It’s been a long road for post-punk outfit VANISHING KIDS’ new album, “Spirit Visions”. Band founders and married partners, Nikki Drohomyreky (stage name: Nikki Nads) and Jason Hartman, have been recording and playing with different lineups since founding the band in 2000. Their 2005 album, “Selfish Mirror”, was a dark and brooding piece of New Millennium reflection on 80’s nostalgia produced by Invisible Records’ Martin Atkins and it gained the band some serious media attention on release. They moved from Madison to Portland in 2006, released a single in 2009, and have since returned to the Midwest. Their new album drops this month and we took some time to talk to them about the release.
Maximum Ink: When we last saw you, you guys had settled in Portland, what inspired the move back here?
NIKKI: We’ve been up to a lot since we we last spoke and played Madison in 2009. We finished up the recording/mixing of the newest record, “Spirit Visions” in Portland, OR with our Portland lineup including Ben Stoller on Drums (from Portland’s sickest drum duo- Hot Victory), and long time friend Eric Hold on Bass (The Prids, Enough Static). We were so lucky to play with those guys and had a great artistic connection, and forged a lifelong brotherhood. We did the record over several years at 2 different studios: Smegma with Mike Lastra- who has recorded the likes of Butthole Surfers, Poison Idea, and Audible Alchemy with Steve Labdell from Faust, and Lords of Falconry. Steve has recorded Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, Witch Mountain and tons of Portland’s finest rock. So the record was our main focus, until I got pregnant in early 2010 and decided to move back to the midwest to be closer to family.
MI: Has parenthood changed your songwriting perspective? Any of the tracks representative of that?
NIKKI: Parenthood has changed everything, and has definitely affected our song writing. The songs were all written prior to parenthood, but do represent a shift in our personalities and lives. Our songs have always been about big life concepts: fleeting youth and love. “Spirit Visions’’ has a lot to do with spirituality, dreams, and the connection and appreciation for Mother Earth. We’ve both written a lot of new songs about Mira Sky (our 2 year old daughter) since she’s been born, and sing and play music with her all the time.
MI: You guys were on a roll in the mid-2000’s, what made you take a break?
NIKKI: We never really took a break so to speak, but life just shifted our momentum. We had a solid, very committed lineup in Madison, and that makes all the difference. Everybody was on the same page, forging full force ahead, and good creative energy. We moved to Portland, OR in 2006, and our bassist at the time Travis Marks (one of the integral songwriters), moved to San Francisco. So it just took us quite a bit of time to find the right new members, practice space, and just deal with life when moving far away from home.
MI: What’s the single from the new record, what do you want people to hear first?
NIKKI: “Mother Earth” is probably the most likely song to be a single, but it is vastly different from a lot of the songs on the record. It’s very powerful live, that I don’t even like to over-practice it, because it is very emotional for me to perform. It is about our beautiful planet and how we’ve taken her for granted, the ugliness of mankind, and it is also metaphorical for deep love and connection. The songs on the new record vary greatly just like all our records, so love it or hate it… it’s just our style.
MI: What inspired that song and why do you think it’s perfect for people to listen to for their first Vanishing Kids experience?
NIKKI: The song was initially inspired by a Celebration song, “Diamonds” off their self titled LP, but touring and living in the NW definitely has given great perspective for the song, passion for our earth, and all living creatures. Jason and I are vegetarian and have a great respect for all living things, it’s deeply important to our hearts. I think it’s a great song for people to hear first when checking out our music, because it shows our passion for guitar and drum shred, but also a weird propensity towards pop, hooks, and “songs”.
MI: What inspired the title of Spirit Visions?
NIKKI: ‘Spirit Visions’ came from a culmination of ideas, but ultimately sums up the collection of songs on the record; spiritual journey and growth, dreams, love and expression.
MI: What’s the release party going to be like?
NIKKI: The release show is gonna be exactly that; mostly songs off the new record, but with the new lineup. Hoping to be powerful, probably a little rusty, but with some surprises. We’re REALLY stoked and proud of the new record, on 12 inch vinyl, sounds great and can’t wait for peeps to hear it. We’re playing the show with one of my all time favorite local bands, THOSE POOR BASTARDS, who I’ve only seen once.. drunk…but they blew my mind. Madison is lucky to have them. So yeah, super stoked to play with them, and just in general, really stoked to be back in Madison. It’s been a tough transition into parenthood, though it’s the best thing ever, but we’re so lucky to live in such a great city like Madison and surrounded by so many lovely people and talented musicians. There are really some outstanding bands here and it’s cool in a smaller scene like Madison vs PDX they can stand out a little more. I’m out of touch with the new younger scene, but anxious to hear what the kids are coming up with. Word.
VANISHING KIDS Release Party is going to be at The Frequency in Madison on September 14th followed by an appearance at Rockford’s Club Kryptonite on the 21st.(2770) Page Views Vanishing Kids Online:
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CD: Spirit Visions