The Vaughns; Basement Shows


interview & photographs by Christina Morgan

Rising out of the New Jersey music scene, indie rock group The Vaughns took a moment to speak with us outside their show at The Bowery Electric in New York…


You guys are based out of New Jersey, - what do you think is so special  about the NJ music scene and the bands that come from NJ? How does it affect you as artists?

Anna - Something I’ve seen a lot, and learned a lot about by playing in the NJ music scene is that everyone’s live shows and their emphasis on putting a lot of energy into their live acts. I feel like nowadays, with the way that music kind of is, not a lot of people focus on the live performances, so much as they do for the recordings. The scene is pretty cool and unique right now, in NJ where every band you’re going to see in a basement, or at a bar is giving their all 110%. The first basement show I went to, there were kids banging on the ceiling and just pouring their souls out in front of a room full of their friends. Just that pure passion, I think is in a lot of NJ bands that I’m always very proud of. The basements shows are really special because when we first started out, we were playing in a lot of bars, and when you play them, there aren’t really any kids, there are just people drinking there who don’t really care about what you’re doing. But- when you start going to basement shows, everyone there is committed to the music and every person who’s just even watching is focused entirely on the bands. Everyone is there to support one another, and buy merch, it’s really cool


Is there a meaning behind the band’s name?

Anna - We couldn’t come up with a name, and then Ryan suggested it, in reference to Billy Madison. He wanted the name to be like Veruca Salt but like a Veronica Vaughn type of thing. We thought it was cool, but then we just started thinking of all the different famous Vaughns that there are, from Stevie Wright, to Sarah Vaughn. Then it just kind of stuck, and we were like ‘Ok, how about just The Vaughns?’. Since then, we really have grown into the idea that we like that it’s a family name because at this point, we just all really feel like a family. 

There’s only been one date of the tour so far, but what has it been like? Do you like touring on the East Coast, and what are your dream tours?

Tom- We played under the fireworks in Long Branch, NJ and also played our song July 4th, with fireworks going off, so it was awesome. 

Ryan - It was really cool! We didn’t know until earlier that day that our set was not 45 minutes, it was actually 2 hours, which is fine because we have the material for it, but we just had to play all of these songs that we haven’t played in years. It was honestly so much fun. 

David - A tour with Brian Fallon, I think.

Anna - I would love to play at Red Rocks Amphitheater. 


Is there anything special about the band, or any kind of message that you’re trying to get across through your songs and or lyrics?

Anna - Friendship, family, and fun. I feel like we just really like what we do, and like to have a good time. We just want our audience to feel that way as well. 


Do you have a specific writing process when it comes to songs? 

Tom - The cool thing about that is that it totally depends on the song. Some songs we literally just write a jam at practice, other songs one of us will come in with a full idea, or we’re collaborative. It really depends, but it’s kind of fun because we don’t have a set structure. Sometimes they happen naturally, but it’s always cool. 

How was it filming the music video for Shout? What was the day like? 

David - Shout was our third or fourth video, so we were kind of familiar with the whole process. This video was a lot more fun because we got the place pretty last minute. We got to film in this really cool art studio, and with our other videos we tried to have a cohesive story to them. For this one, we got these really cool outfits- pink morph suits, and painter outfits, we kind of just winged it.  It ended up being a lot of fun!


You’re going to be playing XPN Fest, with Blondie and Elvis Costello, are you excited? What do you think that experience will be like? 

Ryan- I was in Philly, about 3 weeks ago and I went to see the Dave Matthews Band at the Amphitheater there, and they even have the stage set up already for the festival. It’s literally on the water, where you can see Philly behind it, it’s such a cool stage. To play with all those bands, is going to be so awesome, so I’m really excited about that. 

David - I totally agree. I think it’s so cool to just look on the bill and see ‘oh, we’re on the same bill as Elvis Costello!’ so, we’ve never had that happen before. We’re all really excited. 

What can we expect in the future, i.e. music videos, new music, etc.?

Anna - We definitely have a lot in the works, there’s always new music. One of my dreams is to film a surf video. I want all of us to get surfing lessons and film it, so that’s my dream for the rest of the summer. 


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