from?
Vanaprasta is a Hindi term. After one of our first rehearsals I was driving home and listening to talk radio, really excited about VP. A Philosopher named Alan Watts was discussing what Vanaprasta meant to him and how you come to a point in your life where the past and the present come together to influence the future. I saw a parallel meaning between Alan Watts discussion and our music. There are TONS of very different musical influences in our band. I really love Pink Floyd, King crimson and music that typically comes from an older generation but there is also a huge influence of new music that Cam and Taylor tend to apply to our writing that stems from more current stuff. Ben loves everything from Zeppelin to Kanye West and Steven spent years in choir. We were running through so many different names that Vanaprasta meant something to us and just made sense.
How are things going with the debut LP?
The LP has been going really well. We don’t have a specific time for release but definitely sometime next year.
What is the song you like playing live the best?
I love playing new material live for the most part. I tend to get the most excited when we put a new song in our set and get to really test the material in front of an audience. There is a new track we have been playing over the last few shows (doesn’t have a name yet), I think that’s probably my favorite…. oh and we covered Kanye West at our 2 year anniversary. That was definitely really fun to play.
Who are your musical heroes?
I grew up listening to a ton of traditional Hawaiian singers so that played a huge part in what I like. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Bob Marley, James Murphy, the list can go on and on lol.
Best gig so far?
We flew to NY for CMJ in Oct and set up a rooftop showcase for about 60 people we had met playing shows leading to this one. We were 12 stories high on top of the Gretsch Building in Williamsburg, New York. I am sure I can speak for everyone in our band but this was the best gig so far. We rented gear and set up at sundown after a week of great shows in NY and meeting some really awesome people. So at sundown, we set up and just played pretty much all our material. The backdrop was all of NY city and the Empire State building glowing red. It was fucking incredible and something that I know all of us will never forget.
What’s it like backstage after a Vanaprastra gig? Is it Lap dancing or Laptops?
Haha probably lap dancing with our laptops.
If you weren’t in Vanaprastra what band would you love to be in?
I’d love to be in any project James Murphy is a part of.
And finally, where is the best place to eat in Silverlake?
If you want something cheap its definitely Taco Zone. There is another spot called Forage that our friend Sam works at, a bit more expensive but worth every dollar.
And off he went into the sunset, with a head full of dreams and a pocket full of songs.
Look out for a brilliant track from Vanaprastra in next months Flush the Fashion sampler and their debut record very soon. More from Vanaprastra on bandcamp here