Interview with Vasudeva guitarist Corey Mastrangelo | By Natasha Van Duser
Vasudeva are one of those bands who just flow with the listener. From upbeat, rolling riffs to soothing, mellow vibes, they’re a catchy prog-rock band who hold their own in the foreground—so much so that it’s easy to forget they feature absolutely no vocals in their music.
“When we started this band, we didn’t consciously become an instrumental band,” guitarist Corey Mastrangelo says. “It was just that none of us really sang in the previous bands that we were in. We were just messing around with it.” Now, with two prior releases—the 2011 EP, Roots of the Tree, and 2013 full-length, Life in Cycles—under their belt and a recent signing to a new label, Vasudeva are showing they can succeed without any vocals at all. The band released their newest record, No Clearance, via Skeletal Lightning on March 31, 2017.
“We’re never like, ‘We’re making an instrumental record,’” Mastrangelo continues. “We never say that. We’re down to have vocals one day; like, we’re never against that. We just write our songs, and then it just happens.”
No Clearance took about a year to write and record, giving the band ample time to try out new sounds and techniques. “We had parted ways with our bass player, but [the writing process] was pretty much the same,” Mastrangelo says. “We were just listening to a bunch of different music and we were all contributing to the writing process. We just wanted to try a bunch of new things, […] just incorporating different instrumentation and more sample-based stuff, different types of drum machines and pianos—I guess stuff other than our standard instruments that we had been playing forever.”
While No Clearance may share similar tones to Life in Cycles, it serves as a platform for the band to really come into their own. “They have similar vibes, I guess,” Mastrangelo explains. “There’s some similar type stuff going on. This one is just kind of trying to hone in on song writing rather than any sort of technicalities with our playing and the previous record; it was sort of us just really wanting to replicate a certain style of guitar playing. This one is just—we were really focusing on interesting songwriting and production, stuff like that.”
Vasudeva fans got their first taste of this newer sound when the group released the album’s first single, “Take Away.” “It’s essentially the first song on the record,” Mastrangelo says. “It just starts straight away, so we thought that was a good thing. Also, it has a strange voice sample in it that we put in there, and it was just something that we haven’t done before, so we thought it was kind of interesting to release first.”
Throughout March, Vasudeva were out on the road touring in support of their new record alongside Dance Gavin Dance and CHON. Before the tour, Mastrangelo noted, “We’re really excited. We’re just trying to prepare to play some bigger venues, because this is our first sort of support tour. We have played big shows at legitimate venues, but we’ve never been on a tour before that was consistently playing, like, really big shows.”