Improved psych myth-makers map their way to the desert
It began with a lie.
VxPxC created the legend that the band had found all its music in a box hidden away in a closet corner. Slowly, the band was releasing the material, members claimed, unearthing it and offering it up to the world. "We got a couple calls from record labels that were like, Oh, we wanna hear all the box set and think about releasing it," says VxPxCer Grant Capes. There's a big interest right now in found material, he adds. Bandmate Justin McInteer commented on an art gallery website that the myth was all a big joke. "That got a lot of people mad," Capes says.
One trip through its recorded work and it's easy to see how the VxPxC trio—which includes yet another multi-instrumentalist, Tim Goodwillie—feels comfortable with its feet off solid ground, the place where truth and lies are somehow distinguished. Overdriven pillows of sound bloom through delay pedals, its echoes the only rhythm-providing matter, while other tones drift like plumage through space. The sets are always improvised, and the bands' releases are comprised of the best clips from its sessions.
The group's original band name was Vast Psychedelic Cassettes—at least, that's what they wrote on the tapes they were passing back and forth. Then Goodwillie abbreviated it to "hardcore" font, Capes says, with “x”s as periods. "But people, they don't know what to call it," Capes adds. "We've heard Vixie Pixie—all sorts of stuff."
The first year the trio started making music, Capes, McInteer and Goodwillie would get together and give that day a special designation, such as "I Have a Dream of Giants Day," or an amalgam of all the holidays happening around the world. "All the music from that day we would edit down and create 40 to 50 minutes of music. That day became a tape," says Capes. Those tapes, 33 in all, will be displayed in Kansas City, Kan., wrapped in topographic map paper.
The gallery show, about people using maps for a variety of endeavors including music, sparked a six-stop tour. VxPxC also runs an art space called the Echo Curio in Los Angeles' Echo Park neighborhood. The space hosts music shows three or four nights a week. Venues like the Curio and others throughout the country make it financially viable for non-bar-rock projects to tour. "The West has a much harder time," says Capes. "Everything is more spread out."
Location has much to do with how VxPxC approaches a set, Capes says. "There's a lot of environmental factors." Volume and the shape of the room affects what comes out of a show. "At points, there's three different people playing three different pieces of music. They kind of merge together, either through one person's force of will, or maybe we actually start listening to each other," Capes laughs. "Usually it's the latter, which is good."
VxPxC and Warm Climate (also from Los Angeles) play with locals Alan George Ledergerber (AGL) and Olvidese at the Center for Peace and Justice (202 Harvard SE, all-ages) on Tuesday, March 4. Basement Films will stir in visuals. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. $5 donation requested.