Casual Vice's new EP Joie De Vivre, is out now! We chat to the duo about the release and more.
Image: Billy Yarbrough
Southern California group Casual Vice have dropped their new EP Joie De Vivre, creating a mini-soundtrack for all the escapists out there.
Joie De Vivre is a six track ride through emotions, taking on an autobiographical format which explore the struggles we face in everyday life and as artists, whilst also looking forward with high hopes. Bringing retrospective wisdom to collection of songs, Casual Vice have created an aspirational body of work.
The EP's lead single Antihero explores the internal battle of restlessness vs. the commanding stickiness of love, juxtaposed by the upbeat, light beat and catchy chorus. The tracks accompanying lyric video is a celebration of historical figures the band feel encompass the word “antihero”. Scrolling through a piece pf parchment whilst the lyrics appear, so do images of Tom Waits, Mr. Rogers, and Bob Marley, figures who the band feel let their weaknesses shine alongside their strengths in all their glory.
The musical project of producer and singer Kyle Krone and singer Brandon Hoogenboom, the duo met as backing members of another act and immediately hit it off. Krone has an independent publishing deal with Big Deal Music but was looking to start a collaboration, enlisting Hoogenboom to blend their talents with a healthy dose of optimism to produce a sound like sweet medicine to the weary soul.
Joie De Vivre is out now! Read our interview with Casual Vice below.
Tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey...
As fate would have it the first time I met Brandon was opening for him. I play guitar with my friend Wes Chiller and he had a show opening for Brandon, watching him perform that night it was obvious he was a special talent. One thing lead to another and soon Brandon was in the Chiller band as well, and I started having him over into my studio to sing harmonies and backing vocals on some of my music. Eventually Bradon hired me to Produce a song for him and that would go on to become the first Casual Vice single “Brighter Days”. We had such a great time doing it and dug the result so much we decided we should carry on.
Congratulations on your new EP, Joie De Vivre!
The release channels the many joys of life, and is the perfect summer soundtrack. What prompted you to create a body of work where the intention is for music to be an escape?
The idea of transcending whatever is holding us back or holding us down is the attractive and interesting thing for me. Music does that for me, writing does that for me, there is this inherent liberating quality to the whole experience. Writing songs can be a very cathartic therapeutic process and that certainly was the case here on this EP. Now more than ever I believe I have to hold tight to my “Joy For Living” and making music in such a tumultuous and often troubling year really added another layer of the significance and importance to it all. We needed it more than ever and we have benefited from it more than ever just on a personal level.
What prompted you to explore the conceptual themes explored within the songs?
You know when you just feel good at the end of a long and meaningful day and maybe your driving home, maybe it’s beautiful wherever you are, maybe before that day you were hurting in some way, or worried or struggling but something inside you changed and there is a calm in your spirit and a clarity to your thoughts and feelings, for that moment everything feels right and tranquilly just as it should be, like you get it now, you see what it was all about, things from your past make more sense and you feel like you know where your headed is a good place even if you don’t know where it is but everything is going to be alright. If there's one overarching sentiment these songs have for me it’s that. Looking out beyond the horizon, full of purpose and quietly excited for the future, assured that everything is moving in the right direction and you are exactly where you should be.
How did you arrive at the style of music and sonic sounds present on the EP?
Naturally. Our only criteria or qualification for a song to be a Casual Vice song is that we love it, that we feel strongly about it and it makes us feel something desirable. This filtration process between the two of us is pretty strong because we are both plenty particular about what we like and music is really important to us.
What messages do you hope listeners take away from Joie De Vivre?
I just want it to mean something to them, to have value. Whatever it is. Music has always been so important to me and I want to make music that is important to people.
If you had to pick one song off the EP to play to someone who had never heard your music to make them an instant fan, which song would they be and why?
I am horrible at this. This kind of thing is tough for me. I feel so close to all of it to have that kind of objectivity. I couldn’t choose a single(s) so we asked everyone else in our little world and they all had a different answer. I guess I would hope people would listen to the whole thing and decide whatever they wish. That being said they have been playing “Instead” and “Antihero” on the radio.
If Joie De Vivre was a piece of visual art, which artwork would it be and why?
Cool question… Very difficult to answer. Everything I am thinking of doesn't satisfy me. I can see the image in my head but to my knowledge it doesn't exist. Perhaps I will have it commissioned. It's sort of got a “ride off into the sunset” type of feel to it, searching for a new frontier, an explorer, conquistador, pioneer thing in my mind.
Could you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing and recording songs?
There is no one way for me… I’m always writing notes on everything, singing into my phone, highlighting things I read etc… The songs on the EP vary in their type of conception. Some I wrote on the acoustic guitar, some on the piano, some in my head… The melody came first on some of them (Instead) and on others the music came first (Unknown Destination) and with some it was both at the same time (Hourglass). Essentially what happens is I will write a song and record a version of it and send it to Brandon, if he likes it then he gets familiar with it and we work on it. Maybe he wants to change some things or add some things like a new melody or new lyrics, or maybe he has written some great new melody for it like he did in the post chorus of “Town & Country” etc. Whatever the case, he comes into the studio and we record his vocals, or change the arrangement or create a new part if need be, he usually will play some guitar or the bass or keys. We work on it and develop it until we both love it and feel great about it then I mix it and send him a thousand different versions until we reach the brink of insanity and take a step back at which point the song will feel complete.
What can listeners expect from your upcoming full length body of work?
Did you encounter any challenges whilst creating music during the COVID-19 pandemic, or did it allow you the time and space to immerse yourself within this musical project?
Yes to both.
The current pandemic has obviously put a halt to touring and performing live, what are your touring plans post pandemic? If any, what can audiences expect from one of your live shows?
I think we're “gonna leave it all out on the field” as they say in sports.
See Antihero music video.
Kyle: Wes Anderson, David Byrne, Jim Jarmusch, Paul McCartney
Brandon: Andrew Bird, Fleet Foxes, Local Natives, Dr. Dog
Album that has had the most impact on you?
The first record I ever bought when I was 7 years old was Bob Marley’s Best Of “Legend” and because that record kicked off a whole life for me in music I will say that one.
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
I really don’t, or can’t, I don't know how to.
A musical release you’re most looking forward to in 2021?
I have no idea what’s going on.
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
A Wes Anderson film.
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
The best/most memorable show you’ve ever performed?
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
“Is This It”
“Blonde On Blonde”
“Catch A Fire”
Best concert you have been to?
The Cure, Depeche Mode
Last concert you went to?
Kings Of Leon at The Forum in LA
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
Guilty music pleasure?
I am very open about my love for Sade and carry with it zero guilt.
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
U2, Coldplay, The Killers, The Strokes, The Pixies, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Phoenix.
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
I really don’t know.
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
You’re on the right path keep going.
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
7 years old listening to Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix.