Sharp-tongued Floridian pop-rockers with a keen eye for a belting melody.
Currently on tour with We The Kings (okay, they have a couple of dates left) VersaEmerge have been making a lot of friends during their brief stint in the UK.
Sierra Kusterbeck, Blake Harnage and Devin Ingelido are one of those bands who seem like they're destined to succeed - dudes can write one hell of a catchy song, Kusterbeck is one hell of an engaging frontwoman and they're part of the Fuelled By Ramen family. But is that a bad thing? We say one big fat no.
We caught up with Kusterbeck to talk inspiration, family and staying in the spotlight. For more on VersaEmerge, check out the new issue of Rock Sound, onsale now from WHSmith and all good newsagents. Or you can click here and get it delivered straight to your door.
What's your motivation for being in a band? Self-expression is all well and good but there must be a reason why you choose to get up on a stage and spend your life in a van...
“I was drawn to the freedom of it. At the time I was in high school in a strict, time-consuming art program. I had musical theatre, acting, music theory and vocal classes every day, I had after-school rehearsals until 6 then went to dance classes from 7- 9. My life was a routine. I was doing it because my main goal in life was to be in the spotlight; some way, some how I would be heard. But soon the routine caused me to want to break out and be more myself so a band was a perfect fit. ”
Fueled By Ramen is seen as something of a family – is it really like that when you're part of the label? And are there family disagreements?
”It is a family, and of course there are disagreements – that’s how life works. But things are compromised and that's what makes them a great label. ”
VersaEmerge - 'Figure It Out' by RockSoundMagazine
Which bands do you see as part of your lineage? Like, if Band X from the past hadn't existed then you guys would lose a significant part of your influences...
”if Björk or Muse never existed we might be very different.”
Aside from music, where do you take inspiration from?
”Images. I'm very visual and what I see sparks ideas for words, topics and general moods that i want to touch up on.”
There are too many bands around nowadays: discuss.
”I could say I hate it, but then again we're just another young band working hard to make it and swear we have something different to offer. However I do feel a lot of bands are multiplying like bunnies – jumpy, cute, dumb bunnies that shit everywhere. Clearly a carbon copy of the same old sugary-sweet pre-teen bull. Promo pictures of playing beer pong or jumping in the air with glitter as they each flash a comical expression displaying their individual personalities oh-so well. If I showed this picture to my mum and said, ‘This is my favorite band!’ she would laugh and throw a Led Zeppelin CD at my head. Like my mother, I can't take it seriously. I would never bash on the people in these bands, but I’ll be the first one to say I'm not the least bit interested in the music they make. Even band names have become completely meaningless, good musicianship is rare and lyrics are empty. But then again this is my opinion. If someone listens to these bands and it helps them or changes their life then music is still doing its job... or this generation has become really dull.”
VersaEmerge - 'Fixed At Zero' by RockSoundMagazine
And here's an acoustic version of 'Fixed At Zero'. Badass.