Version 5 Interview
Minneapolis natives Version 5 are serving up a fresh new futuristic style. Mixing electronic and rock creates a chilling sound perfect for a long night on the town. Recently I spoke with this voltaic due about their new single "Absolute Zero" along with their inspirations, the Midwest scene, and more.
LJ DeWitt: Please introduce yourselves, include roles in the band, and to keep this part from getting boring, include something random about yourselves.
Spencer [Vocalist / Programmer / Producer]: We’re a duo, so this shouldn’t take too long.
Andy [Guitar / Producer]: We’re brothers. Since we grew up together, there’s a chemistry we have and that was one of the reasons we wanted to be a duo. We have a lot of creative freedom. I’m a little more of the left-brained guy, Spencer is a little more right brained. For being brothers, we are more different than you’d think.
Spencer: As far as our roles in the band, I tend to come up with the rough sketches of songs, artwork, etc, and then hand it off to Andy. He then puts his spin on it, like lyrics and melodies, and then I finish it. We tend to work in tandem, but not together, if that makes sense.
LJ: I spent over 5 years in the metal side of the Minneapolis scene, but I'm curious what it's like for the Electronic scene. How do you guys feel about it? What's your favorite hometown venue to play?
Andy: This nice thing about Minneapolis is that there’s a big variety of artists doing different genres- we’ve played with rock, metal, DJs, pop and hip hop artists.
Spencer: So far we’ve had a definite positive reception- as far as the electronic scene specifically I’m not sure if I can say. The rock scene’s alive and well- and we tend to bridge the gap between the two. As far as venue’s are concerned- my favorite is probably The Fine Line. It has a great sound system and a great vibe to it.
Andy: I really like 7th Street Entry- it has some history and is apart of Minneapolis’ First Avenue venue. It’s a small, dark, music club. That’s where I tend to go if I want to catch a show mid week.
LJ: Any pre-show rituals?
Andy: Not really- if sound check goes well that’s all I need.
Spencer: Yoga and healthy living gets me prepared. If by “yoga” you mean herniating discs in my back from carrying music equipment and “healthy living” means chugging Kraken Rum to numb the pain. I’ve got it down to a science.
LJ: Throughout all the places you've played, has there ever been a city or situation where you genuinely felt you'd die?
Andy: One that comes to mind was catching air in a 30 ft RV. It was actually with a previous band. We were a cover band and playing out of town, so we drove the RV with a trailer and camped out for a long weekend. On our way back, I was driving through some of the not-so-scenic farm country in rural Minnesota, late at night. I had just gone for something like two miles in a straight line when suddenly a super hard left turn snuck up on me. I knew I couldn’t make the corner without rolling the top-heavy RV- and luckily there was a low maintenance dirt road that continued straight ahead. Upon leaving the paved road there was a pretty decent drop to the dirt- and I ended up catching air (every wheel was off the ground)- I must’ve hit the edge at like 50, because I didn’t have much time to react. That was a close enough call. But I can say I jumped a motorhome- so that’s kinda sick.
LJ: Have you ever "lost" a band member before a show? If so, where was he to be found?
Andy: Why do you think we’re a two piece? [laughs]
Spencer: Version 5 actually used to be a 70 piece symphonic orchestra.
LJ: Three albums you'd want to be buried with?
Spencer: Pretty Hate Machine - Nine Inch Nails, Random Album Title - Deadmau5, Fat of The Land - The Prodigy. They all have intense styles. All of these artists write and produce their own stuff- that’s part of the reason I wanted to not only write songs, but produce as well.
Andy: Hmmm. Probably an 8-track karaoke rendition of “We Built This City” and a mixtape of Kanye West singing “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
LJ: Recently you released your newest single "Absolute Zero". What's been the reception on it so far?
Spencer: So far so good- I think we’re “finding” ourselves as artist- as cliche as it sounds.
Andy: I think people have liked the direction we’ve taken- a little more towards the electronic end of the spectrum and a little less rock. We’ll see.
Spencer: We’ve had a lot of compliments on the “sound” of the song- which is cool because it is self-produced.
LJ: Out of your current discography, what's your favorite song to play live?
Andy: I think Take You There- we typically play it towards the end of our set. It has a lot of energy and just really comes across live. We used to move our songs around more in our set- but that one now stays towards the end.
Spencer: That would have to be mine too- we have gotten probably the most positive feedback live from that song.Sometimes setlists write themselves after playing a few gigs.
LJ: Do you have anything new planned that you're allowed to talk about? Any new songs, tours, merch?
Andy: We’re releasing a music video for our song Why Don’t You Drop in April.
Spencer: Our youtube should be busy coming into summer- we have some live videos, video logs, other things like that in the works.
LJ: Finally, is there any last statements, random facts, or words of wisdom you'd like to leave with your fans?
Andy: Thanks for having us- you can check us out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook all @version5music.
Spencer: We’re looking to book some shows across the upper Midwest this summer- any venues / artists who want to book some shows don’t be afraid to hit us up. Cheers!
e. Rachel Rosell