Possibly my favourite indie-folk/acoustic band right now, Vintage Talk are in the upper echelons of the genre, but are greatly underappreciated. The US-based trio released a killer debut EP last year (which is in regular rotation in my car) and alexrainbirdMusic fans may remember them from my Summer 2016 indie/folk playlist, where their tracks ‘Habits’ and ‘Katie’s Song’ were featured. Read on to discover more about this marvellous band and make sure you take a listen to their EP above!
Hey guys! What are your names, ages and roles in Vintage Talk?
Ryan Spitzel (Age: 23) – Guitarist, Vocalist, Producer, Marketing
Will Hardgrove (Age: 20) – Guitarist, Vocalist
Ellen Atwood (Age: 20) – Pianist, Vocalist
Awesome. Can you give me three words to describe Vintage Talk’s music for someone who’s never heard of it?
Singer-songwriter, good vibes, positivity (sorry, couldn’t get some of these in just three words).
Haha no worries! Now, if you could tour with any band, who would it be?
All of us have different artists that we would love to tour with, The Head and the Heart (Ryan), Ben Folds (Will), Coldplay (Ellen). After some tense moments of picking who we would most love to go on tour with we landed on Coldplay. Ryan always says that if we have a battle of the bands with other worlds we should send Coldplay. They have a sound that seemingly everyone in the world loves. It would be pretty cool to be on tour with them, not to mention they have some of the coolest staging out of any band out there right now.
Good pick, Coldplay is one of my all-time favourite bands so they should definitely be our intergalactic representatives! Back to you guys; what is the best thing about being in Vintage Talk, and the hardest thing?
- Ryan – The best thing about being in Vintage Talk is the bond that I have with my band mates. When it comes to enjoying life I find that even more important than music is friendship. Of course, writing music together is an amazing perk of hanging out together. The hardest thing about being in Vintage Talk, and I think my band mates would agree, is the uncertainty that things will work out in the long run. We would all love if Vintage Talk did well enough that we didn’t have to work day jobs and could just write and produce music all year, but that is an unknown as of now.
- Will – The best thing about being in Vintage Talk has to be the fact that all of us in the group have the same general musical tastes but we all listen to different artists. This comes in handy when songwriting because we will typically create a sound that makes everyone in the group happy and we are able to do so by drawing inspiration from various artists and genres. The hardest part of being in Vintage Talk, being a new entity in the music world, is the uncertainty of where the band will end up in a few years. Music is my life and I would want nothing more than to write/perform music as a career. For now we’ll just have to keep working hard to hopefully achieve that goal.
- Ellen – The best thing about being in VT is the bond between the three of us. Song writing with two other people who have the same musical intuitions makes it such a unique experience. Practicing is more fun than it is a chore. The hardest thing about being in VT is letting go of musical ideas/lyrics that the group doesn’t agree with. Compromise is a huge part of being in a band! But it all works out for the best in the end so I’m thankful for their opinions and feedback.
Fantastic answers, what a great insight into each of you. Regarding your point Ryan, I will do everything I can to make Vintage Talk your full-time jobs – you definitely deserve that. I know you already briefly mentioned about songwriting, but could you describe the band’s writing process in more detail? Are there any chief songwriters?
What makes Vintage Talk so unique is the fact that all of us are song writers and typically all have a major part in every song we write. Ellen is a music major and has been studying music classically pretty much her entire life so she is incredible at coming up with unique chord progressions. One of our favorite things about her is her ability to get us unstuck from writers block. Will has an incredible ear for what sections should go where and how they should evolve throughout the song itself. Not to mention he plays guitar, bass, and piano so he always has ideas for every instrument involved in a new song. Ryan has a knack for writing lyrics and typically focusses on coming up with a melody for the song while at the same time coming up with simple yet beautiful rhythm guitar parts. Ryan also records and masters all of the Vintage Talk music so he has a good ear for instrumentation. All of us have been singing for a long time so when we have parts that we all sing on we tend to just pick a harmony and if it sounds good we stick with it. That being said, our roles change for pretty much every song we write. Sometimes one person will show up with a song idea almost completely done where as other times only two members will work on a song. We seem to have a writing process that works great for us and we hope to keep developing it as the years go on.
Once again, incredible insight. Thank you! I’m glad you’ve found a method that works for you. Now onto your incredible debut album, Vintage Talk. Do you have a favorite song on the record?
Funny enough, one of our favorite songs on the album seems to be the least popular on the album, “The Vendor.” (Fun fact – the intro to “The Vendor” is the outro to a song Ryan wrote about 5 years ago titled “Rituals and Routines” off of the first album he ever wrote).
Man I love ‘The Vendor’! Out of all of the songs I haven’t yet featured on my YouTube channel, that one is definitely my favourite. I’ll have to add it to my Spring indie-folk compilation! So, penultimate question: what are your future plans for Vintage Talk?
This question could be answered in several pages of writing, but for the sake of your time and the readers time we will try to consolidate it to a few short paragraphs. In the near future Vintage Talk plans on releasing 3 new singles. However, we are trying to do something that most bands do not do by having each band member featured on one of the singles (meaning, they are the lead singer for that particular song). We are calling it a Vintage Talk Pack. One song will feature, Ryan, one will feature Will, and another will feature Ellen. All 3 songs have a completely different vibe but same Vintage Talk feel, its great, we love it. These Vintage Talk “Packs” are how we plan on releasing most of our future music.
One of the things our band wants to start focusing on is charity work. We want our band to be more than just a music making entity that capitalises on people consuming our music. We really want to try to make a difference in our local community (and larger areas if possible) by connecting up with charity organisations. We hope to start playing shows that benefit diseases and important causes. When we aren’t playing shows that directly benefit certain charities or organisations we plan on giving ten to fifty percent of our earnings to a charity of our choice. We strongly believe that when people, such as ourselves, are given the gift of song writing, it is important to discover ways in which the music can benefit the surrounding area and local people.
Due to the fact that YouTube is such a large partner of musicians nowadays we are planning on starting a YouTube series entitled, Vintage Talk Sessions (you can find Episode 1 here). These sessions will be short 5 to 10 minute videos in which we play one of our songs, or a cover of a song, live. It will also be cut in with clips of us practising, writing, and talking about our music.
As of now those are our future plans. We try not to live to far in to the future so as to keep sane. If we were to say in a few short words what our distant future plans were it would be travelling around the United States or even the world spreading love, raising money for charity whilst doing our part to actually physically help when possible, and writing music day in and day out.
Sounds like you have a lot coming up, which is great to hear! Any last words?
As we start to discover our sound more and more we hope to gain listeners who will enjoy our development as a band, as people, and as individual song writers. If you haven’t quite found your place in the world yet, don’t stop searching. In the famous words of John Donne, “No man is an island.”
Find Vintage Talk on