Person L frontman Kenny Vasoli discusses the creation of his side-project, the constant change in the music industry and the band’s next album.
When and how was Person L born?
Person L was born in the fall of 2006. I’d had the idea for a while to start a project of this kind. After I wrote “Storms”, I began getting the ball rolling. I’ve known Ryan the longest. He and I had been playing music together since we were 15 at any chance we had. I’d known Brian from his previous band, The Minor Times, and always been a fan of his style of playing. Charlie and I were friends for a few years prior, our bands had toured together a few times and we shared very similar tastes in music. I’d also known Nate for quite some time as he had been playing part time with some of my other friends in Gennero when I stole him away.
Why the name “Person L”?
It’s a play on the word “personnel” as well as an homage to one of my all-time favorite records: Kid A.
Did you guys see the new project as a chance to explore other genres of music? Were you guys bored of playing the same old music everyone was else was playing?
That is exactly why this band exists. I needed to get out of the routine of writing the same type of songs. Now if I’m into blues one month, I can write a blues tune and still put a grunge tune on the same record. There are no rules. It’s very liberating to be in an open-ended band with no specific sound or agenda.
Why do you think music in general as changed over the past few years?
Music is always changing, sometimes for the better and sometimes not. In one hand you have some amazing bands like TV on the Radio and Battles making groundbreaking, thought-provoking records. In the other hand you have the explosion of abusing vocoders and drum machines all over the place.
Do you think more and more bands will lean towards more experimental work?
I think with select experimental bands making a name for themselves, yes, I think more musicians will get the courage to come out of the box. I mean, even Coldplay made a record with instrumental tracks.
Is it the right time for change in the music world?
Always. I don’t want to live in a world where music stays on the same level. If my radio is still playing “Hot ‘n Cold” by Katy Perry in five years then I’m going to chainsaw it in half. With a band as strange and wonderful as Animal Collective making waves on billboard charts, the times they are-a-changing.
Songs like “Sunshine” and “Holy Hell” appeared to be created and performed with a lot of different emotions, what influenced Initial the most?
I really wanted to make a diverse first release so that no one could lump us in to a certain niche. Those songs were both taken from where I was in my life at the time, my subject matter usually is.
Were you satisfied with your debut and how it was received?
I love the way Initial sounds, definitely the most self-satisfying record I’ve made. Its reception was so-so. The people that enjoy it seem to really like it. I do wish a few more people took the time to absorb the record.
How was touring as Person L with Anthony Green and Good Old War last summer?
That tour was the best, I don’t know if any tour can top it. We are great friends with everyone in the bands and we had a total blast every night. I love all those guys very much.
Did it feel weird to tour as a project not many know about?
No, not weird at all. It’s exciting starting from scratch again, I’m forced to work much harder now.
There’s been talk you guys are recording a new album this year. How’s the progress been so far and when should fans expect it?
It’s true, progress is coming along very nicely. We are going into the studio with Aaron Marsh this coming Tuesday to cut a full-length. This session is going to be great, all of the members will be playing on this one and I love the songs we are going in with. Hopefully we’ll have it out by this summer.
The live versions of the new tracks “Goodness Gracious” and “iSingtheBodyElectric” seem to channel a different sound than Initial. Should fans and critics expect something different on the new record?
Definitely, people should always expect something different from us, we are constantly shifting gears. Those two songs will give you a good idea of the spectrum we are trying to cover with this record. I want to go from very trippy textural grooves as well as dirty, high-energy rock and roll.
What kind of sound does the new record have?
It has elements of psychedelia, blues, grunge, post-punk, and good old-fashioned rock and roll. Influences of everything that we love to listen have found their place in our songs.
What has influenced you the most while writing and recording the new album?
I’m constantly being influenced by so many different artists. I know it sounds cliche, but the Beatles have been playing a major part in influencing our most resent songs. Apart from that I’ve been big into Fugazi (The Argument most of all), Colour Revolt, The Band, Howlin’ Wolf, Curtis Mayfield, Justice, Pavement, and as always Radiohead.
How many songs were narrowed down for the album?
We are armed with 14 songs going into the session, I think 12 or so will make it to the final mix. No track listing just yet, some of the songs still have working titles.
Who have you worked with for the release?
Aaron Marsh, singer/guitarist for Copeland, will be producing and engineering the record. I imagine it will just be us in the band tracking for the most part, but I’m opening the door to Aaron to hop on an instrument or a mic if he has and idea.
Have you come up with an album title yet?
Not yet, I’ve been back and forth between a couple names but have not put one in stone yet. No artwork yet as well.
Can fans expect any upcoming headlining tours or shows with other bands?
Yes, we will be touring the US from the spring on and I hope we get the chance to hit Canada for a first time soon.
Do you see The Starting Line becoming a part of your near future or will Person L be a new entity people will have to get used to because you’re focused on the present?
I think Starting Line will eventually come together to do something, I’m just not sure when that will be. Be that as it may, I’ll be making L records until my fingers fall off. Person L is my baby, and I would be no kind of father if I didn’t raise my child with the attention that it deserves.
Is Person L a group that’s going to be blowing away fans with their music for years to come, or is there a chance we can see some new experiments since the music world’s constantly changing?
I’m sure that I’ll be popping up in various forms or projects in the future, but Person L will always be putting out various experimental records. I hope I blow away at least a few people along the way.