Earlier this year I stumbled upon a band that has stayed on my sound waves for while now, especially during these early summers days on the humid subways. I decided to reach out and continue my summer series by learning more about their current musical endeavors. Our Vintage Film are Nashville rockers who offer a new taste for pure ear candy for the masses. Adam Swink and Dustin Reese make up the talented duo and are well on their way to success. Just read on and you will see why.
I am always curious to hear about how these bands start up. To start, Adam shared with me their creative beginnings in music that eventually led to the creation of Our Vintage Film. “During spring break of college in 2010 in Destin, FL, we just started jamming on acoustic guitars one evening with friends. We hit it off when we started playing All Again For You by We The Kings. We thought we should start something when we returned to Nashville. We began playing a few acoustic shows on Belmont University’s campus until one day our cajon player and friend asked us if we wanted to record at one of Belmont’s recording studios for free. We recorded The Fast Lane, a song I had written a year earlier, and it soon built into something bigger than just an acoustic song. We just kept hearing more instruments and so we added strings, piano [and] electric guitar at my campus studio apartment and it instantly became our sound. When we realized we wanted a huge string sound with occasional reversed piano/guitar riffs, I kept envisioning scenes with vintage camera effects, film burns and light leaks. I remembered a lyric I wrote in another song that I never completed in 2008 called Slow Motion. The lyric went, “If I could rewind the reel / our vintage film would start to feel / like I’m in slow motion.” I actually went back to this song the other day and hope to complete it in the near future. We tried to take everything to next level with our self-titled EP and the production definitely went beyond our expectations. We were also very lucky to have been able to record at some amazing studios in Nashville and LA.” What a superb origin story! That is the kind of exploration and work that makes something great in the end. Hence, part of the reason why Our Vintage Film make it work in their music.
Since they have formed, they are still working hard to get their music out there. Dustin gave his thoughts on his favorite work to date. “We love how our Blur music video turned out with the new acoustic rendition of the song. The acoustic version is cut down to the basics in the structure and the song itself is very catchy so you can hear it in its simple beautiful form (without over 60 other tracks that are in the original version). The video is the first music video we’ve ever done so we’re very proud of the final product. Also, we love our cover of The Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony, that after recording, we had to put on our new self-titled EP. It was a magical day in the studio when we recorded it, and it gives the classic song a much needed fresh perspective that builds and delivers with fat tonality.”
They are often on the road and have high hopes for their future in the music scene. Dustin mentioned places they would love to perform next. “We would love to play an arena show, a real massive rock arena. We have music that’s very full-size in sound so we’ve always wanted to see the true potential at work and know what it would feel and sound like in a blown out setting such as a large arena venue with massive EDM style lighting, confetti, plastic blow up toys flying around in the crowd…the works… If we had to pick a specific arena I’d say the Bridgestone in our city [of] Nashville.” I would love to be a part of that arena show. Sounds like a perfect mix of Coldplay meets the Flaming Lips. Lets hope it happens someday!
Traveling has also helped them learn about the hazards of touring. There have been some difficult shows that the duo has gone through as Dustin notes. “We played a show in Vienna, Virginia (Adam’s hometown) back in 2011 for a fundraising event and it seemed like everything that could have gone wrong on stage, was going wrong. It was an outside festival-style show, and right before our headlining set it started to storm really hard. On top of that, our guitar tech brought out guitars completely unturned (his 1st show with us), strings broke, the acoustic guitars were stuck on mute through the direct inputs to the PA, our drummer’s kick drum pedal broke…and all of this in the middle of our set. Let’s just say we learned fast from the experience and shaped up quick.”
Luckily, those touring setback have not slowed them down at all. They constantly learn from those moments. The industry they are in has definitely helped shape their progress thus far. Dustin elaborated more on this. “Kids now can use their laptops to record quality music in their living rooms and make amazing movies on their phones. The artists of today and tomorrow are going to be doing a lot more ambitious things that will all blend together. Small and bigger artists need to be able to monetize their works through more of these online revenue streams that we have out there, and also use these sites to build trust with other artists and audiences very fast for networking and selling purposes. We need to offer more incentives to consumers instead of just streaming or downloading a free copy (like how it is right now) … more bang for the buck! Right now, for up-and-coming artists, it just seems like all [the] main revenue is coming from show sales and that should change. With selling directly from artist to consumer, artists can make money independently and we should take advantage of that situation … This statement is even more true for signed artists with larger audiences.” This is a man who knows the business well and is not afraid to let it be known on what he thinks would be best. I admire that as a fellow artist. Well-done sir!
“Our inspirations vary from modern rock n roll such as Thirty Seconds to Mars, NEEDTOBREATHE, Anberlin, or … to artists more atmospheric and electronic like Tycho or Helios,” as Dustin remarks, “We love nostalgic, atmospheric, moody, progressive, and catchy alt rock all meshed together … That blend serves as a [breath] of fresh air to us in modern rock music and we are trying to grab the idea and run with it in our own direction. You can hear the combination of sounds in [our] new self-titled EP that we’re very proud of… Adam elaborates some more, “I’d say the two main bands that are inspiring us today are The 1975 and Bad Suns. I’m amazed at the quality of Bad Sun’s sound and how young they are. The lead singer is only 19 and they sound way ahead of their years. I wish there were more bands of their caliber. The 1975 [are] such a great flagship band for all the bands out there in our genre. I think there was a huge lull period for pop-punk, alternative rock, and pop rock music in my opinion. They created something old but new. After 10 years of grinding, they definitely deserve their success.”
On that note, Adam would like the possibilities to explore beyond their music as they develop. “I hope we are able to produce more music videos in the future to bring our songs to life for our fans, but it’s too difficult [to] say right now ‘cause we are unsigned and are still managing everything ourselves. One thing I’d love to do is create a short film for a future album to really emphasize the “Our Vintage Film” concept, but we have a long way to go.” I shall anticipate an Oscar worthy piece in the future!
One of my favorite songs of theirs is Used. It starts out with a pure poppy sound that gets the foot tapping. Once the vocals come in, cool and powerful, the song snares the listener. The song itself has a U2 element within that seems to link to I Still Haven’t Found What I am Looking For. Adam explains, “Used was a very cool song to see come to life, especially with the cello parts. If I could go back in time, I would have belted, “Let’s feel used” on the beginning of the bridge. The falsetto is cool, but I think belting would have given it more energy there. I definitely sing it that way live. On Summer I wish Jamal Jones had another rap part on the outro. I always heard him rapping there, but he kept saying he didn’t feel like he needed to, ha-ha!” Summer is another one of my favorites that holds true to a passionate partnership of rock and hip-hop. It reminds of me of Fort Minor’s that carries that musical genre assimilation beautifully.
With the introduction of their EP, Our Vintage Film, the crew remains busy. “We just released our self-titled EP and the Blur (Acoustic Version) music video, so we are currently trying to get the word out there about the album at the moment, “ Adam states, “We also are already making plans for our big show with Lights, Andrew McMahon, In The Wilderness, Taking Back Sunday, and St. Vincent on Sunday, September 6th at the Fashion Meets Music Festival in Columbus, Ohio. Also, Follow us on Periscope (the app) too because we occasionally do live acoustic shows.” WOW! Now, those are some excellent contemporaries to be playing beside. That sounds like it will be a wonderful festival and it is good to hear they will continue to stick to their musical roots along the way.
I suggest that listeners far and wide should start getting used to the sensation that Our Vintage Film are sure to provide in the coming years. They are not going anywhere and will continue to be gracing the music world with their compelling noise. I, for one, remain exciting for these guys to keep creating their magic as they go along. Please give them a listen and be satisfied.