Interview - Zach Vinson

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Name: Zach Vinson

Birthplace: Sheboygan, WI

Current city you reside in: Grand Rapids, MI

Band/artist name: Zach Vinson. There are a couple other guys who play with me from time to time. I keep trying to come up with a clever name for them, but I’ve got nothing.

What current projects are you working on? I released a full-length album called “Cracked Open” in November 2008. Lately I’ve started doing some writing for an EP that I’m tentatively planning on recording next spring.

Favorite music artists: Iron and Wine, Over the Rhine, Pedro the Lion, Bleach, Hem, Ben Folds

If someone asked you to tag your music on ITunes/Lala/Last-FM how would you describe it?

 If you’re asking what genre I would call it, I usually tell people I play indie pop-rock.

How did you get involved with the Forward Music Fest?
The people at Justsayinisall.com and The Lost Albatross were both kind enough to feature my music on their websites this past spring. One of the organizers of FMF saw my video on there and got in contact with me about playing at FMF. It was great—normally playing at something as awesome as FMF takes a lot of tedious work on my part, so it was really nice to have them come to me. They’ve put together a really great line-up, so I’m really excited both to play and to hang out around Madison for a couple days and take in some excellent shows.

Describe your approach to recording versus live performances (Feel free to expound on this one)
I feel like this is a question that just about every artist/band asks themselves as they prepare to record an album. I’ve definitely played on both sides of that fence, going all out with about 30 instruments on some recordings and keeping other recordings as stripped down and bare as possible.

When we recorded “Cracked Open” last year, we made a conscious decision to keep the recording really raw and organic. I’m sure there are a lot of things we could have done in the studio to make the record sound “cooler,” but I wanted it to stick pretty close to what a live show would sound like.

 Open ended question. Anything you want to get off your chest?

I’ve been thinking quite a bit these past few months about what it means to support the arts. I realized that for a few years now, I haven’t been going to very many shows and haven’t bought very many albums. Not that there isn’t music being made that I enjoy, but I have just been very passive in my appreciation of it.

The problem with this is that if good art isn’t supported, it will cease to be made (in a lot of cases, anyway). For example, if a band spends $20,000 of their own money to record an album, but most of their listeners choose to burn it, download it illegally, stream it on myspace, etc., they aren’t going to have a way to record again in the future—regardless of how good their music may be. And really, paying $15 for a copy of something that cost the band $20,000 is not a bad deal at all.

In some ways, it’s easy for me to say selfishly that people need to support the artists whose work they appreciate (in hopes that I would be the beneficiary of that support), but I’m finally (hopefully) learning to turn that challenge around and point the proverbial finger at myself. So I’ve decided that every month I will buy at least one new album. I don’t have a ton of cash lying around, but I figure it’s not too difficult to scrape together an extra $10-15 bucks each month. So that’s my way of supporting the arts right now. Incredibly small, but it’s something at least—which is more than I could say for quite some time. 

Check out 'So Much to Blame' from Zach Vinson:

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