Back in April, I put together a list of my favorite bands in Milwaukee. Amid the list of talent was The Vitrolum Republic. Witnessing their performance at Sofar Sounds: Milwaukee and being able to open for them at Bay View music series Chill On The Hill, I was easily made a fan.
The group recently released their latest album, For the Lovespun Ramblings and Ghosts in our Shoes. Violinist, Jordan Waraksa, answered a few questions regarding the new tracks and the future of the band.
Midwest Action: Can you elaborate on the story behind “Dom-Prevotchka,” the first track on the album, as well as the non-English lyrics?
Jordan Waraksa: Every city is like an island. If you don’t bring it here, you ain’t gonna find it here. We love our Milwaukee, and hate to hear our fellow citizens complain of the lack of something here or second rate mindset. We wanted to create an anthem that would inspire us all to “go” and “do” that which is missing. When it came time to sing lyrics over the chorus of our song, the syllables came to me right away with the right power and delivery, but I wasn’t sure what I had just sang were words to any language. I remember phonetically writing it all out, to decipher what I was singing. It had an eastern European sound to it (like some of our music does), so I decided to keep this made up string of syllables. With repetition, intent, and the power of the instruments supporting, the meaning of this lyric would never be exact to each listener, but could ultimately be universal in interpretation.
MWA: Most of the band’s members play numerous instruments. What are your musical backgrounds? Do you currently or have you in the past played with other bands?
JW: Nick (accordion) and I (violin) grew up (we are brothers) learning classical music. We have performed with many orchestras and ensembles both nationally and internationally, but never anything we called “a band” until we were twenty somethings. The Vitrolum Republic has been an ever evolving project since that first day we both closed the books on our music stands and started to compose together. As a duo, our first songs were opuses of heart-felt lyrics and classical instrumentation.
We met Chuck (bass) right about the time we finished our very first record, and he had a great depth in music from a very different angle. He learned bass through his father, played in loud rock bands, and was highly proficient in sound production and audio equipment. Before meeting Chuck, Nick and I didn’t own a microphone, nor know how to use any audio equipment. Chuck was the exact piece that Nick & I were missing, helping us get our imagined color fields onto the canvas.
After making a full record as a trio, we debuted our album and met our next member the very same night, Benjamin (percussion). He has added an experience and gravitas to our band. He had toured, been signed to a record label, and experienced the positives and negatives of the music biz before even meeting the rest of us. His approach this time seemed to be all about making music for all the right reasons. He is now a driving force to this band, feeding it with integrity and resulting in enjoyment.
MWA: What are your goals for the band? Anywhere you would like to play that you haven’t already?
JW: We would like to have the best possible musical experiences performing and recording music. It sounds vague, but the magic of music is in the moment. The right room, the right mood, the right people are all it takes to be fulfilled musically. We hope to capture the attention of all who resonate with our kind of sound, and play wherever they would like us to play.
The Vitrolum Republic will be releasing their album in physical form at Company Brewing on Friday, November 6th ($8, 21+, 10pm) with Grasping At Straws.