Unlocked: The daily grind of a Vacationer
Vacationer makes music meant to alleviate stress and forget troubles.
If they can help the rest of us do this, than the band members must lead pretty relaxing lives, right? Well, not really.
Kenny Vasoli (bass, vocals), Matt Young (vibraphone), Greg Altman (guitar), Michael Mullin (keyboard) and Ryan Zimmaro (drums) have a lot in common outside of the music they make together. They drink copious amounts of coffee, avidly bike ride and make a TON of music in projects other than Vacationer.
And they work, a lot.
Read summaries of each of the band members’ daily lives below, and see how they balance musical and career success with plenty of chill time.
Matt Young: “My days are usually pretty simple. I wake up, I have coffee, and then I basically have a home studio in Brooklyn, New York, so I write music all day. Some days I have good days, and I write a couple songs. Some days I have bad days where I can’t really write anything.
So I write in the morning, then usually around 2 p.m. I go and bike like 15 miles. I’ll go down to Prospect Park and bike around the thing like 15 times. Then I’ll come back and write more songs. Then I cook dinner, write more, and maybe watch an episode of something or listen some records. Then I go to sleep and do the same thing the next day.
That’s pretty much it, though, I just write music all day. … I do it in my pajamas. I have a pair of slippers that I literally wear more than any other pair of shoes. I think it’s important to have a regimented schedule, and it’s kind of maddening because I’m in my house a lot. But my studio is a totally separate space in the front, and then the back is where I live. But yeah, I’m basically there all the time unless I’m on tour or out playing shows. I’m writing for Vacationer and Body Language. I have another project called Seafloor that’s just beats, and I have a new solo project that I’m working on. I also work on random commercial sound design and rebranding, and that’s basically it.”
Greg Altman: “My normal day really just kind of starts with answering all of the emails that are easy, and then I drink coffee and start doing all of the things I hate. That lasts until noon, and then I usually go ride my motorcycle. Then I’ll go back and answer some more emails.
Most of the work I do, I do on my computer sitting at home booking for a venue called Bourbon & Branch on 2nd Street. I’m the events coordinator there, and it just takes up a lot of time coordinating with hundreds and hundreds of artists. Beyond that, I spend a lot of time in my venue because they don’t charge me for a lot of my drinks.
I spend the rest of my time just dealing with the chaos of being in a chill band and a metal band (Ratkicker) and riding bikes a drinking beers. That’s pretty much it. … There was nothing about booking that particularly attracted me from a career standpoint, but when it was put in front of me I realized what I had to work with and I didn’t want to let it go to waste.
I thought that both for my own career and also Philadelphia’s DIY music scene, it was a really important thing to build a small place that wasn’t controlled by R5 or Livenation. It has physical limitations, it’s small, so it’s just always going to be a baby version [of those venues]. It’s just up to us to make sure it stays a nice place to hang out, clean, friendly, sounds good, food’s good.”
Ryan Zimmaro: “My days are pretty simple, truthfully. I get up, drink coffee. Recently, I started making my own cold brew, which is great. Walk my dog, and I also work with a friend of mine doing gardening when we’re home from tour. So that’s always pretty random.
Sometimes we’ll paint a deck, sometimes we’ll just garden. It’s great being outside, I love working outside. Then I go home, I make dinner with my girlfriend, and I hang out with her and my dog pretty much the rest of my night. I usually always play drums or some sort of music every day, at some point. That’s basically it.”
Michael Mullin: “I’m waking up, and if I can compel myself to run or exercise before I get to my studio that’s in my home, that’s ideal. If I get to work before that happens, it’s just coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, and then it’s night time and I haven’t left the basement.
I’m just making music all day, playing different instruments and recording, then trashing it, then recording, then trashing it again. If I have to work that day serving at my restaurant, I serve at Honey’s, it’s either super early in the morning, so I’m working [on music] into the night, or I’m working all day before I have to go in there and serve at night. That’s it.”
Kenny Vasoli: “I pretty much just chill (laughs). Everybody else works very hard, I’ll give them that. I have a similar thing that Matt has going on. The whole pajamas thing is dead on with me. The whole songwriting thing, I do that to, but where he writes like three songs a day, I’ll do that in seven months.
I do the bike riding thing, I’ll bike like 15 miles. And I have my dog, we talk to each other a lot. I have a hammock now, and that’s taking up a big part of the day, just breaking that thing in.
It’s awesome. It’s a good life.”
Vacationer’s new album Relief is the featured album in this week’s edition of Unlocked. Download “In The Grass” in Monday’s post, read Tuesday’s album review, watch a video recap of local performances in Wednesday’s post, read yesterday’s interview and check back for future installments of Unlocked on The Key.