Instrumental post-rockers Vasudeva (pronounced: vah-soo-de’-vah), have been causing a stir on the New Jersey indie-music front. The music draws heavily from influences such as Minus the Bear and Maps and Atlases, packing something the group hopes is “a little something for everyone.”
For the band’s most recent release, Roots of the Tree EP, Vasudeva have adopted an approach that is “completely unbiased,” bassist Chris Ratay said. “Our sounds come from experiences and instances in our lives that really left an impact on us in one way or another.” Roots features four beautifully articulated tracks, each shelling out gently polished licks that contain “rhythm, lots and lots of rhythm,” bragged guitarist Grant Mayer. “We started jamming, and everything just clicked.”
Ratay and drummer Derek Broomhead where only kids when they met Mayer and guitarist Corey Mastrangelo. “[Broomhead] and [Mastrangelo] have known each other since they were 14. They were both members of a screamo/post-hardcore band throughout the later years of middle school. We didn’t start jamming with [Mayer] until sophomore year and started introducing [Mastrangelo] into the mix shortly after,” Ratay explained.
The free-flowing structures that have been the group’s defining characteristic are, according to them, an accident.
“We knew we wanted to incorporate finger-style in our music,” Mayer said. “But the whole instrumental thing just came because none of us can sing and play at the same time. We’re constantly experimenting with everything. That’s what we love the most.”
Citing “punk, folk, and a lot of Red Hot Chili Peppers” as a key influence, Vasudeva’s new-fangled elements of rock and trance are as serious as they are compelling. “I’m really into trance and progressive house,” Mayer said. “Those two genres have heavily influenced my style of playing and our sound as a whole, I think.” These influences culminate in an ambiance that is at once experimental, intuitive and innovative.
Upcoming endeavors for the quartet include a new EP, courtesy of Pirate Ship Records. “We try to be as active as possible,” Mastrangelo said. “When we play shows, we just try to talk to people. Maybe hand out a CD or two here and there.” Mastrangelo pauses for a moment. “Our following has been exponentially growing since we started, which makes us feel awesome.”
Vasudeva’s infectious attitude and tonality make these angst-driven adolescents seem eerily mature. Knowing this is a young group, it’s enough to make any listener do a double-take. Maintaining a balance between clean-cut polish and blackened rawness, Vasudeva’s music is nothing short of irresistible.
“Collectively, we all just want to do what we love, and hopefully leave an impact on some people along the way,” Mastrangelo said. “We love writing and performing music together. It’s why we were put here and we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.”
Vasudeva’s Roots of the Tree EP is available free on their Bandcamp page.