On Glorietta with Matthew Logan Vasquez
One would think that playing your second set ever as a band would be a daunting task. And playing your second set ever at the renowned Newport Folk Festival? Seemingly unheard of. And yet a task that the members of “supergroup” Glorietta (Noah Gundersen, Kelsey Wilson of Wild Child, David Ramirez, Adrian Quesada of Brownout and Black Pumas, Matthew Logan Vasquez, and Jason Blum) are quite capable of executing. We caught up with Matthew Logan Vasquez at his show in Bend, Oregon at the Volcanic Theater Pub to discuss that second set, what’s on the horizon for Glorietta, and even a few band fables on pizza, cannabis, and ghosts.
LJ: Tell us all about Newport, essentially making your public debut (other than a warmup set in NJ the previous night) at America’s most famous festival, Newport Folk. Go big or go home right?
Matthew Logan Vasquez (MLV): It was great, it was all the stress. But the real set with the complete action was at Newport with Adrian. It was killer man, a whole lot of fun. Got the quirks out - spent two days at the Delta Spirit rehearsal space/studio that Kelly Winrich has taken over in Brooklyn. We rehearsed for like 12 hours straight… if I knew where the rebel bases were, I would have told! Yeah it went really great, everything was super fun, it was a dream. I love that quad stage at Newport, it’s been really fun.
LJ: You've had some great sets up in Newport.
(MLV): Yeah yeah! I’ve played with Delta Spirit, Middle Brother, did my own set in 16 on the Quad stage and now this - it's been great, so killer.
LJ: You will have to let us all know how you are gonna top that in 2019.
(MLV): I don’t know? I’m through climbing shit, but I don't know. I have another record actually finished and recorded (This will be MLV’s 3rd LP) and that's gonna come out in next year, probably February some time “Lighten Up” is what's called.
LJ: A message we all could use right about now
(MLV): *chuckles*That's what I was telling myself.
LJ: How is it looking back at home, living across the seas?
(MLV): I feel a lot safer in Oslo, definitely. It’s give and take… with my adult vices I can’t really get the brands of tequila I enjoy, in turn I guess I drink less which is probably for the better. And they stopped selling American Spirit cigarettes. They found the color that they thought would be the ugliest color and they made the most uniform font for every cigarette so it all looks the same, super simplist, minimalist font. Now every pack of cigarettes look super cool like Scandinavians do and they stopped selling my brand.
LJ: Have you found a worthy successor?
(MLV): No no, I have to quit again, I quit for two years but when I moved to Oslo it became the good cultural break when everyone is speaking their second language in a group conversation and then it shifts back to Norwegian, I just take a cigarette and let them speak Norwegian. It’s not their fault..and then [eventually] I'll come back and they will engage.
LJ: It’s like tapping out of the wrestling match.
(MLV): Yeah yeah I’m out!
LJ: Now you are coming to the other side of the US to play Pickathon (The band’s final shows until the October tour). Besides Adrian (who also played with his band Black Pumas at Pickathon this year), none of y’all have played Pickathon, correct?
(MLV): That’s right, we're all really excited to play. Adrian is actually good friends with one of the co-founders, and is really the reason why we are even going.
LJ: We both live in Austin, the live music capital of the world, but sometimes it's nice to get outside of your backyard and find a new home. Folks like Shakey Graves, Shinyribs… Pickathon has been tapping into the Austin scene for a while now.
(MLV): Yeah you know it’s a lot to bring to the table coming from Austin. A mountain of different types of genres of music and everyone's playing at the edge of their ability. I think thats why its the live music capital of the world because it's definitely the most entertaining types to watch. You are coming from a punk esthetic, playing in dirty places, but being really proficient at your instrument and caring how you play.
LJ: At Pickathon you are playing two sets over a couple days. That's unusual for most fests.
(MLV): There’s only one other that I know of, High Sierra Music Festival in California, which is still my favorite festival only cause I haven’t been to Pickathon yet apparently. I love that opportunity, sometimes the first set is the good set and then you celebrate the second and you go a little too down the down off the deep end. Or sometimes it works the other way, but I’m thinking that it's in the woods and we are in the Pacific NW that people’s uh… viewing experience will be a bit enhanced, so to speak, so that usually creates a pretty willing audience to kinda go wherever you wanna go.
LJ: Some magical sets have occured in those woods, you all are gonna have a blast playing up there.
(MLV): We’re are down as hell.
LJ: How do you approach playing 2 different sets over a festival, do you switch it up or just see how the crowd rolls with it, and whatever energy they give you’ll give back?
(MLV): The thing about our set and what we are doing with Glorietta is that we have six songwriters on stage and 5 of us sing our own songs within a band. Anytime you are singing you have 5 other front men and women, pushing you to be the best leader and at the same time you feel the support of everyone behind having a good time [and] you pushing it forward. That energy I think is a pretty welcome thing with an audience, so as been described to me, at Pickathon.
LJ: Does it take the pressure off? I mean, you are playing with a team of all-stars right?
(MLV): Yeah I mean, there’s no real pressure but yeah I guess so, it's really just a party on stage. Noah and Kelsey are calling out the songs, everyone's kinda gauging the audience as we play and “oh” we’re gonna play this one now, that sounds like a fun idea and we play it.
LJ: You are ready for the audibles?
(MLV): Oh yeah, that's what the 12 hours of rehearsal will get ya.
LJ: Most of the band comes from Austin with the exception of Noah who’s from the Pacific Northwest. Many of you have been hanging on the Austin scene & you are all friends. It’s like going on tour with family, right?
(MLV): It’s hilariously fun, Jud Johnson (Drums) and Brendan Bond (Bass) who are my MLV guys.. I knew they would be solid and take it seriously, so it’s very locked down in that respect. It's a lot of look at each other for who takes on the next solo. A very Texas/Nashville kind of thing where you can turn and go *hey* and everybody's ready to roll like that, which is super fun, it's a party on stage.
LJ: Speaking of a big party, tour ends in Texas!
(MLV): We have to wait until December to play Texas, It’s killing me! I’m playing a September (29th) show at Hotel Vegas and hopefully I’ll be able to bring up some of the guys.
LJ: Y’all are kinda of the superfriends of music. Who’s who? What’s your powers?
(MLV): Superbuds! Noah is the sex symbol *laughs* Jason is the chef and wizard and the unknown. David Ramirez is the wild card -
LJ: *chuckles* that sounds about right.
(MLV): He’ll close any bar he walks into no problem. Adrian Quesada is like... infinite positivity, possibilities and is just a champion. Kelsey is the person who sees around the curve and has a suggestion before anyone had a thought about the problem. I guess that leaves me, I’m the guy that, I’m like Samuel L Jackson in the Avengers movie, I’m the guy that's gonna trick all of these people to work together. I just want to say gnarly shit before I put someone down!
LJ: The LP comes out August 24, and a tour in October with the final show in Austin in December and then Glorietta is on the shelf.
(MLV): Then its gone, with the wind
LJ: Well it would make sense that if there was a Glorietta reunion, it would have to be at Luck Reunion.
(MLV): Yeah that would take a lot of begging! I think we're just...it was a house party that we made a record out of and then we decided to put it out on the road. It's like the amount of organization it takes six people’s careers to be in one place at the same time, it's a fucking miracle. So if we're all at SXSW who knows? Otherwise if we are all at a festival at same time maybe something magical can happen. But leave as a place we make a brotherhood together and we share a moment, make some intimacy and then be able to give that to people.
LJ: Sometimes it's ok to make magic once or twice and then let it go. And go on making new magic in other ways, something you're pretty accustomed to.
(MLV): Yeah absolutely, always continue to tilt your own wheel to find your place.
LJ: Well we will be watching.