Interview with Hector Gundlach of VESTIBULE December 13, 2012December 16, 2012 by: Shauna O'Donnell
December 13, 2012
Hector Gundlach (Vocals)
Belmar, New Jersey
By: Shauna O’Donnell
Hi Hector, thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions. The band is from Jersey Shore. What is the music scene like there?
The scene here is pretty varied. You have towns like Belmar and Manasquan where there are a lot of cover bands at the bars. Then there are towns like Asbury, Long Branch, and Red Bank, where you can find new original local bands of all genres all the time. Asbury is also known for bringing in a bunch of national and international acts; (Stone Pony / The Saint / Asbury Lanes). Then you have the electronica scene that’s blowing up, and you can go to Seaside or other spots in Asbury that bump techno beats all night. I’ve also noticed a lot of Jazz cats popping up in Asbury too.
What inspired the name Vestibule for the band?
Our guitarist Adam DeRose was on his way home from NY on the train with his pops, and they were discussing our original band name “Symbology”. Adam didn’t really like it and his dad suggested that we can name the band anything that comes to mind or that jumps in front of you. As he was saying that, a train conductor was walking by and his dad suggested the name “Train Conductor” and then right as the train conductor passed, his dad noticed a sign that said “Don’t ride in the vestibule while train is in motion”. Adam liked the name Vestibule and brought it to the table the next day. The rest of us liked it too, and changed our name to Vestibule for the very next show.
You guys released your debut album titled ‘through_the_surface’ on December 29th, 2011. What was it like working on your first full length album?
Well for one, it was pretty damn cool hah… But yeah, it was pretty intense. It was a lot more work than we all thought it would be. Picking the right tones and tempos was a bit nerve wracking. For a while I thought we were playing the songs a little too fast because we were so pumped to be in the studio (We recorded it all live with no metronome). Joey (DeMaio our engineer) had suggested we use a metronome to make the mixing and post production process go more smoothly, but we really wanted to have that real “live” sound. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely over dubbed certain guitar parts, and my vocals of course, but all of the rhythm section was done completely live with no cuts…. So yes the mixing and post production was kinda tough when we had to overdub solos and vocals because we did all that stuff almost a year later and the initial feel we had while recording was hard to jump back into.
Who did you work with production wise? How long did the entire process take?
We worked with Joe DeMaio at Shorefire Studios in Long Branch New Jersey for the most part. All the recording, mixing and post production was done there. Steve Jankowski also helped produce three of our songs: “Forget the Hour” “Infinite Love” and the title track “Through the Surface”. Both those guys are brilliant, and have worked with well respected acts. Greg (our drummer) and I like to call them the wizards of our time hah.
The process itself took waaaay longer than we thought it would… We just didn’t have the money to do it all at once, and our projected time of three months turned into a little over a year and 2 months.
What did you find to be the most difficult part of making a record?
Well the money thing was a big issue. And Cody also went away to school, so we had to work around that. I was also going through a really shitty break up at the time so I had to fight through all that negativity I was feeling… Hmm I remember my car breaking down and having to ride my bike and take the train to the studio for a while. That was definitely a pain in the ass when it got cold. There were also certain vocal parts to a couple songs that I just wasn’t happy with, so we ended up re recording them 2 or 3 times in a time span of a couple months. It was all well worth it though…
What did you enjoy most while making the record?
I’d say the actual mixing process after all the technical stuff was out of the way… Really digging deep into the tones of the guitars and learning about engineering techniques. Drum mixing is also pretty damn cool. I never knew how much a drum mix could change the whole feel of the song. The whole process actually got me into learning how to produce and engineer. I’m currently studying all that stuff now.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
It’s different I guess. We mix so much stuff, that people tend to think it sounds like one thing and then another group of people will say it sounds like something totally different. I’d say it’s some kind of punk or prog-punk maybe? But we have some jazz thrown in there too, so Fusion? … Most people don’t realize that. Metal? I don’t really know how to describe it. This album kinda has an 80s feel to it. We used SGs, Strats and Les Pauls plugged into a couple different Marshall amps for a lot of the heavier parts, so I guess that gave it a more nostalgic feel. But the music itself is more relevant to this day and age. For example “The Art of Conversation” mixes Latin with punk, and has an electronica-influenced bridge. “Forget the Hour” has a Punk/Metal feel for the choruses, but the verses are all “4 to the floor” with heavy bass and a synth kick, so it has a dance feel, then the outro breaks into a slower heavy metal kinda groove. Then there’s “Through the Surface” that has four different movements that sound nothing like each other. People say the third movement of the title track and “Clouds Reflected” remind them of Pink Floyd, but I don’t know… I guess it’s different for every listener.
What are some of the things that inspire your lyrics? What do you typically write about?
Greg and I both work on the lyrics and we tend to edit each others’ work… But I like to project vivid imagery when I write. I think about landscapes or dreamlike backdrops to describe emotions or hint towards a certain feeling. As far as the actual topics of our songs; they vary. “Chemical Reaction” is about being effed up at a party and hooking up with someone you never thought you’d be hooking up with…“The Longing” is about seeing a failed relationship in hindsight and wishing you could change things. “Lucid Dreams” is about a dream that I had where I kept waking up in another dream, and I kept thinking it was reality until something strange would happen that would make me realize I was dreaming… A lot like the movie Inception… When that movie came out, I was like “its Lucid Dreams on film!” hah… “Infinite Love” is a story about and ancient civilization looking for fulfillment outside of spirituality, and how it inevitably led to their extinction. “Forget the Hour” is about seeing “through the surface” of the reality we live in, and understanding that time is just an illusion. That’s why we decided to put it right after the title track as the closer… It kinda summed up the last half of the album. So we tend to write about metaphysical topics, but we also write about our lives. Love and lost love…
I’m told that you are giving the album away for free. What made you decide to do this?
Honestly, I just think it’s the best way to get the music out there. We are a brand new band, and not many people are willing to “risk” 10 bucks on something they haven’t heard before. So why not just give it out for free? I mean there’s an infinite amount of copies we can give out for free online! Hardcopies are a different story… Gotta sell those
Tell me about the album cover. What does it signify and who came up with the idea?
Greg actually took the picture on his phone one day and sent it to me. (The image is only very slightly edited)… I can’t tell you what it is though! It’s a band secret… We decided to use it though, because it gives you the feeling that you are going through a worm hole or something. “Warping into another reality” so to speak (we are dorks hah)… So it went along very well with the album title.
Are there any plans to make any videos for any of the songs?
Yes. We are definitely doing videos for at least 2 songs. We are currently working on the idea for the video for “Chemical Reaction”. We will keep everyone posted, and we’re also filming the whole process, so that will be a video on its own too.
When you watch other band’s videos, do you prefer watching the live performance ones or the ones with a storyline? Which would you choose for your band?
I like both. I guess it all depends on what kind of song it is. Live performances are always bad-ass though.
Are you currently writing more songs for another album?
YES! That’s all we’ve been doing lately. We have tons of new material we are sifting through and writing lyrics for. In fact I think we have enough raw material for two more albums.
Where have you toured or played shows in the past?
We’re still an adolescent band, so just NY and NJ. The album started getting a lot of attention in the past couple months, so I’d say we will be breaking out of this area soon.
Which of your songs is your favorite to perform live?
I love playing Lucid Dreams and Through the Surface… Forget the Hour is fun as hell to play live too… Our new stuff is so much fun for us right now though.
Who are some of the bands you would love to tour with?
Incubus, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Foo Fighters, Coheed and Cambria, Warped Tour would be pretty sick too.
Do you go out to a lot of shows to see band’s play live?
Yes definitely… I like to support local artists as much as I can. And when there’s a national act that comes around, I am almost always there front and center.
What are the plans as far as touring for the year 2013?
That’s all in the works. I strongly believe this is going to be our breakout year, so right now we are just playing our cards accordingly.
Any words of wisdom for those who aspire to be in a band?
If you want to do it for a living, then you have to work your ass off. It’s not just getting high and drunk and jamming on the weekends. It’s saving money for band expenses, its working on your craft… meaning your instrument and your composition skills. You have to be open minded, but focused on your own originality too. Don’t be scared to be different. Work towards small goals. Cover songs to get your band tight, and then start throwing originals in the mix. Don’t be scared to promote yourself… If you really love your music, there is no shame in telling people! Don’t let the doubters keep you from your goals. Everyone seems to be a know it all. Ask yourself this question… “How the FUCK do they know what it takes to make it, if they haven’t even TRIED to make it?” And finally… I had this short dialogue with Joey DeMaio at the studio one night… Joe asked me what we planned on doing with the album… I said “Making it big, playing huge shows and to never have to hate ‘going to work’” he said “Hey someone has to do it, why not you?” and that changed my mindset forever.
Thank you so much for the interview. Was there anything you’d like to add or say?
No no. Thank you!