If I had to look back at the years I spent in college as a late teen and early adult, I would automatically think about the music I was listening to. Who I listened to riding the el in Chicago to my classes downtown, over the weekend exploring the city, and who I got to see perform at some of my now favorite independent venues in the city. One of the bands that I first heard during the most formative years of my young adulthood was one called From Indian Lakes, led by California-native Joe Vannucchi. Vannucchi grew up on over forty acres of land in Yosemite, California. Without electricity, Vannucchi naturally gravitated towards exploring the vast lands of Yosemite and teaching himself to play the drums.
From Indian Lakes was formed in 2009, releasing five albums through the last decade. Recently, Vannucchi has been releasing music solo under Joe Vann, his most recent drop at the end of January 2021. His music has always lived in the alt. rock/dream pop/shoe-gaze space, but one thing that has always remained quite the same is his incredibly personal lyricism. His curiosity for exploration and adventure is clear when you hear the music: it’s experimental, escapist, and vast. It’s been a great pleasure being a fan of Vannucchi’s for nearly ten years (I discovered his genius in 2013), and I was excited for this opportunity to interview him.
Check out our Q&A below:
(Kristin) Your latest release, Found in the Smoke, has similarities to your work with From Indian Lakes sonically, but does feel a bit softer and more electronic-infused. What was the inspiration in this change of sound?
These songs are pretty much just some acoustic instruments with a few keyboards here and there, which is really freeing. The From Indian Lakes stuff was about trying to be as experimental and intense as possible at times with a lot going on all of the time, and that can get tiring. There is something very freeing about turning on a mic and recording something and making it stand on its own without much added.
What were the major differences, if any, between creating music for From Indian Lakes and what you’ve been creating as a solo act?
I am trying to do as much as I can by myself, as well as keeping it as simple as possible. I don’t use a lot of tracks and nothing can hide in a bunch of layers. This project is all about keeping it simple.
Who are your musical influences, past and present?
I grew up listening to outlaw country and Folk artists such as Dolly, Merle, as well as Jim croche and Dylan, but eventually I was going to punk/hardcore shows like everyone else around me. Eventually I was in bands at the CYC opening for touché amore and defeater, which was fun but I never really connected to that scene the ways others did. I was in the van listening to Feist and freak folk and stuff that the people I was on tour with didn’t really get. I think ive slowly been going my own way and finding my voice between the space ive always dwelled in and what I’ve always connected to.
How did the pandemic affect your creative process?
It hasn’t really affected it honestly. It has mostly effected the way I release content, but the creative part is pretty much the same.
What do you hope comes next for you once we (hopefully) return to a sense of normalcy?
Id like to play some shows. This is the longest stretch of being in one place since I was in high school, I like to tour and play live music sometimes.
Finally, what song from Found In The Smoke are you most proud of? What about your From Indian Lakes discography?
I like listening to “my apt” when I hear it. The piano is really nice and the mix turned out really pleasant. I like the song “ULS” from FIL stuff.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate you.