Eric IVM: State your name and what you do in the band.
Wes Blaylock-I sing
Kelsey Harelson- I play drums
Andy Moore- I play guitar
Laura Hudson- I play piano
Jonathan Childs- I play bass
Eric IVM: To the average music fan, how would you describe your sound?
Wes: I would describe our sound as alternative indie rock. We try to make music that is layered instrumentally and melodically. We do our best to make music we think is beautiful.
Andy: Our music has a relaxed, melodic feel to it that is carried by underlying driving beats, which creates a cool feeling. It is also very dynamic.
Eric IVM: Has this style been pretty consistent throughout the existence of Deas Vail, or have you experienced a lot of transitioning to find your niche?
Wes: Our style has changed a lot since we started. For the first year or so we played songs that I had previously written on my acoustic guitar. So, it sounded like a solo artist’s songs backed by a band. It was a good way for us to mature and get used to playing together. All the while, we were working on songs of our own. The sounds that define Deas Vail today developed right at the time we were picked up by Brave New World. The timing could not have been better.
Eric IVM: What’s in your personal music player right now?
Wes: Right now we are in the van listening to Anathallo. Before that we were listening to Griffin House, The Format, Bloc Party, As Tall As Lions and Wilco.
Jonathan: Bloc Party, Trail Of Dead, U2, Third Eye Blind, Ryan Adams, The Snake The Cross The Crown, Rooney
Laura: I don’t have my own personal “player” so I listen to everything that everyone else listens to.
Andy: I’ve been listening to Neutral Milk Hotel, Ugly Casanova, Sigur Ros, The Beatles, Stereolab, the Chili Peppers, and Explosions in the Sky.
Kelsey: Anything in the key of G, and anything by saxophone virtuoso Kenny G … yep, that’s it.
Eric IVM: Have you seen any special opposition or reception due to the fact that there’s a girl in your band? If so, how do you deal with it?
Wes: Really we have only felt reception from having Laura with us. She is an encouragement in ways that we could never be in that we could never be inspiring to girls in the audience like she can. She is really great at what she does and that is only heightened because she is a girl. It is just not familiar to see a girl in a touring band. I think it is a pleasant surprise.
Laura: I agree that usually there is more reception than opposition. The majority of the time there is mutual respect if not more so because “I’m the only girl”. Every now and then girls (and guys) are specific in telling me that it was encouraging to see a girl in the music scene really enjoying the show, the music, and the people. I think the uniqueness of our situation is a good thing in almost all cases.
Eric IVM: What was it like working with Mark Lee Townsend on the record?
Wes: Mark is incredible to work with. I can’t wait to do another record with him.
Laura: He kept us working hard, but having lots of fun too. We laughed a lot, ate good food, and above all made some beautiful music. We owe some of our idea of what “work ethic” in the studio is to Mark. I’m excited about our next experience with him. The next record will be so much fun.
Andy: Mark has a great balance of getting the job done while being relaxed, which makes for a very creative environment. He’s got a good ear for where the music is trying to go, and he helps us refine our songs that way.
Eric IVM: You’re also one of the first bands on Townsend’s label, Brave New World. How does it feel to be the “guinea pigs”?
Wes: Hey, the guinea pigs get all the attention. BNW is composed of a small group of great, hard working people. Mark Mattingly has worked extremely hard and is still putting in countless hours to get BNW off the ground. That can be said for BNW as a whole, including the artists. BNW is an indie label, and we know that we have to hustle to get where we want to be. So, being the guinea pig is a lot of grass roots work as well. With that said, we love it that we get to see this thing from its beginning and we are eager to see where our hard work takes us.
Jonathan: It really isn’t Townsend’s label officially, but he is contributor and a key player in the goings on of the label. I don’t really feel like guinea pigs because there is so much experience and leadership within the staff at BNW. The people are not naïve to the music industry as it stands today.
Andy: I couldn’t imagine a better place to be for a new band in the current music industry environment. Everyone at the label cares about all of us individually, and as a band. It’s a rare situation when a new band has conversations face to face with their label owners about where they want to take their music. The support and interaction that we have seen is definitely a blessing.
Eric IVM: What role does your faith play in Deas Vail?
Wes: Our faith influences everything we do.
Laura: Well said.
Eric IVM: I noticed that your website has a link to a special email address for prayer requests. What led you to this idea, and how has it been working out so far? Do you actually get the chance to pray for every kid that sends you an email? Wes: The prayer account was created with the intention of keeping us connected, on a spiritual level, with people we know. Anyone who has something they want to share, or if they have a prayer request, should feel welcome to use this. We do our best to keep up with it and pray for the people who are in need.
Andy: The account started right before we left for our first big tour and I remember thinking that we would definitely need prayer on such a big undertaking. So, having the chance to share our needs with others and get to share in their needs as well is encouraging. It creates a community of support that we need.
Eric IVM: Following that note, is there anything specific we at Indie Vision Music can pray for Deas Vail?
Wes: Well, we can always use prayer for strength and tenacity on the road. We are trying to understand the balance between daily life and life on the road.
Jonathan: We are all to a point where our personal lives are changing on a day to day basis (good ole 20’s). I would love it if we could get some prayer for some stability of some sort for us all personally. THANKS!
Andy: Definitely stability and balance. We are all learning to rely more wholly on God everyday, so encouragement of our faith in that way would be welcome as well.
Eric IVM: How have you grown with this band so far, and what direction do you think you will be headed in the future?
Wes: Oh man, I know that I have grown a lot since we started. We have been tested this year in so many ways. We have had two member changes and we have had to put up with each other for two months on this tour. That is excluding any stresses that come with releasing a debut record. I don’t think I completely understand all the lessons I have learned from all this yet. I feel like our experiences have been something I will be able to look back upon and apply to the rest of my life.
Andy: I agree. In these two months alone I’ve learned a lot about patience, perseverance and facing my fears. My faith has been strengthened significantly since I’ve been a part of Deas Vail.
Eric IVM: Any closing thoughts?
Wes: We have just released a record called “All The Houses Look The Same” in stores and on iTunes. We also just opened up our online store at www.downtownrivals.com. If you would like to know where we are going to be touring or if you just want to stay in touch, we can do that via our myspace. Go to www.myspace.com/deasvail. Thanks everyone for supporting Deas Vail. We hope you enjoy the music as much as we enjoyed making it.