The Starting Line: Interview With Kenny Vasoli

The Starting LineI don’t think there’s any way young Kenny Vasoli, bassist and lead singer for The Starting Line, could have prophesized what was to come in the years following his early departure from high school.

Since signing to Drive-Thru Records, the foremost indie purveyors of pop punk and emo in the market today, and releasing Say It Like You Mean It in 2002, The Starting Line have gone on to become something of a phenomenon when it comes to making use of an original take on the genre to rise above the din of their peers. They have honed their stirring live performance over a solid two and a half years on the road, playing in front of ever-growing and enthusiastic crowds clamoring to hear more of the band’s anthemic yet accessible sound.

Still a young band by many standards, Vasoli, guitarists Mike Golla and Matt Watts and drummer Tom Gryskiewicz are getting ready to release their sophomore effort, Based On A True Story, on May 10 and will be among the headliners on Saturday, April 30 at this year’s Bamboozle.

How would you describe the band’s progression from Say It Like You Mean It to Based On A True Story?

I think we definitely got more comfortable with each other as far as songwriting goes. We know what are limits are and where we can push ourselves.

I think we brought out a lot more musicality in this record as opposed to the four chord formula, you know, bridge chorus. We really tried to expand our horizons and offer more on this record than the last one.

What do you mean by the limits?

How we can play and how technical it can be without being confusing, but still having some impressive playing on the record.

How has all the touring affected the way you write music?

I don’t know how touring affects the music itself. I guess it gives me more topics to write about, more experiences. Besides that, I think I probably write about as much on tour as I do at home.

There are definite themes on the new album, is there a definite mindset you get into when you’re writing?

Yeah, I’d say so. Like for this record, most of the themes seem to have come from being at home waiting to get into the studio and the frustration of having all the songs and not being able to get them out through the recording. But there are songs that kind of tried to sum up what the touring life is like, how it was back then and how it is now.

How has it changed?

I don’t really know how to sum it up into like one sentence. It’s kind of like you’re exciting at first because you don’t know what’s going to happen and now it’s become like a routine and you’ve got to try to keep yourself exciting for people that have never heard you before or have been listening to you for so long. I think it’s just a trick to keep it all exciting.

Does it get to the point where you’re playing the same set list every night and you just get bored of it?

Oh yeah. We’ve had the same record out for two and a half years. Ever since it’s come out, we’ve had to play those songs, we can’t really fit too many new songs into the set because people won’t know them.

That’s definitely a little frustrating, but it comes along with the anticipation of the new record being released. Once that happens I think we’ll be a lot better off.

So audience is really a major consideration then?