Written by Yvonne Villasenor
Photo by Cailtin McCann
Three-piece rock band, Vundabar, started with the sole intent of playing for fun – four years later, they are playing shows where their fans can have fun too.
For those who don’t know, “vundabar” is a German word that translates to “wonderful” and if I could describe the L.A. show in one word it would be “vundabar” Ha-ha.
I had never been to Non Plus Ultra, but the venue was once a warehouse and in its current state, seems to be a great place for upcoming bands to play at. It was a really laid back environment, filled with more people than I expected and some sick projections to give it a psychedelic vibe. Even the famous singer-songwriter, Ryan Adams, was there to check out the new talent. I could not believe it – I had to Google “Ryan Adams” on my phone to ensure it was him…Needless to say, I am not used to the Los Angeles scene.
There was a homeless man who came to party at the show and as he was walking in, he enthusiastically yelled, “it’s just rock and roll!” I was unable to get his name, but he danced and smiled watching the bands play and was certainly a favorite among the crowd. He came up to me outside minutes before interviewing the guys and the information I was able to get from him was that he was a veteran who immigrated to the United States and loved it much more than where he grew up despite his current struggles.
Brandon Hagen, singer of Vundabar, humorously introduced the band.
“We’re Vundabar, we’re playing a sold out show at The Echoplex tonight…it’s gonna be a good time.”
SUCKER: Okay, so I’m sure you guys get this a lot, but is there any reason why you picked “vundabar” for your band name? Why a German word?
VUNDABAR: There’s no reason at all, we just kind of decided on it.
SUCKER: What’s your favorite part about touring?
VUNDABAR: “Seeing new faces, meeting new people, making new experiences…We saw Tom Cruise,” Hagen said.
Each of the guys told me about seeing Tom Cruise on Sunset Boulevard and how they had a joke about “Tome Cruises.”
SUCKER: What’s the worst part of touring?
VUNDABAR: Being tired. Showering isn’t the easiest task while on the road and we try to make sure we shower every other day.
Sucker wanted to know what bands the guys were anticipating on hearing albums from.
SUCKER: Which band’s upcoming album are you guys looking forward to?
VUNDABAR: “That’s a really good question…I’d have to say Protomartyr,” Hagen said.
Drummer, Drew McDonald, and bassist, Grayson Kirtland, responded with “Thee Oh Sees and Crag Mask.”
SUCKER: Where do you get ideas for your music videos? They’re so eccentric and entertaining to watch.
VUNDABAR: From movies, seeing people on the street and everyday things I find funny.
SUCKER: What place aside from your hometown feels like home?
VUNDABAR: That’s also a really good question… I’d have to say Richmond, Virginia and Philly.
SUCKER: Do you have designated time to write music or do you write music whenever?
VUNDABAR: It happens when it happens. We’ll just play in general. You might even say we’re currently working on something.
SUCKER: Where do you get your ideas for your songs?
VUNDABAR: Shit that happens, movies, personal experiences and a lot is observational.
SUCKER: What are your favorite songs to play live?
VUNDABAR: Worn / Wander, Voodoo and Ash in the Sun. They give me a lot of room to dance around and act dumb.
NOTE: I also discovered here that they aren’t really fond of their most popular tune, Holy Toledo.
“I don’t know why people like that song so much,” Hagen laughed. “We have better songs.”
SUCKER: Where are some places you really want to play a show?
VUNDABAR: The U.K., Portland and Brazil.
The boys concluded the interview by mentioning how they’d nominate a radio personality if they weren’t able to vote for Bernie Sanders this election and how they were excited to see more Tome Cruises and play their upcoming shows in San Francisco, California + Boulder, Colorado.
Minutes later, they were on stage headlining the show. They played a good amount of songs off each off their albums Gawk and Antics. It didn’t matter whether you had heard every single one of their songs or hadn’t heard a single one up until they played live – the crowd had a great time. After Vundabar played their final song, many fans yelled “Holy Toledo” in hopes that they would play it, and unfortunately for them, their wishes were not granted.
Be on the lookout for new music coming from these guys. You don’t want to miss out.