Video Age Are Ready To Share Their Timeless Sounds

Video Age interview with Northern Transmissions by David Saxum
Video Age photo by Horation Baltz

As the anticipation builds for Video Age’s upcoming album, “Away From The Castle,” set to drop on October 27th, fans and music enthusiasts alike are in for a treat that’s bound to transcend the boundaries of time and genre.

Ahead of their North American and European tour, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with Ross Farbe and Ray Micarelli, the dynamic duo behind Video Age, to delve into the creative process behind their latest musical endeavor. The synergy between these two talented musicians is as apparent as ever, and our conversation offered fascinating insights into the inspiration and innovation driving their sound.

Northern Transmissions: I listened to the album. It’s phenomenal. Do you guys want to talk about the album a little bit?

Ross: No, yeah, we’re down for whatever. We can talk about the album.

Ray; We were just talking about it actually. Because we’re listening to it for the first time on vinyl right now.

Northern Transmissions: It’s always fun to pick up the vinyls from shows. I think it’s awesome that that’s now kind of a standard in band merch. It’s been three years since your last album and you guys went to a cabin in Louisiana, right? And just kind of started working on this. What was the motivation to get back to it?

Ross: I think it was just time. We didn’t ever fully take a break, like really put down the music. We were just taking our time finding what we wanted to make next, I think.

Ray: Yeah, like we were kind of stuck and that we wanted to do something new. The last album we made before, Pleasure Line, was pretty much all done in Ross’s living room, and very much like 80s R&B funk inspired.

So we wanted to do something different, and we had some songs but no direction for them, really. And so we really just needed the time and the space to do it and the focus, and we had never recorded on location. We all just thought like, oh, that’s such a fun thing to do, like bands go out in the woods and record. It’s like, you know, you don’t need to make such a fuss. But it was really worth it. We figured out why people do that, because you can really get in the groove.

Ross: It was great. We cooked a lot. We were in Cajun country, so we went to the butcher shop and got the most incredible smoked meats and sausages and made delicious food and drank coffee on the screened in porch. We did a lot of hanging out and some music making too. It was a really great balance.

Ray: And then we finished the album, we got half of it done there, and we brought it back to New Orleans, and then that’s where we are now in Ross’s home studio. So we fleshed it out here. So it was a great combination of the two. We’re listening to it now. And at the time, you’re like, this is so different from what we’ve ever done. But listening to it now, we’re like, oh yeah, it’s a nice progression.

Northern Transmissions: So do you guys feel that this is an evolution in your career then? As well as maturing as artists and as individuals?

Ray: Yeah, I’m really proud of it. And yeah, we wrote songs to each other, kind of for each other too, which was really fun to do.

Northern Transmissions Did you know that beforehand going into it or was it kind of like you came to it and you’re like, “Hey Ross I got a song for you.” And he’s like “No way, I have a song for you too.”

Ross: We didn’t plan it. Exactly.

Ray: No we didn’t plan it, essentially relying on each other, going through such a crazy and unsure time. And it’s great to, I think, we just zoned it in on ourselves and our partnership. And it was nice to hear that, to have mutual belief in each other. It was nice.

Northern Transmissions It seems like you guys are really tight knit which I think comes through in your music. Obviously as you know people that have close personal relationships there’s disagreements that come up. So how is that something that you guys handle or work through?

Ross: Totally. Yeah, I think if that stuff is not happening, then there’s something wrong.

Ray: It’s never the content either, which is great.

Ross: Yeah we never disagree on things like “is this done?”

Ray: Or is it not good or what we want, you know? Or even the approach, like when we got to the cabin the first day, Ross says, “Alright, we’re doing it all live.” We’ve never done that. Like, that’s crazy. We’re going to crash and burn. Like, let’s just build the tracks like how we always do it, you know? Let’s keep doing it, you know. But yeah, when we first got there, we went there with no plan, so we had to hash it out. He wanted to get a truck and then run cables out to the truck and then that was the studio.

Northern Transmissions That’s a cool vision. Do you guys ever kind of feel done for the day, but then you kind of build off each other’s energy?

Ross: Definitely. That’s such a big part of it. Yeah, that’s like the tune Better Than Ever on this album is like really an ode to the songwriting partnership that we have and I feel like it says it perfectly.

Ray: And if one person’s thinking too abstractly, someone can be like, no, let’s get technical with it, or the opposite if someone’s getting too nitty-gritty. The perspective is like the greatest thing.

Nick: and Duncan are amazing too. They have their own relationship too with their bands. Like they work together really well. And then when you add them in, they’re such a good support system for us too. So we’re super lucky to have them as well.

Northern Transmissions That’s great. Are there any bands that you guys would want to tour with that you think you could use their energy from or use them as inspiration?

Ross: Definitely. Well, I mean, we’ve been lucky to tour with a lot of people we really respect and have inspired us a lot. Like the tour that we did a while back was incredible and so inspiring.

Ray: There’s so many. But you know, this band, Sheer Mag, is awesome.

Ross: Sheer Mag is awesome. Of course, that would be sweet. That would be so fun. Yeah, there’s so many. The one I just thought of was Automatic. I saw them recently. They came through New Orleans and the show was so fun.

Ray: Maybe if I keep saying Hatchie, maybe it will develop into a tour.

Northern Transmissions We will definitely tag her in this and try to help out. Do you guys have to be in a certain mood for songwriting? Or is it just whenever something kind of sticks in your head you jot something down and then you run with it later?

Ross:  You know, with us, it’s usually just about just writing all the time, and getting into a kind of ritual of coming back to sitting down and thinking about songs. Sometimes something sticks, and other times you spend a lot of time, where you don’t feel like you’re coming up with the right stuff or whatever, but you just kind of pump yourself up, pump each other up too, you know, and keep trying.

I was reading an interview with Max from Cutworms,  but he was talking about songwriting being like gardening, and someone asked him, “Do you ever have dry spells?” And he was like, “Oh, it’s mostly dried spells. Like, I think of it as tilling the soil, though. You’re just getting in there and working things out, and then if you’re lucky, then things will grow, and like, you just kind of keep working at it.”

Ray: You really get like one or two a year, honestly, because if you add up, there’s ten songs in the album. So then if I got two or three a year, that would be five. And then you [Ross] got two or three a year, that would be five. And then that’s the album. It takes a long time.

Northern Transmissions Do you have to be going through an event or experiencing the feelings when you’rewriting songs? Or is that something that you can just tap into from a previous point in your life?

Ross: That’s a great question. I think the emotions of being alive and everything make their way in there regardless of whether you’re doing it intentionally or whether something just happened that felt really heavy. Or if it’s something that’s still affecting you from a long time ago or something that’s on your mind that maybe isn’t as tangible as the breakup or something but yeah I think that the emotional content just kind of falls in there when you’re trying to express ideas musically.

Ray: Or there’s the top down approach, I was talking to someone who is a songwriter and they said, there’s two schools of thought. They were saying that you have to live through what you write about, you have to experience it.

But I come from the school of thought where you can write about something you’ve never lived through because it’s a dream that you yearn for. And that’s just as powerful.
And Duncan just told me about Dirty Mind, Prince’s album, he was writing about what he wanted. He seems like such a rock star on the album. But he’s like, I was just stuck at home making an album and I didn’t have those things. I wanted to write about what I was dreaming about.

Ross: It’s a dangerous thing to think that you have to be in pain to be making good art or something.

Northern Transmissions: Are there any songs on this album that you would equate to that experience?

Ray: That we didn’t live through? Sure. That’s a good question. Oh, well, How Long’s Entirety is about, like, when you go through loss and you’re grappling with the questions of reality?

I guess that’s because, like, we’re not trained in existentialism and philosophy. But we still wanted to hit those big questions. What’s the origin of the universe and what happens in the afterlife? What’s the point of life now?

Ross: I’m just gonna say, Just Think, the disco track.

Ray: Oh yeah, because that was kind of like a shout out to Robin, because Robin went through a grieving time and in order to cope with it, danced in discotheques by herself all across Europe. And we never did that.

Ross: But that’s what’s inspired by that.

Ray: We’re going to Europe soon, so it could happen.

Northern Transmissions It could happen. Probably will happen, right? What part of the tour are you guys most excited about?

Ross:  All of it. I think I’m really excited to bring out the new music. We’ve been making music for a long time and touring and playing in New York and LA and stuff you know, for a long time and it’s so fun when we get to go and be like, right, this is a new thing we’ve made that you guys are only barely familiar with some of these songs.

Ray: Yeah, there’s nothing like that. And Europe is going to be really fun too. We’ve never done that, so that’s a whole new thing for us. So super stoked for that.

Northern Transmissions: Do you guys have any plans in the future to explore genres outside of the norm for you guys?

Ross: Totally. Yeah. Sky’s the limit.

Northern Transmissions Are there any particular genres?

Ray: Oh, I don’t think we can reveal that. I know what I want. I’ve got some, you know, tunnels I want to go down. It’s top secret until it happens.

Northern Transmissions There’s a lot of genres left to cover, so I think we’re all excited to see where you guys take it next time. Is there anything else, any final thoughts you guys want to let fans know about the album or the coming tour?

Ray: Thank you for listening. That’s all we can say.

Ross: Yeah, thanks for all the support, and we’re super honored to play for them and make music.

Pre-order Away From The Castle by Video Age HERE


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