Isn’t it incredible how music can completely alter one’s mood? An elixir for the broken-hearted, it can cure ailments, get people up on their feet and bring folks together. At last year’s ArcTanGent Festival, the sheer ferociousness of USA Nails was not only the highlight of the whole weekend, but the perfect remedy for a sore tummy, a nightmare headache and a bad case of desert-tongue. Their very early set (considered early given the general feeling amongst those in attendance) was perfect for that moment in time, providing the feeling and energy required to get back into a day’s worth of drinking and chatting shite.
If you were lucky enough to be at this year’s ArcTanGent, you will nod your head in agreement when I say the weather was a downright travesty. Swimming between stages, not being dry for 48 hours and if you were really lucky, having to leave your shoes at the festival because they were that fucked (guilty!)
Friday morning would have been a total write off this year, had it not been for Raclette hot dogs, strong coffee and Vasudeva opening up the main stage.
“I thought it was awesome. We were just really thankful to be there, to be honest. We didn’t really know what to expect.” Comments Corey Mastrangelo, guitarist in Vasudeva. We’re backstage at Gullivers in Manchester, sweating buckets, the weather having uncharacteristically done a complete 180.
“For us, playing the first festival ever – we had to get nerves out, had to shake it off.” Says drummer Derek Broomhead. “But as soon as we got on there, it was comfortable. We played well we thought.”
“Hardest, coolest show I’ve ever played, for sure.” Nods guitarist Grant Mayer.
At their midweek show in Manchester, we’re a few days on from the festival but the trio are still buzzing, having made a real impact on the main stage. Not quite the skull-crushing intensity of last year’s wake-up call from USA Nails, but a collection of proper dancey, uplifting instrumental math numbers to get the day off to a good start.
Formed out of New Jersey, the trio were in good company at this year’s festival, with a number of their fellow countrymen and other foreign dignitaries making the trip over to experience the wonderful celebration that is ArcTanGent. One of the festivals most enjoyable qualities is its friendly atmosphere. It’s totally chum central too, with the chances of bumping into a friend or two as you move between stages highly likely.
“I think just being there with all of our friends in a different continent at a festival is insane for us.” Smiles Corey.
“Being able to go backstage for all of those bands was like the coolest experience of my life. It was like – fuck the crowd, I’m gonna go backstage.” Laughs Grant.
Vasudeva kicked off their European adventure in Dublin, a couple of days prior to ArcTanGent. Whilst it wasn’t smooth sailing all the way (“Sometimes a show is like super disorganised and people don’t follow through with their commitments and jobs. But we’re kinda just trying to just make the best of it.” – Corey), their initial shows with Gulfer and longer joint tour with Totorro have bought with them much joys – though sadly for Corey, no Salford Lads Club visit (“I wish! I’m obsessed…”)
Discussing their time over here, Derek sums up the differences they’ve been encountering.
”The first time we played in Dublin, it was this massive dance club venue. Then the next day we played a house show in Cardiff, which was like super rowdy and kids were crowd surfing. Two different beasts. Then we played the festival the day after, so we went from playing a house show to that main stage and it was like – what?”
“Then to playing, what, another stage in Scotland…Going from the main stage to getting shocked by microphones again, right?” Asks Grant, the others sagely nodding, fingers likely tensing at the sheer thought of another electric shock to come this evening.
Vasudeva are no strangers to the UK, having played over here two years ago around the release of their debut album ‘Life In Cycles’. With the trio returning to Europe two years on from its release, the record has had yet another vinyl pressing due to demand, which neatly coincides with the journey. With new material making up the majority of their sets, a number of tracks from their debut full length have taken a back seat, though there still remains a soft spot for some.
“It’s pretty interesting. We don’t necessarily play a lot of those songs live.” Says Corey. “It’s cool to look back on, like we were listening to something the other day, just a little clip of one of the songs and we were like – oh shit, I like this part.”
A sure sign of the age of certain tracks from Life In Cycles can be found in their new material, as Grant points out. “We were actually playing the last song on this new record back when we were in Europe the last time, but we completely gutted it – it’s like a whole new song now. The first incarnation of the song, we were playing live our first Euro trip, but now it’s like pretty much a whole new song. It’s still that song, if that makes sense…”
“For the past year, we were re-working songs.” Adds Derek. “Trying to get it ready. Then we were recording-“
“Scratching half of them…” Laughs Grant.
“We were writing since probably before that European tour.” Confirms Corey. “The oldest song on the record is maybe over two years old now. It’s been a pretty long process, recording and stuff like that, ‘cus we did It ourselves. A lot of trial and error.”
Focus now remains on the new record and out of the fourteen or so songs written, the trio have narrowed the number down to eleven. A Facebook update a few months back alluded to its impending release, though they’re reluctant to put a date on it. “It’s gonna be at the later end of this year I’d say. I wouldn’t wanna say a month, ‘cus I know we would not release it then. So I’m just gonna say later in the year.” Smiles Corey.
With record number two expected later in the year, Vasudeva have got their sights set on the finish line. Unfortunately for the trio, at the time of interview the finish line for their European tour is a lot closer. When asked about the past two weeks and the experiences they’ve had, Corey sums up the feeling in the room with just two words “Too short.”