I recently had the great opportunity to see Vienna live at a local coffee shop and afterwords messaged them on MySpace about doing an interview for us, and guitar player/singer John Cotter agreed to talk with me for a while about music, faith, and Britney Spears.
IVM Eric: Okay… well first off, thanks for doing this with us. How long have you and Matt been together as Vienna?
John: About 3 years, maybe 4.
IVM Eric: What made you decide you wanted to be in a band together?
John: Each of us thought the other had a similar style, thought the other
was a good guitar player. I realized that a solo thing is more difficult to pull off.
IVM Eric: haha… that’s cool. So are you guys like, from Vienna? or where did the name come from?
John: We didn’t have a name for about 2 or 3 years because we just never came across a good one, so one night at our friend’s apartment we picked up a textbook and picked a random word… Actually the church I went to growing up moved to Vienna, VA, and I liked that name, so that was a part in it.
IVM Eric: Do you and Matt each do an equal part in writing the music, or does one do a lot more than the other?
John: Matt probably writes five times more songs than I do, but we try to keep the number of songs even for what goes on the album.
IVM Eric: Do you write some songs together then, like one guy does the lyrics and one does the music?
John: Whoever writes the lyrics and melody writes the core of the song, and then the other guy throws his guitar part and harmony in – with direction from the writer of the core. Sometimes the writer of the core of the song will have ideas for what he wants the other guy to play and sing.
IVM Eric: Alright… so both musically and lyrically, what are some things that motivate you?
John: Deep question. Well I speak for myself on this one. Musically, whatever I am mostly listening to at the time usually inspires a song. Lyrically, whatever I am thinking about at the time. Those are pretty vague answers, but yeah, the state my life is in is what comes out in my writing.
IVM Eric: What role does your faith play in your band?
John: Very deep question. Well God definitely influences everything about our lives. Since we write about what we’ve experienced or observed, that gets put into our lyrics.Whatever God seems to be teaching us at the time, is what we will write about.
IVM Eric: yeah… that makes sense.
John: It also influences us to love people, be real and approachable.
IVM Eric: …like hanging out with the entire crowd at a diner after a small show last Friday.
John: Exactly. We try to take an honest interest in people’s lives, and view them through unconditional lenses.
IVM Eric: well I can say I definitely had a great time.
John: So did I! You guys are cool.
IVM Eric: So what’s been your most memorable show experience so far?
John: fun question! Let’s seeeeeeee… we just recently played Recher. That was really great. We had a bunch of people there, and they started calling out names of our songs, and some of them singing along. We’ve also had many memorable bad experiences. Like no one showing up, sound problems, and Matt’s voice cracking.
IVM Eric: haha… yeah, I guess having a crowd would be a pretty important factor to a good concert.
John: I think one of my favorite shows we ever played was at The Cup coffeehouse in Bel Air. The place was packed and we were right on the floor in front of people. They were pretty much crowded around us. It was the first show we ever played standing up!
IVM Eric: Yeah… as for Vienna, do you plan to remain a small project, or would you be interested in a record deal sometime?
John: We’ll take whatever we can get. I don’t think we are going to pursue a big deal, but if one is offered we would consider. We are having fun with the way things are now.
IVM Eric: Sounds good. Is there any CD you would be embarrassed to admit you own?
John: haha. let me go look at my collection
IVM Eric: haha
John: I think the only one would be Creed “My Own Prison”. I got that in like 10th grade or something.
IVM Eric: haha, Hey, that’s cool.
John: I had some other stuff but chucked it. I think I tried to sell the Creed CD to record and tape traders and even they didn’t want it.
IVM Eric: hahaha… that’s hilarious. In keeping with the fun questions, did you ever have a crush on Britney Spears?
John: Yes. The first time I saw her hit me baby video. I have a thing for skirts.
IVM Eric: haha… sorry, not to embarrass you with this interview or anything.
John: No, it’s cool. I dig skirts and I’m proud of it.
IVM Eric: How about kilts?
John: hmm is a chick wearing it?
IVM Eric: hmm… I don’t think it’s a kilt then. How about you are wearing it.
John: haha I would never.
IVM Eric: haha… who is the number one band that our readers should check out, besides Vienna?
John: Q and not U
IVM Eric: are they another band from the Baltimore area?
John: They are on Dischord Records.
IVM Eric: alright, cool. I’ll be sure to look into them.
John: you should stop this interview now and check them out immediately
IVM Eric: okay… ::pauses conversation to search myspace::
IVM Eric: ::continues conversations as myspace loads the song::
IVM Eric: ::forever::
John: Listen to “We Heart Our Hive.” Holy crap there is a song on there I’ve never heard before and it’s for download. ::pees pants::
IVM Eric: haha
John: It’s a Neil Young cover. ::gets paper towels::
IVM Eric: If I was in Baltimore, where would be the best place to see a show?
John: Ottobar. I LOVE that place.
IVM Eric: have you guys ever played there?
John: No – but we are working on it.
IVM Eric: alright… well that’s about all I can think of. Anything you’d like to add?
John: hmmm no sounds good to me man!
IVM Eric: alright. thanks. and be sure to tell all your fans to check out your interview on ivmzine.com (or indievisionmusic.com, whichever they prefer)