July 25, 2006

Interview: Voot Cha Index

I don't know what prompted me to check out Dallas' Voot Cha Index, but whatever led the hand of Providence to introduce me to this bright young troupe of indie-poppers, I am forever grateful. Why? Because their music is just so darned fresh and appealing, that's why! Their songs sound like they're about to collapse, a ramshackle pop marching band led by a blind drum major. But stick with them, and something wonderful happens: you're led into a world that's sunny and bright and pretty and innocent, and it's a world you probably don't want to leave. I know that I've been addicted to the songs found on their website, and that addiction is not going to subside. This is a great young band, deserving of your time. Oh, and by the way, they're all either still in high school or recent grads!

But I'll shut up and let you listen for yourself:
Listen To:Japan

We recently had Neil Sangrizi sit down and answer a few questions about their music.

Tell us how you guys got together.

Well, back in 2004, Zach (the bassist/ multi-instrumentalist) and I started writing some songs, and after as series of trail and error coincidences we finally found a guitarist (Jan Michael) and drummer (Jon). We then started writing even more songs, and it wasn't until summer of 2005 that we got a call from Good Record's clerk C.J. Davis asking us to play an instore.

We were working on our home recorded first "album" which we pressed about 50 or so copies. Then in late September, C.J. called me back again to ask us to do a 7" for his first release on his new record label, Pancakes For Mattie. Not only that, but he introduced us to Mark Pirro (bassist for Polyphonic Spree/ Tripping Daisy). We then recorded our first song for the 7" release called The Talking House. In this time, we also recruited our violinist/ xylophone player Sasan.

With the success that the song created, we decided to continue to work with Mark. So now, we're building up a full length album of songs we've recorded over time to hopefully be released sometime next year.

Dallas seems to be an unlikely environment to produce an indie-pop band. Other than the Happy Bullets, I really can't think of any other indie-pop bands from the Metroplex. Is there a secret indie-pop scene happening up there?

We love The Happy Bullets so much, but Dallas sucks. However, all of that can be changed. I really do feel that something is happening with all these indie pop bands sprouting up--especially one of my favorites, Teenage Symphony. Not only are these guys nice as can be, but their music and live performance is amazing. Some of them also live in Plano like we do, which is incredibly weird. Another amazing band is Washing Machine. These guys are so awesome and I love them just as much, but they are unable to play shows because they have no drummer.

There is definitely something about to happen in the next few years. Maybe not in Dallas, but the indie-pop scene is going to grow immensely. The Denton pop scene is the exact same. Even with all those noise bands everyone seems to be getting into, Denton has its own little thing going.

It's really weird though, how all of the bands we're friends with are all influenced by the same Pet Sounds/ Elephant 6 stuff we are. Teenage Symphony especially! It's like we're starting some sort of Elephant 7 or something! Hah! Not really, it's just kind of awesome how we're all good friends and like the same music.

Even though one of the most obvious points of reference for VCI is Of Montreal, I also hear a major Tripping Daisy influence, too. Did you guys grow up on a healthy dose of DeLaughter?

Living in Dallas, how can you not grow up loving Tim DeLaughter? Even though it's hard to admit, Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb is one of my favorite albums ever. Probably one of the most underrated as well! You would think working with the bassist for his band and recording in his studio, we would have gotten to meet him, but nope! He's a busy, busy man!

Really, our influences come from either the 60's psych-pop nuggets bands, or Elephant 6. We're also obsessed with Pet Sounds era 1968 stuff. Of Montreal has always been a big influence, but I think it's weird how they are starting to wear off as we explore new territory in song writing. They still remain one of my favorite bands, but never more than Neutral Milk Hotel will ever be. Neutral Milk Hotel has been a huge influence in Voot Cha Index... probably more so than any other band.

What do you have planned for the future?

Our future is pretty damn out there. We really are just trying to keep moving song by song. Our best friend and guitarist, Jan Michael, is leaving for college on August 20th, so it's going to be really hard seeing him leave. We already have plans for another friend to start helping us out with guitar though. So hopefully everything works out perfectly and the world can see the bright shiny face of Voot Cha Index!

We also have plans to release a 2x7" on Pancakes For Mattie this fall. The songs are:

1. The Talking House
2. Cradle
3. The Accordion Song
4. The Accordion Song (Tunng remix)

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