The good music admits No Vacation
No Vacation returns to music after an unexpected pause. In an exclusive interview, Sabrina Mei, vocalist of the band, tells us the uncertain slopes that she had to cross to find peace in her characteristic music worthy of a lucid dream.
Por: Jorge Mora
23 de agosto del 2017
The photography is courtesy of Erik Saevi.
The name of the band No Vacation seems to be an allegory of their lives, today more than ever. This year, his single "Yam Yam" has entered important lists of music reproduction, with their harmonies that seem to come out of some kind of lucid dream, where pop combines with atmospheric genres to give a texture that has its own voice.
Two years ago, No Vacation began to sound like a duet, when Sabrina Mai was a college student who was experimenting with a soundtrack that induces any listener on a lysergic journey. His first official release was "Amo XO", a disc that tackles the monotony of student life.
Sabrina Mai begins to sing after what seems like a sound effect of a shower opening, to confess that in her routine day she should wash clothes. That everyday life that involved the duo of musicians causes Sabrina wants to wash her eyes and look at the world with fantasy, while rinsing the ears with a bath ballads that come to include voices of the video game of Mario Bros.
After "Amo XO", Marisa Saunders and Nat Lee were introduced into the grouping. A few months later, No Vacation released an EP called Summer Break Mixtape, with the intention of continuing to experiment and overcome various problems of depression. At that moment, guitarist Harrison Spencer came in to help finish the production. After the release, they offered some presentations and then the band seemed to disappear.
This year, No Vacation announced their return to music. During the separation period, Sabrina continued to write songs that ended up taking shape with the rest of the band. From California, USA, Sabrina Mai answered some questions we asked about the behind the scenes of the next album that will come out in November, since, as the name of the group says, the vacations are over.
Sabrina (center up) confesses that the name of the band is a kind of game about the vacations and the student life that took in the university. Photography: courtesy of Nathan Mandreza.
You come from a pause period, how much do you feel has changed the dynamics of the group from the pre-separation era to now?
Before our hiatus, there was a lot of uncertainty in regards to what the band was. We were portrayed as a two-piece when we functioned more as a five-piece band. There was a big lack in communication from some sides which took a negative toll on everyone. Coming out of this break, we became so much more aware of what didn't work for us and are much stronger and closer as friends and as a bandmates.
Under what circumstances did the separation of the group take place?
It all happened in a way that made it hard for me to process immediately. There wasn't really a circumstance or discussion. We were just getting ready for a show in San Francisco when we heard the news that it would be our last show. It was hard to tell friends and fans that it would be our last time playing together since majority of us couldn't give an explanation of why.
It is interesting to know that the pieces of the next album were written during the period of separation. What was in your mind while writing the songs?
I think I was dying to play music again, so all I did was write. I kept myself busy trying to start up a new project in hopes of filling the emptiness that I was left with after No Vacation was no longer together. I just really missed my bandmates and I had left the college I attended my first year at and moved back home. It was hard to be in a different city experiencing these feelings by myself so I turned to writing to allow myself to move on.
What was your intention when you had written those songs?
At the time I just wanted to write to cope and hopefully those emotions were portrayed in the writing. I wanted to capture the feeling of wanting something that isn't there anymore.
Did you ever think about a new solo career?
Yes, In the months following the breakup I started Afternoon Anorak, the solo project that most of the songs off our upcoming release came from. I actually asked some of the members of our current lineup to play the songs live with me at some one-off gigs and that's when we decided to start up again.
Do you feel that the band needed the pause to be able to move on?
There were many things that the co-founder of No Vacation and I disagreed on and other things that didn't feel right to me, like the misrepresentation of us as a duo. As much as I wanted to continue, it was necessary to pause. The break allowed things to settle so we could "start fresh" and come back as you see us now. I'm really glad I had the time off because it made me realize how much I really needed it in my life.
What is the reason for the transfer from San Francisco to New York?
After we broke up, I felt like nothing was tying my down anymore so I applied to a bunch of art schools in the East Coast.
I really needed to get away and start fresh and felt like moving away would help me do that. I was accepted into one of my dream schools, so it was something I couldn't turn down.
What other details make the new album different from the first production?
There's a lot more thought put into the sound of this new EP than the first production. Since it is the first EP since our break, it was really important that we took our time to get things exactly how we wanted it. The recording and mixing process took a few months for all of us to be happy with compared to the first production, which was very minimal and only took one weekend over winter break to make.
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