Cincinnati trio Vacation have been playing for a few years now, releasing a string of 7-inches on various DIY labels and a debut self-titled full-length in 2011. Now the band are releasing a sophomore full-length out June 18th via Don Giovanni Records, the New Brunswick punk label who have also recently released records by Shellshag, Laura Stevenson, and Waxahatchee. The album is titled Candy Waves and the first single, “Pyro Hippies,” is an aggressively addictive noise-punk track that shifts between explosive bursts of guitar feedback and hooky shout-alongs. Check out the song below, as well as a quick Q&A with the band’s drummer/vocalist Jerri Panic about the lyrics on their new album, Cincinnati, and living in a DIY venue.
Stereogum: You guys described your self-titled LP as “railing against sexual orientation discrimination, cops, and other subjects”. Are those topics you’re still covering on Candy Waves? What other themes and ideas are you exploring on the second LP?
JP: To me, the majority of the first record was written from the perspective of how I viewed society at the time and some of it’s major flaws. Since then I’ve realized that perspective is obviously all relative, so in contrast Candy Waves deals more with my personal psyche and understanding my place in the universe.
Can you talk specifically about this song, “Pyro Hippies”? Who/what are you singing about?
The “girl” referred to in Pyro Hippies is my partner, Ava. On one of Evan’s last nights in Cincinnati, the three of us decided to eat mushrooms and walk around our neighborhood. It was one of the most memorable experiences in my life, feeling almost as if we were completely free to walk around and explore in an abandoned movie set as time stood still. A day or two later the song came out of me when the routine-ness of everyday life hit me really hard. I think it’s really important to have those out of body experiences from time to time to remind you how beautiful life is when the monotony is peeled back.
I’ve never been to Cincinnati. What’s the music community like there? I read that you live a space where you do shows. What’s the best show y’all have thrown or played there lately? Any bands from your town we should all be listening to?
Cincinnati doesn’t have a specific “sound”. That can be a blessing or a fucking nightmare when it comes to local artists. It’s a town that should have been but never was, and I think since turn of the century it’s people have been searching for some sort of identity. But I think the best bands around have always known exactly who they are and what they want to do. Honesty in music is so important to me.
We’ve hosted so many memorable shows over the years, but one that sticks out in my mind was the very first at our current house; Tenement, Nervosas and Vacation. Two of my favorite bands playing music right now. Current Cincinnati bands to watch out for: White Walls, Pillowbiter, Tweens, and Pure Predication.
Has living in a show space helped to inspire/inform your own band?
Absolutely. I feel like we all related so much to the DIY scene when we were young, that just as much as we wanted to play shows, we wanted to host them as well and meet other people from all over the world who were doing the same things. Vacation started because Peyton and I were living together in a show space and wanted to start a fun band on the side. I think that’s why it’s always felt so natural, because it was never forced.
Can you talk about the process of recording/producing Candy Waves?
Our friend Patrick Jennings had been wanting to work with us, and he had recently moved to Bloomington, IN. We took a week last August before leaving for our US tour and recorded Candy Waves in his home studio. We utilized almost every room in the house for tracking instruments including the garage, which I think turned out really well. I love when an album is comprised of songs with different recording techniques which really cater to each song. It makes the listening experience so much more exciting. Since then we’ve been back a few times to working on the mixes. I’ve never gotten to spend so much time on one piece of music, and I’m really grateful it.
Candy Waves is out 6/18 on Don Giovanni.