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Vinny Vegas' Scott Siskind talks about the highs and lows of self-management

Vinny Vegas' latest album "The Big White Whale"
Vinny Vegas' latest album "The Big White Whale"
Photo from Vinny Vegas Facebook Page

Vinny Vegas are proof you can do anything you put your mind to. Releasing music by themselves since 2007, the band are still going strong and have gathered many dedicated fans throughout their career. They released their first full length album “The Big White Whale” last year. And they did it all without the help of a major record label. Before their Chicago show this weekend, singer Scott Siskind talks about the importance of the DIY atheistic, the latest album, and the band's future.

Give me some history on the band's beginnings.
Scott Siskind:
The band started in 2007, but this current configuration has been around since about 2011. Over the past 6 years we've self released several EPs and just recently released our first full length. As well, we've self funded and booked numerous tours through the east coast, midwest and Canada.

Can you tell me a bit about your latest album?
'The Big White Whale' is a record we've been working on for about 3 years. I think we put a lot of ourselves into the songwriting of each song. Personally, I tried to be as honest with myself as far as the lyrics go. It was a very long process, but in the end, I think it was an incredibly rewarding experience.

The band have self released several albums and EPs since 2007. How do you guys go about
getting your music out there?
Obviously, the internet is a big part of it these days, Facebook, Twitter, bandcamp, itunes, spotify, youtube, etc. We try to play as much as we can live as well, which I think is really important to getting that initial introduction of your music to people.

Would you ever considered fundraising sites like Kickstarter?
We have considered it. I think it's a great tool for bands. However, for this last record, we just didn't feel right about it for us. Maybe it's an old school mentality, but we really wanted to just work our asses off to find the money to self release this record ourselves. I kind of feel like it's the artists responsibility to get their art out to the world, by any means necessary. We did several new things to raise money for this record, including an acoustic tour, and a few runs of limited edition merch which we tried to make clear was available for the purpose of raising funds for our record.

How important is it for you to keep to the DIY aesthetic?
I think at this point, we've been doing it for so long, that it's just become the way we function. It has allowed us the ability to do things on our own terms, and our own schedules, which is nice. I think there are definitely things we can benefit from, by not being as DIY, like booking assistance with bigger shows, and help getting our music out to areas that we're unable to tour to at the moment.

Do you think the advent of social media and all this new technology makes it easier for underground bands to get their music out there without help from record labels and major radio airplay?
Absolutely. But, it also makes the music community a lot more saturated, which can make it hard for people to actually give your music a listen, without hearing it live first, or having it recommended by a friend.

What's the hardest thing about self managing a band?
Probably being creative about getting all the things that label bands can get from their labels (PR, Booking, tour support, etc.), without having a label's budget. Honestly, it can kind of a fun challenge haha.

Who are some of your musical influences?
The band is really all over the place with influences, but some are Mars Volta, Thrice, Lauryn Hill, Michael Jackson, City and Colour, Prince, Jackson Browne, The Toadies, Weezer, As Tall As Lions, Squarepusher, Warpaint…that list can go on and on. We also take a lot of influence from similar minded bands that we know from the music community who are really pushing it. I feel like in this DIY/local community, the bands really push each other to get the best out of each other, constantly raising the bar which can be really inspiring.

For your latest album “The Big White Whale,” fans can choose what to pay for the album. What inspired this decision and how do you think it helps the band?
Haha, it's hard to say. We chose to do it, because it seemed like the right decision for a band at our level. I know a lot of people have just taken a free download, which is totally cool, because we want them to have it and spread it around, but there have also been people who paid way more than what we would ask for it. It also makes it easier to spread around via the internet.

Where do you see the band in 5 years?
I think our goal at this point would be the same it's been for the past 7 years. Keep trying to make better and better music, and treat our songwriting to really timestamp where we are in our lives. Also, we'd like to tour with KISS.

Vinny Vegas will be in Chicago this Saturday April 5 at Township. Tickets are still available. To learn more about the band and to get their latest album, visit their website. Make sure to also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.