It’s been a pleasure to track the development and success of L.A.’s Abe Vigoda
. We’ve seen them go from teens growing up in Chino reconfiguring punk and no wave to their own devices (2006’s Kid City
); to making their guitars sound like steelpan drummers on a coke binge in songs like “Bear Face,” from 2008’s Skeleton
; to slowing things down for cooler, sexier takes on their guitar wildness (2009’s Reviver
EP); to employing coldwave and industrial influences for a gorgeous noir-pop album with 2010’s Crush
Abe Vigoda guitarist Juan Velasquez
has been a good friend for a while. (And he’s an Amoeba alumn to boot!) He’s the self-described “bossy” one of the band, which includes singer/guitarist Michael Vidal
, bassist David Reichardt
, and drummer/programmer Dane Chadwick
. I decided to corner Jaun to talk about the band’s development and new writing sessions. The band plays the Ace Hotel
in Palm Springs
tonight with Dunes
and the Center for the Arts
in Eagle Rock
Sunday with Chromatics
How are the writing sessions going?
Juan: It’s good. We haven’t worked on stuff in a long time. At first we were kind of just jamming around, it was kind of shaky. But we kind of have this new song going that I like. But it’s different than what I thought it was going to sound like. I don’t know, it’s really more power-poppy than I thought. It’s kind of fun!
When did you guys write that new song you’re performing?
Juan: That song, Michael and Dane got together and wrote the structure of it on a laptop, almost like a weird dance song. And then they showed it to us and we started working on that. That was like, God, a while ago, actually. That must have been like eight months ago or nine months ago? It was a long time, and we haven’t really worked on anything sense.
Do you usually write songs that way?
Juan: We usually write songs all together. We just jam together and work out the songs that way. That’s kind of how we’ve always done it. And the song that you’re referencing, that’s the only song we’ve written in that weird way, which I think we might do more of, but it felt good for all of us to get together in a traditional way and just like work on a song. So I think we’re gonna start doing a mix of both — working on songs on a computer and practice and then like mixing the songs up.
How do those two songs, the one Michael and Dane did and the newer one, compare?
Juan: They’re totally different. I think at least for me, because I wasn’t part of that songwriting process as much, I was part of it when we started formatting it and working it in, but they’re different just because I feel like I have more freedom to do stuff with this new song like for my own part, and before my part was already written. But it was fun to just do that, it was more like, working on the smaller details. But they’re both like a lot simpler than our older songs. So they’re both like similar pacing and like less stuff happening. Kind of like more room between all the instruments and stuff. It’s kind of like what we’re excited about — writing songs that don’t have a million parts shoved into one.