Vaughan Supple is an 18 yr old musician from Massachusetts and a very talented musician. This was my actual first telephone interview as I usually get the Q&A from email or Instagram. So let me introduce you to Vaughan..
Me: When did you start singing? Is your family musical at all?
Vaughan: I started about two years ago.. My family is musical in the sense that my mom would always be playing music and dad was really into classic rock and he inspired me to play guitar… we made this deal that we would start practicing and doing lessons together.. So I think I started in first or second grade & we both picked up the guitar at the exact same time and started doing lessons. It was a hobby we both picked up and then I didn’t start actually writing music until about two years ago.
Me: After listening to all your music on Spotify, I was curious if you play all the instruments on the albums or do you use a mixer/preloaded synth?
Vaughan: It differs because I have collaborated with a few people but for the most part pretty much 90-95% of the songs are me playing everything but the drums are electronically programmed and I’ll do the guitar, vocals and bass..and synth piano..I can’t play the piano but can write in the MIDI..
Me: So what editing programs are you using to mix it all together?
Me: Let’s go back to the guitar, you said you took lessons with your dad but the other instruments, self taught?
Vaughan: Guitar is the only one that I know how to play fluently..but bass I kind of learned as a result of guitar because they’re similar and piano I can’t play but I write electronically the melodies and as far as singing I just kept practicing for a few years.
Me: I was listening to some of your songs so I’m just going to talk about what sounded familiar to me. So I listened to the Nocturnes EP and right away Valentines to me sounded like the intro to Comfortably Numb, very Pink Floyd-esque..I don’t know if that was your intention or not but very cool.. then the Lonely Great EP..the track Trace of You reminded me of Radiohead a little..
Vaughan: Oh really? Radiohead is honestly one of my biggest influences and I feel like I draw from them a lot..
Me: The track Anemic was a little Nirvana-ish and We Drown, which is probably my favorite track. I don’t know but there was something I couldn’t pinpoint the band but it sort of sounded like Tame Impala to me just a little bit. So just give me a quick rundown of what some of these songs are about?
Vaughan: Trace of You is kind of pretty conventional it’s like a love song or for just a kind of typical song about a girl and so that was drawing from personal experience and I feel like a lot of my earlier songs are kind of more conventional love songs and my more recent ones are kind of abstract I suppose. So that first album was a lot of love songs and kind of personal songs and the Nocturnes EP was inspired by dreams and abstract thoughts. I draw from dreams and old childhood memories, places in my mind that were kind of foggy enough that I filled them with creative motifs while still drawing from my own experience I guess.
Me: So your latest release, Backbone Elegy, that is really good too. For Old Times Sake, the background vocals with Jenny P sounds real nice.. And the Bubblegum song, it’s like that catchy tune and the background vocals reminiscent of the intro to Mr Sandman yet slowed down with a different tempo but you sound so much like Ezra Koenig, lead singer of Vampire Weekend.
Vaughan: That’s actually very funny that you say that because not only are they a huge influence to me but I just spoke to someone a couple of days ago and we were doing an interview and they said, Bubblegum, really reminded them of Vampire Weekend. I don’t know, I really didn’t think about that at all while making it, usually I’m very aware of my influences but that one must of slipped by me.
Me: Take me through your song writing process.. you mentioned your first EP was about love songs, the next one was about dreams.. what is your new album about?
Vaughan: The songwriting process was important to me especially on this one because I love 50’s music.. I’ve been listening to a lot of it and wanting to make my own version of it and I noticed that the fifties were a time of conformity and the pop culture was like every fifties song was a love song like, ‘You and me darling or sweetheart’ and I love the melodies of fifties songs and wanted to hear some songs of that style but where the lyrics are kind of like, ‘I hate you’.. you know what I mean and so that’s what I tried to do with this EP… I was channeling my most pessimistic songwriting for this because I was trying to compliment, especially on a track like Bubblegum because it’s so poppy and upbeat but the lyrics are so downbeat is a good word I guess. So I drew from personal experience of societal conformity and whenever those kinds of things would pop up in my life.
Me: Did I read somewhere you’re a fan of Neutral Milk Hotel? You also seem to have a wide range of musical tastes…so how would you describe your sound & who are some of your musical influences?
Vaughan: Their second record is probably my favorite record ever. As far as my sound, that’s a hard one to pin down because especially with the stuff I’m working on right now that I haven’t released yet, I’m just going in different directions. So for this most recent one, I listened to a lot of Buddy Holly and The Chordettes. But for my first record I was listening to a lot of Radiohead, Wilco and Neutral Milk Hotel. And with this most recent stuff I’m working on I’m actually going in a r&b/jazz to hip hop style and I’ve started trying to rap. And I have been super inspired by Vampire Weekend.
Me: Who is your favorite rapper?
Vaughan: I was really in love with Tyler The Creator’s newest album when that came out about a year ago..because it was totally being like neo soul but it still had that hip hop flavor to it. I listen to a lot of hip hop because it saturates today’s music a lot so I can’t really get away from it…. I really like what Billie Eilish has been doing recently.. This girl is talented and I really like her production and the stuff that she makes with her brother is really awesome and obviously she’s very mainstream right now and everyone is in love with her.. so I was skeptical at first as well but I think her sonic landscapes are just awesome.
Me: So now that most people have been at home due to the coronavirus, what have you been doing to pass the time and what kind of things not music related do you like to do?
Vaughan: I’ve been certainly doing a lot of music in my free time and I’m also pretty occupied with school because I am doing online classes. As far as non music, I’m kind of into like a lot of different art forms. I really love film, filmmaking and film watching. I’m taking a course right now that has a lot to do with post war Japanese film, which is one of my favorite eras of film.. I’m really into a lot of different directors and actually my next album I’m going to release in July is dedicated to Ingmar Bergman because he really inspired my song writing practice on this next one so that’s for him because I’m a huge fan of his work. I’ve been trying to watch a lot of movies and also TV shows…I just started watching The Sopranos for the first time so I’m getting really into that. Trying to read more so that’s keeping me busy. I haven’t been able to go outside and hang with my friends and do my usual way of life since it’s somewhat compromised.
Me: You’re 18? You’re in college? Are you studying music?
Vaughan: I’m actually not taking any music courses, I feel like I have enough music in my life..so I didn’t want to make that a part of my academic curriculum. I’m taking a range of things: French..I want to be fluent in French… Economics…I took it because i wanted to try it out…and my Philosophy course I’m taking is specifically about poverty so it goes hand in hand with my economics course.
Me: Where do you see yourself in about 5 years in your music career?
Vaughan: I have been able to make a lot of connections using the internet which I feel is such a really great tool for musicians right now. So music has always been just a hobby for me and I didn’t even really start considering the whole audience piece of it until more recently so I kind of made music for myself..just for fun..but now I kind of think of it more like making it for an audience and trying to get my music heard. There’s a lot more to come, I’m sitting on a lot of material right now.
Me: Where can people go to find your music?
Vaughan: I’m on pretty much all streaming services but the main one I like to advertise on Spotify just because that one has the most listeners but I’m on SoundCloud, BandCamp and Apple Music.. the whole nine yards..
Stay tuned for more interviews with Will Evans, The Sulls Band, APRE, CJ Tate..
Until then I’m Your Music Stylist – Linda Dias