An Exclusive Interview With THE VENTRILOQUISTS On Their Music and Their Recent Performance at the Our House: Night For Hope Event!
Posted On 28 Aug 2015
Tag: Abby Lincoln, Aimee Mann, All Access, All Access Music Group, Amanitas and Friends, Artist Interview, Bandcamp, Blinders, Blue Note Records, Bob Marley, Cassie Delta, Count Basie, CTI, Danny Levin, David Moyer, Donald Byrd, Dr. Dre, Duke Ellington, El Rey Theatre, Fleet Foxes, Free Moral Agents, Grateful Dead, Herbie Hancock, Ian Souter, James Brown, Jeff Glassberg, Jeff Wiesen, Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Johnny Cash, JS Bach, KBYD, Led Zeppelin, Michael Villiers, Mike Peebler, Miles Davis, Night For Hope, Non-Profit Organization, Orleans, Our Hose: Night For Hope, Our House, Paul Simon, Phil Collins, Pink Floyd, Queens Of The Stone Age, Scream Before The Silence, Snoop, Stax Records, The Band, The Beatles, The Eagles, The Elevators, The Ventriloquists, Tom Petty, TV On The Radio, Wayne Shorter
At LA’s El Rey Theatre, on Wednesday, July 29th, the grief support center, Our House hosted a night of music, photo booth fun and a raffle drawing. The event raised money for Our House which provides communities with grief support services, education, resources, and hope. The two bands that performed were pop-rock groups, The Ventriloquists and The Elevaters.
The Ventriloquists opened the night with a set full of full happy danceable tunes. The band is made up of Danny Levin, Jeff Glassberg, David Moyer, Ian Souter and Michael Villiers.
Based in Los Angeles, The Ventriloquists are a group of musicians that use their unique skills as multi-instrumentalists and songwriters to blend rock, classic soul, jazz, electronics, and the avant-garde into a sound that is completely their own.
Band members have worked with Regina Spektor, Snoop Lion, U2, Gary Clark Jr, 21 Pilots, Vampire Weekend, Noel Gallagher, Jimmy Cliff, Sara Bareilles, Matt Nathanson, Julian Casablancas, Built To Spill, Mayer Hawthorne, and Rilo Kiley amongst others.
Here is the link to their current song “Blinders” on their Bandcamp page (the first 200 downloads are free!):
Learn more about The Ventriloquists in the following All Access interview:
Thank you so much for your time today! What’s a typical day look for you and the band lately? How did you get involved with the “Our House: Night For Hope” event? Why do you think organization and really events like this are so important?
We went to college with a couple of the organizers, Mike Peebler and Jeff Wiesen, who made us aware of Our House and the amazing work they do. The “Night for Hope” event is a wonderful way to raise awareness about grief, it’s terrible effects, and a way for us to assist an organization that is combating those effects with true love and support. We also generally embrace any opportunity to give back to our fans.
Since forming in 2004, how do you think your sound has grown and changed over the years?
Our sound has evolved and grown along with our individual tastes, and with our skills as multi-instrumentalists, writers, and producers. Our material has become more concise over the years, and we’ve begun to explore more lush vocal harmonies.
How would you describe the band’s sound today? What sets your music apart from other groups out there today?
Our sound is a mixture of all our influences, and is a direct result of them. You can hear shades of rock, folk, jazz, soul, and electronic, which results in an aesthetic that is totally our own.
What sets us apart is that we have been deep homies for almost 20 years and give zero fucks about what anyone thinks is ‘cool.’. You can’t fake that. We just do what we do.
Can you talk about working with some of those artists in your bio? That’s a very impressive list! What experiences have been the most memorable to you and the other band members?
We are very fortunate to live and work as musicians in Los Angeles, which has afforded us the opportunity to work with a lot of exceptional talent. The amount of creativity in the music scene here is really inspiring, and it’s why so many people come here to make records.
What artists have consistently inspired the band?
There are really too many to name here, but for a start: Miles Davis, JS Bach, The Band, Phil Collins, Early to mid 70s CTI records, The Beatles, Count Basie, TV on the Radio, Free Moral Agents, Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, John Coltrane, Led Zeppelin, Abby Lincoln, Donald Byrd, Orleans, Dr. Dre, Dr. John, Alabama, Queens of the Stone Age, Radiohead, Tchaikovsky, Jimi Hendrix, Duke Ellington, Steve Earle, Wayne Shorter, The Eagles, Blue Note Records, Stax Records, Johnny Cash, Paul Simon, Igor Stravinsky, The War on Drugs, Willie Nelson, Pepper Adams, The Doors, Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Janice Joplin, Steely Dan, Grateful Dead, Kendrick Lamar, Montiverdi, George Jones, Aimee Mann, Phish, Beethoven, Hank Mobley, Ceschi, Herbie Hancock, Carina Round, Love, Waylon Jennings, Freddie Hubbard, George Strait, The Pharcyde, Blake Mills, J Dilla, Bob Dylan, James Brown, Uncle Tupelo, Otis Redding, CSNY, Public Enemy, Damn Yankees, Talking Heads, Snoop, Guns and Roses Appetite for Destruction, Fleet Foxes, Tom Petty, The Beastie Boys, Horace Silver, MJ, John Adams, The Postal Service and Al Green. And this is only a fraction of it… There is just so much great stuff out there!
Can you remember first starting this group? What made you guys decide to form The Vetriloquists? Where did you come up with your band name?
We all went to college together in the late 90s/early 2000s, and originally our band was called Amanitas and Friends, which we decided wasn’t such a great name since nobody could pronounce or remember it. After about a year of discussion, The Ventriloquists seemed like the least shitty choice, so we ran with it.
Tell me about your 3-part song, “Scream Before The Silence”?
“Scream…” was conceived during a particularly shitty breakup Ian was going through. The idea was to have a song in 3 movements, like a classical piece. The first movement introduces the character as a child, the second is dark, slow and contemplative, and the third movement is a more upbeat tempo and shows the character as an adult having to deal with the repercussions of a terrible childhood. It’s pretty dark.
Where can people see the group perform next?
You can always find out what we are up to by checking out our website www.theventriloquists.com which has links to all of our social media pages.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about the band and/or your music?
We recently finished a new song, “Blinders”, which our friend Cassie Delta premiered on her radio show KBYD. You can check out the episode here, ours is the 7th song of the broadcast: KBYD July 5, 2015