Los Angeles based band VYCES started when Dave Naruszewicz was looking to form a new project. Reaching out to longtime friend and drummer, Russell Ray, Dave began flying to Los Angeles from Chicago to build this original, and undeniably heavy, VYCES. Shawn Patterson, formerly of Old Fashioned Beatdown, like Russ, the three began writing and building the foundation of VYCES.
Dave describes the soul of the songs as exploring the darker side of human emotion and behavior saying “It’s something everyone can relate to because everyone has experienced some form of hurt, betrayal, weakness, hate, addiction, and/or lack of acceptance. It’s also the fuel that drives us to become stronger, get better, and overcome the flaws we’ve built in our minds.” (VYCES Facebook quote)
In June 2017, the band released it’s first radio single titled “NOCTURNAL” accompanied by another music video shot by Ron Underwood, and features Butcher Babies own Carla Harvey. ‘Nocturnal’ reached #38 on the Mediabase Active Rock Charts making it their first top 40 single.
VYCES is looking ahead in July 2018 with their new release “Angels”. Along with smashing through the gates with their latest, “Thin Luck”, VYCES went on a 31 stop tour with MUSHROOMHEAD, GABRIEL AND THE APOCALYPSE, VENTANA, ALIGN THE TIDE and BLOOD SUN. During that time, they made a stop at the ANNEX at THE RED ZONE.
I had a chance to talk to Russ and Dave before they tore up the stage Wednesday.
VIMH: Looking at the last few shows of the tour with Mushroomhead, what’s next for Vyces? DN/RR: After the tour, our record will be coming out in mid-July, called “Angels”. We’re looking around four to six songs on it. We’re really excited about it. Right after, we’ll be going on tour with Powerman 5000, in July and August. Right back out, home for a little bit. We’ll be doing a fly date for a music festival called, “Music Fights Back”. In Wisconsin June 23rd for that. We’re really looking forward to that.
VIMH: The video Thin Luck has taken off. What’s the overall feedback from the video and new music? DN/RR: It’s been real positive. One thing that I really enjoyed about doing that video specifically was that this was the 3rd video that we done with our director, Ron Thunderwood. What’s cool about him is that he and I have connected on the videos so well, that when I have these visions of what the video looks like, that’s exactly how they come out.
I’ve said this before, if someone was listening in on a conversation between Ron and I, we would sound like complete lunatics. I’m a very visual person when It comes to describing something, and I get excited about it, it sometimes comes out like I’m insane. He totally knows what I’m talking about. This is the second video now. The first video came out pretty close to how I wanted it, the second video was dead on, and this one…dead on again. We wanted to go with the kind of horror/ graphic novel feel, with the colors and everything.
A lot of the feedback we get overall is that the music doesn’t sound the same or the videos don’t look the same. We always find a way to make Vyces, Vyces. And not to make something we already did. And I really think that’s cool. It makes it exciting.
VIMH: I know we just touched on this, but, how was it working with Ron Thunderwood on the video? DN/RR: Excellent man. When Ron walks into a room, he’s always the most positive person in the world. So it’s just like, you can’t be in a bad mood around him. It’s impossible. Unless he’s in a bad mood. Then you think if the world’s gonna end. He’s one of the few people that I’ve met in my entire life that has the ability to change everybody’s attitude, and the way they’re feeling that day. I have a lot of respect for him. Same with Donnie from Mushroomhead.
VIMH: Looking into the future, what can we expect from Vyces? DN/RR: We believe in short term goals. And once we get those. We have long term goals, you know, everyone wants to get to that Slipknot spot. Where it’s undeniable. You’re going to go play the biggest places in the world. That’s obviously the long term goal. For us though, we want to make sure it’s for forward progress. Whatever that may be. You’re still climbing to whatever it is.
It’s nice to get those winds every now and then, it carries us out a little faster. For us it’s just forward progress. It’s never a step back. If it is, we rethink everything so it goes forward again. We’re not a band that takes no for an answer. We have a very clear cut idea where we want the band to go. We want to get to that level. We have to be realistic about it, and what size band we are right now. We made a blip on the radar right now. It’s nice that people are noticing us, see us at shows, and we’re growing our fan base. We’re here to do the work. We understand it’s work. We all live in a van together, and sell t-shirts. That’s basically what we do. And we enjoy it.
There’s times when we get tired from tings, but I think now, coming up at the end of the tour, we always like to reflect. What can I do better, what, as a band, can we all do better. And learn from things. So you can make the next experience that much better. That much more positive.
VIMH: What inspires you creatively, outside of music? DN/RR: With lyrics, I write most of them between 3 and 5 A.M. in the morning. It’s in the middle of the night. It’s just me, my thoughts and my mind. That’s usually when my mind works the most. I’ll wake up, and have all these great ideas so, I’ll go in the kitchen and I’ll sit on the floor with my recorder and sing stuff in there. And then I won’t be able to go back to bed, because I feel like I’m going to forget it. But with the content, we don’t write about nice stuff. I use music as my therapy. A lot of the stuff we write about are very broad topics, but about a very specific thing. I try not to let everyone know what that song is about. I really like it when people are coming up and telling us, “Hey, I really like that song. Is it about this, this and this”. It could be something totally different. But in the same realm. That’s my favorite form of interaction. When people connect with a song, when you connect with someone on that level. It’s there, but it’s their interpretation. I think that’s my favorite thing about it. It’s inspiring. It’s stuff that bothers me, and I write about things that happened to me, or us. It’s just a ton of life experiences. It’s a really good way of getting your aggression out. At least that’s what I use it for. It’s soothing.
VIMH: Alongside Mushroomhead, how was the tour overall? DN/RR: It was fantastic. We’ve definitely had our fair share of speed bumps. Our guitarist broke his foot. And with Mushroomhead’s water drums on a smaller stage there wasn’t much room, but now, it’s great. Because no one knows he’s sitting down. He’s still rocking out! I mean he still gets up on his good foot. (Laughs). It’s basically like watching Yoda walking into a Jedi fight. Where he kinda hobbles in and kicks everyone’s ass in the room, then hobbles back out. But we had that. I sprained my ankle, everyone managed to get sick at one point. Russ had a dental emergency. It’s gonna happen. But we haven’t missed one show. We checked our bags at the door. And as far as mile coverage, this is the most we’ve ever done. In such a small amount of time. There were stretches that were night after night after night. It was awesome. It kicks your ass so bad, but when you’re into week three and four, it’s kinda like you’re in it.
VIMH: Describe the song, “Nocturnal”, and what it means. DN/RR: Basically, “Nocturnal” is about helping yourself. You’re going to be in the dark, if you allow yourself to be there. No one can open your eyes for you. That’s basically what it’s about. You can sit and wallow in your depression and whatever else, until you’re willing to open your eyes, and see that there’s other things out there. You are your own worst enemy.
An interesting part about that, is when Dave wrote that, I knew what it was about because he had explained it. I always like it to be explained to me, because I’m a lyric junkie. I love lyrics. I went through an experience last year, where the song really took a personal turn towards my life with an individual. Even today when I listen to that song, it just makes me think of that person. Makes me think that I wish they could have got it together. That song definitely has a personal feeling to it, even though I wasn’t a part of the lyric writing, it definitely had the most touching aspects. Dave is really good at that.
VIMH: Describe the song, “Thin Luck”, and what it means. DN/RR: It’s about toxic relationships. Everyone has had one. That bad relationship, that bad job. And you just get stuck in this rut. It’s all you know. It’s comfortable. But you never move forward. It’s kinda the same thing. You gotta open your eyes. See the situation, and get out. It’s toxic, and it will eventually will drag you to the bottom. I’ve been in situations like that. I wrote that song about those specific kinds of relationships. Whatever it may be.
VIMH: If you had the chance to setup a tour, what bands would you like to be on the tour with? DN/RR: Damn! Michael Jackson, Toto….(Laughs) Metallica… With this band I would say, an ideal kickass tour would be: Slipknot, Breaking Benjamin, Chevelle…This is such a hard question. There’s so many good bands. You gotta put in HellYeah, and I would slide Of Mic and Men in there. I’ve seen those guys a few times and I was like, WHOA! They’re like NFL style, football style, a metal band. Red too. They’re really good. If I were to put new bands in there, I would put DED in, they would be an awesome one. STARSET, they kick ass live. I love those concept kind of bands.
VIMH: Explain the members, but only in movie titles. DN/RR: (Laughs) Andrew is Lord of the Rings, for sure. He plays Magic, and owned a game shop. He sold his share out to be in the band, so that says something about him. That’s pretty awesome. He gave it all up for us. Just for us to give him shit on interviews like this. (Laughs). We he can’t defend himself..
Russ is Rocky 3. Yeah! Rocky 3. He can be Rocky3.
Shawn, well, we could throw him under the bus right now. He can be Clueless. Just kidding. (Laughs). What can we say about Shawn. I would also think that a documentary about being vegan. He always catches us when we’re low on food, and he’s like, “Well, I have this.” And it’s good, and I hate him for it. I hate him more for it, BECAUSE IT”S GOOD. It’s always good. (Laughs) How can I describe Shawn. This is a good question.
I would say with Dave, it would be Over the Top. He’s an arm wrestler. He’s already wearing the hat on backwards. Andrew is anything with wizards. Magic. We’re always like, “Hey, Andrew, tell me what Gandalf is like?” But he’s like a suplex machine. He’d bodyslam you in 5 seconds. He’s a great guy, works really hard. It’s a brotherly thing. We give each other shit. It’s like some things happen, and it’s hilarious.
VIMH: What’s a secret indulgence that you have that most don’t know about? DN/RR: Dave: I gave up everything, and I’m just a worry wart. Russ: I know a lot of people don’t know this, but I read a lot of self-help books. And I’m currently working on one myself. I’m hoping to get it out in the next year. I like books that inspire.
VIMH: Closing Comments? DN/RR: We really appreciate all the support people have been giving us, and we’re excited to be in Madison.