Alternative rockers Varsity Week have got an EP "If You Only Knew" that has been catching grooves and good vibes all over. Frontman vocalist Brandon Eisenbeis and guitarist Dave Orton do the talking about this EP and some other details about the band like influences, writing, and some thing called music!
1. Can you give us a brief introduction to the band and how they got started in music and this band?
Dave Orton: Hey Nat! How the hell are you?! We teamed up in the Seattle/Tacoma scene a little over two years ago, in and out of other projects—I think at one time or another we all adorned each others’ bands.
Brandon Eisenbeis: Dave and I have been playing together in different projects since 9th grade. We were both in between projects that dissolved this time a couple years ago, and it was just kinda right place, right time. I've played with Justin on and off for years, and when it came time to find a drummer, Troy was highly unavailable.
DO: Yeah, the poor kid. He had quit three other full time bands to join VW. And we made him cut off his beautiful, shoulder length hair.
2. What is the story behind your band's name Varsity Week, what does it mean, how did it come into the picture?
BE: The name was such a struggle, I think we had a list of two or three hundred and we couldn't make anything stick. We liked Varsity Week because it sticks to the youthful vibes our music puts out.
DO: I remember we had to land on something fast, our first show opening a summer festival was like a week out and we didn't have a band name yet. We finally narrowed it down just in time.
3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local acts you could recommend?
BE: We're all based out of Tacoma, WA. The scene is finally starting to open up after lull for a few years. New venues are opening up, promoters are getting excited again. We're stoked to get back up there and play some shows, hopefully this fall.
DO: SO MANY good bands in Tacoma and Seattle right now. Moments are sick. The Bomb Shelter, Joyfield, and Afterwords are all worth checking out.
BE: Phasers on Kill are way rad. American Island is super dope, I think they're our local favorite collectively.
DO: The Money Pit is killer.
BE: Yeah, I probably listen to that record once a week.
4. How would you describe your style? Would you say that it is a style that all could enjoy?
DO: I think most often we're compared to 1975, OneRepublic, and Cage the Elephant.
BE: For sure, someone just said anyone that likes Imagine Dragons or Walk the Moon would love the song “Against the Wall”. I think we have a feel good record, and our live show has something for everyone.
5. You released your latest EP "If You Only Knew". What can someone who has never heard of you before expect when listening to said release?
BE: Its production value is gonna be a lot different than what you're used to right now. And I think that's awesome, it has a 90s feel at times but we didn't completely blow off all modern elements.
DO: It has great hooks! We slaved over them, making sure it's something that we would want to listen to before anyone else heard it. So it's cool to have it out, I think people are picking up on the vibe.
6. What was the process like writing and recording for this EP "If You Only Knew"? Why should people go forth and check it out?
BE: It was amazing, first off—we had such a great team behind it from start to finish. Kenny Carkeet and Jim Kaufman gave us a ton of freedom in the studio, and never pulled the reins in on what we wanted to do. Everything you hear on the record, we actually played—I think that's important to point out. Every synth, guitar or bass line you hear, was performed by an actual human.
DO: I agree, we also used real instruments. Jim has a plethora of vintage heads and an arsenal of sick guitars and vintage synths. He encouraged us to push a lot of air, and we did. There's a load of real guitar on the EP, Kenny made us use a Kemper here and there, but it was in good form. We wrote a lot with Jarvis Anderson too, he has great flow and he's mad at the craft. We still work with him, always will.
BE: Jarvis, love you man.
7. How about your single “Anyways,” what do you think of it's reception it's received from everyone? What is it about this track that makes it work so well?
BE: “'Anyways" was the first song we released, ever. So in that vein it was cool to let people get a taste of what the band is about. The video helped too, Ryan Pesecky directed it. He and his team smashed it out of the park, and they were incredible to work with. “Anyways” was an old demo that we worked out with Sahaj Ticotin. He introduced us to the synth word, something we didn't know much about. He's rad at making musical hooks, and he really massaged them into the track.
DO: It's airing through a bunch of gyms on their workout TVs across the nation. We weren't really expecting that, so it was crazy to hear our friends tell us they were doing squats to the video.
8. You got signed on with Another Century Records, how has that been working out for you?
DO: The AC team is dope. They've put it out on the line for us more than once, and they really welcomed us into the family with open arms. It's nice having someone believe in your band as much as you do, I don't think you ask for much more than that. Plus they’re signing so many rad bands, it makes us cool by association.
BE: Right out the gate they were amazing. They never pressure us into things we don't want to do, they support the music and they always give us energy drinks when we stop by the office. Another Century puts the artist first, that's something we wanted from day one.
9. Besides this EP "If You Only Knew", do you have any new music in the works, in terms of a follow-up release?
BE: We're always writing, everyday. You have to love doing it, and we really do. I mean, since the EP has been out—for what? A little over two weeks? We've finished three new songs, and we have writes booked all over the place. We've been doing some really cool stuff with Nick Bailey and Colin Dieden.
DO: Yeah, that track is gonna smash! Plus we're always working with Jarvis, he's right next door so we're always popping in and out of each other's studios. We're like, “ JARVIS, come scratch a melody on this jam” when we see him in the bathroom. We borrow his vacuum a lot, he's a good guy.
BE: As far as our back catalog goes, the follow up is pretty much done. But ya know how it goes, we're always working. I'm sure the next release is gonna be stuff we haven't written yet.
10. What plans do you have for the future as a band?
BE: Touring and playing shows, it's all we ever think about. We have some coming up in August, hopefully we'll be touring this fall.
DO: Can you keep a secret? We're gonna be headlining The Slidebar for a KROQ Locals Only showcase August 29th. No one knows about it yet, actually—I hope that gets confirmed for you print this.. Oh well.