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Five Questions with Vacation Manor

March 1, 2017

We had the opportunity to ask a couple of questions to Vacation Manor's bandmates, Cole and Nathan. Read the conversation about music, inspiration and advice below.

Student Activities: What made you want to be in a band?

Cole Young: Personally, my initial draw to being in a band was simple: I wanted to play and write music with dear friends for a long period of time. Playing music is only so fun by yourself, and we all want to belong to a community of sorts. As far as artists that I wanted to be like, as a kid, I always dreamed of being in a band like Kings of Leon. Right when they first got popular in the US I used to sit around by my radio in our kitchen and wait for “Use Somebody” to come on. I think they were the first band I fell in love with. They have had such a steady progression over the years, which is why they’re still making great records. It’s so important to look up to bands who have consistency and a longer shelf life.

SA: If your band could style your career after one group, who would it be and why?

Nathan Towles: John Mayer. Although he's a solo artist and not a band, I think the way his career has played out has been such a good balance of artistic and commercial brilliance while never sacrificing the integrity of the music. I think anyone with a sustainable career will always be holding those two in tension.

SA: We remember your band name used to be Native Spirit. How did you decide on Vacation Manor as your band name and why is the name meaningful to you?

Cole: We decided on Vacation Manor for many reasons but most of which is that we thought the name suited our music and ourselves well. The inspiration for the name actually came from a house our buddies lived in right when our band started. Back when Nathan lived in DC, he would travel to Lynchburg to hang out and write with Dane and I - after awhile, our time in the house started to feel like a vacation from our jobs and day to day lives. The house is really close to all of us; we had some of our first band practices there, wrote most of the “Girl, Say” EP in there. It felt fitting to inspire our band name after that experience.

SA: Could you walk us through your writing process for your music (does one person write most of it or is it equal collaboration)?

Nathan: I typically write all of the lyrics, but musically I'd say it's a fairly even contribution from everyone. Songs have come about in different ways, but most often it's just all of us playing until we find a hook or a beat that feels like it has potential and then following it until it comes to life or we hit a wall.

SA: As a band, what are some of the greatest challenges you’ve had to overcome? With that, do you have any advice for people who want to do what you do who also might face these challenges?

Cole: It sounds cheesy, but as a band, our greatest challenge has always been us not challenging ourselves and each other enough. A great way we’ve started to challenge ourselves is to be in the same room together playing music multiple times a week. It’s foolish to underestimate the importance of being in the same room together, and as of late, we’ve begun to use that time wisely. We’ll always get our best work and songs out when we’re staying inspired and challenging each other.

Now if I had to give any advice to someone trying to start their own band, I’d say this: love the music you play, and love the people you play it with. Every musician’s nightmare is to play music they don’t love. Allow yourself to enjoy the time it takes to write fantastic music. Also, never forget to be a good friend first- being a good friend first has probably saved our band a time or two. And eat your vegetables.

Come see Vacation Manor with Joel Kaiser and Trouvere for FREE this Friday in the LaHaye Event Space at 7:30 p.m. - get info about tickets here!