Interview – Vinyl Theatre

Back in 2012, four college students from Milwaukee, Wisconsin came together to form the indie/electronic band named Vinyl Theatre. Utilizing Soundcloud, they made a name for themselves, gained tons of fans over social media, and got signed to the Fueled By Ramen label (Paramore, Panic! At The Disco). You may have heard their tracks “Gold” or “Breaking Up My Bones” on the radio before. The band has been on tour in the past with artists such as Royal Teeth and one of my favorites, Twenty One Pilots. They released an 8-track record titled Electrogram this year so I sent over some fill in the blanks to learn more about them and their music. Be sure to check out the video below for “Breaking Up My Bones.”

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We are….My name is Nick Cesarz. I am the drummer for Vinyl Theatre. In the band we have Chris Senner on keys, Keegan Calmes on lead guitar and vocals, and Josh Pothier on bass guitar.

The meaning/story behind our name Vinyl Theatre is….Our name is derived from an experience we wish to share with anyone who sees us live. Going to a Vinyl Theatre show should impact people in both a theatric way with a classic or “vinyl” vibe. We also love the idea of vinyl records making a comeback. Today’s music world revolves around digital music. Going that extra step to purchase your favorite band’s vinyl record gets you closer to that artist. Hopefully one day we will be doing a vinyl release of one (or more) of our albums.

We met each other….Chris and Keegan met in high school at a cross-country meet. Chris challenged Keegan to a race (one that he wouldn’t win) just because he knew Keegan was an incredible runner. Somehow they got to talking music and decided to meet up to play music together. This sparked an immediate bond between them and they have been writing ever since. When I met Chris in high school, we would play music together during study hall and lunch in the band room. When I went off to college, Chris called me to play drums for them on a track they had recorded. Keegan was off at college in Colorado and I remember sending drum tracks to him and Chris all through my sophomore and junior year of school. During our off time, we would practice as a trio as much as possible. We would even sacrifice time with our families to get that extra practice in before Keegan had to go back to school. Keegan loved running at school, and we never wanted to take that from him, so we waited until he was ready to make the decision to leave school to persue music full-time. Once he did, we were relentless in writing and playing all the time up until the day we found Josh.

The pickiest eater in the band is….On the road, we don’t always know when we will be able to stop, so it’s hard to be picky all the time. We don’t get to eat the greatest. If I had to pick, it might be me. Chris and Josh have introduced me to more food while we have been on the road. Chris has a classic line that he uses on all of us; He’ll say, “YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS” as he shoves food in your face. When we were on the twenty one pilots tour, Josh and I ate at a Thai place in Seattle where I tried Pad Thai for the first time. It’s one of my favorites now.

The most OCD member is….That’s probably myself or Keegan. I’m pretty OCD about the way things are packed up. I always make sure cables are rolled a certain way or gear is packed in order. We especially have to keep the trailer organized every night after a show. I think everyone all shares that feeling toward gear though. It makes every night much easier when setting up.

For fun we like to….After our practices, we will play Super Smash Brothers. It’s a great cool down from all the intense practicing.

We’re currently listening to….These are few, but there’s a TON of music we are listening to always and are always finding new stuff.

  • Bad Suns ‘Language and Perspective’
  • Young The Giant ‘Mind Over Matter’
  • Walk The Moon ‘Talking Is Hard’
  • Paramore ‘Paramore’
  • Twenty One Pilots ‘Vessel’

The member(s) who writes most of our songs is….We like to write as a group. I think it’s a good thing to give importance to every aspect of any given song. Putting rhythmic elements, lyrics, melodies and chords on the same level ensures a song that is written by a band and not from one person. I think songs that emphasize the melody only are easy to pick out and don’t have that element of chemistry of the people performing on that given song. That being said, many of our song ideas are derived from a small idea from one of us. It could be a small verse section from Chris or Keegan, a drum intro, a bass riff, or anything else.

We find inspiration from….New music we are listening to always brings new inspiration.

Something we learned from creating Electrogram is….Creating Electrogram was a great experience. Every time we record a new song or album, we all learn more about the recording process and I think that is very exciting. It makes the process easier and gives us more ideas creatively. Since Electrogram brought a lot of our older songs to a Fueled By Ramen release, I am very excited about the next album being all new music.

One thing we want you to remember while listening to our music is….We hope every listener can hear our passion and excitement with each song. Playing these songs is a joy and we would love to share that with everyone who listens to us or sees us live.

If we play another artist’s music it’s….Currently we have covered songs by Coldplay and The Killers. They are two of our favorite artists.

Our craziest or most memorable gig was….We had a few hiccups with technology on tour with twenty one pilots. Our keyboard rig was giving us some trouble in Kansas City, MO. We had to restart the keyboards and computers during our set to get them working. Keegan played an impromptu version of “When You Were Young” by The Killers and the audience shared our emotions at the time and encouraged us to relax and keep going. Even though they didn’t flat out tell us, we could feel it. They were extremely supportive to us, especially being an opening band.

Our last meals would be….Taco Bell. Feed The Beat! Thanks for feeding us!

In the next six months you should expect….We’ll be working on new music and coming to a city near you! Thanks for interviewing us.


Official Website

– Victoria

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