Ian Cole, Aristotle Dreher, & Oliver Williams - Vaeda

September 24, 2006

Photo Credit: Angela Monger

Tell me a little bit about the beginnings of Vaeda.

Ian: Way back when.

Aristotle: (sings) When you were young.

Ian: The beginnings of Vaeda.

Oliver: It started when Ari joined the band really.

Aristotle: Yeah, they knew each for a while.

Oliver: Who's they, man?

Ian: They.

The ambiguous they.

Aristotle: They grew up together and I guess were playing music since eighth grade. It's kind of complicated. Then there was Chris who was the old guitar player. The former guitar player. He's not that old.

Oliver: He's actually younger than the three of us by a month.

Aristotle: They were looking for a bass player. I was in a band called The Bastard Kings Of Rock in New York City and I wasn't happy with the way things were going. We were pretty good but I saw these guys play. They had our producer playing bass for them at the time actually, Kyle Kelso who produced the album State Of Nature. He was filling in on bass when I saw them play and I thought it was cool. They needed a bass player and I wanted to leave the situation I was in and we started a band. Started this band.

And you guys figured you were kooky enough to be together.

Oliver: At the time we completely denied Aristotle's kookiness because he was the newbie.

Aristotle: A marriage made in hell. Bwahahaha.

Those are the best kinds.

Oliver: Of course and they last eternally. That was 2003.

Aristotle: Six months later I think we recorded the seven songs for State Of Nature. The first seven and then I guess six months after that we recorded the remaining five tracks. The tracks have been around for a while. It finally got re-released on August 22.

Why did it take so long to release your debut?

Ian: A couple of things. We were working with the wrong people at the time. When we finished the last five songs, they were shopping for us in an ineffective way I would say. At the same time our original guitarist Chris quit. Basically at the same time we had our original guitarist quit and we became very, very uneasy with the people we were working with at the time. We had these songs and we wanted them to see the light of day but really we just wanted to survive as a band. We had another guitarist come on for a month who was great and then he got an offer to tour with Fischerspooner all summer of 2005. So he took off as it was a paying gig to tour Europe and party all summer with this band on Capitol. So we were like okay go ahead. We understood. Then we went to L.A. to try out other people and to work with these other people who ended up not panning out. On the way out there we played some shows as a three piece and started to realize that we really didn't need anyone else. In that whole time you asked me why it took so long to get the album from recorded to released. We had a year where we basically had to reconstitute ourselves to make sure that we survived as a band. It was a year of reconstituting the band to make it what it is today so that the recordings can fit in with everything else. I think that's a fair assessment. Things happen along the way that you don't plan on and the best laid plans never work out in this business as you know. We had deals on the table that were there one month and then not there the next month. It's a crazy business. Everything happens for a reason as we say and this album is coming out I think when it should come out. We're getting out there and I'm excited to do more.

Oliver: The good thing is we still love playing all the songs. We haven't gotten sick of them yet which is always a good thing.

I think part of the problem with the music industry is that it's a business instead of what it should be which is a creative outlet for people.

Ian: You can always have a creative outlet with music no matter what. I always think that there are people who choose to be in a band. There are musicians and there are people who choose to be in a band. I think a band is sort of a scenario in which you do have to deal with all the things in the industry but it's always something I think greater than just the music too. It's a creative outlet in many ways. It's a platform from which to say things and contribute to society. It's also a community. We've met so many awesome bands along the way and thanks to MySpace, we would never have met half of the bands that we know and we have become friends with and the awesome music that has influenced us along the way in the past year and a half of touring.

Oliver: It's really interesting about how you asked why did this album take so long to come out. I think when we were starting to form as a band, I don't think we were ready for the things that you have to deal with. I don't think we were mature enough. I don't think we were grounded enough or seasoned. Really we weren't ready for it to come out. This is the right time for it to come out because we've grown as people and as a band. If it had come out earlier and something had happened with it, it would have just been bad.

Aristotle: Everything does happen for a reason. It came out when it needed to be released.

Oliver: We're in a position where we can best support it now.

Ian: Totally. We're in a better mental place.

I think you have to be in a band for a few years before you get a real understanding of just how royally and seriously you can get fucked. Everybody gets fucked. It happens to everybody and it seems to be a recurring theme with everybody I talk to. You guys already got fucked so everything will be okay now.

Aristotle: It all depends on the amount of lube they use.

That's right. K-Y warming jelly. Talking about MySpace, I think that's such a fucking cool website.

Ian: It really is.

Aristotle: We love it.

I think that's the best idea anyone could have come up with. It actually lets bands be on a more intimate basis with their fans.

Ian: You get instant feedback. You can become part of people's lives. I always say that if MySpace had existed when I was growing up and listening to bands that influenced us and influenced me and they left a comment on my page at MySpace, I'd be flipping out. I'd be like oh my God, my favorite band. When I was a kid you had to write to the band or write to the fan club and now you just send them a message and they can reply immediately. They wouldn't always replay when I would write to them.

Aristotle: Kurt Cobain spelled my name wrong.

Ian: You can talk to the fans one on one. It's great.

Yeah, I thought it was cool when I interviewed this one black metal band called Dark Funeral and they left a really cool thing on my MySpace page. Yeah.

Aristotle: It's such a standard norm medium now.

It's like if you don't have a MySpace account, are you weird?

Aristotle: It's funny. Venues book differently. Some demand an actual hard press kit real 90's style. Some places say don't send emails, just call and some places say don't call, just send emails and some of them say just do it through MySpace. Some places that say send emails say "send us a link to your MySpace. If you don't have a MySpace account don't even bother." It's like if you don't have a MySpace account where have you been and don't even bother because you're probably not legitimate enough to be in our venue.

Ian: You're living under a rock.

Oliver: Thousands upon thousands of people have heard our music that would have never heard it if it wasn't for MySpace. The old avenues are for getting people to hear your music are touring and radio and passing out CDs. MySpace allows you a medium to do it very, very easily.

Aristotle: One thing I like about it to is that it's forcing to industry to change. Maybe not as drastically as everyone would like but it's forced a change that inherently benefits the bands because it does give exposure to bands that you can't get necessarily through the payola schemes at radio stations.

It cuts out the middle man anyway.

Aristotle: It's more of an even playing field. Kids will be friends with bands that they actually like and maybe not necessarily have the bands shoved down their throats like on mainstream radio or mainstream television. They can seek out bands that they actually like and are fun to play.

Oliver: There are connections. The first time we played Seattle, these two girls we had never met in person, just on MySpace, came and brought us cookies that they baked. This time we played through Seattle again, we unfortunately had a 21 and up show so they weren't able to get in, but they came up outside with another batch of baked cookies which is incredibly awesome. They wrote on the back of our trailer anti-space in the dirt.

Ian: Please don't bring us cocaine or hookers, just bring cookies.

Oliver: Chocolate chip hookers. I prefer oatmeal raisin.

Aristotle: Oatmeal raisin hookies.

You guys finally eventually at some point released State Of Nature. Tell me a little bit about the record.

Ian: It's hard rock and roll for your ears to enjoy.

Oliver: We actually especially tune it for your ears to enjoy it. We maximize enjoyment for ears using a scientific process that is trademark pending.

Ian: It's 12 passionate rock and roll songs. Each song has a different message but collectively it is a don't take things for granted kind of record.

Aristotle: Seek the truth.

The truth will set you free.

Aristotle: Yes. The pursuit of knowledge. The ultimate truth. All of that fun stuff.

Ian: It was very fun to record at times. It was very painful to record at times. It definitely represents where the band has been over the past two years. I think we're all really excited to get into the studio again and build off it. It's always what you want to do as a band. Reinvent yourself and build upon the sound that you've created.

Oliver: We've had a ton of more experiences since recording that that we're ready to catalogue.

How would you describe your music?

Oliver: It's hard rock for your ears. It's Foo Fighters cheating on A.F.I with Perfect Circle while Incubus smashes pumpkins thrice.

Aristotle: I just hope the Harleys didn't overpower that.

Where did you guys come up with the name Vaeda?

Aristotle: It's a Sanskrit word that means knowledge. The Vedas were the original basis for the Hindu religion. It's the mission statement of seek the truth basically. Or seeking knowledge is the pursuit of truth.

Oliver: We found it when we ate a reincarnation cookie. There was the message on the inside. Learn the word of the day.

Now are you guys in the lower caste or the upper caste?

Ian: We're Brahmans.

That's the one thing that bothers me about that religion. People are born in poverty, okay you're going to be like this all of your life but when you die and are reborn then you might be a multi-millionaire.

Ian: The Untouchables. All religions sort of carry that. If you take sort of a Marxian approach to it, the opiate of the masses approach, religion is "well, your life sucks but here's something to make you feel better."

There's this pie in the sky that you'll get later but you have to die first.

Oliver: You'll get 40 virgins in heaven or 72.

You'll get a shitload of virgins when you die.

Ian: The idea of having sex with 72 virgins, what do you do 72 days later? Then you go to hell because you had sex in heaven.

That's what has me totally convinced that religions are manmade anyway because if you ever notice, the description of everyone's heaven is always something that some asshole would like to see. The streets of heaven are paved in gold. If I'm fucking dead, what the hell difference does it make what they're paved in?

Oliver: My favorite metal band is playing. I like to think of Jesus as lead singer and Lynyrd Skynrd with an angel band. They've all got angel wings and I'm right up there in the front just hammered drunk. Hammered drunk.

On some Jack Daniels.

Oliver: The dog we met last night was named Jack Daniels. He was a very cute puppy. Very cute puppy. Or Pomeranian.

Aristotle: That's interesting.

(We all turn around to see this guy riding a bicycle dragging a trashcan behind it.)

Oliver: (singing) Gonna catch me riding dirty, gonna catch me riding dirty. Gonna catch me riding dirty.

Ian: Literally a guy riding a bicycle dragging a trashcan. What the hell is going on?

Oliver: We're doing that tomorrow. When we get to Monroe. I'll jump in a dumpster and you push me down the street.

You never know what you'll see down here. This is my favorite place. Deep Ellum is my favorite because I never know what kind of crazy shit I'll see.

Oliver: That's what we love.

Aristotle: I have never seen that in New York. That's a first.

I was up in Manhattan once and I thought it was nice that this really upscale area had dempsy dumpsters with stinking garbage out in front. I thought that was really classy.

Oliver: New York is defined by it's trash out on the streets.

Ian: New York is the only place in the world where there can be 15 million people around you and you can still find a place to piss on the street. I love that about New York. Whenever you need, you can piss anywhere and no one's really going to find you. You can find a dark corner.

And nobody really cares.

Ian: It smells like piss anyway.

Oliver: I've noticed the subways smelling more and more like piss.

Ian: Yeah, since you stopped smoking. People pee more in the subways, that's what it is. That's what Bill Hicks said when he was talking about not smoking. "If I stopped smoking I'd smell all of the dead people in New York. What is that? It smells like a dead guy. Somebody peed on him." He went on to 72 virgin land.

I hope he found some. I guess you have to go heaven to find virgins because virgins are hard to come by. You have to find them younger and younger like two or three years old.

Oliver: I keep seeing those billboards where they say tell your kid virgin isn't a dirty word but it is.

Aristotle: In Kazakhstan they raised the age of consent to eight years old.

Ian: Dude, I didn't tell you guys this. I was this snowboarding skiing video last night and they went to Kazakhstan. They went to Kazakhstan and skiied and snowboarded off these enormous mountains that had never been skiied on before. It was amazing. The people in Kazakhstan are like Russians, Asians, Mongols. It's an amazing country. I think there's going to be some tourism. It's a beautiful country.

The Middle East is a fantastic place if we'd stop fucking bombing it so people can go over there and see what it's like.

Ian: What they're doing with Iraq is making it a big parking lot so that the Middle East can be a bit like Disney World vacation land.

That country was beautiful before that started happening. They have some of the most beautiful buildings.

Ian: The cradle of civilization. The Tigres and Euprates rivers. Ali has a great analogy I think. When you have a lot of credit card debt as a person you can either get a job and start making the money back slowly but surely and start paying it off or you can start stealing stuff and sell it on EBay and pay the money back that way. The analogy is the United States. Okay we could start manufacturing things again and get our manufacturing base back but we're not going to do that.

Aristotle: It's just cheaper to let it go overseas.

Ian: So we're just going to steal all your oil to try to pay off our debt.

And poison you and everyone else with depleted uranium. That's what pisses me off. Everyone talks about Hitler and I feel like well at least you could turn off the ovens. Depleted uranium is the gift that keeps on killing folks. Warmongers make me angry. What are some of the songs on your record that you enjoy playing live the most?

Ian: Obviously it varies from week to week, show to show. Recently I really enjoyed playing "Imperial". "Imperial" and "Knee Jerk" I think are the ones that I enjoy right now. "Imperial" has got a huge beginning and jumping around and it just has the quiet verses so that we can actually bring it down a little bit and get people's attention and "Knee Jerk" just rocks out.

Aristotle: I enjoy playing "Money" because it starts the show off with a huge explosion up to the sky. Then it ends with a lot of screaming.

Oliver: I also like playing "Money" live for similar explosive reasons. It gets people's attention right away that we're about to rock their faces off for the next 40 minutes. I also like playing "Battle Song" lately because the bridge part that's inside, I love being able to play it and look at all the musicians in the crowd start counting on their fingers, see how many keys there are in the measure. It's like you're a musician and you're a musician and you have fingers.

And you know how to count. That's why I had a strange dream last night about stuff exploding. That explains it.

Ian: The other night I had a dream where I wrote a song in Spanish and I don't even speak Spanish. I was trying to figure out what I was saying and I couldn't.

Oliver: You should have called me in your dream.

Ian: Yeah, I know but I couldn't. I wrote the whole song in my dream and it was in Spanish. I woke up and I couldn't remember it.

It was probably the masterpiece of the century.

Ian: Yeah, seriously I always do that in my dreams. I write songs in my dreams I never remember. It really sucks.

Oliver: La Puerta De L'Amor.

Ian: Actually it was called El Diablo.

Oliver: What is that? Like some kind of fried chicken?

How has the tour been going so far?

Ian: Sweet.

Aristotle: So far so good.

Oliver: Long and hard like a submarine full of seamen.

Long and hard is good. How long have you guys been out?

Aristotle: Since August 22. We started in D.C. Five weeks on Tuesday. This will be the longest tour. It'll be about six and a half weeks. It's been really, really cool. We've played and seen parts of the country that we haven't seen and played before.

Oliver: Montana was awesome.

When I was in the Air Force there was a guy from Montana. I was surprised people actually live there.

Oliver: Not that many though. Now people don't live in Wyoming. We found that out. We were driving around trying to find a house. A building.

Or North Dakota. All you have is a stretch of road and fields that are fenced off. There's nothing.

Ian: That's where they keep the nukes.

Yeah, probably. There's probably thousands and thousands of acres of land that's just fenced in and it's kind of strange.

Ian: We were driving on I-19 from El Paso to San Antonio and we stopped in Ozona, Texas and it's the only town in Crockett county and Crockett County is 3,000 square miles, it's the only town and it's a town of 4,000 people.

Aristotle: And it was really cool because the cook came out and was telling us, kind of painting a picture of what it was like living there. He was telling us about the bobcats and the local wildlife. There are rattlesnakes that are local and a rattlesnake had just come through the front door. She actually took us outside and reinacted the whole scene. She said her boss came out and had a shotgun and was trying to shoot the snake and missed it about five times. Then her brother came out and got it with hedge clippers.

Must have been a really exciting time for that town.

Oliver: It was actually a lot of fun. It's called The Hitching Post Steakhouse. It was great. You ever drive from El Paso to San Antonio stop there.

"Jesus Rides The Subway.

Ian: You've seen him. Did he ask you for a dollar?

Oliver: Without actually saying anything.

Somebody actually asked me for a dollar earlier and I gave him one. It must have been Jesus.

Oliver: You bought yourself some karma right there. What's the currency exchange rate for karma? The dollar is sinking so I don't think you bought yourself that much karma.

I buy myself a lot of karma. Whenever I see some homeless person and I'm going to Subway to grab something to eat, I'll grab him a fucking sandwich.

Aristotle: What's the rate for the karma chameleon these days?

I don't know. You'd have to ask Boy George as soon as he stops picking up garbage in New York.

Ian: He comes and goes.

Oliver: He called the cops on himself?

Yeah, I don't understand that. You have some cocaine in the house so you call the police and tell them you were burglarized and the burglers left you some stash.

Oliver: I think if I was gay I'd come out to the 911 operator. This whole tangent obviously came from "Jesus Rides The Subway". The title came from The Big Lebowski.

That was a cool movie.

Oliver: I loved that movie. We were talking about John Turtturo who plays Jesus in the movie. Somebody mentioned that he lives in Brooklyn and rides the D Train and someone shouted out Jesus rides the subway. We thought we should totally name that song we're working on "Jesus Rides The Subway". And then once it actually got into the song it took on an actual meaning. The meaning has to do with the title. We ran with it. It's origins are in Big Lebowski lore so we'll have to go Lebowski Fest and megaphone.

Now I know where you guys get your inspiration from.

Oliver: That and terrible movies such as Double Team.

You have a video on MySpace.

Ian: Yes, a video that we did in four hours. It's a performance piece. We put it up there on MySpace so that people can get a sense of what we do live.

Oliver: It's along the lines of a video press kit kind of thing. It's a sample flavor so that if you are to see us on the street you'd say that guy's bald, that guy has a mohawk, but he's wearing a hat so I can't tell.

Come to our club later on tonight because this cool band Vaeda is going to be playing.

Oliver: Angela and I are sitting there and this girl comes up and says "come to the Curtain Club. Great band from New York is playing there tonight." I said "really?" She said "yeah" and I'm like "all right."

She said "yeah, they're called Vaeda."

Ian: Because of Aristotle's film experience expect more from us in the film aspect of the music.

Aristotle: For that video there is this guy who just had all this access to good equipment and he was very gung ho about shooting something for us. We got it for basically next to nothing. That was a good deal so it worked out. I'm glad we did it. We basically paid to change his flight for a day later.

Oliver: It was awesome and cool because in the car we have a video screen hard drive basically where we can go around and try to convince people to come to the shows by showing them clips of the video. It adds an air of legitimacy. Otherwise we're just three dudes jumping out of a car. We pass out free CDs a lot like demos and we were in Lincoln, Nebraska and we're going around the corner and decide to give these girls CDs. But not thinking and while the car was coming to a halt but before it actually stopped, I open the side door and jumped out and ran at them with two CDs in my hand. They completely freaked out and I was like "I'm in the band. CDs. Come to our show. Uh, bye."

Any other thoughts or comments?

Ian: Who are we voting for in '08 again? Vaeda '07. We're going to run for President. We're running for President of Rock. Vaeda '07. Watch out.