VBA
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VBA

New York City, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

New York City, NY | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Experimental

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Music

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Unhinged Melody

Resisting pop’s formulaic conventions, VBA seeks abstraction through spare, conceptually complex music.

Photography MATTHEW PANDOLFE
Words MARY KOSUT

VBA is a band with musical intelligence, a rejection of formulaic pop music’s slickly produced melodies that are consumed and forgotten at a rapid pace. Amidst airwaves clogged with songs made to accompany cat GIFs, VBA flips a sonic and cultural switch.

With sounds that can be cinematic, or, at times, even cataclysmic, listening to VBA evokes scenes from films such as Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain—birds flying out of bodies and men wearing white three-piece suits and platform shoes, coaxing hippos. VBA inspires what guitarist Bentley Anderson calls an “unhinged feeling”—a notion that things may fall apart at any moment in a destructive, sexy way. This unhinged nature anchors their music and live performances. It’s the blood and bile of the band’s swagger.
The group formed in 2013, taking shape in improvisational rehearsal sessions, using a shared interest in sonic weirdness and the slightly off tunes to the band’s advantage. While Anderson and drummer Vince Nudo, both technically proficient musicians and experienced songwriters, have played since they were teenagers, the pair are most interested in building songs out of spontaneity and deconstruction. Anderson detunes his guitars so that he never depends on knowing the chords he plays, relying on his ear to discover noises that work.

Ashley Math is a self-taught bassist with a background in dance. As an instinctive performer and a self-described musical outsider, she purposefully courts odd patterns. Like her bandmates, she was never interested in being able to cover other people’s songs. “[I] didn’t pick up the bass with the intention of learning Sabbath riffs,” she says. Math looks for negative space, the areas around and between the subject matter, for inspiration. She’s “attracted to accentuating everything that isn’t there in the song, the notes that aren’t played.”

Math’s intuitive approach to the bass complements Nudo’s drumming style; His idiosyncratic beats move freely around her constant rhythmic drone. Nudo is also the band’s lead singer and lyricist, spending his free time filling up notebooks with lyrics. After he shares his lyrics with the band, he’ll continue to hone and craft the songs outside of the rehearsal space. "I want the songs to have the recklessness and freedom of our performance, but with some structure and purpose,” Nudo explains. And while he does bring bits of music into the studio—a bass riff here, a beat there, a perfect cluster of noise—VBA’s songs don’t begin to take shape until they all start hammering it out together.

As Nudo tells it, “I woke up with this drumbeat in my head, this perpetual booming and rolling beat that felt like it can go on forever. Everywhere I went, the subway, the doctor’s office, it just kept going. I remember bringing it to the rehearsal space and just launching into this beat. Ashley jumped in with the bass line, then Bentley joined, and it started to build. I started to sing, it continued to gather momentum and intensity, and naturally went where it needed to. I remember thinking, ‘That’s it, that’s what I was hearing all day.’” The songs are crafted to linger in the atmosphere in which they were born. Freed of a linear arc, the band leaves space for the music to breathe, expand and explode.

VBA performances are powerful, with the power to both cleanse and shatter a room. On tours with the likes of Blonde Redhead and Kurt Vile & The Violators, they challenge the acts they support to match the surge of energy they exude on stage. Their sets can feel like an exorcism, rattling your consciousness and leaving you wondering what the hell just happened. Math says she loves what Alan Licht once said about making music: “Give an instrument to an interesting person and they’ll do something interesting with it.” VBA not only embodies this truism, it amplifies it. - SUITED Magazine


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

VBA began in 2012, created by former Priestess and Kurt Vile & The Violators drummer Vince Nudo (drums,vocal), along with Ashley Math (bass) and Bentley Anderson (guitar). 

 Vince and Ashley started playing together in Montreal in 2010. During a trip to New York City they met Bentley who had just parted ways with his band. The three were soon playing together and within months had revitalized some of Vince and Ashley’s early material and were writing new songs. 

Unhinged Melody

Resisting pop’s formulaic conventions, VBA seeks abstraction
through spare, conceptually complex music.

SUITED Magazine, fall 2015
Words MARY KOSUT 

VBA is a band with musical intelligence, a rejection of formulaic pop music’s slickly produced melodies that are consumed and forgotten at a rapid pace. Amidst airwaves clogged with songs made to accompany cat GIFs, VBA flips a sonic and cultural switch.

With sounds that can be cinematic, or, at times, even cataclysmic, listening to VBA evokes scenes from films such as Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain—birds flying out of bodies and men wearing white three-piece suits and platform shoes, coaxing hippos. VBA inspires what guitarist Bentley Anderson calls an “unhinged feeling”—a notion that things may fall apart at any moment in a destructive, sexy way. This unhinged nature anchors their music and live performances. It’s the blood and bile of the band’s swagger.

The group formed in 2013, taking shape in improvisational rehearsal sessions, using a shared interest in sonic weirdness and the slightly off tunes to the band’s advantage. While Anderson and drummer Vince Nudo, both technically proficient musicians and experienced songwriters, have played since they were teenagers, the pair are most interested in building songs out of spontaneity and deconstruction. Anderson detunes his guitars so that he never depends on knowing the chords he plays, relying on his ear to discover noises that work.

Ashley Math is a self-taught bassist with a background in dance. As an instinctive performer and a self-described musical outsider, she purposefully courts odd patterns. Like her bandmates, she was never interested in being able to cover other people’s songs. “[I] didn’t pick up the bass with the intention of learning Sabbath riffs,” she says. Math looks for negative space, the areas around and between the subject matter, for inspiration. She’s “attracted to accentuating everything that isn’t there in the song, the notes that aren’t played.”  

Math’s intuitive approach to the bass complements Nudo’s drumming style; His idiosyncratic beats move freely around her constant rhythmic drone. Nudo is also the band’s lead singer and lyricist, spending his free time filling up notebooks with lyrics. After he shares his lyrics with the band, he’ll continue to hone and craft the songs outside of the
rehearsal space. "I want the songs to have the recklessness and freedom of our performance, but with some structure and purpose,” Nudo explains. And while he does bring bits of music into the studio—a bass riff here, a beat there, a perfect cluster of noise—VBA’s songs don’t begin to take shape until they all start hammering it out together.

As Nudo tells it, “I woke up with this drumbeat in my head, this perpetual booming and rolling beat that felt like it can go on forever. Everywhere I went, the subway, the doctor’s office, it just kept going. I remember bringing it to the rehearsal space and just launching into this beat. Ashley jumped in with the bass line, then Bentley joined, and it started to
build. I started to sing, it continued to gather momentum and intensity, and naturally went where it needed to. I remember thinking, ‘That’s it, that’s what I was hearing all day.’” The songs are crafted to linger in the atmosphere in which they were born. Freed of a linear
arc, the band leaves space for the music to breathe, expand and explode.  

VBA performances are powerful, with the power to both cleanse and shatter a room. On tours with the likes of Blonde Redhead and Kurt Vile & The Violators, they challenge the acts they support to match the surge of energy they exude on stage. Their sets can feel like an exorcism, rattling your consciousness and leaving you wondering what the hell
just happened. Math says she loves what Alan Licht once said about making music: “Give an instrument to an interesting person and they’ll do something interesting with it.” VBA not only embodies this truism, it amplifies it.



Band Members