The Q&A with Playing to Vapors


The rigorous series


, Virginia Croft | December 15, 2017

Residing in Columbus, Ohio is the unmistakable sound of the alternative rock group, Playing to Vapors. The Columbus Alive Magazine called them “Band to Watch in 2016” for their live shows and distinctive genre.  Thier most recent work is the LP “Shred The Master Design” featuring their new music video under the same name, was released back in June of 2016. View the full visual masterpiece here.

We took some time to ask Playing to Vapors some in-depth questions. The meticulous detail we hope will be pleasing to read below,

We sat ourselves down and watched your very potent music video, and were wondering what musical and visual artists were influencing you at the time?

“Much of the artistic vision came from the director, R. Stevens Harris.  We sat down and discussed how we both wanted to push the envelope and make something edgy.  Over the next few months, we went back and forth discussing what was possible and how far we should take the project.  In the end, we landed on the concept of a woman seducing a machine.  Ryan took that idea and ran with it.”  

There is something very toxic you speak of in your lyrics, how does this relate to the writer?

“The song ‘Shred the Master Design relates a lot to how I was feeling about living as a musician at the time.  People I would encounter, shows we would play, writing, recording, dealing with the business, etc.  The main concept was letting go, and allowing a piece of art to become something maybe you, the artist, didn’t initially intend.”  

“This was another subject we discussed when making the music video.  I recall numerous conversations where Ryan was trying to tie in the lyrical content with the imagery.  The sequence where the baby in utero retaliates and literally blows up the television screens (and thus the whole band) can be thought of as a metaphor for our thought process during making the album.” 

What motivates you to write, is there something, in particular, you would do to prepare for that, that usually helps?

“We bring it out in each other.  It’s not uncommon for us to have too much content for a given song/album.  We all write, and we’re all very creative.  Each of us was heavily involved in the production, mixing, artwork, and the music videos we’ve released.”

What would be the top 3 albums that you would recommend your listeners?

“It Still Moves” by My Morning Jacket is very inspiring to me.  I’ve been very into “Have One On Me” by Joanna Newsom lately, and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John.  It’s hard to pick just three… those are merely a few I’ve been listening to lately.  

What are the biggest challenges you run into while creating new music?

“One of the major challenges we gave ourselves was to make something edgy and perhaps even controversial.  As a band, we had many conversations about how we wanted our content to pop amongst the rest of the bands releasing stuff in our town.  So we came up with the plan to create a music video for our 6 min long title track that shows a woman seducing a machine.  We feel very strongly about the end result, and now the challenge has been to promote the hell out of it and show the world”  

How do you think your environment influences your music?

“There is no question environment plays a huge role.  As far as meaning goes, I think songs kind of act as time capsules for how I felt at a given time/place in my life.  I don’t know if there is hard evidence to support it, but I would guess the same is true for how the band sounds.”  

“In regards to how our art played out, one huge reason we wanted to create something edgy was due to how we thought other band’s content was being perceived in our hometown.  Right now, I get the feeling that bands are putting out truly amazing music/art and they’re not receiving the appreciation I think they deserve.  One of the reasons might be, that in the current environment we live in, one has to push the envelope to be recognized.  It’s not enough to just be good anymore, you have to take people out of their comfort zones.”     

The new year is coming– what are your artistic goals for 2018?

“Make cool shit that people will want.” 

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