An edgy, electro/synth rock band with an infectious 80’s new-wave vibe, Culture Wars is comprised of Mic Vredenburgh, Alex Dugan and David Grayson. The Austin-based trio have cultivated a radio-ready sound that will no doubt appeal to today’s masses. They recently released their debut, self-titled EP with production by Robert Sewell and mixing by Alan Moulder (The Killers, Nine Inch Nails) and Manny Marroquin (Kanye West, Imagine Dragons) on August 11th. Listen to their track “Money (Gimmie, Gimmie)” from the release embedded below.
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SunCity Paradise: We’d like to talk about the places you’ve been, the things you’ve seen and how that has influenced your carrier as a musician. Why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about where you’re from? Where would you send a first-time visitor to get a true sense of your state?
Mic Vredenburgh: I’m lucky to have lived many different places growing up, including all around Texas and Southern California, but El Paso, TX is my hometown. West Texas has a very special quality, as it has wide open spaces and beautiful sunsets. I think that is why so many artists are attracted to it. I would tell someone visiting to go explore that part of the state.
SCP: Constantly creating music and traveling to promote it must be such a great feeling. What’s the most impactful and meaningful part you cherish about it? Does the traveling help inspirationally?
MV: Yes, it’s a great feeling! The most exciting part for me is meeting people and sharing a musical experience with them. I think the coolest feeling a musician can experience is knowing that you’re connecting with an audience on a deeper level, even if they’re complete strangers. I think that should always be the main goal of any traveling musician, regardless of genre or instrument. Traveling absolutely helps me inspirationally, and we have often cited specific places as the catalyst for certain musical ideas. One of those places was Sonic Ranch outside of El Paso.
SCP: Your first release was your self-titled EP, which included the single “Money (Gimmie Gimmie)”. How do you feel it’s been received?
MV: I’ve been very happy with the way it’s been received. It’s definitely one of our edgier songs, but I like to think that it still has a sense of playfulness, despite it’s aggressive character. I’m glad it was our first release. I’m very excited to play it live, because it is a riff-based song, and that’s always fun for the guitar player.
SCP: How does music and travel complement and go hand-in-hand with each other?
MV: I think it has more to do with that aspect of sharing that I mentioned earlier. It’s definitely possible to just write music and never show it to anybody, but that wouldn’t be much fun. That’s why it’s so rewarding to travel and show it to as many people as possible in many different places.
SCP: When searching for a personal getaway, are you looking for a serene beach, up in the mountains somewhere or in a city?
MV: That’s a tough one! I’m definitely a beach person and a lifelong surfer, but I’ve also spent many summers and winters in southern Colorado with my family, so mountains mean a lot to me. I try to rotate them if I can, but I’m usually partial to the beach so I can surf. Either setting is a great location to let go of the daily grind and be in the presence of something bigger than yourself.
SCP: One of our core objectives at SCP is to bring people together while traveling, not only to influence people to see and appreciate our beautiful world, but to also minimize cross-cultural divides. What effect does traveling around music have on humans in this regard? How has it broadened your perspective of the world?
MV: Great question! Music has a tendency to bring people together and to facilitate an appreciation of each other’s heritage. I think this is primarily due to the fact that music has been so deeply ingrained in most cultures for hundreds, or even thousands, of years. When I travel to New Orleans, Mexico or Hawaii, I usually find myself falling in love with local culture and people, at least partially, through my interest in their musical heritage.
SCP: Everyone has a list of places they want to see but haven’t yet. What are three destinations that you still need to hit? Why?
MV: I definitely want to go to Asia, because I haven’t been yet. It would be amazing to play in Japan. The thought of a European tour sounds very exciting too. I’ve actually never spent time in Paris or London, so that definitely needs to happen. It would also be really cool to travel in South America to experience Brazil and Peru.
SCP: Most destinations have a festival that they’re known for, whether it’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Oktoberfest in Munich. Which one would you choose to attend?
MV: I would love to go to all of them, but I’d have to choose Mardi Gras in New Orleans first, because I’ve never experienced Mardi Gras, even though I’ve been to New Orleans before. I love New Orleans and the people there, so it would be awesome to be there for that.
SCP: When you’re relaxing on a beach or just have some downtime what music are you listening to?
MV: I grew up playing and listening to a lot of classical music, and I actually still listen to it quite a bit when I’m relaxing. Things like Beethoven Symphonies and Brahms’ chamber music. Most of my favorite records have a relaxing effect on me, even if I’ve heard them hundreds of times. Those would include “Kid A” by Radiohead and “Sticky Fingers” by the Rolling Stones.
SCP: Lastly, what’s next for you and the band? Any vacations coming up?
MV: I actually have been traveling a lot over the summer, mainly in Mexico and Colorado, so I think I might stay put in Austin for a little while. Other than that, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what concert dates pop up this fall and going to some new places.