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Interview: VersaEmerge - 09/04/2009

Jon caught up with VersaEmerge prior to their first ever overseas performance, at this year's Give It A Name Introduces Tour.

The guys spoke to Alter The Press about finally being able to play overseas, touring with Craig Owens, vocalist Sierra being a part of the Keep-A-Breast Foundation, being signed to Fueled By Ramen, working on their full release and more.

Alter The Press: You're about to play your first show outside of the US/Canada, how does it feel?
VE: We are so excited! It's great. We didn't know what to expect coming over here actually; we've played Canada twice, and kids went nuts, so we hope it's like that here. Thinking about coming over here, this is exactly how we envisioned it. (Sierra puts on an English accent at this point) Cobblestones, horses and what not!

ATP: How did you guys get booked for the Give It A Name Festival and Introduces Tour 2009?
VE: This tour is a Johnny Phillips tour, (owner of SJM Concerts - main concert promoter in the UK), and Johnny Phillips likes our band! He wanted to bring us over here, and it was a nice favour. We can feel the reception is going to be great and it's an honour to be on this tour, as a lot of bands have broken out on this tour, so it's great.

ATP: Do you know any of the other bands on this bill?
VE: We've never personally met any of them but we've listened to Lights and Whole Wheat Bread but we are excited to be on this tour. (Sierra) I used to go to Whole Wheat Bread shows all the time in Florida.

ATP: Any plans on how to spend you're downtime over here?
VE: We have one day off, no plans as of yet, but our tour manager Mike has a few things. We might go see castles and cool shops. It sucks to be in a new city every night, as you don't have time to do anything. It's so different over here, as the scenery is so much nicer here compared to America; you only see truck stops, golf courses, mountains, deserts and it gets old especially in the Midwest when its mostly corn fields. (Sierra) I haven't seen cows before, only sheep over here.

ATP: So you've been to the UK before?
VE: (Sierra) Yes, my step dad is from England and he brought me over here to see his family in Wales.

ATP: There are so many female fronted bands getting exposure at the moment such as: Hey Monday, Lights and you guys. How does it feel to be a part of this?
VE: (Sierra) For me, it's awesome as I've always looked up to female fronted bands and dreamt of doing this one day. When kids look up to me saying I inspire them, it's awesome and makes me think, 'How did I get myself into this? It's amazing!'

ATP: Who have been you're favorite female bands when growing up?
VE: (Sierra) I loved No Doubt. Gwen Stefani rocked my world. I loved The Cardigans and The Cranberries. I love Paramore, I saw Hayley once (Williams - vocalist) and she is amazing.

ATP: How does it feel to release your first EP on such an established label as Fueled By Ramen?
VE: Ridiculous and unbelievable. Our lives have changed overnight drastically. When the EP came out, it gave us a big push because you can buy it any Hot Topic (US alternative clothing/music stores) and done a good job promoting us in different magazines. They are working really hard for us, and we managed to be on tour with We The Kings, The Maine, The Color Fred, Craig Owens and we get to play Warped Tour this year. We used to play shows before where only 10 kids would turn up to one of our shows, not getting paid, so now it's pretty amazing.

ATP: When can we expect a full release?
VE: We are going to be writing all this year, when touring the EP, and will probably hit the studio at the end of the year so it should come out very early, first quarter next year. We are thinking of January, maybe February, if some people don't do their jobs!

ATP: Favourite song to play live?
VE: 'Whisper', but 'Clocks' is great.

ATP: What was it like being on tour with Craig Owens? (Lead singer of Chiodos)
VE: It was fun as it was smaller clubs, indie crowds and more kids that examine music, being amazed. It was intimate crowds so it felt like we got a chance to know everybody at the shows.

ATP: Biggest influences?
VE: (Blake) I'm really into movie soundtracks, film scoring, so I try and incorporate that as much as possible, like composers such as Danny Elfman who do really dramatic movies. But we have different influences from different things, not just bands. I love Muse, Imogen Heap and Bjork. (Anthony) We like all kinds of music, but as a band we try not and take influence from other band's music at all. We try and stick to our natural roots of playing.

ATP: (For Sierra) You're involved with the Keep-A-Breast Foundation?
VE: Newly involved. It was weird because I've never been a fan of 'breast cancer this' and 'breast cancer that,' but it's a big deal. They approached me and were interested. I read up on it and thought it was cool, as it was laid back with shirts saying 'I love boobies!' It's goofy, I thought it was cool so I decided to do it, and mould my breasts and put them on display at Warped Tour this year.

ATP: What are you guys currently listening to on your iPods?
VE: Muse, Radiohead, The Receiving End Of Sirens, Frou Frou, Bjork, Deer Hunter, Thrice, Parkway Drive, Bring Me The Horizon, Amy Winehouse, Comeback Kid and Kanye West's new album.

ATP: What is planned for the rest of the year?
VE: Tour, working on the full length and hopefully more opportunities will present themselves to us and we'll just keep going non-stop. We have a long way to go.

ATP: Have there been talks already about coming back to the UK?
VE: Yes! We have been talking about it. If we don't find something to do amazing in the US in the fall, we'll do something amazing over here. There are a lot of different countries out there but America and here seem to be very popular. Somebody said about doing something in Japan, which would be unbelievable. Between 2009-2010, hopefully everyone in the world will have a chance to see us at least once.

ATP: If you weren't in VersaEmerge, what would you guys be doing?
VE: (Sierra) Probably in high school, then moving to New York as a theatre student trying to be a Broadway star. (Devin) Going to school wearing kaki shorts, wearing a polo shirt and having a shaved head! Sitting in school not rocking out. The only thing weird about it is that I'd see my soul dying inside of me. (Jerry) I was learning to be an attorney before being in the band so probably doing that. (Devin) Probably going to music school. (Blake) Doing film scores.

VersaEmerge's self-titled EP is out now on Fueled By Ramen.

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