Modern Day Escape: A Few Words with James Vegas

Fresh off the road after a tour with Wednesday 13 and Aiden, vocalist James Vegas of up and coming band Modern Day Escape took a few minutes' rest to talk about the new album, the band's rising star, and what it takes to live the rock and roll dream.
M. Drew: You're just about to wrap up a tour with Wednesday 13 and Aiden. How's it been out on the road? Have the crowds been good, and where were your favorite places to play?
James Vegas: The crowd's been very welcoming so far. It was a little slow to start but something happened when we hit Tempe, Arizona…all the crazy ass fans came out to play and we loved it. The crazier and more pumped the crowds are, the harder we rock. My favorite places to play are Denver, Colorado because it’s cheaper to get drunk out there cause of the altitude and Austin, Texas is fun, there’s lots of college kids there that wanna rage cage and Seattle, Washington because the coffee is delicious the fans are amazing and it’s so dreary cause of the weather…I feel like I’m in Gotham City or something and I wanna loom the streets and solve crimes and shit.
MD: I think when most people hear "out on tour," they get a vision of posh buses and luxurious amenities. Can you shed some light on what life on the road is really like? Do you enjoy it?
JV: I fucking love it. I was born for the road there is nothing glitz and glamour about being a touring musician. This shit ain’t for the faint of heart. If you’re not willing sacrifice anything and everything for this life then just stay at home and steal records off the ‘net. It’s way easier than making them.
MD: You have a new album debuting right over the horizon - how much rest do you have scheduled between tour runs, and how extensive will your next tour be? Do you think your batteries will be charged enough for another run?
JV: We have a little bit of time off now to shoot the two music videos we are filming here in ‘Hollyweird’. Other than that we don’t want to take much time off between tours anymore so we are trying to schedule it so we’re busy 24/7. We will sleep when we’re dead.
MD: Your name is becoming increasingly large in music circles, do you feel like you've "arrived" yet? If so, was there a moment when you knew the dream was within reach?
JV: I see that MDE's name is getting more known nowadays, which is bad ass but we are nowhere close to where we wanna be. There is much more work to be done. We will be the first band on the moon.
MD: For your new album, talk about what new fans can expect and what old fans will hear that they've never heard from you before?
JV: Our fans can expect a solid ass rocking record. We took a year on this thing and I know they will love it. I pushed myself beyond my vocal limits and my band wrote some amazing tunes for me to go all out on, like "Tigers Blood". All I know is that new and old fans cannot be disappointed with this record because we are not.
MD: What are your hopes and dreams for this album? Is this is a stepping stone for you, and what do you want to see listeners take away from the experience?
JV: I feel this record is definitely a stepping stone for MDE. We kept our edge but showed a more real side of ourselves as musicians. We are growing up as people and we wrote more grown up, relatable music. If they take anything from this record, I want them to take what means the most to them, whatever it may be. This record was for our fans as much as it was for us.
MD: What was the writing process for this new effort like? How did the songs come together, and how did the recording process work?
JV: Jesus, what a fiasco it was. I had personally three songs written vocally out of the seventeen songs we did. I was extremely unprepared for this record; I was going through a tough time in my personal life and it didn’t leave me with a lot of time to write. The guys wrote all the music and I went in and basically wrote the record vocally on the spot in two days, it was insane. I opened my mouth and didn’t stop for forty-nine hours until we wrapped. But it was an experience I’ll never forget.

MD: Musically, Modern Day Escape is all over the place. With a sound that draws from a lot of different elements, what kind of inspirations do you draw from, both inside and outside music? What bands or musicians do you admire?
JV: Yeah, our band has always been like that. We haven’t really locked ourselves into any genre and it only gets more hectic with the new record. It’s awesome. I love that there are too many great bands out there to get stuck with one sound. As for admiration or influences musically, I’d say Boston, The Cure, Freddy Mercury, 30 Seconds to Mars, and so many others, it’s insane.
MD: Part of the scene that’s evolving in rock and metal relies heavily on on-stage appearance. How much work do you put into the visuals of both the stage and the band, and how do you want to be perceived?
JV: On stage we just kinda go up there and do whatever we want, and play on the fly. We are tightening up our sound live every tour. Image-wise, we just wear what we have in our closets that match each other. We don’t have many clothes, we actually shop a lot at thrift stores. We’re a rock band, not a bunch of clowns…the less time we spend getting ready the more time we have to rock and party. As for how people perceive us, that's on them. We are who we are and we try and be as good as people as we can and have as much fun as we can. Nothing matters, you can come back from anything.
MD: Your sound (both from you and some of your labelmates,) is gaining in popularity. To what do you attribute the increasing audience, and do you see yourself as the vanguard of a rock resurgence?
JV: If that is really going on, then "America! Fuck yeah.” As for a leader among men in the rock or metal world, sure who doesn’t wanna be a King Leonidas of rock and roll. Is that me? I have no fucking clue. I’m just doin’ me, and I’m gonna keep on doin’ my thing.
MD: Given the themes of your songs like "March of the Dead," "For the Horde," "One Way to Kill a Werewolf," etc, is it safe to assume that you gentlemen (and lady) are fans of horror?
JV: I’m a huge horror film fan personally. I mean, I do have Lucian from Underworld and Freddy Krueger tattooed on my leg. As for horror movies I’ve seen lately, I really haven’t had time, being on the road and writing the new record. I will say almost all the scary movie remakes have been amazing as well as “House of Wax” and “Amityvile Horror.”
MD: How did you come to be a horror fan? What are some of your memories of the genre, and what are the themes you really enjoy?
JV: I remember sitting with my mom and watching “Nightmare on Elm Street” when I was a little kid, eating fruit loops and being so pumped when Freddy would claw someone’s face off or make blood shoot out everywhere all over a bathroom or a bed. I’ve always liked fictional horror films. Movies like “Hostel” and “SAW” kinda stress me out because they could really happen.

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