The Fordham Ram

Vansire Sets High Bar for Dream Pop Soundtrack of the Summer

The+dream+pop+band+from+Rochester%2C+Minnesota+will+release+their+second+album+Angel+Youth+in+late+April+%28Courtesy+of+Bandcamp%29.
The dream pop band from Rochester, Minnesota will release their second album Angel Youth in late April (Courtesy of Bandcamp).

The dream pop band from Rochester, Minnesota will release their second album Angel Youth in late April (Courtesy of Bandcamp).

The dream pop band from Rochester, Minnesota will release their second album Angel Youth in late April (Courtesy of Bandcamp).


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By Olivia Nangle

With their soft vocals and sweet synths, Vansire’s sound is something out of a dreamy time loop. The lo-fi dream pop band captures the enchantment and intimate beauty of the Midwest through their melodies and evocative lyrics.

The Minnesota-dwelling duo attends different colleges and describes their project as “a long-distance band relationship.”

The band members, Josh Augustin and Sam Winemiller, have been working on their full-length album, Angel Youth, for about a year now and it is has come together beautifully.

This weekend, The Fordham Ram had the opportunity to listen to their new album before its April 26 release and got to meet Augustin and Winemiller on a more personal level.

The Fordham Ram (TFR): How did Vansire come to be?

Josh Augustin: It’s been a series of lucky events and Spotify algorithms that turned this bedroom project into a semi-legit thing. We were friends in high school on drum-line together. One summer we just started recording stuff together and we just kept doing it.

We had some different releases here and there, and somewhere along the way it just spiked, the Spotify numbers started going up and our music started appearing on different YouTube channels. We’ve somehow amassed a decent following without ever formally touring or anything.

Sam Winemiller: Yeah, it pretty much started in the basement at my place.

TFR: Tell me a little bit about your new album, Angel Youth.

Augustin: Our latest album is our first legitimate project. We’ve been working on it for about a year now and we see it as our first, fully fleshed-out album, though we have two releases out already.

TFR: What’s your favorite song on the new album?

Winemiller: Definitely “About The World”.

Augustin: Probably “Wonderland” with Jeremiah Jay.

TFR: What is your songwriting process like?

Augustin: We generally start instrumentally. Usually it begins with a chord progression or a lick that one of us comes up with, and then we just sort of build it into a complete song together and then I add on vocals at the very end as a last step, so it’s a bit of a reverse process.

There are a couple times where that wasn’t the case, like “Eleven Weeks” and “Four Portraits.” I kind of had some stuff in my head. Most of the time, one of us will send the other a file and say “oh, this is an interesting lick or progression” and it just spirals from there.

TFR: How does Angel Youth differ from your first couple of releases?

Winemiller: The new album has a lot more synths and some rap features.

Augustin: Yeah, conceptually, the last release we had was very rooted in the place we’re from, the “driftless region” of the Midwest. It’s a very lo-fi, claustrophobic kind of sound. But now, with this album, it’s like you’re turning to the coast in a way in terms of sonic production, narrative arcs and themes throughout the album.

It’s meant to be more grand and cinematic, but it’s as if you’re still rooted in that perspective. Most of what we do is informed by our landscape of where we’re from in the Midwest. Now it’s like we’re staring out at Los Angeles, if that makes sense.

TFR: Would you say that where you’re from, specifically the Midwest, is a big influence on your music?

Augustin: Definitely. Our music has always sort of been music to drive to in “the driftless region,” a little slice of the Midwest.

TFR: Josh, I noticed that in December you released an upbeat remix of Vansire’s “Halcyon Age,” on your personal Spotify. Can your listeners expect any more remixes of your original songs or other artists’ in the future?

Augustin: Oh yeah, I do a fair amount of beat-making, remixing and production-related work. There aren’t really formal plans for more remixes at this time, but I sort of just come to it as I feel like it. That was a big shift with this album. I used to compartmentalize my projects in different areas, like I make beats as this moniker, I make ambient music under this other name, and Vansire is just dream pop, etc. But with the new album, we threw those boundaries out of the window, and some songs I sort of approached compositionally the way I would like a beat, per say.

I think the resulting product is a much more honest reflection of who we are as artists, so I’m glad it turned out that way.

TFR: Who would be your dream artists to collab with?

Augustin: MF Doom. I would die happy if I could ever do anything with him. Also, I would love to work with this artist, Kadjah Bonet, who I really admire.

Winemiller: Tyler, the Creator or Dustin from Beach Fossils.

TFR: Is there anything else you want your listeners to know about who you guys are?

Winemiller: [laughing] I’d probably have to say we’re just two guys keeping it real, making honest music.

Augustin: Yeah, we’re not sure how all of this happened. It’s honestly been kind of a dream getting to work with all these artists we deeply admire and we just feel really good about this album.

This is the first thing we feel totally solid on and we hope people take the time to listen from top to bottom and listen to the work of the people that featured on it. We hope people can connect with it in whatever way works best for them.

Angel Youth reflects the driftlessness of the Midwest found in Vansire’s first release, Reflections and Reveries, but it also embodies a sense of maturity and growth for the band as a whole. The duo’s latest project demonstrates a willingness to experiment and explore, and it has proved successful for them stretching beyond the Midwest horizon, and into unknown territory.

It encompasses the vastness of Middle America, but also reaches further into the incalculability of the coast. My favorite tracks are “Set Piece,” featuring a rap verse from Ivy Sole, and “Nice to See You” with vocals from Floor Cry.

Vansire does not have any formal plans to tour right now, but their album Angel Youth releases on April 26, 2018.

The dream pop band from Rochester, Minnesota will release their second album Angel Youth in late April (Courtesy of Bandcamp).

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Vansire Sets High Bar for Dream Pop Soundtrack of the Summer