Tuesday, December 31, 2013

10 Questions with doubleVee

doubleVee is the latest project from Allan Vest (Starlight Mints) and Barb Hendrickson (former editor of OklahomaPunkScene.com).  Since forming in 2012, the duo has self-released three demos, three singles, and has three more new songs in the mixing stage. 

This interview was conducted via email with Allan Vest and Barb Hendrickson November 21 – December 31, 2013. 

For more information on doubleVee check out their official website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, BandCamp, and CD Baby pages.

Dave:  How did the band get together?  

Barb Hendrickson:  doubleVee getting together was a natural progression.   Allan and I worked together in our home studio on a few special project songs as gifts for family earlier in our relationship and have always wandered around improvising songs, writing down lyric fragments and wishing we could wire a clap on/clap off audio recording system throughout the house so we could immediately record our ideas.  We found a ridiculously cheap four-track recorder on Craigslist and were finally able to listen through hours of old tapes of Allan's that were full of very early versions of songs that would later become Starlight Mints tracks….and other snippets and ideas of melodies just waiting to be further explored.  Between the tapes and a stack of hard drives, we settled on a few ideas that we wanted to try working on first and knew that we would eventually want to write music together from scratch as well.  We started writing the lyrics for and recording what would become our first single Jack the Rider and continued to build the project from there, releasing a few demos that we were glad ended up being pretty well-received by the few ears that heard them.

Dave:  What’s the story behind the name doubleVee?  

Allan Vest:  Barb and I had the name before we started the band actually. We were thinking it could be the name of our production company.  It was a team name and we liked the way you could play with the the the two V's like a "W," hence "VVe are doubleVee."

Dave:  For those who have never heard the band, how do you describe your music? 

Allan:  I think the songs so far are slightly cinematic and influenced by different genres including some 60's/70's psychedelic European artists and some more modern alternative music. It's hard to lump yourself in a category when one is so close to the music, I think we are in the infancy stage of where we are heading. Our next batch of songs we are currently mixing all vary, so it's the next group coming later this year where we'll really have a better idea sonically and melodically how to define ourselves.

Dave:  You recently self-released three singles.  What made you decide to go the self-release route?  Do you have any plans for an EP or full-length album? 

Barb:  We had several reasons for deciding to go with the self-release route for now.  We considered running a Kickstarter campaign to help cover our expenses and insure a physical release of our music, but decided to stick with self-funding and releasing the project while we test the waters. We're on the verge of having three more songs mixed and ready to go and are considering our options when it comes to an EP or full-length album.  Our main limiting factors at this point are money and time, as they are for most musicians….and for most of us in general!

Dave:  Do you have any plans to tour in support of the three singles?   

Barb:  We've gone about this project pretty unconventionally, releasing songs as we've finished them, so we're quite a distance away from having a full set for a live show.  We've been working on several other projects to pay the bills so we haven't been able to devote as much time to doubleVee as we would like to.  We have talked and daydreamed quite a bit about what our live set would look and sound like, though, imagining it as a theatrical experience complete with a detailed stage set.

Dave:  Do you have any specific type of songwriting process?  

Allen:  Every song has its own birth and process that is unique from the others. The music and melody usually come first. We really love exploring soundscapes and tones before we commit to the actual lyrical content. Some songs come easier than others. Jack the Rider came very naturally to Barb and I and it was fun and exciting writing lyrics back and forth. On Frucus Minus [The Flycatcher], we had several different ideas vocally and with the arrangement. It was originally more of a Lou Reed type vocal-talk approach but with a different slant. We have lots of fun outtakes on that one.  We've been really enjoying experimenting with vocal harmonies and exploring how our voices work together.

Dave:  What are your thoughts on the music scene in Oklahoma?

Allan:  I have several favorite bands and most of them I have worked with or played with in the past like Broncho (Ryan Lindsey played with the Mints for years), Skating Polly (who were very big Mints supporters long before Peyton and Kelli formed their band), and Feel Spectres (member Matt Goad is another ex-Mint and created the artwork for Built on Squares along with our doubleVee logo and initial artwork.) We're still trying to catch up on all of the newer artists and hopefully Barb and I will have more time and the budget to go see more shows this year. Oh, and we love Colourmusic. Our first date was at one of their shows at VZD's in OKC.

Dave:  This is a High Fidelity inspired question.  What are your top five favorite bands, albums, movies, television programs, and books/authors?

Tough question!  But here are a few of our faves off the tops of our heads (how's that for a disclaimer?!):
Bands: Anything Jeff Lyne, Blonde Redhead, Paris Combo, Can, The Cardiacs
Albums: Flying Lizards (self-titled), Nancy Sinatra (Moving with Nancy Sinatra), Enon (High Society), Led Zeppelin 3, R.D. Burman (A Bollywood Legend: Super Hits Volume 2)
Movies: Mary Poppins, Hands on the Hard Body (1997 documentary), House (Japan, 1977), Hard Eight, Cape Fear (1991)
TV Programs:  Seinfeld (seasons 6-9 ish), Sports Night, United States of Tara, Carnival (first season is amazing!) and currently looking forward to season two of Orange is the New Black
Books/Authors:  Book of Lists (I love odd facts), rhyming dictionaries, The Complete Jack the Ripper, Guns, Germs and Steel, Kon-Tiki

Bands: The Legendary Pink Dots, Stereolab, Pixies, Xmal Deutschland, Violent Femmes
Albums: Cocteau Twins/Treasure, Danny Elfman/Original Soundtrack for Beetlejuice, Ethyl Meatplow/Happy Days Sweetheart, Fugazi/13 Songs, Queen/A Night at the Opera
Movies: Sunset Boulevard (1950), Rebecca (1940), Requiem for a Dream, Spaceballs, Dark Crystal
TV Programs: Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Six Feet Under, Amazing Race, Let's Make a Deal
Books/Authors: Victor Hugo/Les Miserables, Hunter S. Thompson/Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Sherman Alexie/The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Gabriel Garcia Marquez/One Hundred Years of Solitude, Ken Kesey/One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Dave:  What’s next for the band?   

Barb:  We're planning on producing and releasing a video for Jack the Rider within the next couple of months and will continue to write and record music as we have time for it.  Allan is continuing to produce other artists and work on film and TV scoring projects. We've been looking into moving to another location, but are keeping all of our options open as we plot our next steps.

Dave:  Any final thoughts?

Barb:  How about just a thank you for your interest, Dave?  Self-releasing and promoting your own music is an upward battle and we really appreciate your help getting the word out.  Ryan LaCroix of Oklahomarock.com and Thespyfm's Oklahoma Rock Show along with his lovely co-host Grace Gordon have also been incredibly supportive of our music from day one. We really didn't intend for our demos to end up on the air, and to later have our Jack the Rider demo named #12 on the program's list of the Best 24 songs of 2012 was a really nice source of early encouragement.  Our Frucus Minus [The Flycatcher] single ended up at #24 on the top 50 of 2013 list and we really appreciate being included. So thanks to all who volunteer in support of independently produced and released music.

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