TBT Update: Vodeo will be performing Saturday at the 35 Denton festival. You can also catch them later this month: 3/19 at Magnolia Motor Lounge and 3/25 at the Aardvark. They also finally have that stellar self-titled EP in hard copy form now, so grab that up too, while you’re there. Peace.
A recent discovery of mine, Vodeo, a Fort Worth quartet formerly known as Shake the Moon, have a sound that hearkens back to the Yacht rock sounds of Kenny Loggins and Hall and Oates. Their self-titled EP, produced by Taylor Tatsch, just dropped back in October, and it’s full of radio-ready goodness. It’s probably my favorite local EP of the year. The boys (frontman Jonathan Gehringer, bassist/vocalist Jacob Pullig, keyboardist/vocalist Drew Harakal, and drummer Jason Whorton) sat down to answer a few questions for us about whether or not they’ve invested in that first yacht yet (or maybe just the same old questions I ask everyone).
Author’s Note: Just caught these guys live, and they’re pretty much a must see, if only to hear the sick grooves that Jacob Pullig is laying down while watching the pure satisfaction that Jacob Pullig is feeling at the sick grooves he’s laying down. Pretty entertaining. High five, Jacob!
Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?
JP: We had been in several different bands over the years. Jon, Jason and I all went to the same school, but didn’t play together until later on. We joined as a band a couple years ago. We started off as just Jon, myself, and a drummer. We wrote a couple songs and played out a bit. We eventually picked up a keys/synth player along the way to smooth shit out, Drew Harakal, and my good friend of 10 years Jason Whorton when our Craigslist drummer bailed…good ole Craigslist.
JG: Second part of that question is a little tough. It’s just what we do. I personally love it because it’s a great way to express yourself. If you can connect to one person, that’s all that really matters. From the too-drunk 50-something at the club, to the shy kid in the corner, punkers, frat kids, skeezers… you’ve got to entertain. You’ve got to connect by any means necessary. (Short answer: Hanson “Mmbop”)
Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?
JP: Boz Skaggs, Ambrosia, Alan Parsons, Kenny Loggins, Darrell Hall and John Oates all boned and had a P-Funk baby, LOL, another thing that’s really hard to explain/describe. The term Yacht Rock keeps on being thrown around town. We don’t quite understand it. We don’t even own dinghies.
Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?
JW: Todd Rundgren, Curtis Mayfield, Hall and Oates, George Clinton and the P-Funk, to Harry Nilsson, Glen Campbell, Paul McCartney & Wings, could go on for about 2 days on this, really anything that comes across sincere and honest.
Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?
JP: Tough one, probably “Pillow Talking”. It’s a song I demoed out before conception of the band. It’s kinda one of those “Ugh, I’m fed up with growing up” songs when you look at it. “Trading pens and pencils for bayonets”, dropping out of a rat race and playing war games and being a dirt bag Lord of the Flies style, with a touch of (aye girl, eyebrow raise and wink wink) lust.
Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?
JW: Foreigner, summer of 1978. Duh…
Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?
JP: Unknown Mortal Orchestra
JG: Portugal. the Man
DH: Snarky Puppy
JW: Tame Impala
Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?
JG: Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti
JP: Ned Doheny’s Hard Candy
DH: Todd Rundgren’s Something/Anything
JW: the Beatles’ White Album
Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?
DH: Ha! I really don’t want to answer because I don’t want to make people hate me. My favorite part of the scene is how much support and response we’ve gotten from our peers on how we stand out a bit from the rest of the scene, musically. The least favorite is that the biggest market in DFW still seems to be for cover bands locally, or larger regional/national acts.
Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?
DH: I’m a huge fan of Magnolia Motor Lounge. They have a bit of a built in crowd, but they are constantly trying new things with different genres other than what they’ve been known for (Americana and Country). I have to give a shout out to Wayside Ballroom as well. It’s definitely one of my new favorites.
Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?
DH: Criminal Birds from Denton, TX. I know they’re gearing up to go record again, but they’ve got 2 EP’s already out that are some of the best from the DFW scene that I’ve seen in the past few years.
JP: the Hendersons from Fort Worth, TX. Nolan Robertson’s song smithing and voice are something that kinda blew me back first time I heard it. I hear (shh shh) they are working up some stuff with a prominent producer/artist out of state. You’ll def be hearing some stuff from them in the future.
JW: Leon Bridges….duh.
JG: Trái Bơ from Fort Worth, TX. They are truly one of the most interesting and melodic bands in the hometown. Their first album is full of earworms.
Me: And for shits and giggle, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?
JG: I clock in about 30 hrs on average a week in Madden.
DH: I’m an ordained minister, and have officiated weddings before.
JW: I’ve recently started a podcast for fun with a buddy, called the “Primal Vision Podcast”. We talk mostly around music and entertainment.
JP: I binge watched all 11 seasons of Cheers
A big thanks to Vodeo for taking time out to give us the first full band interview in this feature. Check them out at a gig near you when you get the chance, and I guess if you’re getting married and need an officiant, give Drew a call. Check out Vodeo’s new self-titled EP below.