Indie-rock band hopes to remain close to its roots
For L.A. indie-rock quintet Vanaprasta, numbers are everything.
Numbers, as guitarist and vocalist Collin Desha explained, âjust sort of wrapped everything together.â
In one instance, as the bandâs members drove up to Portland to begin work on their first album, the group found itself with nine people, three in each car.
As the band finished work on what would turn out to be Healthy Geometry, a friend got into a life-threatening bike accident and was told he would never walk again.
Three months later, he walked out of the hospital.
âWe didnât really plan this out,â Desha said with a laugh. âFor us, it was all about finding these patterns in life.â
These coincidences â or what some might call small instances of fate â didnât end there.
The unusual band name popped into Deshaâs head as he was listening to a speech by philosopher Alan Watts.
â[Watts] was describing what vanaprasta meant to him,â Desha said. âItâs all about the past and the present coming together to influence the future.â
Feeling inspired by the positive message, the band chose the Hindi word as its name. But they didnât realize that vanaprasta also means forest-dweller â a strange coincidence, considering that the band recorded the first draft of its album in an Oregon forest.
Healthy Geometry, released last November, exemplifies an elegant hodgepodge of serene rock with songs like âNineequalsnineâ and âSupernumerary.â
âNineequalsnineâ is one of the more personal tracks on the album, written after their friendâs accident.
âWe were a song short [on the album]; there were others but they werenât album quality,â Desha said. âSo we decided to go into a space and make a song without using any of the conventional things that we typically go through. âNineequalsnineâ was jammed together in a rehearsal room.â
The production of the track âNineequalsnineâ is definitive of what Vanaprasta is all about: intimacy, connection and the need to create.
âWeâre just trying to soak in as many influences as possible,â Desha said. âWeâve never really sought out all the big money; we just want to experiment with different sounds.â
The bandâs refreshing choice to focus on the music instead of the superfluous, materialistic goods that a successful music career might bring sets the band a part from the rest.
Vanaprasta revels in its independence, a result of its refusal to accept a record deal until itâs the right one.
âWeâre definitely really proud of the fact that weâve done this all independently,â Desha said. âThere are people who have come to us and offered us things, but it didnât feel right.â
Desha also works at Interscope Records, which he said provides some insight into the crazy world of music production.
âWeâll know when itâs right, and weâre in no rush,â Desha said. âIâm not saying weâre not looking at opportunities; weâre trying to take the path of being independent and building our grassroots.â
Vanaprastaâs attention to touring has led to a strong music-based foundation, one in which its sound can continue to be molded and transformed without the pressures of a record company.
âWe like that people will be coming to see us,â Desha said. âTheyâre coming for the music and not anything else. Vanaprasta was an interesting thing because itâs all about our live shows. We played 200 shows before we even put out a record.â
Vanaprasta will continue to tour throughout 2012, stopping in the Midwest, multiple cities in Texas and a few festivals before attempting to put together its second album.
âThe first album is capturing the live experiences,â Desha said. âThe next album we want to hone in on the new sound and push ourselves to another level.â
Vanaprasta performs at The Echo Friday.