“Magnetism” by Vacationer

Philadelphia-based band Vacationer are thrilled to share their new Raman Djafari animated video for “Magnetism,” the track is off the band’s new album Mindset, out this Friday via Downtown Records.

The third full-length from Vacationer, Mindset is built on delicate melodies and crystalline rhythms that seem to alter the very texture of the world around you. Ornately composed but breezy in energy, Vacationer’s warm-hearted dream-pop perfectly mirrors frontman Ken Vasoli’s intentions in making the album.

Ken Vasoli on Mindset:

“The objective was to write songs that remind me how my brain needs to operate for my own wellbeing and happiness,” Vasoli says. “That’s where the title comes from—the record’s filled with all these reminders that put me in a good mindset for the day.”Despite its often-euphoric effect, Mindset began in frustration for Vasoli. After countless false starts on the follow-up to 2014’s Relief, the Philadelphia-based musician decided to completely upend his creative approach. While Vacationer’s previous albums came to life in close collaboration with fellow members Matthew Young and Grant Wheeler, Vasoli shifted his focus from songwriting to production and worked entirely on his own for months on end. During that time, he immersed himself in exploring the nuances of Ableton and analyzing the construction of beloved albums by artists like the Beach Boys, Barry White, and Curtis Mayfield.

“Those albums feel like the magic moments that I’m always chasing after in my own music,” says Vasoli, who co-founded Vacationer in 2010. “It’s such an unbelievable display of production and composition happening at the same time, and it inspired me to keep that integrity of ’60s and ’70s record-making while using the technology that I’d been studying.”

Raman Djafari on “Magnetism”:

My approach to animation is a very sculptural, process driven one. Based on the mood the song induced in me, I started to explore the themes of the video by free associative drawings, quick sketches, experiments with rough animations and a search for color palettes all at the same time, continually feeling out the video from different angles. This way the video always kept changing, scenes suggest themselves during the process by which narratives and meaning started to emerge. The airy and warm sound of “Magnetism” felt like a wholehearted hug, a genuine, uncynical and unbroken embrace between two people. In animating the scenes for the music video, I found a free space to explore these emotions, nurturing them over the months of working on the project, letting them evolve through the relationships that sprouted between the characters. Through the medium of animation, working on Magnetism became an exploration of the beauty that lies in fearlessly loving someone.

When it came time to record, Vacationer paired up with producer Daniel Schlett (selected for his ambitious and masterful work on Ghostface Killah’s 36 Seasons). “I was talking to Daniel about that Ghostface record and how I couldn’t believe there were no samples on it, and he just looked me and said, ‘Oh—you wanna use the studio as an MPC,’” recalls Vasoli, referring to MPCs as “the classic stand-alone sampler and gold standard in beat-making.” Working at Schlett’s Brooklyn studio Strange Weather, Vacationer enlisted a cadre of world-class musicians to offer their interpretations of Vasoli’s demos. “I can only imagine how it felt for Brian Wilson to make Pet Sounds, and I’m not comparing the experiences at all, but I got a taste for what it’s like to see your ideas played out by people with some amazing abilities,” Vasoli says. Once they’d completed those recordings, Vasoli and Schlett assembled the album by merging elements of the live performances with the electronically crafted material from Vasoli’s home studio. “We dismantled everything, then chose what we wanted to use from different sessions,” says Vasoli. “We had a total blast sampling the players, sampling ourselves, and deciding what to leave raw.”

At the end of the years-long process of creating Mindset, Vasoli found himself more self-assured in his artistry. “I used to always feel like I was in over my head, but now I feel so much more empowered to take my ideas and get them down on tape in a way that’s true to what I hear in my mind,” he says. Not only key in shaping the album’s distinct and elegant sound, that sense of self-possession ultimately reflects the essence of Mindset. “A lot of this record is about experiencing things as they happen, and not giving into the pressure of anxiety and depression—especially since those things are so easy to creep up on you,” says Vasoli. “That was a big struggle for me to get out of in the early stages of this album, but then the music I was working on ended up being my solution. My hope is that it works the same way for anyone who hears it.”

Track List
Downtown Records

1. Entrance
2. Magnetism
3. Euphoria
4. Being Here
5. Strawberry Blonde
6. Late Bloomer
7. Turning
8. Hallucinations
9. Romance
10. Blue Dreaming
11. Green
12. Companionship

Vacationer Tour Dates
07.13 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
07.14 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
07.15 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
07.17 – Toronto, ON @ The Drake
07.18 – Columbus, OH @ The Basement
07.19 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
07.20 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Salon
07.21 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
07.22 – Kansas City, MO @ recordBar
07.24 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
07.25 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
07.27 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
07.28 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret
07.29 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
07.31 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
08.02 – Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room
08.03 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
08.04 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah
08.05 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
08.07 – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf
08.09 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
08.10 – Austin, TX @ Antone’s Nightclub
08.11 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall (upstairs)
08.12 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
08.14 – Orlando, FL @ The Social
08.15 – Atlanta, GA @ Vinyl
08.16 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
08.17 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
* all show with SEGO