VASA
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VASA

Band Rock Pop

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Sep
26
VASA @ Private Party - wedding

Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Jun
18
VASA @ The Summit, solo acoustic

Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Jun
08
VASA @ Smiths Olde Bar

Atlanta, Alabama, USA

Atlanta, Alabama, USA

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Music

Press


VASA, a new band originating from Birmingham, Ala., doesn’t quite fit the mold of the typical southern band. In fact, VASA sounds nothing like the blues, jazz, country or classic rock that traditionally floats out of bars and venues across Dixieland. That’s probably because the five members that make up VASA are as diverse and eclectic as the music they make.

Formed in the summer of 2007, VASA’s goal is to create a different kind of mainstream sound. Not only does VASA shed the image of the traditional southern band (frontman Josh Vasa has ethnic roots in India), but the band’s opus draws from a wide range of surprisingly interesting influences. Percussionist Mac Kramer is an astute jazz drummer, having studied such greats as Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Max Roach, Elvin Jones and many more. Bassist Beau Treadwell was a fellow student in the jazz department at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, but has a wide following as solid funk player. While Brad Lyons (electric guitar) adds an element of pop/classic rock with killer licks and mastery on the slide, Scott Clemmons provides the perfect accent to the collective’s work on his Korg Triton Studio.

The band’s musical influences range from the talents of The Beatles, Queen and Radiohead to the songwriting abilities of Paul Simon, Elliot Smith and Jeff Mangum. They also pull from the soulful elements of Stevie Wonder, Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin and The Police. In addition, VASA has influences from traditional Indian music. “We also grew up with much Indian music in the house, some classical, some Christian hymns, but many movie songs,” Vasa says. “Indian ragas are quite fascinating, there are so many patterns and rhythms that we are not used in the American culture, such as odd time signatures. I actually use a few odd time signatures in my music and I have no doubt it came from the influence of Indian music growing up. I actually have a few songs that sound Middle Eastern or Latin with the full band but whose origins came — in retrospect — from an Indian influence.”

In addition to the music, VASA’s lyrics provide an interesting glimpse into life experience. As Josh Vasa explains, “Life is all about responding to the experiences and circumstances surrounding us. What’s great about any type of art is that it is an examination of life experiences. It is a visual or audible or otherwise palatable response to what we go through and how we’re influenced, either positively or negatively, by life ‘stuff.’ Being able to articulate and express oneself in any art form is such a blessing and is truly what drives our emotions and ambitions in music.”

While the band focuses on developing its sound, honing what precise emotion and tone it wishes to portray in a song, VASA’s members hope the diverse influences they have gained separately will come together into one big melting pot of good sound.

“Lots of times, I’ll bring a piece of new music to the band – some chords structures and a melody or the like – and Mac will say, ‘I hear a snare roll or a funky beat or even castanets,’ and we all play around with one groove or another until something finally fits.”

In an effort to continue to play original music, the band steers away from nightclubs for the most part. “We try to stay away from nightclubs, mainly out of fear of hearing ‘Freebird’ from the crowd about 20 times in one night,” Vasa explains. “It’s not a secret that most crowds in the South want to hear southern rock covers versus originals, and it’s hard to gain a following when people are waiting for your next song, hoping it’s something they can clink beer jugs with or dance to. I don’t blame the crowd, it’s just not who we play to. So we try to stick to venues where the crowds actually want to hear originals. We especially love venues like Workplay and Bottletree in Birmingham.”

VASA hopes to take its atypical southern sound national soon, but for now you can still find the band in the Southeast.

http://www.performermag.com/sep.spot03.0809.php - Southeast Performer


Alec Harvey
Features editor
The Birmingham News, City Scene

Vasa (Tonight, 9 p.m., WorkPlay, 500 23rd St. South, $10) One need look no further than VASA's MySpace page to see the sense of humor we're dealing with: Josh Vasa on acoustic guitar, lead yodeler and matching socks; Mac Kramer on drums and beer belly. Add to that three other guys (Beau Treadwell, Scott Clemmons and Brad Lyons) and the band's jazz, funk and rock sounds (check out songs from the EP "Ba, Ba, Ba" on at www.myspace.com/vasamusic), and you've got yourself a fun time. And all of that is followed by Todd Simpson and Mojo Child. A great night of music. - The Birmingham News, City Scene


http://cfc.abc3340.com/videoondemand.cfm?id=23382

VASA on Birmingham's ABC 33/40 - ABC 33/40


Discography

VASA Demo "Ba Ba Ba" - June 2008
VASA EP (4 tracks) - February 2009

Photos

Bio

VASA, a new band originating from Birmingham, Ala., doesn’t quite fit the mold of the typical southern band. In fact, VASA sounds nothing like the blues, jazz, country or classic rock that traditionally floats out of bars and venues across Dixieland. That’s probably because the five members that make up VASA are as diverse and eclectic as the music they make.

Formed in the summer of 2007, VASA’s goal is to create a different kind of mainstream sound. Not only does VASA shed the image of the traditional southern band (frontman Josh Vasa has ethnic roots in India), but the band’s opus draws from a wide range of surprisingly interesting influences. Percussionist Mac Kramer is an astute jazz drummer, having studied such greats as Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Max Roach, Elvin Jones and others. Bassist Beau Treadwell was a fellow student of Kramer’s in the jazz department at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, but has a wide following as solid funk player. While Brad Lyons (electric guitar) adds an element of pop/classic rock with George Harrison-esque licks and mastery on the slide, Scott Clemmons provides the perfect accent to the collective’s work on his Korg Triton Studio.

The band’s musical influences range from the talents of The Beatles, Queen and Radiohead to the songwriting abilities of Paul Simon, Elliot Smith and Jeff Mangum. They also pull from the soulful elements of Stevie Wonder, Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin and The Police. In addition, VASA has influences from traditional Indian music. “We grew up with lots of Indian music in the house, some classical, some Christian hymns, some movie songs,” Vasa says. “Indian ragas are quite fascinating; there are so many patterns and rhythms that we are not used in the American culture, such as odd time signatures. I use a few of those elements in my music and have no doubt it came from that Indian influence.”

In addition to the music, VASA’s lyrics provide an interesting glimpse into life experience. As Josh Vasa explains, “Life is all about responding to the circumstances surrounding us. What’s great about any type of art is that it is an examination of life experiences. It is a response to what we go through and how we’re influenced, either positively or negatively, by life ‘stuff.’ Being able to articulate and express oneself in any art form is such a blessing and is truly what drives our emotions and ambitions in music.”

While the band focuses on developing its sound, honing what precise emotion and tone it wishes to portray in a song, VASA’s members hope the diverse influences they have gained separately will come together into a big melting pot of unique sound.

“Lots of times, I’ll bring a piece of new music to the band – some chords structures and a melody or the like – and Mac will say, ‘I hear a snare roll or a funky beat or even castanets,’ and we all play around with one groove or another until something finally fits.”

In an effort to continue to play original music, the band steers away from nightclubs for the most part. “We try to stay away from nightclubs, mainly out of fear of hearing ‘Freebird’ from the crowd about 20 times in one night,” Vasa explains. “It’s not a secret that most crowds in the South want to hear southern rock covers versus originals, and it’s hard to gain a following when people are waiting for your next song, hoping it’s something they can clink beer jugs with or dance to. I don’t blame the crowd, it’s just not who we play to. So we try to stick to venues where the crowds actually want to hear originals. We especially love venues like Workplay, Zydeco and Bottletree in Birmingham.”
VASA hopes to take its atypical southern sound national soon, but for now you can still find the band in the Southeast.