Interview: Vacationer explores relaxation on ‘Relief’

Jake Craney

Favorites: Bloc Party, 3EB, Gaslight, Tokyo Police Club, The Kooks, Pete Yorn, Andrew McMahon

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Vacationer, comprised of Kenny Vasoli, Matthew Young, and Grant Wheeler, create Summer-ready, relaxing music they have dubbed “Nu Hula.” Their fantastic new album Relief is out now and is only multiplying an already fast-growing fanbase. GroundSounds caught up with Kenny to chat about the album, the band’s relaxed mindset, and more. Check out the interview below and be sure to pick up a copy of Relief HERE


Relief is out now and it’s such a refreshing listen. Take us back to when you first began writing for this album. What was your goal or hopes for these new songs? What did you want to get across with the sound and style of the music?

With this record I really wanted to travel further down the path we’d set out on. I still wanted there to be a through line of escaping worry and living a relaxed life of joy. Musically, I wanted to add more energy that would translate in a live environment.  I’m pleased that they seem to be effective dance inducers at the shows.


“In The Grass” was one of the first tracks released and epitomizes that relaxed, tropical “island-y” theme to the album. What was the inspiration for this song?

That song is more of a mindset song rather than a narrative in terms of lyrics.  It’s a simple reminder to myself that no matter where I am or what the problem seems to be, I can always relax. The beat came from an unused track that Matt Young stripped out and sent to me.  I wrote the bassline with and LCD/!!! feel in mind, very picky and upstroke-y.

When I listen to a song like “Paradise Waiting,” I feel like I’m on a beach in Key West with a margarita in hand. How did this song come together?

Nice of you to say! This was probably the most painless and swiftly recorded song of the record. Matt Young wrote that piano line and beat and I almost instantly had the bulk of the chorus.  It was fun making that one, plenty of bass fun for me.


I’m always interested in how albums end. Can you tell us a little bit about the closer “Onward & Upward” and why you felt like it would be a great closing song for Relief?

If I remember right we actually considered that to open the record for a while.  It started to seem like the appropriate closer as we approached the completion of all the songs.  I think the message is a good summation for the record.


If you had to pick one song (from either album) that perfectly encapsulates and represents you as a band, which song would you choose?

I still really love playing “Trip.”  Even though there might be songs that I prefer more at most times, that one is sentimental in the way that it’s the first song we did in hip-hop tempo and thus brought a new level of excitement to our writing experience.  I also dig that it’s about wanting a vacation, be it mind or body. That was before we even had the name of our band, so I think it informed much of the future for us.


What are the main differences in the way you approach songwriting now as opposed to your previous albums & bands? Are there specific/intentional things you do differently or is it more of an evolution and learning process from the past?

Having Matt Young and Grant Wheeler involved is the greatest advantage to the song writing.  I have true admiration for the work they do and it’s a great workflow that happens in our sessions.  It’s a totally new perspective on music that I’ve completely embraced. There is a lot that mirrors production of some traditional electro-music styles of producing.  We also strive to incorporate some classic exotica and 60’s soundtrack moves into our process. There are some cool tricks from the great exotica composures, great ways to make tunes breezy.


You’re gearing up for a short stint of release shows in the Northeast with Joywave (a band releasing some great new music). What new songs/albums are you guys currently listening to?

We absolutely love this solo record by a guy named Louis Cole, it’s called Album 2.  It sounds like the Zombies but even more twisted, it’s so great!  Also digging the newest Lykke Li and all the Moster Rally records. The new Little Dragon is getting its teeth in me as well.


After your release shows, what are your plans for the rest of the Summer and Fall?

Chilling a bit this Summer, just shows here and there and we’ll be playing Made In America festival at the end of August.  I’m hoping to hit the road by Fall and play some fun shows across the globe.


Your Grinders are an awesome idea. Who thought of the idea and who makes these for you?

Haha thanks!  Our manager who doesn’t really smoke weed thought of it during record one.  We had to get them again.


Where is the best place online to stay updated with all things Vacationer? is the central source for information.



Vacationer – “In The Grass”

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