Meet the electro-rock band Version5! Later this week, on February 24th, they will be releasing their latest single, “Absolute Zero.”
Coming from Minneapolis, the pair of brothers have drawn influence from both the EDM and rock worlds, creating an infectious combination of high energy and intensity. Following the release of “Absolute Zero,” the duo will release a music video to coincide with the single in April.
Keep up with Version5 here:
Learn more about Version5 in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So, now that 2016 is over, what are some words you would use to describe the year for you? What were some of the highlights for the band? What are you most excited about for 2017? Did you any of you make New Year’s Resolutions?
For us, I think we could call 2016 the beginning. We released our initial EP in 2015- but we’ve played out a lot more (including the RedGorilla showcase during SXSW), released a music video, started another video, and released a follow-up single all in 2016. 2016 is when the ball really started rolling for us. In 2017, we’re hoping to keep that momentum by releasing more videos, new songs, and have a better part of a complete album done. Our biggest goal of 2017 is to play out and really get the word out about Version 5 best we can.
Growing up, did you both always want to be musicians? Can you recall some of your earliest musical memories?
As kids, we always got distracted- one day we wanted to be a fireman and another day we’d want to be drug dealers in the slums of Mumbai- normal kid stuff. I think once we got into high school, we knew we wanted to be musicians. At that time, we were playing in a cover band, and it really solidified what we wanted to do. We saw that a hobby could be a career- and that really hooked us. It’s work but it’s fun.
Some of our earliest memories with music revolved around our grandfather (a Midwest Rock and Country Hall of Famer). Some of the early stuff we learned to play were from his generation- like The Who and James Brown. Later on we developed our own musical tastes.
Can you talk about how this group first came together? Why do you think you work so well together?
It first came together after a punk band of ours broke up. There were no hard feelings, but by that time we knew we didn’t want to compromise. When you’ve grown up with someone, you have a chemistry that can’t be replaced. We decided it was just going to be the two of us- and we were going to write and play the music that we wanted to, with no exceptions. Spencer was really getting into EDM and Nine Inch Nails and Andy was always a rock guy- we figured we’d just combine the two. Whether you like our music or not- what you hear is what you get. There aren’t enough people in [v5] to water it down [laughs].
The biggest perk is being able to treat each other like garbage and not have to have a huge dramatic breakup that turns into a 17 season reality show.
How did you come up with your band name? Was it difficult to settle on one name that described your music?
We had songs that we were writing, and Spencer got the idea because every time we’d update the project, we’d end the file name with “.v2” or “.v3” for the 2nd or 3rd version of the song. We liked that idea, especially because we knew we were going to have an electronic flair to rock- it seemed fitting. 5 was because it was our fifth band (we know, we know- it’s a little too “clever”). We’re not always this cute. We promise.
How do you think this group has been influenced by being from Minneapolis? How has your sound been influenced by the Twin Cities?
Minneapolis has every kind of band/music you can think of- it’s great. There aren’t a ton of people doing industrial/electronic rock here though. I think our sound was inspired by the environment. The winters here get long- and it gets dark early. This works in our favor, because we do all of our songwriting at night, usually over 3-4 overnight binges, and when night time starts at 4:30, all the better. The grittiness of our beats sit well in a 20 below environment, but any ties with our music to our city I would say is subconscious.
Let’s talk about your single “Absolute Zero” that you will be releasing next month. Where did the inspiration for it come from?
We knew off the bat that we wanted to write a song that had a breakbeat from the EDM world and combine it with a straight up rock chorus. Lyrically, the song is essentially about losing someone- either by ending a relationship or death. We took that and used space as a metaphor- a place that is cold and barren for how you feel when you go through something that big. The initial idea actually came from the synth line in the opening- it kind of sounds like a sonar- and we moved from there. Sometimes it’s surprising to see where inspiration comes from.
When do you hope to release more music and an entire EP or even a full-length collection of songs?
We’re working on a super ambitious project, a 205 song-20 disc operatic masterpiece.
Our self-titled EP has been out for over a year, but we’re definitely working towards a full length. By this summer we should have a pretty good idea on when the release date will be.
Do you plan on touring much this year? Have you played out much yet? What’s been your favorite show so far?
Right now, we’re working on the upper midwest. We’re playing up in Fargo, at home in the Twin Cities, and hopefully in Cleveland. We’d really like to go back there because we had a great reception- we’ll see.
We had a couple great shows last summer. One was opening for a sold-out Blue Felix show at the historic 7th Street Entry here in Minneapolis, and opening for 3 Pill Morning. One of our goals is playing with more industrial/electronic acts this year.
What musicians continue to inspire your music? Is there anyone that you would love to work with one day?
Our biggest inspirations are definitely Trent Reznor and Liam Howlett. It’d be amazing to work with any of the members of Nine Inch Nails or The Prodigy. Listening to their records is a combination of self-actualization and getting hit in the teeth. It’s amazing. But most of all, they leave hints that there is much more to be explored in those realms of music- which is always inspiring.
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you two unwind from it all?
Spencer: Most of our hobbies involve getting hurt [laughs]. But seriously, I like to skate and snowboard mostly. If I’m not working on music- I’ll be doing one of those, or hanging out by a lake if it’s summer.
Andy: I like to ride motorcycles during summer and snowmobiles in the winter. We keep a pretty tight schedule, so I don’t get to do either as much as I’d like, but those are my go-tos.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
We like listening to and writing high-energy music. If [v5] stands for anything – it’s using that energy to follow your passion, whether it’s painting, extreme sports, writing- whatever. As long as you’re straying away from the boring and the ordinary.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about your music or the band?
Be sure to check out the music video we have for Take You There on Youtube and look for a video for Why Don’t You Drop coming out this March/April!