by Marion Suchowiecky
Last month, Marion Suchowiecky, KCSBfm’s External Music Director, sat down with the New York psych-rock band, Acid Dad. They talked about their most recent tour with the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, their approach to music, their recent singles, and (most importantly), putt putt. Read on to get an inside scoop on what’s on the horizon for Acid Dad!
All right, so, we can go ahead and jump into the interview if that’s okay with you guys?
ALL: Sounds good. Yeah. Yeah.
Can you guys maybe go around and introduce yourselves and your role in the band?
VAUGHN: Yeah, for sure. I can get started, I’m Vaughn, I play guitar and I sing.
SEAN: I’m Sean and I play guitar and I sing.
WEBB: Trevor, you wanna go?
TREVOR: Yeah. I’m Trevor. I’m the resident drummer.
WEBB: And I’m Webb. I do the visuals and the artwork, most of the artwork.
How has it been to tour with the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, and are there any crazy tour stories that you guys are willing to share?
VAUGHN: Let’s see, first off, the Porn Crumpets are great. They’re super, super nice dudes. Every Australian I’ve ever met in my entire life has been like, just so kind and like at the same time, like off the wall like crazy. I think it’s just like in their blood. And they’re, you know, exactly on par. They’re amazing. They shred super, super hard, like every night. They’ve been on the road for, I don’t know, three months now, like constantly. So we’re all kind of in the same boat. We’re just trying to make it to the next place, you know and try to be as healthy as possible. And so like, most of the time we honestly spend chilling and like resting as much as we can to stay healthy cuz it’s so, like, physically grueling. So we haven’t really done any crazy stuff other than like some partying and like Montreal and-
TREVOR: We were doing some crazy Yoyo tricks last night. That was pretty wild.
SEAN: The Harvard boys, with their Yoyos.
WEBB: Yeah, they, they’re, they’re a really great band, to tour with though, you know, super easy and fun. Like, you know, we’re all happy, you know, working together.
SEAN: Just been in the pod for. Lots of driving. Lots of driving in the pod life.
That’s awesome. I’m glad to hear that you guys are enjoying the tour so far and that you’re staying healthy. Very important stuff. I wanted to also ask you guys about how, how long this lineup, this current lineup of acid dad has been together and, kind of how it came about, how you all connected with each other.
SEAN: It’s been like, four years, five years as this, you know, iteration. And, Webb came on, started touring with us. Like we’ve gone and we are brothers obviously, but, yeah, I’ve known Webb since he was like, 13 or something weird like that. But it’s funny to have him on tour now. But I originally played bass in the band and then I switched to guitar and vocals and yeah.
That’s awesome that you guys have been able to develop as a band together and, and also just as people knowing each other so long. You guys from all over, if I’m correct, but all live in New York currently. So, I was wondering if you guys can talk a bit about the New York psych rock scene and what it’s like to be a part of it.
VAUGHN: New York psych rock scene… You know, I feel like the New York psych rock scene like, kind of, kind of small. I mean, I don’t know. Trevor, you might know better actually. Like the extent, working with Greenway.
TREVOR: Yeah. I feel like, even working with Greenway & Levitation, a lot of, I will say a lot of our artists… and I think almost traditionally psych, coming from the West Coast, I think there’s a really cool … almost a different kind of psych music here that’s more like a New York breed that’s maybe more post-punk based or, you know, maybe more traditional New York sounds, if you will. So it’s interesting, I’m not gonna say it’s small cause it’s really a strong community out here, but it is a little small. It is a little small, but yeah, there’s, there’s a lot of really good New York psych bands right now for.
That’s awesome. I can definitely hear that in your guys’ sound. And I hear post punk, even like as far back as Velvet Underground and, and that kind of scene in, in your guys’ music. And I’m happy to hear that the scene is strong there.
So there’s kind of like this idea of New York that is prominent in popular culture, where people go to New York searching for something in particular. I was wondering what it is that brought you guys to New York, and if you guys found it when you arrived and when you settled in?
TREVOR: I mean, so for me personally, I guess, yes, I mean really moved here, partly to join Acid Dad and partly, my fiance lives here, so I moved up here, together for those reasons. So in a lot of ways yes, but I also got very lucky. I know, the rest of them, y’all came for school and stuff, but I’m not sure other, you know, greater purpose if you guys came to New York for something else, but, like, I could say Yeah, I found what I, look what I’m looking for here, I guess. New York School.
WEBB: Yeah. I came here for school originally and it’s kind of been like this ever since. It’s like, it’s a place that kind of, once you get rooted, you know, like. It’s tough to like, get out in a way, you know, you don’t really wanna go anywhere else. Cause like the city just has everything you could ever want or need, you know, every opportunity. It’s kind of what you make it. You know, I didn’t really come here looking for something. I was kind of more naive, like, I guess I’ll pick New York, like see what happens, you know?
SEAN: Yeah. I mean, I came here for school, but also music. Just visiting a lot of DIY venues, like Shea Stadium and like, 285 Kent, back in the day. And it was like a completely different scene and that still kind of existed. But it just seemed like a really friendly place for musicians to like, try to work together and book shows and stuff like that. But now I just feel kind of like, stuck here or trapped here. Like I don’t know how to move all my shit out in New York.
WEBB: And yeah, I’m currently a student finishing school. So yeah, that’s like why I made my move here. Along with my boys being in New York and the band, you know, just like a lot of art here. So I wouldn’t be anywhere else.
Thank you for sharing, guys. My next question kind of shifts focus a little bit to your guys’ writing process. Do you guys come to the stage with kind of open-ended songs or does performing live have some influence on your writing process?
SEAN: I mean, it varies I guess, but. Sometimes we do right from playing live, but, I just feel like we used to do that more. But, the absence of like shows for a while, kind of like, I feel like we all started working on our laptops more and stuff, you know? But, I feel like more and more, as we are touring again, like it’s definitely coming to be like that as well.
VAUGHN: Yeah, and I think like, actually like this tour, we actually had this one kind of open ended jam that we did, and then we were doing it with our bass player at the time and, We kind of like turned it into like a kind of last minute song, like within a couple days beginning of tour and now we’re playing it on this run. So technically we kinda wrote a song on the road the first week of tour and now it’s like a permanent thing that we’re playing for the rest of this tour. So, yeah, it’s cool.
That’s so sick. I love to hear about, you know, live performances, coming into the studio and, and, influencing the writing process. So thank you guys for, for sharing that. Kind of along the same lines, I definitely hear a lot of effects such as reverb or overdrive and delay and that kinda thing throughout all of your songs, all of your recent songs. And I was kind of wondering if these are things that kind of come before or after?
VAUGHN: They’re writing the skeleton of the song. So if, if they influence the way the song is written or if they’re kind of like things that you guys think of, and play with after, after the fact. I feel like I’ve been really into shoegaze recently, and I feel like every effect can be like, really inspiring in its own way and used as a tool to like craft. You know, just tones and like sounds and riffs and everything. So yeah, I used all the delay in tandem with the writing process because it’s just like a part of how it exists. So yeah, a huge part of a recent writing process for sure.
Awesome. Big, big fan of your guys’ sound and also a big fan of shoegaze, so I’m glad to hear you’ve been enjoying shoegaze! Also along those same lines, I read that you guys, build a lot of your own guitars and have also, or, previously built your own studio. And, here at KCSB we’re super into the DIY, hands on approach, to music. So I was wondering if you guys have noticed that this kind of more personal relationship with gear has had an influence on your sound?
VAUGHN: Yeah, I mean, during Covid, you know, we just had so much time on our hands and so I started just like building as much stuff as I could. And in our old studio before the flood, I had like a little guitar set up with a bunch of tools and I was like building guitars. But unfortunately since the flood, a bunch of my tools have been ruined. So I haven’t really been building as many guitars since then. But, both Sean. Use guitars that we put together ourselves, on this, on this run. So yeah, it’s like my, my, the guitar I use is something I built and it’s like my favorite instrument that I own out of a bunch of guitars that I own. So I think it’s really important for artists to try to craft their own instruments and tools. It’s really important I think, in developing, you know yourself.
That’s awesome! And it’s very impressive that you guys figured out how to build guitars. Super cool. Yeah, so talking about your guys’ studio, I was wondering if you guys have any plans or have already started to rebuild this space?
VAUGHN: Yeah, it’s been basically a year, actually, actually a year since we got into our new studio and it’s like always kind of a work in progress. I actually like having a bunch of boxes in my living room right now that some final equipment that I ordered over a year ago has finally arrived to kind of finish the tech side of some parts of the studio. So I’m really stoked. But yeah, it’s kinda like an ever, you know, building, developing thing. You know, it changes all the time and, after the tour, I’m gonna get back in there and start recording again. So it’s gonna be super sweet.
Awesome. I’m super happy to hear that you guys are getting back into your own space and we’re able to rebuild. Shifting gears one more time, I wanted to ask about the two, the singles that you guys released, “Get Me High” and the live version of “Brain Body”. Can you guys talk a little bit about the creation of these tunes and kind of the themes that are, you know, present within them?
VAUGHN: Yeah. Webb, do you wanna talk about the music video?
WEBB: Yeah. Yeah. I took the music video, it’s like fully three animated, kind of started at like Midsummer, and it ended up taking way longer than, like, I feel like any of us would, would’ve known how long it would’ve taken. But yeah, I mean, overall the theme kind of came from, like flooding and water, obviously it’s relatable to our traumatic past, which I think like in, in which, you know, you guys can touch more upon in terms of the lyrics of the song. But in terms of my end on 3D animating, I kind of took that idea of like, flooding and water and applied it, I don’t know, with like, this idea of like abyss and like pipes. And so I built this little character, Ding Ding. He roams, the mysterious lands of grass and pipes and fluid and you know, a lot happens there. But yeah, it was honestly crazy making though, I didn’t stop working for like, literally a month straight, like all day. It was horrible. It was also really fun too. It was really fun.
That’s so sick. I love the Ding Ding creature. Is there any point of like, inspiration for, for that creature in particular? Or is it just something that kind of came to you?
WEBB: Well, like, like Vaughn and I were, I mean all of us were talking about fun characters. Yeah. We wanted to make fun characters.
SEAN: The acid dead multiverse.
WEBB: Exactly. Yeah. Bobly, Ding Ding. I feel like aesthetically, the hair came from a place for me wanting to like, like generating 3D hair and messing around with the physics and dynamics of that. And you know, we kind of just all chatted about, you know, I don’t know. I was looking at some cartoons and weird figures and just Ding, Ding arose.
TREVOR: I think a lot of it too was, really like Webb pushing himself and, learning a lot of new processes like 3D animation and really like using this video to, just learn a lot. Honestly, it was like a really big project to take on. But I think. You know, Webb and like, even like, you know, recording and writing a song, like the whole thing was like this really big learning process somehow. Which we, I think was what, what I was explaining earlier, like we didn’t really expect with one song, but it ended up being this really grand project that we took on. And, yeah, it’s, it’s definitely a piece for sure. There’s a lot of, a lot of effort put into it.
WEBB: Yeah, I think like one step, I feel like what we all do in terms of making things is that whatever we’re working on is like something improved from, from the past and like with each step we take it’s like, you know, one step greater. And like starting with this music video, you know, we came up with these ideas. Like I made a scene made like may generated some of these like sculptures and. To be honest, like what we originally had planned or what came out like wasn’t the same because there was such a process of learning right there. But, you know, that’s like the way, you know, we, and especially me in terms of 3D animating the way that I like to work because, you know, the more you do the, the better. It turns out.
VAUGHN: The song like, we were like touring, like playing the song actually, like, and it was kind of like a rough kind of idea, more or less. And then once we built the new studio, the new equipment. It was the first kind of full tracked song that we’ve done since then. So I felt like it was like, pretty appropriate to like, write a song about the flood, you know, being like post flood, you know, kind of to Chris in the new studio, kind of get the bad mojo out of there. So yeah, that flood did many things.
SEAN: The version of Brain Body on there is from our performance at Shaky Knees in Atlanta this year too. And it’s really loud and sick, and just kind of cool to have an actual live recording out like the B side of Get me High.
That’s super sick. It’s so cool to hear the different points of inspiration for this song and, I’m glad that you guys were able to take, you know, something negative and turn it into something super cool. And also such a sick music video. And, I was also wondering, Webb, do you, did you also do the cover art for Take It From The Dead?
WEBB: Yeah. Vaughn and I made that, that’s Vons like all of our graphic design and Photoshop. And usually in terms of the process of that stuff, I’ll like to 3D model something, or I’ll sample some stuff and then I just give it to Vaughn. Makes it pretty.
VAUGHN: Yeah, I’m like, “boop”
That’s awesome. Yeah, super cool. I love the brother Duo, club going on that’s sick. Back to what Sean was saying about having a live record out. I know that Sean, you’re a big fan of the Grateful Dead. I am also a big fan of the Grateful Dead. So I was wondering if I could ask if the title Ticket from the Dead had anything to do with the band or if that’s just a coincidence? Cause that’s what initially grabbed my attention about your guys’ record.
SEAN: It definitely got us a couple like, fellow heads. To pay attention closer and stuff. But that was just like a lyric from a song. And we had like a lot of album title names and stuff, and like, I just like them. Idea of having a longer name rather than just like one word sometimes, or that’s how the music kind felt to me. And it was just like directly from a song too. But I’m sure there is like some, dead sway on that for
Super cool. All right, well, we’re nearing the end, but I just wanted to take a second to ask kind of what we can expect in the future from Acid Dad? If you guys are looking to tour more, if you’re looking to get back into the studio. Just kind of what direction you guys think you’re headed?
TREVOR: Definitely gonna be hitting the studio hard, after this tour. Definitely have tour plans coming up next year. Nothing we can say yet, but some really cool stuff is coming. Yeah, our plan is to, to really hit the studio hard for sure. When we get back. I mean, we’re gonna do a lot of songwriting. It’s gonna be a cold winter I think, so we’re gonna be inside inside.
WEBB: And also along those lines, Planned for also like a lot of like music videos and like new visual content and like beyond, you know, definitely like YouTube videos and like definitely a goal to be cranking those out faster of like the same quality and kind of freshness is our last one for give me high, but also like we’re definitely, you know, have some like fun and like fresh ideas for some other visual content to try to implement in the Acid Dad multiverse. So lots of fun stuff coming.
VAUGHN: Yeah, and we’ve also been recording every live set, for the past year. So I have like terabytes and terabytes of our live multi-track, live recordings and web’s been filling it so I, we might, you know, be releasing more kind of just like live stuff. I don’t know, we have a lot of stuff to work with and work on this winter, so I’m pretty stoked.
That’s so sick. I’m so looking forward to hearing you guys’ live stuff. Super cool. And also checking out more, more videos and new music as well. Yeah, so thank you guys so much for your time. It’s been such a pleasure talking to all of you, and I wish you the best of luck for the rest of the tour. Any, any closing remarks from, from all of you? Anything you guys wanted to plug, here at KCSB?
TREVOR: Thanks for having us, first of all. This is a good time. Really appreciate it. Just, I don’t know, shout out porn, crumpets. They’re, they’re the best. This tour’s been Yeah, the best. A lot of love for them for sure.
WEBB: All of you still have to play them in putt putt
TREVOR: Yeah, yeah. This is an official challenge. How about that? Official challenge to Porn Crumpets, we officially challenge them. Yeah. This is an official, on the record challenge to putt putt golf or top golf, whatever works out.
WEBB: You know, we were supposed to go in Denver. We were supposed to go in Denver, but it was like, it was like a six hour wait. You know who wants that?
Totally! Well, good luck in all your endeavors, but especially in putt putt. Thanks for sitting down with me again, and have a great rest of your off-day!