VAYNS: The universe aligned us together

Photo by Cody Otte
Experimental hip hop and R&B is coursing through VAYNS. The project combines the talents of two genre-busting locals, Botzy (Culture Cry Wolf) and vocalist/producer MunQs. Each song off their self-titled EP -- which features guest spots from Ashley DuBose and Sophia Eris -- was created in the moment, and their progress has been just as spontaneous. Saturday's performance at the Best Love is Free is their first, and could be their last.

Gimme Noise caught up with Botzy and MunQs (real names Adam Botsford and Corey Lawson, respectively) before their show at First Avenue to see what drew them together to create the project and to discuss the Best Love is Free.

Gimme Noise: How did this collaboration come together?

Botzy: Personally, I have been a fan of MunQs for a long time and had wanted to collaborate for a while. I had a sense that our vocals would work well together, but my schedule was always too crazy to properly reach out. Towards the end of the summer, I recall a few nights that the universe aligned us together. After that, it was all systems go!

MunQs: Totally. I had seen Botzy perform numerous times, and the energy he brings is infectious. Once we were finally able to chisel out a week to make stuff, it came together pretty naturally.

Gimme Noise: You say that what you have cultivated in VAYNS differs from both of your prior projects. Why do you think so?

Botzy: My approach to VAYNS was to intentionally not focus on an approach. I tried to not overthink anything, and have as few barriers as possible between my brain and mouth. Plus, Corey [MunQs] and I were building entire songs -- production, structure, concepts -- all in one evening. All of these things created a unique end product, in my personal opinion.

unQs: This was different for me in that I was able to focus solely on making the instrumentals (and singing the occasional hook). Beyond that though, really I think this sound is just kind of like our common ground. It's where his words and my sounds meet.

Gimme Noise: Why do you feel this need to stretch outside your musical boundaries? Do you feel like this is a constant need?

Botzy: I push myself in everything I do and always try to take on things that will assist in my growth as a human, as well as an artist. VAYNS pushed me by connecting the two -- the artist and the human. One of my best, and sometimes worst, traits is my drive, so it's safe to say this is a constant need for me.

MunQs: I think the only way for me to be happy making art is by constantly trying new things and taking new approaches. If I ever get stuck making the same thing over and over again, knowing me, I'll probably get really bored with it.

Gimme Noise: How do you feel you grew with this project?

This project brought me back to my roots. Everything was recorded on our own equipment and in our living spaces. I had forgotten that I could create anything at any moment; this was huge. I'll always remember VAYNS as the project responsible for breaking down my walls -- in the best way imaginable.

MunQs: From a compositional standpoint, I think VAYNS reignited my focus on rhythms. It's had me actually zoning in on how people move when they hear a certain pattern and seeing how I might be able to emulate that. It's provided yet another method of understanding music and how it communicates with the listener.

Gimme Noise: You have featured a couple of strong female musicians (Ashley DuBose and Sophia Eris) on a few tracks. How do you feel their contributions changed the feel of the songs? Was it written with them in mind?

Botzy: Every VAYNS song was made on the spot, and in the moment. So the songs featuring Ashley and Sophia, it's just as much their song as it is ours. I'm talking production, concept, recording -- they built these songs with us and less about being made with them in mind.

MunQs: Sophia and Ashley were amazing to work with. They are both so damn talented and chill and just beautiful humans. We wouldn't have been able to make these songs without them.

Gimme Noise: Any favorite tracks off the album? 

Botzy: I can't pick a favorite. The VAYNS EP is something to be consumed as a whole, in my opinion.

MunQsHaha. I'd have to agree with Botzy on this. I think the narrative structure of the EP kind of requires it being listened to as a whole.

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