With Summer in full force, Vacationer released their new album just in time to be the soundtrack of the sun-filled season. The songs create the perfect backdrop for an island vacation, a backyard barbeque or a hammock-hanging day. Filled with soul, innovative musicality and vocals that are nothing less than perfection, lead singer Kenny Vasoli has proven once again he can make a seamless transition in the music as if it’s second nature. Their inspiration of wanting to make the listeners enjoy a life of leisure and their pure love for music shines through the lyrics and the spirit of “Relief,” their sophomore album. Their first single, “The Wild Life,” quickly reeled us in, only to find that each song was somehow better than the prior. On the brightest of days or the lowest of moments, this album can play along or pull you up. There was not one ounce of doubt in our minds it would not disappoint, and gladly Vacationer proved us right.
We were lucky enough to get a chance to talk with Vasoli, who was also the lead singer of one of our favorite pop-punk bands in the early 2000s, The Starting Line, about the album, fashion, dating, and the direction his music is headed. We even managed to get the answer to a burning question we’ve had since The Starting Line days.
Labeling Men: What brands are you wearing today?
Kenny Vasoli: I have a shirt that I believe is from H&M, then I have these cut-off shorts that are called Madic, Sperry shoes, I have a ball cap that is made by American Needle.
L.M: So do you have the day off; is this your relaxing outfit?
K.V: This is my chilling out outfit, it may have been even been an outfit from yesterday; I can neither confirm nor deny that. But yeah, I do have the day off.
L.M: How does your fashion impact your mood on stage?
K.V: I definitely started dressing more relaxed the more that I aged. I stopped wearing button-up t-shirts so much, never wear something like a sweater vest on stage anymore. I learned the hard way! I like to feel that I'm in my living room, sort of talking to people, because then you're in a zone where you feel comfortable. That is the real trick to being on stage.
L.M: You've been in a lot of different bands…Starting Line was during the pop-punk era, with the band t-shirts and the skinny jeans and Vacationer seems to be more laid back and mellow. Do you style yourself to the tone of the music or is it just your personal style?
K.V: I think those two things go hand-in-hand. I sort of wear myself and clothing is the same way. When I like to make music, I like to be relaxed and comfortable, something that I can live in!
L.M: With that being said, I'm sure you've toured the world. Was there a fashion vibe in any city that you liked the best?
K.V: That is an interesting question. I think New York is always forward-thinking in terms of fashion. Especially around Brooklyn, not everywhere, but you can see people just upping their game as fashion goes. I like Tokyo, it’s pretty crazy over there, you can find some really interesting stuff. And even Australia has some cool and really interesting fashion.
L.M: So as our website is LabelingMen.com, do you know what you would label yourself, based on your style?
K.V: I'd say "relaxed-skater-hippie"…"relaxed-skater-beach-hippie."
L.M: For our website, that’s kind of the Sun Junkie.
K.V: Sun Junkie, that works!
L.M: Have you ever pursued or dated a girl that you've seen while you were performing on stage?
K.V: No, never seriously. Usually in some sort of flirtatious way, on a surface level, but never seriously, not by my account anyway! I try to keep it professional. If I'm dating them, I know them from off the stage.
L.M: I'm sure throughout the years, many girls have hit on you after a show- ourselves included when we were 17! How do you differentiate between a "real" girl and "fan" girl?
K.V: Yeah, that's hard! I would like to think my radar keeps getting better for that kind of thing. But you know, people are going to find other people attractive no matter what. I like to think that people are just people no matter what. I'm lucky enough to have the type of fans that are usually pretty chill people, on the same wavelength as me, so I don't necessarily rule it out either.
L.M: So this is a Starting Line question. The lyrics “2-12-99, at the stroke of midnight” [Lyrics from Starting Line song “Leaving,” in which that date is referred to as “the best day of my life”]. We want to know what actually happened!
K.V: That's funny because the date is actually wrong! I was off by a year; it actually happened in the year 2000, and it didn't sound as cool so I made it to ‘99. That was a show that we played at University of Hartford. We played with a band called The Ataris. I was like 14 or 15-years-old and The Ataris were some of my heroes, it was a really exciting night. And then I got to make out with a, at the time I thought, a really hot girl.
L.M: We love Vacationer’s first album "Gone," and we really like "Relief" as well. Does your love life impact the writing of any of your new music or is it more about life in general?
K.V: It used to. It’s definitely less on this record. There is still some of that, but for the most part, I like to be more general when singing riffs. I like people to relate to it in all sorts of angles. I tried to make this one more about the fundamentals, relaxing and what it takes to get there.
L.M: Where did you come up with the name Vacationer?
K.V: That was a struggle for a long time. It was a lot of thesaurus looking through actually. It started off as me wanting to call it "Leisure," because I wanted that sort of concept of this being freeing, just relaxing kind of thing, a way to just chill year round. And “Leisure” was already taken by an artist. Then it came to vacation, and finally "Vacationer"!
L.M: So coming into it, you wanted that relaxed vibe with everything?
K.V: Totally, and that is what it’s all about to me. Some people may just be more naturally tense than others, but I think the front half of my life was just unnecessarily tense, and to find a way to sort of hack that and just be relaxed all the time. I think is a really powerful, fun way to live. Not everybody is on board with it and obviously people still have to get things done and plenty of jobs are important, but I think that fundamentally people can be a lot more relaxed.
L.M: Were there any inspirations for the new album?
K.V: I think it’s always from a place of love and that’s why I think it goes back to being related to girls all the time, or at least most of the time. The love I have for music is a very similar kind of thing; very fiery, can't get enough of it kind of love.
L.M: Do you have any advice on dating or a funny dating story?
K.V: Let’s see if I can come up with an interesting story, because I don't know if I'm the one to be passing out dating advice. I’m currenly living the bachelor life and really kind of enjoying it, so dating is something I've yet to get into. I was thinking about this the other day. I had a long-time girl friend who I'm still in touch with, who is still a really rad person. We dated a year, on and off. She came out on tour with us one time with one of my bands and we were in a van driving and she was riding shotgun. We were gassing up at a station and she got out and she asked me if I wanted her to wash the windows and I said, "No, that's okay.” She still got the squeegee thing out and she just wiped her side of the window and left the other one dirty. I remember making a little thing out of it, being like, "Well why don't you finish the whole windows,” and she started to scream. Little things like that with dating that come up time and time again, and it’s funny.
L.M: Lastly, a little game we like to do. It’s called “Chuck, Fuck, or Marry.” The people we picked out for you are Lindsay Lohan, Sara Palin, and Ke$ha.
K.V: Alright, I'm marrying Palin. Me and her are riding off into the sunset together! Me and Ke$ha are gonna be fucking, and I guess we're getting rid of Lindsay. That’s the sad part about it, anytime you have to get rid of somebody; somebody has to go. I mean you know, I don't know Lindsay...It’s just a game! I'm pulling for you, Lindsay; I think you're talented!
Find out more about Vacationer at www.vacationermusic.com, and be sure to check out their new album, "Relief," available to download now!
Follow them on instagram: @vacationing