Good things can happen when two pairs of musical siblings join forces. For Callie and Phoebe Cryar and Bruno and Taylor Jones, a great thing happened: The Vespers. Soon after the band’s formation, the young musicians took to the road where they started to develop their sound and live show through trial and error, all in front of an audience. Read on to learn about how their new album “The Fourth Wall” came together, the role that faith plays in their music, and where they’re headed. And catch them on tour now if you can!
Without using any “conventional” genre words, describe your sound.
(Bruno) We’ve started calling it “Indiecana” here and there, but the coolest I’ve heard would probably be “Appalachian Rock.”
Congrats on your new album, The Fourth Wall, that just hit stores this month! How did this album come together?
(Bruno) Well, the band had enough songs written (most of which we were already playing in our live shows in 2011) to throw another album together. So we went for it. We worked with two extremely talented friends of ours, Anderson East and Daniel Scobey, in a 6-man tag team co-production effort. We tracked the first half in May 2011, went on tour a bunch, then recorded the other half in August of 2011 during some time off from touring in Nashville. The guys also mixed the record, and it was ready to be pressed by Christmas!
What kind of marketing/promotion did you do leading up to the release?
(Bruno) We crowd sourced (Kickstarter) a little budget to put towards the marketing and promotional side, and essentially built a team of folks to “work” the record. Two publicists and a radio promoter were brought in, and we teamed up with an Indy distro/sales company. We released two music videos, a mini documentary on our band, and some other performance videos prior to the release. We encouraged our fans to spread the word online and repost/share content about our band, among other DIY (aka Low Budget) strategies.
Has your sound evolved since your first album?
(Callie) It has. The banjo has become a lead instrument on this record, whereas the first record was almost banjo-less. Taylor, our drummer, plays a lot of mandolin in the group now. My sister’s and my vocal performances have gotten more moody. More soulful/powerful here, more sad/mournful there, and at times more joyful and fearless. The songwriting feels more mature and vulnerable as well, and we’ve all gotten a little more capable on our instruments—lots of growth. I would say this record is more intimate than our first record, a musical representation of where our personalities are at this point in our lives.
The family element of your band is really unique. How does this affect the dynamic of the band?
(Bruno) Ha. It makes things really convenient actually. With one text message we can relay word to everyone fairly easily. As far as the sound goes, my brother and I have been playing together for about 7 years now and the girls have been singing together since they were children. It’s like we combined their chemistry with our chemistry (which were, and still are, complete opposites of each other) to create a new chemistry. My brother and I are very alike and it’s the same for the girls. When we’re on stage each one of us can tell where our sibling is going next. It’s pretty gnarly.
Did you face any challenges when the two pairs of siblings joined forces?
(Callie) Yes there were some. I guess you could say their were big differences in our lifestyles that we had to weave through. My sister and I were brought up waaay differently than Taylor and Bruno. We were homeschooled and perfectionists, and they were a little more coarse and unceremonious. We had to learn to not judge each other. Long story short, we were all young and very green, but looking back now we see we were put together for a reason. We learned a lot from them, they learned a lot from us. It broadened our different ways of thinking, musically and in our individual lives outside of that.
I read that you started touring very soon after coming together, and touring “shaped” the band. Can you tell us more about what you mean?
(Callie) Yes. We had a booking agent on board very early on, maybe after our 3rd or 4th show. That was a huge blessing. We had only known each other for 6 months or so before our first practice together, and less than a year later we had a record and were playing out of town. We didn’t know what we were doing at all when we got to some of those early shows so we learned by trial and error. We watched the big bands at the festivals, learned what to say on stage, what to wear, what the audiences responded to, etc. The songwriting mentality then became, “well what is gonna go over at the shows?” The songs on the new record were born out of that mentality and The Fourth Wall became the perfect title to represent that.
What part does your faith play in your music?
(Bruno) Our faith in Jesus is why we play music, now, honestly. We feel like we’ve been given the gift of music for a bigger reason. Our songs are simple, and our mission is simple; we just want to be a positive outlet and share the love of Christ. All we’re doing is creating music from where our hearts are. We’re open about it, cause that’s what we’re called to do.
What’s next for The Vespers?
(Bruno) The Vespers are off to play shows. Getting in front of audiences is how you get fans. We have shows announced in a bunch of states. We still take it one day at a time however. We’re realistic. We’re patient. We’re happy where we are at, and are having the time of our lives. No time for us to crave superstardom.