Can you introduce who you guys are to the readers?
Jake: My name is Jake and I try to sing for the band. Preston plays guitar and songs as well. Jojo plays bass and currently our good friend Aaron Hughes, from Houston punk band “The Drafted”, is playing drums for us!
JoJo: JoJo Arnold, bassist of Versa Nova
How and when did you guys become a band?
Jake: We formed as a band officially sometime last summer. All of us have known each other for a long, long time and we are all from Baytown, TX. We all have been playing on and off together since 2010 but didn’t decide to take it serious nor public until last year. Before that it was just for personal fun. Since we didn’t take it serious we never glued ourselves to a particular genre or style. We just wrote whatever we were into at the time. We all kind of lost touch with each other. Then something happened. I guess the time and mood was just right. I bumped into our original drummer, ironically enough, at a Drafted show and he filled me in on what they had going and handed me an 8 track EP. Back then Preston sang and played guitar full time. Then like maybe 6 or so months went by and I just woke up one day and really, really missed making music so I called Preston up and he had me come in for a practice and the rest is history as they say
JoJo: We’re the revamped leftover fragments of an old project that’s been around for a while. About 3 years ago we went through a name and lineup change to end up becoming Versa solidly a little over a year ago.
The new song Veal is really cool what was the writing process like?
Jake: Hahaha oh Veal. So usually when we write it is a super long and frustrating thing. We write like 5-6 different versions of a song and go with the best one or a combination of the takes. Veal is really weird because it was written in about ten whole minutes. Preston had this riff and showed it to me and I immediately started singing “there’s no sunshine for me today” and it just worked. Then he told me he wanted to call it “veal” so I wrote lyrics in relation to my opinion of veal and factory farming in general. I wrote the lyrics probably 5 minutes before the first vocal track was recorded hahaha. Truthfully, Veal wrote itself. It just came together on its own.
JoJo: The writing process is always pretty solid. The guitarist Preston Griffith is the main architect and we just kind of go in the studio and fill in the rest of the pieces.
When can we expect some new music from you guys?
Jake: Well, it’s really up in the air right now. We have a solid 7 songs ready to go so we are on the fence of whether to put out another EP or to push for a full length album. If we do the EP it’ll be fully done around February. If we push for the album it could be next summer. As far as a new track to listen to while you wait we should be releasing a song on Halloween or at the very latest the second week of November.
JoJo: We’re putting the final touches on a couple of unreleased tracks at the moment, but the new song ideas, new album ideas, those never really stop coming to be honest. Every practice we’re working on new material. (So soon, very soon)
What advice do you guys have for new bands wanting to start playing show?
Jake: Actually yes I do! Don’t be a show whore! Meaning, space your shows apart from each other so that you have real time to promote. I understand you want to play as much as possible and it’s not bad to do that the first couple of months to get your name out there, but after the honeymoon is over you should definitely space your shows out. What ends up happening is if everyone knows you are playing every weekend they won’t come out as often. They will subconsciously say to themselves “well, I worked all day and I’m tired. They’re playing the same place next weekend so I’ll just catch them then”. It’s one of those things is would you rather play one show and bring 60-100 people or play 5 shows and bring 10-25 to each one. I don’t know about everyone else but I’d rather play one packed show than 5 half empty ones. Performing on stage is only half the job when you book a gig. Promote or die. Another thing is be cool with everyone you meet, you never know who they are or who they will become later and I mean be cool with EVERYONE! If you’re a dick to everyone then no one will want to be friends or support your art. No one will have your back like the other bands you play with but you can’t limit yourself to that because a lot musicians won’t pay to come to a show they aren’t playing. Venues, staff, promoters you obviously want to be in good standings with if you want to continue to play. Most importantly the fans. They are the people that will keep spending money on you if you build a happy relationship with your fan base. Don’t ever be too cool or too busy to talk to fans. Other than that the only advice I can give is prepare to work your ass off and promote yourself. If you are playing in a band to be cool, popular, money, girls, or fame just quit now and save everyone the trouble, including yourself.
JoJo: For new bands, best thing really is to just talk to everybody you possibly can. Make friends, solid friends, go out and have a great time with some of your favorite bands. Build the solid scene. That’s what it’s all about.
You guys give off so much energy live where does it come from?
Jake: That’s actually really simple. We play every show like it is the last time we will ever play. Life is unexpected and short. So, we never know when we will get to play again. No one does truthfully. We can be very frustrated and disgruntled guys because of how much we care about the world we live in. With that being said we let every ounce of negative energy out on stage. People love it. We love it. So that’s what we push for. After we play we are the happiest and most care free dudes in the world. After all that negativity is gone the only thing left is pure happiness. Playing shows to me personally is the best rush imaginable so I go to the extremes with it. During that 30 minute set I don’t worry about work, money, people, or things that would usually cause stress or anxiety. It’s the closest thing to immortality that I’ll ever experience.
JoJo: Mostly pent up boredom from really not having shit else to do. We’re all angry brats, and music is really the only thing we can really channel our life energy into. It’s our healing process. We love to make noise. We love to make a mess. It’s the cleanest way we can project that.
Do you have an idea when you guys will hit the road?
Jake: That is also up in the air. We like to make little three and four day out of town shows every other month or so but next spring is really looking like prime time for versa mobile haha
JoJo: We’ve all been working really hard to straighten up a foundation in our lives to be able to hit the road and hit it without problems. We’re getting closer by the minute, and I truly expect us to be able to do so after the fall and winter season. Vans break down easier in the winter time anyways
What is your dream tour with you guys on the bill?
Jake: Not in any particular order but, Nirvana, The Deftones, Rage Against the Machine, System of a Down, The Blood Brothers, and Versa Nova
JoJo: Oh haha man I wouldn’t even know how to answer that really. I’d say co-headlining with Norma Jean would be really cool, and if somehow the Chariot got back together and we could play alongside them, that would be amazing. Maylene and The Sons of Disaster were pretty rad when we played with them at Walters. It’d be pretty cool if they were on the bill
If you had to pick one album to listen to for the rest of your life what would it be?
Jake: I don’t know either Iowa by Slipknot or Nevermind by Nirvana
JoJo: I’d have to say “Breeder” by The Boyfrndz from Austin. They’ve inspired me quite a bit with that new sound. One of the few bands I can still listen to over and over again. I like making music like that in my spare time
Do you guys have anything else to say before we go?
Jake: Please stay tuned and come check us out in the near future! Make sure to follow us on every website ever! Most importantly. Don’t let anyone in this world tell you that you can’t be whatever you want to be. Fuck peer pressure, fuck bullies, fuck the government, fuck the twisted up snakes that are mainstream media, and fuck the Kardashians.
JoJo: Not much else to say really. We appreciate the time to ask us a few things, wish people would ask us a bit more lol other than that, just support your local music, come see us at a show sometime and get drunk and have fun with us.
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