Tomorrow sees the release of Vaudeville Etiquette's debut album Debutantes & Dealers.
Debutantes & Dealers will be released via Sunyata Records, the indie label owned by Mad Season/Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin, who also produced the album. The record was mixed by Jack Endino (Mark Lanegan, Nirvana).
With a mix of rock, folk, jazz and country, the album will have something to appeal to everyone.
Vaudeville Etiquette is comprised of Bradley Laina on guitar and vocals, Tayler Lynn on kazoo and vocals, Matt Teske on pedal steel and the mandolin, Bryce Gourley on percussion and Sander Vinberg on bass.
Last week, I spoke with Lynn about the album release and the band's future.
Q: Where are you today?
Tayler: I am in Seattle. Where are you?
Q: I'm at home just outside of Detroit.
Tayler: Oh, I was born in Port Huron!
Q: Didn't know that. Yeah, we are finally getting some spring weather here so I'm enjoying it.
Tayler: Yeah the doldrums before spring. [laughing]
Q: You have the album coming out Tuesday. Can you talk about the process of putting Debutantes & Dealers together?
Tayler: Actually it's kind of culminated over a span of a few years. Brad and I started as a duo and it just kind of evolved from there. We started playing showcases around L.A. We had met in Seattle and then moved out to L.A. to pursue the scene. Then we came back to Seattle and it just kind of evolved into a spot. We really didn't have a choice not to make a album because at that point we had been playing so many shows and we didn't really have anything to send people home with. We started off with a EP and then the demand just kept on growing and growing. We had all of these songs that just kind of needed to be born and yeah so then we just really created this library of work and then all of a sudden we had more than an album's worth.
Q: Is there a song that you can point to on this album as being the most personal one for you?
Tayler: I think "Enemy Lines" is probably the most cathartic but the way that Brad and I kind of write is that most of the songs that he sings lead on are primarily the ones he writes the lyrics for and vice versa. It's really interesting when you're working with someone on a song that they kind of conceptualized and how much of a personal role it can take when you really invest yourself in it. The song "What Better Time" was written by Brad but sometimes I find myself singing the lyrics like, "oh!". I'm just kind of being a fan of my own music I guess but you can really identify with it. I think that's how ultimately we know when we've arrived at something special. It's when we both like it enough to be able to step aside from it as our own and view it objectively as something that we really enjoy.
Q: It is a very emotional album and I think people will identify with that.
Tayler: Yeah. We started off and all of our songs were kind of grim and sad and we tried to kind of let a little more light in because when we play our shows live we like to have fun and just goof around. You kind of have to add a little levity into that to make it work. You can't really go from being a buffoon to playing a really heart wrenching song. We tried to balance it out a bit. There's definitely a lot of heart. Years of heart on the album.
Q: You have the "Blood & Bone" single out. What went in to making that one?
Tayler: Yeah that was actually written about, well when Brad and I met he actually ended up falling in love with my sister and they are married now. It kind of brings the whole family element of the band closer. They had this great wedding where they had all of our friends and family parading through the streets in Seattle with like different instruments and it was just kind of this New Orleans-ey, ragtime parade but it just happened to be everyone we knew and loved. They were all singing "All You Need Is Love" and it was just the coolest thing. It really took that wedding pressure and that family pressure off of everything and I just remember this moment where the sun was shining in the middle of August and I just looked around and thought this is insane that we can't and that we don't do this everyday. You know, why don't we take this moment and hold it when we're in fights with our family or our friends and we're judging people. Why aren't we always going back to this where everything is perfect and beautiful? People were literally coming out of their doorways and opening their shutters and trying to see what was going on. So the song kind of started with that and I came to Brad with these lyrics and he kind of forced out the chords and the kind of structure a little bit more. It was always a really personal song to both of us because we kind of knew what we were singing to in it all of a sudden being a family together.
Q: You can definitely tell that you guys have a wide range of influences? What's the biggest one on your end?
Tayler: I really like a lot of old country like Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline who have always been major influences for me. Going back to jazz I like singers like Ella Fitzgerald. I'm very much a lyric person and I always have been. Growing up in my Michigan my mom always took us to the Lilith Fair and Sarah McLachlan was always great. I've always seemed to attach myself to singer/songwriters who span every type of pop genre. I think a lot of those kind of jazzy and western pop elements are mine and Brad kind of has that almost proggy influence. He loves Phish and things like that. We try to be open-minded in whatever genre we want to explore.
Q: You had a show where you played Fleetwood Mac's Rumours album. That obviously had a impact on you as well.
Tayler: Yeah they are so huge and we relate to Fleetwood Mac in so many ways because they also have that background of being together in a kind of peace meal family way and the kind of Buckingham/Nicks connection. They stated off as their own and came on into the band. I think as a band we kind of identify with them with their music and with their dynamics minus the sexual thing. [laughing] I think that they have such a firm grasp on combining pop music into whatever gets them off and I mean we really admire that about them and just that album is so incredible.
Q: What is your biggest goal when you go out to do a live show?
Tayler: I think it's always been just to make it sound better than the album. Not that the album sounds bad but I think that's something to shoot for. We always just want to put on a show. I think the live shows that I go to that I kind of walk away not feeling anything from are the ones where you are just standing in a room listening to the album with a bunch of other people. I need something more dynamic than that. I want it to be 3-dimensional so that an audience can not only hear our songs and appreciate them for the first time or the hundredth time but also kind of get to know who we are as people as well as musicians. Also to just have fun. I love the shows where you go and there's so much banter and crowd interaction. Participation is such a huge part and an important part for us. We want to be there with you and want it to feel like a party and that it's just like a presentation and not where there's like this disconnect. We try to connect as much as we can.
Q: You have an album release show coming up but do you plan to tour after that?
Tayler: We are. We're planning a West Coast tour in June. The details of which are still be finalized but we're going I believe as far south as San Diego. We should be gone for two weeks. Hopefully in the winter or the fall we'll expand it further.
Q: What is your favorite venue to play?
Tayler: Oh gosh, that's a good question. I've had so many goals as a musician and obviously the Tractor Tavern in Seattle will always be huge because it's such a great room but I really feel like, and the band talks about this a lot, but you come up as a musician with all of these places that you want to play and think if I just get there everything will be great but we've found that the more intimate shows at the lesser known venues tend to be the best. We played this show last summer in this room called the Pussy Room in Seattle and it was actually modeled where you walk through these giant vagina doors and it's all red velvet inside. It's this tiny little room and it was like the middle of summer and it was really hot and everyone was just kind of sitting on top of each other and it just kind of had that dark, speakeasy feel and it felt so much like everyone was playing together so I think those shows where we can really just have fun and enjoy the audience are the best.
Q: Is there a place you haven't gotten to play yet?
Tayler: This release show at The Crocodile is huge for us. We've been going to that venue since we were tiny. That's a little cross off the bucket list.
Q: What's your biggest goal for the band moving forward?
Tayler: I think we'd love to go over to Europe and tour. I think the biggest goal for us is to generate enough momentum to get us to the second album because we have so many more songs. We're writing more everyday and we're learning more everyday. We're so lucky as a band to even get this far and I think there's so many bands that don't get to do that second album or if they do they don't necessarily get to ride it out as much as they did on the first. I think a major goal for us is to record that second album and get it out and to just keep working. If we can just stay working musicians forever we'd all be happy.
Q: What's your favorite thing about being in the music business?
Tayler: I think it's the sense of community. It's really huge. It's not like that in a lot of cities. Los Angeles in particular was one that we had a hard time with. Living in Seattle there's so much community and there's so much music for one but it's so supportive. You don't get that kind of catty, jealous everybody climbing their way to the top feeling. Here everyone generally wants to help you. It's really nice. We're lucky to have such a tight-knit group. It's also nice too to be able to use that and go elsewhere.
Q: Finally what do you want people to take from the album and is there anything you want them to know about your band?
Tayler: I think the most important thing about this album for us was our ability to just really stretch beyond genres. We always had a really hard time trying to tell people what kind of a band we are and sometimes to a fault because people can't readily put us in a box. I think what we set out to do with Debutantes & Dealers is to kind of make our own box out of a bunch of different other boxes. We tried to create a new one under the americana umbrella. I think that's what would be the best thing to take away and just being known as a honest and hardworking band because at the end of the day that's what we are.
To hear a preview of Debutantes & Dealers, check out here: https://soundcloud.com/vaudeville-etiquette/sets/debutantes-dealers-album/s-8ZWZ0