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Interview with Adam Cohen of The Vinyl Kicks

Adam Cohen Interview
by Joey Farese

I recently met Adam Cohen, rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist of the Vinyl Kicks and he passed me a copy of his upcoming EP, Ambitions Don’t Age Well. I didn’t think much of the encounter at the time but once I listened to the EP my entire perspective changed. Adam and The Vinyl Kicks are doing something wonderful for the music world, and more specifically, the Florida music scene. After reviewing the album and listening to it countless times since, I decided to pick at Adam’s brain and interview him about the new album, his inspiration, and music in general.

(Editor: Make sure you check out Joey’s EP review here: Ambitions Don’t Age Well)

RARAs Farm: Adam, we know you’re the lead vocalist of The Vinyl Kicks and you are largely responsible for writing the lyrics. Where do you get your inspiration from when writing songs for the Vinyl Kicks?
Adam Cohen: I guess a lot of my inspiration comes from life experience. My main objective most of the time is to paint a picture in your mind of what’s going on in the song, I really try to write in a way that isn’t too direct to one specific thing, or one specific scenario so everyone can take it in a way that makes sense to them. Writing something that everyone can relate to but with an underlying message I think is pretty important.

RARAs Farm: How would you describe the band’s sound?
Adam Cohen: It sounds like 5 people that come from mostly all different musical back rounds. You have a little bit of everything and It’s hard to explain, but I love it.

RARAs Farm: As a vocalist, who are some of your biggest influences? Why?
Adam Cohen: I mean I’m not so much influenced by other vocalist because I am very into doing what I want to do. To be honest I just kind of sing and, I feel it’s a very organic sound in a sense because I’m just up there doing my thing; if you like it, that’s awesome, and if you don’t… Hey that’s okay too!, but there are vocalist’s that I definitely admire, for example I’m a big fan of the classics like Robert Plant, Jimi Hendrix, Roger Waters, Van Morrison, and I have to throw in Mick Jagger, of course John Lennon, Don Henley, Tom Petty, going back even more Ray Charles is amazing, too. For the more modern vocalists, I have to say Alex Turner. He’s got it all in terms of originality, same goes for Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. Of course Julian Casablancas, going back a little Thom Yorke, Luke Prichard of the Kooks, Russell Marsden, James Mercer,  again there’s so many awesome vocalists out there.

RARAs Farm: Do you think the band has matured since the release of The Vinyl Kicks first EP, Almost Young?
Adam Cohen: We’ve definitely matured in every aspect, I think we all just kind of put our influences aside, and played the music we want to play. As to the last record, we did our own thing, but we for sure had our influences in mind a lot more. We all have improved so much as musicians in this past year and I think I’ve matured as a writer. The lyrics in the first record were a lot younger sounding and light hearted. On this record the lyrics are a little played out better, and deeper.

RARAs Farm: What are some of the struggles you faced when putting together Ambitions Don’t Age Well?
Adam Cohen: Ahhh struggles… I know I kind of went off my rocker a little bit to say the least.. I just loved what we had been putting together. We didn’t really go into this record with the intentions of writing another EP. We just had that moment where we decided we need to record these songs; we were making because we loved them, and they were getting really good crowd response when we’d play them live. It just felt right. Going back to what I was saying about me going a little crazy; I was so passionate about this record that when I was going back and writing lyrics, tweaking different parts, I didn’t want this to be a sophomore slump; I wanted this to in our own eyes, and hopefully in the eyes of others for this to be a breakthrough, and transitioning EP as a group. I think we accomplished that for ourselves at least.

RARAs Farm: I noticed that the band has a strong online presence. How has the internet helped to get your sound out there?
Adam Cohen: The internet is everything now-a-days especially if you’re a musician. We promote our music every chance we get. I know for me I get the most fulfillment that people are actually just listening to our stuff, that to me is the coolest part. It’s pretty surreal when I see people at our shows singing our lyrics, and dancing around, but I guess the internet did a lot for us organically, too. It still blows me away when we get random “Likes” on Facebook from people in England, Australia, different parts of South America, I even saw one from the Philippines which I thought was pretty awesome. Technology still continues to blow me away everyday just how much we have to work with. It’s unbelievable.

RARAs Farm: I know you guys have a music video in the works; When will the music video be released and where can we find it?
Adam Cohen: Our music video for our single “Parachute” will be out in late May and it’ll be on YouTube, and Vimeo, and you know we are going to post it to Reddit. We love Reddit. Also it’ll be on our page for everyone’s viewing pleasure.

RARAs Farm: Do you guys have any shows booked or tours coming up to show case the new music?
Adam Cohen: We actually have a lot coming up gearing towards the summer. We are starting our tour with our EP release show June 28th in Miami, FL with Dinosaurs and Disasters, they’re awesome by the way definitely check them out. We are mainly doing the Southeast this summer trying to get up North a little, and out West but we are always down for adventures along the way, so stay posted because there could be a lot of unexpected shows along the way. We post everything on our Facebook page as far as shows, tours, everything and you can find that at facebook.com/thevinylkicks.

RARAs Farm: Tell me something about The Vinyl Kicks that most people don’t know.
Adam Cohen: Oh man… too many things, most people don’t know about our awesome Catapella side project. We kind of keep that to ourselves, You know??

Joey Farese

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The Vinyl Kicks – Ambitions Don’t Age Well

Vinyl Kicks EP Review

The Vinyl Kicks came out with their first EP less than a year ago and fans will be happy to hear that a new release is on the horizon. Their first EP, Almost Young, established The Vinyl Kicks as a band and is still experiencing growing success. However, where Almost Young was good, the band’s upcoming EP, Ambitions Don’t Age Well is great. Listeners will be pleased to hear growth in the band lyrically, vocally, and instrumentally.

The quintet is comprised of Adam Cohen on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Justin Andrews on bass and backup vocals, Hope Finlayson on keys, Sean Acosta on lead guitar, and Jason Davis on drums and backup vocals. A band with so many elements is not easy to manage but the Florida natives, all under the age of twenty three, have great synchronicity, especially on the upcoming EP.

Instrumentally, the EP sounds somewhat reminiscent of Pink Floyd, or rather what I imagine Pink Floyd would sound like if they were born forty years later. Similar to Pink Floyd, The Vinyl Kicks are experimental, they’re groovy, but most of all they’re not afraid to be themselves. Where a lot of current bands are afraid of extended instrumental intros, The Vinyl Kicks tip their hat to Pink Floyd and let their intros take their time, building up sweet anticipation and letting each song unfold as it was meant to.

However, it’s not fair to only compare The Vinyl Kicks to Pink Floyd instrumentally, because they also sound like a lot of other things. At times the EP sounds a lot more like The Strokes than Pink Floyd, yet at other times it can best be compared to The Killers. The band has fused new and old really well on the upcoming EP. They remind me of bands from forty years ago, while simultaneously sounding like current bands. The band seems to have used forty years’ worth of albums as their textbooks and it’s clear they’ve been studying because Ambitions Don’t Age Well sounds like a collection of the best parts of indie rock over the last half decade.

The vocals on the EP are just as good as the instrumentals and I love them for the same reason that I love the instrumentals. They are what they are, and while they may take notes from some of the big names that came before them, at the end of it all they put their own spin on everything they do. At times, the vocals remind me a little of Pink Floyd, The Black Keys and Kings of Leon. Yet, to be honest the vocals on the EP don’t sound enough like the vocals from any of the aforementioned artists to be directly compared to alone. After I listened to the EP for days trying to figure out just who the vocals remind me of, I finally came to the conclusion that while The Vinyl Kicks sound a little like a lot of things, they really only sound like the Vinyl Kicks and their upcoming album is proof of this.

If you didn’t know that Adam Cohen, the lead vocalist had a hand in writing the lyrics, you’d figure it out just by listening to him sing. He has one of those voices that is emotionally in sync with each song and its lyrics. While Cohen has a cool, silky voice through most of the songs, there are parts of the album, like the chorus on “Broaden the Odds,” where he showcases a more raspy tone as he breaks into a yell. This works great for the EP, it’s just one of the subtleties that sets The Vinyl Kicks apart from other bands with a similar sound.

Lyrically, the EP is very poetic. It’s full of songs that show instead of telling. By that I mean that instead of coming right out and saying what they mean, The Vinyl Kicks paint the listener a picture and let the listener feel how they feel. One of my favorite lines is found at the beginning of “Broaden the Odds,” “slow she goes, slow she goes, tie me up some tangled souls.” Lines like this abound throughout the EP and paint abstract art in the listener’s mind. Ambitions Don’t Age Well features powerful enough lyrics that each song could be read in a monotone voice at a poetry event and it would still go over well.

All in all, The Vinyl Kicks have created something truly great on Ambitions Don’t Age Well. Everything about the EP just works – it’s everything their last EP was but better. Whether you’re a fan of the indie rock classics or the genre’s modern day hits, you’ll love Ambitions Don’t Age Well. Do yourself a favor and pick it up when it’s released on iTunes, May 15th of this year; you won’t be disappointed.

Joey Farese

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