Sat 9/23 @ 7PM
When it comes to recording, Vanity Crash visionary Dennis Van Crash (Dennis Yurich) is always on the lookout for what he calls happy mistakes that make an average recording magical. It’s not surprising to find out his idol David Bowie did the same thing, only the “Ziggy Stardust” artist called them happy accidents.
Recently, in order to enhance the songwriting environment for his glam rock band’s next studio effort, Van Crash decided he needed some air.
“I did a little retreat,” Van Crash said. “My wife and I went to Hocking Hills. We took some recording gear, laid down tracks and started seeing what’s coming out. What ended up happening was the music covered a lot of territory, but thematically each song had a literal story or a very visual story that was going on.”
What Van Crash landed on was a five-song EP Phantasmagoria that delved into various vibes: the trippy “Phantasmagoria,” the ballad “Angel and Me,” the punkish “Emily Dickenson” and the synth-driven “Life on a Cool Curve.”
All capture Vanity Crash’s quintessential glam-rock sensibility catering to obligatory influences such as Bowie, T. Rex, Mott the Hoople and Lou Reed. However, Van Crash said the project required a disciplined focus for his thought to be fully realized.
“I find that once I get an idea going, to me songwriting is kind of like problem solving,” Van Crash said. “You’ve got some ideas, you know what you want to do and you don’t know how to maybe get from point A to point B.
“A lot of times I solve those issues while I’m driving in the car or walking in the park. Maybe I’ve just gotten pickier as time has gone on, but I take a lot longer than I used to. I’m just choosier about how things end up, and I don’t compromise.”
Part of not compromising led Van Crash to once again reach out to former Bowie keyboardist Mike Garson to contribute his talents on the track “Angel and Me,” which is Vanity Crash’s first true ballad.
“It’s a very melancholy type of a song,” Van Crash said. “That one was interesting because we ended up contacting Garson, who played on one of the tracks from our second record.
“‘Angel and Me’ had this storyline that needed to create some more tension than what the music was creating. And because he has that capability of both being melodic and dissonant, he brought that tension I was looking for.”
Vanity Crash’s Phantasmagoria release show takes place Sat 9/23 at BOP STOP. Along with the band playing new material, as well as choice covers, its provocative stage presence includes costumes, a light show and attitude.
There will also be a special Skype interview with Garson discussing “Angel and Me” and an art gallery exhibit showcasing original Phantasmagoria album cover art. The latter boasts a graphic-novel-like feel by local artists Gary Dumm, Jim “The Rev” Giar, Ashley Ribblett, Clare Kolat and Tim Switalski.
Regarding the Phantasmagoria material, the only question remaining is whether or not the sounds of Mother Nature and Hocking Hills can be heard on the EP?
“No, well, I don’t know, maybe,” Van Crash laughed. “You may hear some creaking chairs. If I find I put something down I really like, I usually don’t go back and rerecord it. I usually keep it because there’s something about that original thing, even if it has all of those bumps and bruises and imperfections.
“Those add the character that sometime make the song. It’s those happy mistakes that are exciting. I’m always looking for those.”