Waiting Room is the 2008 debut from Vary Lumar, a quartet of talented musicians from Boston, MA. Their album which was produced by 37ft Productions and released by indie label Swoom Records, was proudly recognized by NE Performer Magazine as album of the month. Together Vary Lumar integrate their own personal influences of rock, punk and shoegaze, transcending their own individuality throughout their ever-changing and mesmerizing sounds. To personally witness Vary Lumar live is an experience that casts a hypnotic spell, always engaging the entire crowd. Recently vocalist/guitarist of Vary Lumar, Paul de Pasquale kindly contributed to MIA. Please enjoy the following Q&A below.
L i s t e n
MIA: Musically, how did the band form, what past experiences do you carry with you?
PAUL: The band formed while attending college, focusing on music and other art forms in Boston, MA. I met Rob Fusco (drums) the first night in town, shortly after moving into our apartments right behind one another. We spent many nights during our first year at school just making noise, with one guitar and as many pedals as we could get our hands. It was during one of these nights the word Vary was written down in a notebook and on the other side of the page there was Lumar. Within six months we met Rob Laff (bass) through mutual friends and shortly after that we put the pedals away, and spent most of our time jamming. By mid 2005, we had played a hand full of shows changing up our lead guitar player from show to show. It was during that Summer we met Ben (guitar) who had watched the show from the crowd..approaching me right after the set saying “great set !..you guys really have something strong and alive”…I responded with a “hey!..thanks..I’m glad you enjoyed it”….and then he followed up with ” I want to be in your band ” and within is week he was. The rest of the time up until the recording of “Waiting Room” was spent playing shows, discovering the Vary Lumar sound, and trying to finish school.
MIA: Describe the feeling of living and making music in your city, feel free to share a memory or a certain place that makes you feel like home.
PAUL: I have never thought about how Boston has shaped or inspired our music. We all grew up in different states throughout the east coast…so home is very different for some of us. I can say personally, hitting the tail end of my teen angst, as well as being fed up with school… my earlier creations for the band would of been loud and angry despite the city we were in. Sometimes, we found it difficult after a day of school or work to meet up and get into creating music..mainly because we spent all day away from one another, never making a stop home, and even never having time to eat dinner. However, Boston has been good to us for the most part, and we were all lucky enough to live in the backyard of Fenway Park. I think having our little small neighborhood with a small community park right outside gave us all the sense of “home” that we needed at the time. It was also within these few blocks, we had met many of our earlier supporters, as well as contributors to the local art scene. During the Fall of 2007 the band moved a town over to Allston, MA, into a real old home to call their own…you know the kind that lets the warm air out, and traps the cold air in…the good kind. Living together has put us more often on the same page, putting out the same vibe while having no restraints when playing or writing, which is allowing us to fine tune and define our sound. Living together has taken our music to a whole other place…unfortunately, we have not been able to share the newer sounds outside the Lumar home yet..but I am sure we will sooner than later.
MIA: Do you enjoy to perform live? How does the band like to get ready and is there a favorite song that you like to play for your audience?
PAUL: Rituals are great, but we don’t have any kind of set thing…I guess it depends on where we are and what day it is. I can say for sure that Saturday night gigs or any shows on the road allow us more time to get on the same page…which usually means a long car ride or just a bite to eat together. Sometimes we come from long days and have about a total of 30 minutes of face time before we play..so we do our best. During the past summer we found much inspiration tending to our vegetable garden hours before a set….now we like to build robots. We enjoy mostly everything we play…if we really don’t enjoy it then it gets taken out of our set pretty quickly….although Lost Parade is always a good time. Lately we have been playing new material which is just exciting.
MIA: What has been the most impacting compliment, or criticism, your band has ever received?
PAUL: In this day and age everyone has something to say about your music…somethings open your eyes and somethings turn your head. We make sure to not let the compliments go to our head and to not completely ignore the criticism…because the outside perspective is always good. Like any other band we have been given our fare share of good and bad reviews, but the only compliment I can say that has had a huge impact on us would be on the quality of our live show. The band has always had a different type of connection on stage, which to me I value more than anything else we could be doing.
MIA: Within your songwriting, is there some type of element that has brought about a certain mood in yr writing, making you feel more/less different than when you started? How long has the recording process taken to complete your album and to finally believe that it’s ready?
PAUL: Songwriting changes just like anything else in one’ s self. Personally, when I started writing I was 15 years old and very inspired by acoustic singer/songwriter types. Around the time the band started to form, I was tired of writing about love and was starting to feel that being a solo artist was a bit too self absorbed. I felt that connecting with other musicians would help bring up new feelings and experiences to write about. The material on “Waiting Room” has a bit of everything…love, hate, raw points of realizations, & honesty. Some people would say that the lyrics have political undertones, but I wouldn’t put it like that…maybe more social undertones. If anything the lyrics do more visually.
Waiting Room seemed to never be finished. I don’t thing an artist can ever be finished with a piece of work..but then again it depends on what kind of artist you are. We went into recording the album with a good strong base of material to work with…somethings we kept, some ideas were trailed and scratched, and some just happen to come alive at the right moment. I think the biggest struggle for us was trying to accept that we had to finish, and once we did we couldn’t go back and add or take away. In the end, we are happy with the majority of the album and if anything have a better understanding of what to do and what not to do next time.
MIA: What qualities do you hope listeners may take from listening to your music?
PAUL: Well, our new music will offer something quite different from “Waiting Room”, but overall our music no matter how it changes from song to song or album to album, we like to express a wide range of emotions. I think listeners can expect anything from feelings of your everyday life to being lost in an unfamiliar mystical place.
MIA: Name some of your favorite albums of 2008.
PAUL: Anything I would write down probably wouldn’t have a release date of 2008, but more so just albums I took more of a liking to in 2008. It is kind of exciting listening to an album for the first time after it has been out for 20 years. There has been some good new stuff out in 2008, but not a whole lot that screams out in my mind. Not that music in 2008 is horrible or anything……well put it this way I own a record player and it gets turned on more than my ipod. So I will do my best.
Sigur Ros – Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust (2008) – One of the only releases this year that grabbed my attention, not only have I enjoyed every release from this band, but this album was such a new direction for them and I thought they did a great job. Usually, changing your sound once you have made a career off of it can be a great turning point for a band, and sometimes it can be a band’s downfall..and this album shows the bands longevity, which is hard to come by these days.
Squarepusher – Just A Souvenir (2008) – I have always been into listening and creating electronic music, as well as drum & bass. Squarepusher blends a unique mixture of acid jazz, funk, hip-hop, rock and classical music in a electronic/drum & bass form. Squarepusher is an unbelievable musician in many ways and truly gifted on bass and drums. This in another artist who demonstrates longevity from album to album. One of my favorite albums is his 1998 release “Music Is Rotted One note”.
MIA: Name any favorite visual artists and how it may inspire you.
PAUL: Any artist that is ahead of their time…is usually enough to inspire me. Usually most eastern art I find to be extremely inspiring. Paintings & sculptures of Tibetan cultures , Nepal, and many other art forms of the Himalayas. If you find inspiration in this form of art….take a trip to the Rubin Museum of Art in NYC…an amazing experience.
Stanley Kubrick – 2001: A Space Odyssey – Visually, a masterpiece and still to this day has elements about it that you can not find in other films. The collaboration between the cinematography and the music within the first 30 minutes of the film comes to be an inspiration every time I watch it.
Arrested Development – TV series – one of the funniest tv shows (soon to be a movie) of my time. Extremely clever writing and performances by everyone involved. Another unique & ahead of it’s time work of art.
MIA: Please share a mixtape with a theme of your choice.