For a band that was formed only a year ago, Vundabar already has a refined sound that makes them seem like indie rock veterans. After starting up in Scituate, Massachusetts, this band — consisting of three college freshman: Brandon Hagen on guitar and vocals, Drew McDonald on drums, and a rotating bassist — provides listeners in their first album with a gritty, chilled-out ‘90s rock sound combined with catchy melodies and the occasional “Ooh ooh la la la”. Playing live, Vundabar demonstrates their musical experience by amping up the rock ‘n roll and head bang-ability in their more relaxed bedroom rock songs. After seeing the band perform at Wax on Felt’s Battle of the Bands hosted by Emerson College, I decided to meet up with Drew, Brandon, and a couple of pigeons in the Common to talk about their music, dreams, and possible future gigs.

Sound of Boston: Ok guys, so, just to start out with, how did you guys form this band?

Brandon Hagen: A year ago, last August. We were in another band together – that broke up. And then we started recording. It was just the two of us. All of our stuff is usually like, duo, like our pictures and stuff, because it started out just being [Drew] recording and like messing around and then we were like, “oh, let’s like take this a little more seriously”. So yea, it started out as just a recording thing. And then we were two-piece for a little while and then we would have bass players fill in. And now it’s just like mostly Zach, every once in a while we’ll have a different person. So we had a rotating barrage of bass players and Zach’s just one that’s usually with us.

Sound of Boston: How would you describe your sound, because I’m getting a little bit of like a surf-rock feel but then also some 1950’s rock influences, so how would you guys describe it?

BH: I would say we’re poppy, but like, I don’t know, I think it’s pop songs but that are pretty harsh. I would compare us to The Pixies, not like in sound but like aesthetic, like it’s catchy pop music but then it’s loud and harsh and can be like gritty and ugly.

Sound Of Boston: You guys have only been playing together for a year but you feel very put-together, especially when you’re performing, and your style also seems pretty consistent and succinct. How did you come up with that? Did you have to experiment a lot, or did you already know what direction you wanted to go in?

Drew McDonald: I think just because we were in a band together before, so we’re used to playing together.

BH: And we played like nonstop. Yeah, our town’s really boring, so on weekends, we’d just book shows in like New York or Connecticut or New Hampshire and just travel a lot. We also toured for a month so I think that that has definitely like… like playing every night for a long time definitely gets you used to it and you learn a lot from it I think and you grow up a lot as a musician.

Sound of Boston: So what upcoming gigs are you most looking forward to?

BH: Yea we have a couple booked right now, we’re playing The Middle East next Thursday, what other ones do we have?

DM: Bard.

BH: We’re playing at Bard in New York, and then we’re gonna play Brooklyn the night after that. We’re playing Allston Pudding, do you know that? That’s like a Boston blog and live music thing. They’re putting on a show… we’re doing a Halloween show with them where we’re being the Violent Femmes, the band. You know that song? [sings] “Dan dan da na dan dan da na na da da da na na na”! You know that song, you definitely know that song.

DM: Oh, the 18th we’re playing in Amherst.

BH: Yeah we’re doing a house party in Amherst. But, we’re just trying to play as frequently as possible.

Sound of Boston: What would be your dream tour, like if you go on tour with a couple other bands, what would be your dream tour and where would you go?

BH: I don’t wanna say Mac DeMarco because I would just sound like a trendy doucher…

DM: Yeah, but definitely Mac DeMarco.

BH: Maybe like, The Oh Sees… What bands would actually fit with us? I don’t really know… I don’t wanna be too particular, like we really wanna go to Europe… that’s like a prospect right now, so hopefully that works out.

DM: Maybe like, Bon Jovi, ACDC…

BH: Get outta here! [to the pigeon] What do you want from me?? I don’t have food!

Be sure to catch Vundabar in Cambridge at The Middle East, this Thursday, October 10th at 8pm!

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