RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW CANADIAN BAND VVONDER
What made you decide to start the band?
It never really felt like a decision, more like something compulsory I had to do or I wouldn’t feel whole. I began playing at a young age and never looked back.
Introduce us to all the members and your musical history?
My name is Micah Braun and I’m the chief orchestrator of the project. In a live setting I play guitar and sing but on recordings, I wear many hats. The only thing I don’t do well is play drums though I consider myself a competent tambourine player. Nate Jacobucci plays keyboards, Joey Penner plays bass and Steve Martens plays the drums in the live version of VVonder. However, on this new single (and several other tracks) are Matt Filopoulos and Dan Bertnick on bass and drums respectively. All of these musicians (myself included) are veterans of the Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada music scene, having played countless gigs with many acts and artists I’d consider them some of the best around town. That being said, Winnipeg is full of incredible musicians and has produced such luminaries as The Guess Who and Neil Young.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
What kind of music to you play?
We set up RGM Canada to share music with the UK and Canada, good idea?
Both countries? Aren’t there more than two? Share the music with everyone, please!
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
Tupac and Jimi Hendrix live in a quiet beach community with Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain.
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
Yes, but I can’t remember what because it was so useless I forgot about it.
What useless party trick do you have?
I can gulp a drink down in about 2 seconds.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
Quite recently actually when we gave Steve a microphone and the two of us brought our incessant ball-busting to a live setting. Oh and when I decided to pretend I was Eddie Van Halen for some reason and did a whole impromptu tapping routine. Both of these events occurred at a great local venue called Park Alleys which is also a bowling alley.
What was the worst experience on stage?
When one of our members forgot how to play Sandstorm and we totally blew our encore.
Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about?
Me: I’m 2 1/2 years sober. Steve: Has a front desk bell attached to his drum kit for some reason. Nate: Enjoys eating rice that is half-cooked (and refers to it as “half-baked” which is also strange). Joey: His former band the Waking Eyes were pranked by Collective Soul who put condoms on their microphones.
If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?
Frequencies ranging from 50 to 20000 hz arranged in formulated patterns.
What makes you stand out as a band?
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
Hurts So Much. This is an album cut that will be out in the fall when our first LP is released. I’m not sure why I prefer it and this answer could change over time. I will say that it really hits on an emotional level and I can have fun with the vocals in the fact that I can sing it a little different each time.
I hear you have a new single/album/ep, what can you tell us about it?
So far two singles “Bye Bye Baby” and “Philosophy” are all that VVonder have released. A third single is set for Mid-August a month or so before the LP drops. This is the debut album of the band and was recorded and mixed over the last two years at home and in a variety of local studios.
Talk me through the thought process of the single/album/ep?
I was in a band called Jicah which disbanded in 2018. We had been around for about 10 years and in that time had been courted by major labels and worked with a variety of managers from England and the USA. In our last year of existence we were given a hefty per diem to fund our lives while we worked on our major label debut to be shopped upon completion. Unfortunately due to lack of focus and major substance abuse we failed to complete the work and were dropped by our team. Out of the ashes of this chaotic misadventure VVonder was born. I had been working on home demos the whole time and in 2020 gave up the booze up and drugs and decided to get serious about the project. Similar to what I said earlier; there wasn’t much thought behind why I decided to do this, it just felt like something I needed to do.
What was the recording process like?
Much of this was recorded at home by layering instruments etc. When the drum loops I put down weren’t cutting it, real drums were layed down at a couple of local studios and a few songs were done live off the floor. Philosophy, for example, was recorded at a studio called Secret Beach where myself and Matt and Dan did about 30 takes of the song until we had something. We comped a few things here and there and once satisfied I took that home and did about 20 tracks of vocals, a couple more guitars and real piano which I had to tune myself! This of course was all layered in with the original synth parts from the demo and various guitars and other miscellaneous parts from other sessions. For this song there were probably 15 different sessions and about 40 hours of mixing. On the other hand Bye Bye Baby was written and recorded in one evening and almost everything was kept besides drums which were added by my friend Anders Erickson (another major local talent). The entire record was mixed by myself and Matt.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single/album/ep?
I don’t know nearly as much about any of this stuff as I thought I did. Also, make sure the thing you’re recording sounds good at the source.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
I’d rather not say much here because it’s not something I can do anything about now anyhow. Mistakes were made, sure, but it is important to make mistakes. I learned a lot in the process of recording and now I know a little bit more about what does and doesn’t work. Also none of the issues I have (tones, automation, etc.) are noticeable enough to make a huge difference (I hope).
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
I’d like to make it big in Japan and tell everyone we’re big in Japan.