Who is Vonnegutt?
Hype Rocks: Vonnegutt: Follow Us
By: Todd Davis
Inspired by the classic literary works of 20th-century writer, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., this four man namesake band, which harmoniously blends strong lyrical skills, with a pop feel appeal, mixed with a heavy dosage of rocker bravado, is the perfect recipe for success. Add in a massive cosign from rapper Big Boi, and the proof is in the pudding, Vonnegutt is here to stay...
Can you please introduce for me the members of Vonnegutt...
Vonnegutt consists of Neil Garrard, who plays guitars/vocals, Jimmy Conley, who plays bass/vocals, Taylor White on drums and myself, Kyle Lucas, and I do vocals.
Collectively, how did the group first come together?
I wanted to start a band. Not just be a rapper or a solo artist, and really be a part of a band. So, I tried for like 6 months meeting people, I honestly had no idea what to do or how to go about starting a band, so I posted flyers everywhere inquiring musicians who would want to join. One of the spots I posted a flyer was at a Guitar Center where Neil was working at the time. He called me and we started writing songs.
Where do you all originate from? And, coming up, who all did/do you favor when it comes to overall influences?
We all are from Marietta, Georgia. I know growing up I idolized bands like Blink 182, Less Than Jake and, at the same time, loved Outkast, Jay-Z and Cormega. I think that’s the general vibe with us as a band is that our influences are all over the map. If you asked anyone in our band, we could name influences from all genres.
How did the moniker Vonnegutt actually come about? Does the famed author have everything to do with your band's name?
Yeah it's 100% was borrowed from Kurt Vonnegut. I loved Cat’s Cradle in high school, and when we started Vonnegutt I thought that’d be an awesome name for a band. It was my first band and I had no idea what to expect, so I didn’t anticipate all the backlash from using that name. I just thought it was cool, ha,ha!
Specifically, what role(s) do each of you assume when it all boils down to the group's vibe?
Everyone has a role in Vonnegutt. We all write our own parts, play our own parts to the song, which I’m very happy about. You get a lot of bands that don’t even play or write on the record, they just learn the parts to play live. We aren’t like that at all.
How would you classify your sound and style?
It’s very difficult to put us in a box. Which is a good thing and also a bad thing, as in terms of the public trying to grasp it and dissect it. It’s good because it kinda makes us stand out. I would say the negative aspect is when people just want to box us in and write us off. Sometimes people don’t know how to describe us and its frustrating for them, haha! Folks just want things spoon-fed to them.
How did you all hook up with rapper Big Boi? And, where exactly does he fit in when it comes to the group's whole creative input?
It does seem like an unlikely pairing, I can see how people would say that, but also at the same time it makes perfect sense. Outkast is so eclectic that it would be someone like Big to take notice to what we have going on. He heard the potential in us from just a few homemade demos.
You just released your debut LP, Falling Up The Stairs -- Tell me about the LP's title...
The title is something we’ve had for a few years now. It represents the idea of people thinking we’ve made it before anything was released. For a few years, we’ve had this “hype” about us because of us signing to Big Boi’s label, that people thought we had succeeded before we did anything really. Like we were touring the country on these big tours, but sleeping 5 people to a hotel and traveling in a van. We really paid our dues and sunk every last penny we had into this band. The idea of falling up the stairs was kind of a play on words, like people think we’ve made it up the stairs already but if they knew the half of what we’ve been through, they would realize we fell the whole way. It definitely wasn’t easy.
The set's lead offering is, "Knock," featuring Will Pugh of Cartel -- What can you tell me about this particular track? And, how did it actually come to fruition?
This is one of my favorite songs off the album. We wrote the original demo in New York, with Grant Michaels, maybe a year and half ago. Just the track and the hook/bridge reference we’re recorded in New York. I kinda sat on it for a minute. The bulk of the album was already in the can; the guys had finished their parts. Then, I recorded my vocals with producer Simon illa, and I invited Will to the studio to record his part. He killed the vocals and it turned out incredible. We’ve gotten such an incredible feedback from that song. It’s also become one of my new favorites to play live.
Are there any other highlights that you'd like to point at this time?
All the producers did such an incredible job, and the experience with working with them was incredible. Grant Michaels, Billy Hume, and everyone else involved did such a great job. Simon illa played a huge part because he had been with us the whole way, from the beginning of the album to now. He’s become a brother to me, so even on the songs he didn’t produce he still tracked my vocals. He’s the best producer/engineer I’ve ever worked with. I always dig recording with him.
Ultimately, what do you all feel will be the key to your success?
I’m learning now that the key to success in the music industry is not just a good product, but it’s timing. Something happens when everything lines up perfectly, as far as the right song, the right radio promotion, or something like a placement in a big commercial, and, more importantly, the fans have to be ready to embrace it. The scary part is that with timing, it’s completely out of your control. The only thing in your control is to keep pushing and doing everything you can, 'cause you don’t know what song or when something is going to take off. I fully believe in our album and that there are a large of amount of songs on that album that could potentially be successful.
Do any of you have any other future aspirations?
I’d eventually like to get more behind the scenes in the creative process. Maybe writing for other artists. I also always dreamed of getting a job at Cartoon Network in the Adult Swim department. I feel they are always on the cutting edge of culture and how they infuse it into their shows is ingenius. That’d be awesome to one day work for them and just make music for my fans as well. That seems like the coolest job in the world!
Are you all happy with the current state of music?
Yeah, I am. I think everyone is very creative right now and there is so much variety of new music to choose from. I loved Pierce The Veil’s new album, Coheed & Cambria, A$AP Rocky, etcetera. There are just so many different kinds of music that are breaking into “pop culture.” I think that’s awesome for bands like us, too, because people are more accepting of a Hip-Hop infused live band with electronic elements. Or, at least more accepting than they were at one time.
What do you all enjoy doing in your off or spare time, non-music related?
I go to school at Kennesaw State. I’m a few credits away from receiving my degree in Communication: Mass Media, and I have a minor in Film. Other than that, I like to work-out, play basketball and watch A LOT of movies and TV, ha,ha!
Looking ahead, say five or even ten years from, where do you see yourselves?
Man, that’s a tough one! I’m not sure what’s in store for us even regarding the next year. Hopefully, still making music and touring. I’d like to get more into songwriting and producing for other artists eventually. Right now, I’m focused on establishing our band and gaining as many fans as possible. There’s so much we still have to do.
As for the immediate, what's next for you all?
The next thing on the menu for us is to continue to shoot videos and promote this album. Hopefully jump on a tour soon, and get out there and meet all the fans face to face, as well as try to win some new fans over. We’ve already started demoing out some new songs as well, (so) we’re really stoked to get back in the studio as a band and record.
Any closing thoughts?
Just wanted to thank every single one of our fans that have stuck by us and saw this album through. To all the potential new fans, just give it a shot, you might dig it!