Editor’s Note: It was an extremely rocking night at Spicoli’s Rockade in Waterloo, Iowa and VYCES got done with a blistering set at the esteemed Northeast Iowa venue. VYCES is showing people across the United States that they have what it takes to become major players in the world of mainstream rock with their hard-hitting sound in conjunction with their equally as hard-hitting melodies. Dave Naruszewicz was kind enough to sit down with Madness To Creation for this great interview. We basically talked about whatever came to our minds. VYCES is currently on the road providing direct support for Dead Horse Trauma. Tour dates will be posted after this interview. Without further delay, here is my conversation with Dave of VYCES! You will be able to check out the complete interview via www.muenmagazine.net as well!
M.T.C.: You’re Dave from VYCES, what is your “vice” when it comes to being involved with the music biz?
Dave: I don’t like the fact that there’s a lot of people out there for themselves and a lot of people that will prey on brand new bands and promise them the world, for me that’s one of those terrible things, that’s more or less their vice than anything else, but I’ve been caught up in that trap before.
M.T.C.: Is it an easy trap to get caught up in?
Dave: Well, you know, you’re promised all of this stuff and everything looks good on paper, and you have a good website, and they just see dollar signs around you, they’re not there to be there. I think the worst thing is that they’re trying to sift through all the bulls*** til you find the actual people that are there to do their part, to push the band. The biggest thing with my old band was we had a team that was fighting each other, it was put together, and the label was brand new, they were still trying to learn how to be a label, we were just coming out of the garage, and I won’t say it was a bad experience, but I’ll say that it was one of those experiences that it really opened my eyes, you know, it’s gotta be the right deal if we ever sign our music for anybody, with VYCES, we are doing everything that we possibly can ourselves, so we put together the lighting show, we put together the branding, before we even started playing, we spent a year and a half writing. We had almost 20 songs before we even started playing. We only released the first six because we didn’t want to give up all of our cards. We’re sitting on all of this material, and “Nocturnal” is one of the new singles. We got all this material and we’re going to be putting it out later. We have all of this together so when somebody comes along, we can be like, “what can you do for us that we can’t do for ourselves”. Obviously, at the end of the day, you’re going to need that name, it is what it is, a phone call coming from me and a phone call coming from a big label is two different things completely, and I understand that, but I’m willing to play that game and I want to. I want somebody to come in and help us grow as a band, and support the band, not just take the load for a little bit and hope that it catches on, I want somebody to develop with us. Any relationship is brand new, you gotta figure everything out, you gotta go through the bulls*** together.
M.T.C.: You talked about the “Nocturnal” single a little bit ago, what was going through your mind and what do you want listeners to get out of the song?
Dave: “Nocturnal” for me is a pretty personal song. I wrote it based off of personal experiences and stuff like that, you get in these ruts, and it’s really hard to dig yourself out of these holes, so you’re the person that has to open their eyes, people can tell you and confront you, but at the end of the day, in order to get over whatever it is you’re getting over, to get out of the actual dark, you have to do it yourself, so it’s got a little bit more of a positive message than a lot of our songs. That’s what that song is about.
“Nocturnal” VYCES(guest appearance by Carla Harvey of Butcher Babies)
M.T.C.: Is that the approach that you’re taking as you evolve as a songwriter?
Dave: The “Devils” EP was all dark stuff. There was no hope in that record.
M.T.C.: It seemed like it was a concept album.
Dave: It was very much a concept album. We wanted to play a lot of the heavier stuff on the first record to establish that, to push ourselves as a heavier band because we want to be a band that is capable of playing with the bigger metal bands and with the bigger active rock bands. With the new record that we’re going to be putting out in the fall, which “Nocturnal” will be on, it’s going to be called “Angels”, so you have “Devils” and “Angels”, it’s good and bad. The music is not going to be any less heavy, but the message is going to be a little bit different. It’s going to be looking at the other side of stuff, the hope, so basically, how it’s going to be with those records.
M.T.C.: Ever have a fan come up to you and be like, “your song changed me”?
Dave: I have, and it never gets lost on me, it’s probably one of the best and most amazing compliments you can have when someone comes up to you and says, “I really connected with that”. I’ve had people come up to me and tell me that it meant something completely different to them. That’s awesome because the whole purpose of our songs is that I kind of write vague though people can take away whatever they want from it. It’s very relatable.
M.T.C: Play on words here, the single is “Nocturnal”, what are some things that keep you up at night?
Dave: This sounds stupid, but when I was a kid my parents let me stay up and watch “Child’s Play” and up until I was about 18 years old, I would turn my light off and I would run full speed ahead to jump into my bed so Chucky couldn’t pull me from under the bed. I still look around a bit, it’s a dumb fear but creepy little dolls around my house is probably the scariest thing I can think of.
M.T.C.: I was on a field trip once and we went to a museum that had a bunch of creepy porcelain dolls it was so creepy!
Dave: *laughs* They’re just lifeless man!
M.T.C.: Random year, the year is 2025, where do you see VYCES in 2025?
Dave: I see VYCES on a full festival circuit, I see VYCES as a headliner. That’s what we’re striving for as a band. We don’t want to be the opener, we want to be the headliner. We want to do everything we want to do and not on anybody else’s time. We want to spread the message, so that’s what we’re working for, we want to be that band that everyone wants to play with. Everybody in my band holds themselves really well, is friendly, they’re there to be there. It’s a breath of fresh air, I’ll tell you that. When you come from a band where you feel like you’ve done everything that you have possibly can. With everybody in this band, everybody is THE GUY, and so it’s really nice, I’ve got the business end of it, and I got the band end of it, it’s fun to be out on the road with them. It’s fun for me, so I love being on the road. I love waking up in a new town every day, I don’t care if I’m cooking in a van at 90 degrees. *laughs*
M.T.C.: For those that don’t know, VYCES is derived from several bands, what does each element bring, whether it’s your element or the Breaking Benjamin element, etc.
Dave: Well, Mark, who was in Breaking Benjamin, isn’t a part of the band anymore. He did the whole first record and was with us for about a year, he just wasn’t into touring, he wanted to do some stuff musically, he’s always going to be a part of our band, and I guarantee that at some point, maybe he’ll be a part of this again. Andrew, our bass player right now, is fantastic. He sings, he’s a fantastic performer, on top of that, if for some reason if Mark wanted to come back, and we’ve discussed that, Andrew is also a great guitarist, and he’s also a great keyboard player, he’s just a “one-stop shop”. Andrew is 100% a permanent member of our band, I love having him on the road, it was a bummer when Mark left because not only did I respect him for everything that he has done, and just the way he played bass, there’s a person that can play bass and there’s a musician that can play bass, and Mark was a musician that can play bass, there’s an element that we got really spoiled with him, outside of that he’s just a great person, and he’s fun to be around, I wish him the best. It was a bummer, at the end of the day, it was his decision, and the door is never closed. We’re always going to be good friends and he just needs to do some things in his life right now.
M.T.C.: Based on what you’re talking about, it sounds like there’s this really solid friendship with VYCES as a whole, what is one trait or secret talent each member of VYCES has?
Dave: Totally! Secret talent. Andrew is really good at magic, and when we have days off, he’ll go play magic cards for four or five hours. That’s his thing. He’s very vocal about it too. He also has a really good sense of humor. Russ is really good at drinking vodka when he wants to hang out, he doesn’t have an off button with that. As long as everybody gets their business done and they can handle that, Shawn’s secret talent is talking with people, he’s really good at talking with people, he will talk to anybody about anything for however long, there’s been times where I couldn’t find where he was at because he was outside listening to a homeless guy’s life story, he’s got a big heart. He likes to find out about people, he likes to talk to people, that’s a really great trait because sometimes before shows, I don’t want to talk to anybody, I want to relax, I don’t want to be in the venue talking and throwing my voice out before the show. That’s another thing I’ve learned is to relax before the show.
I think as a whole, I’m really lucky to have these guys, I feel that everybody brings something to the table outside of just getting up on stage and playing.
M.T.C.: You seem like you’re a lot happier from the last time I talked to you?
Dave: Definitely man, last time I talked with you, it was a stressful situation, having a team that was all about who was right and who was not right, and we were just trying to get through each tour. It wasn’t like, “let’s go on tour”, it was like “how are we going to make it through the tour”, there’s a lot more prep and everybody is paying attention.
M.T.C.: If you could cover any song from today, what song would it be?
Dave: Does it have to be today, I love 80’s music.
M.T.C.: That’s fine, 80’s hit then.
Dave: We have a song on “Devils” called “I Will Find You”, and I specifically wrote the lyrics and the vocal melodies, which is how we write a lot of the songs first, so everything fits, which is completely opposite on how I used to write it, to do the music first and then try to fit the words in there, it’s like a crapshoot, but I know the chorus melody is strong, but “I Will Find You” has a big pop melody to it, a huge 80’s pop hook, and I wrote that specifically that way.
“I Will Find You” VYCES
M.T.C.: It’s funny you say that cause when I heard it, the chorus does have 80’s New Wave elements, like something Simple Minds would do.
Dave: In terms of cover songs, everybody does cover songs that are pretty popular, but I would do Mike And The Mechanics, “All I Need Is A Miracle”.
“All I Need’s A Miracle” Mike And The Mechanics
M.T.C.: That is such a guilty pleasure song.
Dave: The whole band dude! The other guy from Genesis! *laughs*
M.T.C.: Did your family play a big influence on you in terms of you becoming a singer?
Dave: Oh yeah, my dad would get back from school, he’s a teacher, and we would just sit and watch MTV all day, back in the day when MTV was all music videos, so that’s all we did. I would wait for him to come home and we would watch music videos, so when I moved away, he gave me three decades worth of music on vinyl, and regardless of the cover, I listened to every single one of those records, even the ones with the guys with the fedora, I will never understand why some of those people will have those for covers of those records, somebody was like, “yes, you nailed it, put that fedora back on buddy”, this is going to be the cover of the new record. *laughs* People are going to buy it. But, I listen to everything, I’m a huge David Bowie fan, I’m a huge fan of good songs and good choruses, even today, we’re not a pop band or anything like that, but I like good songs, if I hear a good pop song, I’m not gonna deny that. I like those big choruses and stuff like that.
M.T.C.: If David Bowie was sitting here right now, what would you say to him?
Dave: Oh man, I think I would just pass out, I would have so many questions. I’d probably say something dumb first. I’d be like, “hey, man, how are you, David” “David, I’m David”. *laughs*
M.T.C.: I never thought of that until you mentioned it. You said earlier that Chucky scares you, what’s your biggest phobia?
Dave: Nothing much really scares me, I like being a little uncomfortable, sometimes heights on a real small level, like when you’re up on a skyscraper and you’re looking down, real heights.
M.T.C.: What else can you add about VYCES that we haven’t discussed?
Dave: Our music is very honest, we try to relate to different subjects, they’re all not necessarily nice subjects, we write about uncomfortable things and stuff like that, but the music is honest, the music is heavy, and every time that we’re playing it, you’ll see it in our eyes, and you’ll feel it in your chest, so if you’re going to come out to a show, be prepared.
M.T.C.: Most embarrassing moment playing a show?
Dave: I once sang into an unplugged mic for about four songs. I just thought that the monitors were all screwed up! *laughs* It was in Chicago back in the Heart Set Self- Destruct days. I whipped my hand around and the mic cable came out, I was just going so hard and so crazy. I didn’t have a good monitor mix, it was one of those small ones for those punk rock kind of clubs and stuff like that. All of a sudden, I couldn’t hear it out into the crowd, I didn’t realize that the cord was completely not plugged into my mic, which is really stupid cause we went through a bunch of songs, so I went over and was singing off of the guitarist ones for a little bit. Rookie move! *laughs*
M.T.C.: Where can people find you on social media and Internet?
Dave: VYCESOfficial, everything.
M.T.C.: Thanks man, lot of fun!
Dave: Absolutely, thank you!
Catch VYCES out on tour providing direct support for Dead Horse Trauma during the month of July, visit their website for tickets and further information!
Friday, July 14th at Vintage Villains in Danville, Illinois
Saturday, July 15th at Rails II in Peoria, Illinois
Sunday, July 16th at Aftershock Live in Merriam, Kansas
Tuesday, July 18th at Reggie’s in Chicago, Illinois
Friday, July 21st at Spicoli’s Rockade in Waterloo, Iowa
Saturday, July 22nd at Wooly’s in Des Moines, Iowa(also appearing Blue Felix and Katastrophe’s Tomb)