Influenced by artists such as Copeland and mewithoutYou, From Indian Lakes could easily be handpicked as one of the best alternative rock bands most people have never heard of. The California quintet blend intelligent and touching lyrics with entrancing rock to create a musical organism that sounds like Brand New’s poetic yet daring younger brother. Frontman Joey Vannuchi opened himself up to us and discussed topics such as making the jump from a project to an actual band and trying to classify his group’s sound.
When did you first start getting into music?
I started playing drums when I was about 10 or 11-years-old I think, and immediately started playing in bands. Matt and I have grown up together in the mountains. He lived a few roads down from me. Rick and Justin were in a screamo band that we were friends with in high school. Guy lives in Indian Lakes and I actually recorded some demos at his house before the band had even formed.
Why did you choose the name From Indian Lakes?
I just wanted to put them up on the Internet and I needed a title for the project. I didn’t know the whole thing would turn into a band. I originally wanted to call it Songs From Indian Lakes. I don’t really remember why I shortened it. I suppose its good that I did.
What was it like when you guys first started?
I started getting messages from people about shows and the songs, and I sort of just agreed with them even though I didn’t really have a band together yet. It was a rocky start I think, but we started playing almost every week pretty soon after that.
Listening to your debut The Man With Wooden Legs, you can easily pick out that you have a unique and original sound, but it’s hard to pinpoint as far as genres go. How would you describe your music?
We usually tell people that it’s not really heavy, but its not that soft and it gets noisy. That basically prepares them for anything we could possibly surprise them with. I don’t like it when people label themselves under a genre that they want to be and its not actually what they are, so we try to just stick to that description. If we were forced to pick genres, I would say indie/rock.
Which musicians influenced you while creating the record?
The songs were written over a pretty long period of time. As far as records go so there were a lot of influences. I really like Copeland, As Cities Burn, Foals, mewithoutYou; stuff that gets noisy but you wouldn’t necessarily call them heavy. That’s sort of what we were going for I think.
A true highlight off the album, “Our Father Is Missing” is a great example of your impressive songwriting ability. How does the process work for you?
Thank you so much. That’s really nice. I usually write the song in my head while doing other things for a few days and then I go home to demo something out, turn on a click and see what happens. You can imagine I have a lot of demos that are not very good and no one will probably ever hear them!
Keeping with the songwriting subject. Which musicians today do you consider to be great lyricists?
I think everyone would agree that Aaron Weiss of mewithoutYou is an extraordinary lyricist. I also really like The Avett Brothers and other folk artists that write lyrics that are intelligent, but very blunt and to the point. The sort of material that keeps you interested for an entire album, even if the music isn’t so great.
Do you think to be a great songwriter you have to be able to tap into personal feelings and experiences?
I think that is very important, but its just as important to be able to create feelings and experiences. I myself have not had the most tragic life and it would get pretty boring after a while if Ionly wrote about myself.
What kind of stories do the tracks on the album tell?
They tend to deal with stories of love, being alone, lust, questioning everything and being a coward. Those sorts of things.
It’s rare that two Californian bands get the monthly spotlight treatment from us. Do you think the area’s scene is on the rise?
Since we live in the mountains, I’m not sure if we are part of the California scene. But maybe we are! I saw that you guys recently featured A Lot Like Birds. I think they are much better than some of the stuff that has been coming out of California.
How has touring in California been?
The touring we have done has been okay so far. We love being on the road but we started out touring and playing at a lot of bars and other low-key places. Only in the last year have we really gotten the chance to play at some really supportive and great venues in California.
In your case, can it be hard to attract fans from other areas in the country?
Surprisingly, we have a lot of support from different places in the country. I think there are a few fans in other countries as well. With the Internet and all, I don’t think it matters where you live anymore.
Where do you see yourself and the band in five years time?
I just hope we are all still best friends and we still have the opportunity to create and play music together.
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