On day three of Firefly Music Festival in Delaware, as the sun set and the winds from Hurricane Bob rolled in, Philadelphia based chill-pop act Vacationer shut down The Porch stage, marking their 300th show together as a band. The backlit silhouette of songwriter, bassist, and vocalist Kenny Vasoli grooved along to the group’s self proclaimed “NuHula” (Think Hula as in Hula Dancing and Nu as in Nu-Metal) as darkness fell on Dover, Delaware. During their hour time allotment, the quartet ripped through fifteen tropical pop numbers as Vasoli made comments between songs like “You’re about to get smashed with the Chill Hammer reallll hard”.
Vasoli is my single biggest inspiration as a musician, and his work has spanned my whole life, from his early days with the pop punk / alternative rock band The Starting Line, to his current, warmer and trippier endeavors with Vacationer. Personally, it was my favorite set of the entire weekend, and I would say many who were there would agree as they were the only band I’ve ever seen at a festival that wasn’t a headliner and got an encore chant. (Not to mention, Sublime with Rome was playing just a few hundred yards away as the crowd begged for more Vacationer). After the chants subsided and the majority of the crowd dispersed, about fifty people hung around to talk to Kenny, who had then come down off the stage to appease those who stuck around. Being the gentleman he is, Kenny agreed to chat for a few minutes about what Vacationer’s so-called NuHula is, what fans of both The Starting Line and Vacationer can expect in the near future, and more.
AMBY: First off, I would like to say that that set was one of the best I’ve ever seen. I almost skipped you guys to see Foster the People, because I’m a fan and haven’t seen them before, but coming here was definitely the right move.
Kenny: Oh thanks so much! That means a lot to us. I was worried about the turn out because I knew if we weren’t playing at the same time I definitely would have been seeing Foster the People tonight.
AMBY: Describe NuHula in five words.
Kenny: Let’s see… Exotic.. Chill-Hammer-Smashing.. Hip-Sway.. Palm… Weed.
AMBY and Kenny: [laughs]
Kenny: I don’t know, I lost count.
AMBY: Who is your favorite artist right now?
Kenny: Unknown Mortal Orchestra. So good. We went to go see them live, me and Rhino did, like a week ago, and it just, it like hurt – You play music?
AMBY: Yea, you’re a big influence of mine.
Kenny: Oh, thanks man. You ever see a band and it hurts because it’s that good?
Kenny: That’s what it was like.
AMBY: Do you have any new material for Vacationer or The Starting Line in the works?
Kenny: Yes. Yes to both.
AMBY: Do you want to go into detail about that, or no?
Kenny: We have plans to record at least a couple songs this summer for both.
AMBY: We’re halfway to the holiday show, that’s a good thing.
Kenny: Yep! We’re getting ourselves prepared.
AMBY: For both Vacationer and The Starting Line, what is your favorite song to play live?
Kenny: Good As New is really nice because it’s a song we’ve had for a while and I don’t really get sick of it.
AMBY: A big crowd reaction for that one too.
Kenny: Yea, it’s great! We all like it. I like it. They like it. That’s a nice thing, but I really enjoy playing all of them.
AMBY: How about for The Starting Line?
Kenny: Let’s see. That kind of bounces around. I really like playing Are You Alone, because it’s a straight rock and roll song.
AMBY: The bass line in the bridge of that song is nuts. It’s impressive that you sing and play that line at the same time.
Kenny: Yea, that one took a bit to get down.
AMBY: Ok, I’ve got one more. What is one artist you would like Vacationer to tour with within the next year?
Kenny: Beach House. That’s a dream tour for us.
AMBY: Alright, that’s all I’ve got. Thanks a ton dude, I appreciate it.
Kenny: No problem man! Thanks for hanging around.
Thank you Vacationer, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Andy Gorel | @A_Gorel