David Gasten, producer of This is Vintage Now, kindly sent me a message asking to collaborate. In an effort to spread the word about his music compilation, I agreed to have him introduce this wonderful compilation to you all! I am a big fan of both vintage and music, so I thought it’d be appropriate to have him on here. David also shows an outspoken support for good ole’ feminine modest wear—a real-life “Mad Man.” Go ahead and read about his interesting fashion take on the burlesque vs. classy look. Don’t forget to listen to some sample clips from his compilation below.
Without further ado, please welcome David of This is Vintage Now:
First of all, what is This is Vintage Now, and what do you think sets this apart from all the other modern compilations reliving the musical past?
David: Well, I would kindly, gently say that what makes This Is Vintage Now different is that it doesn’t relive the musical past. This is Vintage Now is the first ever full-length compilation album that brings together Vintage-style artists that adapt older sounds to today in a way that is true to the spirit of the original sound, but is re-engineered a bit to resonate with today’s listeners. The artists on the compilation aren’t stuck in this nostalgia trip, and they don’t dilute their music with punk, hip-hop, or techno. They completely connect with today, hence the term “Vintage Now.”
Ever since the American Graffiti movie in 1973, there have been many, many attempts to revive the cultural Golden Era that ran from the 1940’s through the mid-1960’s. The nascent Vintage movement had its breakthrough in the UK this year, and I think it will be the biggest and best of all those revivals. This is Vintage Now introduces the musical arm of the new Vintage movement in a way that is genuinely satisfying and has this electric “What’s going to happen next?” excitement to it. It’s been a long time since new music has had that innocent, tingly sense of magic to it, and I think I can say that that excitement is back with this compilation!
As far as who is on the album, oh gosh, we have a fantastic roster of artists! We’ve got a 2009 recording from living Jump Blues legend Big Jay McNeely; we have Dutch chanteuse Caro Emerald, who has gone four times platinum in Holland and is taking the rest of Europe by storm as we speak; we’ve got the modern Exotica group The Waitiki 7; we’ve got the classic jazz singer Beverly Kenney, the Halloween jazz group The Necro-Tonz—it’s just an amazing set of artists all across the board. Who needs the rock star pestilence when you’ve got This is Vintage Now?
You’ve mentioned that listening to music is a different experience for women than it is for men. What do you think that difference is and how does This is Vintage Now respond to that difference?
David: That’s a big question and a good one too! It took me a long time to understand this, but I finally figured out that just as men and women shop differently, they also listen to music differently. In shopping, men hunt and women forage. In music, the guys pick out the music and the girls dance to it. For girls, music is an emotional experience and is an element of a larger social experience. They don’t really care about all the nerdy nitpickies like release dates and what album what song is on or whatever. If it makes them feel happy or attractive or loved within that larger cultural setting, they’ll be grooving away to it.
Guys are usually the ones that are the explorers. Guys like the group experience too, but they’ll also be the lone wolves that go out and hunt down the rare, unknown music. Also guys are more likely to want to have an intimate understanding of the discography details and the story surrounding the music. It’s kind of like guys’ interest in maps I think. Girls generally don’t care about the map, they want to get in the car with the guy, put the top down, and crank the music while the guy drives them to some exciting unknown destination.
With This is Vintage Now, there’s this sense that guys and girls are coming together in the music. It gives girls an outlet to be ladies and glamorous and cute and seek attention from guys. It gives the guys the chance to meet and interact with the girls, but also gives them some depth and a bigger story that they can sink their teeth into on their own time. The compilation has an even number of lady performers and gentleman performers, so it reflects that 1:1 boy-to-girl ratio that every good dance or cocktail party should have. Atop that, the girls in the compilation are girly and sexy, and the guys are masculine, so you have that affirmation of “ladies and gentlemen” that is a core value of the Vintage movement.
Talking about the Vintage culture in general from music to clothing styles, what can you say about it? Do we do it authentically, or are there still some things badly unrepresentative?
I absolutely love the fact that the ladies are taking the lead and setting the groundwork for the Vintage movement via the fashion/lifestyle blogging and the Vintage resale phenomena. What I see growing is a really fascinating DIY (do it yourself) fashion trend where ladies are mixing and matching things from different periods without worrying about being a slave to the decade. The goal for these gals is to put together a great outfit from all these puzzle pieces, which is so much more interesting than looking to the pompous bullies in the fashion industry to tell you what to do—it’s really what fashion should be about anyway. Is it authentic? In the strict sense, no, but in the sense that it has soul and spirit and carries on with the Vintage vibe in its own way, absolutely it is.
The thing I think is badly unrepresentative is the amount of pin-up and burlesque that you see. Frankly, there’s waaay too much of it and it’s incredibly boring and trite. It’s so condescending to guys; it assumes that we guys can’t look an inch past our libidos. “Hey, stupid caveman, we know you don’t like Vintage, so here’s some eye candy! You like? Good! Now buy our stuff, dummy!” And this stupid Bettie Page obsession in particular has got to go. These masses of girls that are all trying to be Bettie Page with tattoos have no idea what clones they are. What girl in the 1950’s even knew who Bettie Page was, let alone wanted to be like that? Come on now. Girls wanted to be like Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe or Lauren Bacall, not like some softcore porn model in a creepy men’s magazine.
This is where blogs like à la Modest are so important and needed. We need a much higher representation of the chic, classy, “look but don’t touch” couture that was the real aesthetic of the period. You’ve probably heard fashion designer Edith Head’s quote that dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady. To me, that is so much more attractive than this bawdy, clichéd, self-centered desperation for attention that the nudie crowd is trying to foist upon the Vintage audience. I personally just yawn and tell them to put their clothes on.
To those interested, where can we find This is Vintage Now?
David: The album is not yet released; we are trying to place it with the right labels in different regions of the world, and are also looking for sponsors that can underwrite some of our promotional and administrative costs. Follow us in the This is Vintage Now Facebook Page and/or our ReverbNation site, and we will keep you updated on our progress.
Right now I have a prerelease download of This is Vintage Now that is only available to bloggers and industry people, so if you are a blogger or write for some other publication and would like to do a feature or review of This is Vintage Now, email me at davidgasten(AT)yahoo and we’ll go from there. Thanks and keep it Vintage!
Disclaimer: Please be aware that I am not responsible for anything that may be associated with This is Vintage Now contrary to the content of this interview, especially in regard to sexual display. This also applies to any of my music reviews and recommendations. You just never know.