Neunaber Artist Spotlight: Vaudlow
Vaudlow is the Nashville-based post-rock duo of Matt Bolton and Josh Parra. Their music is marked by delicate, flowing motifs created by layered guitars, synths, sparse grooves and sampled sounds that swell and morph into colossal moments driven by aggressive drums and guitar lines. Vaudlow’s music delivers a singular balance of energy and sweetness in their compositions, balancing precise rhythms and melodies with long delay trails and crashing tides of reverb.
We asked Josh and Matt a few questions about forming a band, their favorite music, Neunaber reverb, quarantine pastimes and more:
How did you first get into playing music? What made you want to pursue music and recording?
M: I originally wanted to play drums as far back as I can remember, but we lived in small spaces and this was before affordable electronic drums, at least that I know of. The secondary option was guitar, so my parents bought me a little electric starter pack when I was 10 and that’s all I did for the following years. Fast forward to age 16, I was writing a lot of music but could only put it down in tab programs, so I bought a little interface that came with Ableton Live Lite. From there I got the bug- I started with my little demos and worked my way up to tracking full records for various indie artists.
J: I became a drummer influenced by my cousin who had a massive kit in his house, not being able to stop staring at it. As soon as he started to play, I immediately was mesmerized and the rest is history from there. Years and years up until now, I was introduced to rock music (specifically AC/DC) as a kid by my dad and started to expand into all genres from there. Somewhere in that timeline, I knew that playing drums wasn’t the only musical thing I wanted to do so I picked up the guitar learning rock riffs and eventually writing my own music. It’s always been a dream of mine as a kid to play to massive crowds and feel the constant adrenaline rush of performing. Recently, recording has been a new venture for me as I initially wanted to put my ideas down for Vaudlow without having to bug Matt all the time, but that quickly turned into me creating other styles of music for myself. I have been able to collaborate pretty quickly with Matt because of these skills learned on Youtube, which then sparked even more sonic elements in our music.
Josh Parra and Matt Bolton
What albums/artists have influenced your playing the most? How would you say they’ve impacted you?
M: I grew up on grunge and nü metal, but I distinctly remember my dad showing me “The Thirteenth Step” by A Perfect Circle and a switch flipped, particularly with “The Noose”. The instrumentation and dynamics throughout that album were unlike anything I’d heard, and I often reference it when I feel myself losing my direction, musically speaking.
How did you two meet? What did developing that partnership look like?
M: We were roommates in college! It was insane how many things we had in common at first, and throughout the year we found so much more. I was already into instrumental and ambient music, then Josh introduced me to post-rock, This Will Destroy You in particular, and I was hooked from there. I started writing things in that style, showing them to Josh, and we went back and forth until we felt we had something special to release.
What does the name Vaudlow mean?
J: The name ‘Vaudlow’ was just a spontaneous moment feeling quite down one day and decided to take the inspiration of the two words, “void” and “low” to create the name. That moment lasted about 30 seconds and immediately told Matt the idea and ran with it since. It’s the name that has become pretty unique and special to us since it is a made up word/name.
Any new music coming through the pipeline?
M: We currently have 12 songs in the works that will make up our next release, as well as a backlog of around 100 demos, so I think it’s safe to say there won’t be a shortage of music from us anytime soon.
Is there a piece of gear you wouldn’t feel like yourself without?
M: My main tele, without a doubt. It’s a partscaster that was assembled by one of my mentors who gifted it to me some time later. I’m not sure if it’s a perfect guitar with any outstanding qualities, but it’s what feels right in my hands, and I’d feel lost without it.
How has Neunaber played a part in your playing/writing? Tell us about how you’ve used the Immerse.
M: The Immerse has been the main reverb on my board since 2016 and has made multiple appearances as an insert on mixes as well. The unique sound of the modulation on the Hall setting is what takes me to totally different places when writing- the light modulation leads me to write in a brighter/happier mood, whereas the heavy modulation takes me to a darker and more aggressive place.
What’s your favorite guitar riff?
M: My guilty pleasure- “Kickstart My Heart” by Motley Crüe. My favorite riff, as well as my favorite rhythm guitar tone.
J: Couldn’t agree with Matt more!
How are you passing the time during quarantine?
M: I’ve done some mixing for a couple of artists, modified my piano to only have one string per note, took impulse responses of all of my cabs, done lots of writing, experimented with mics/mic positioning, shaved my head, and watched Rick and Morty ten times over.
J: I honed in on learning more about producing spending almost every day creating something. Nothing really planned, just having fun being so creatively charged consistently for the first time. I’ve been watching really bad reality tv shows, catching up on movie classics that friends keep bugging me to watch, and spending more time in front of my dog’s little face. Oh, and we shaved Matt’s head and he already grew a lot of it back.
Vaudlow’s self titled album is available now on all major marketplaces and streaming platforms. Find it here.