“… The lo-fi pop sound of The Airplanes fits in perfectly with the image of a bright, sunny day on a West Coast beach, ice cold glass bottle Cherry Coke in one hand and a carefree spirit in the other.”
By Caleb Hennington
The do-it-yourself, or DIY, approach to music is always a risky one. The DIY musician has to completely write, record and produce his/her music alone; a job that normally requires at least eight or more people. But the pros of DIY can greatly outnumber the cons, giving the musician complete freedom and control over the creative process.
Joshua Vest, a local Fayetteville musician, has been utilizing the DIY approach to write and record his lo-fi indie pop project The Airplanes since June 2012.
“The idea kind of came out of old ‘60s garage pop songs, and it was kind of an idea to put out two to three minute little pop songs and see what happened,” Vest said. “So I uploaded a couple of demos last June and eventually put out my first six track EP in October.”
A sound that’s a mixture of fellow lo-fi bands Wavves and Best Coast, the lo-fi pop sound of The Airplanes fits in perfectly with the image of a bright, sunny day on a West Coast beach, ice cold glass bottle Cherry Coke in one hand and a carefree spirit in the other.
Vest chose to do everything himself rather than with a full band because of the convenience of DIY and the ability to control all aspects of the writing process. However, Vest has run into some barriers with his approach.
“Playing shows is something that I need to get on the ball with, and recruiting a lineup to play live has also been difficult,” Vest said. “My original plan was to get a few guys together, and try to play some shows in the spring and summer, but then Manic Pop Records offered to release my second EP on vinyl, so I set aside trying to get a band together to focus on writing and recording.”
Manic Pop Records, an indie record label based out of Minnesota, specializes in unique pop bands from across the world, from right here in America to across the pond in the U.K. and Greece. Vest said he got connected with the label through sites such as Soundcloud, Birp.fm (Best indie rock playlist), and various music blogs.
“Those sites created a little buzz around the Internet, on various blogs, and Manic Pop sort of picked me up from there,” Vest said.
When not writing and recording his own music, Vest teaches sophomore English at Bentonville High School during the week. With a creative writing degree from the U of A, Vest has been able to use his English background to aid him in the writing process as well.
“I try to use my background in English exclusively with music. I think the two things go hand in hand and it will hopefully help me become a better writer of songs.”
Although Vest doesn’t religiously promote his music while at work, he has received some recognition from students and other teachers at BHS.
“Some students have heard my music by way of the Internet, or through other teachers here, and will come up to me and say ‘Hey, are you The Airplanes?’” Vest said. “So, it’s been kind of awesome having it work that way, and hopefully it will catch on pretty soon.”
Vest has had to learn to balance his teaching career with his musical career, but hopes that now since school has finished for the year he will have more time to “buckle down” and try to get some music released.
Vest also hopes to get a full band put together sometime in the near future.
“I’d really like to start playing in and around the Fayetteville area very soon, and hopefully some this summer. A four-piece band would probably work the best, but it would be really cool to throw a lot of people on stage as well.”
Vest has plans to start working on a third EP and possibly a full length album this summer, and said he is working on a few ideas right now for some new songs.
The Airplanes can be found on Soundcloud at souncloud.com/the-airplanes, and “Jingle Jangle,” the band’s second EP, can be purchased on vinyl at the Manic Pop Records online store.