Richmond, Virginia has become quite a hotspot for independent acts in the DIY scene. Lance Bangs, the band, not the videographer, is just one of those acts. Colin, Joel and Drew are three friends who started the band together, and they have a lot of fun performing. They’re signed with Citrus City Records, a small label based out of Richmond.
The band just released their EP, titled Lance Mountain via Citrus City, and chatted with us about the EP, growing up in Virginia, and what it’s like doing the DIY or die thing.
Modern Vinyl: To start, what’s the oral history of the band?
Lance Bangs: Lance Bangs is Colin Thibodeau (guitar/vox), Joel Alicea (bass/vox), and Drew Lanzafama (drums). They attended the same high school in their hometown of Stafford, VA but now call Richmond home. What eventually became Lance Bangs started in early 2015. Colin had moved from transferred from Fredericksburg, VA to Richmond, VA during the summer of 2014 and began writing and recording music from his bedroom that fall. He approached Joel, Drew, and Drew’s roommate, Connor (also from Stafford) to supporting him for live sets. This group played as Collin Thibodeauxx for three shows before Connor left to write his own music and attend medical school. Colin, Joel and Drew continued on as Collin Thibodeauxx for another year before deciding to change the name to Lance Bangs. In September 2016 they released, Lance Mountain, on Citrus City Records (RVA) and Danger Collective Records (LA), their first under the new moniker.
MV: Is the name a homage to THE Lance Bangs, music video director? Why the change from Collin Thibodeauxx?
LB: Collin Thibodeauxx was the name of the Soundcloud account Colin used to release his early stuff. We started off playing those tracks, so we just played under that name. We also had no idea Collin Thibodeauxx would turn out the way it did. We were all having fun and making friends so we got really into it. And by that point we were confusing people. Collin Thibodeauxx sounded like a singer-songwriter situation, but it was the same band with the same lineup. So we decided to name our band someone else’s name.
MV: Lance Mountain is your latest release. What was the concept behind the EP?
LB: Lance Mountain is a five-track release that was written over the course of 2015-2016. A couple of them were early Collin Thibodeauxx/Colin Thibodeau songs that have been reworked. And a few were written and/or recorded in the Underground Orchard, our practice/recording spot/occasional venue. Some parts of the EP are based on Orchard improvisations, so it’s a slightly different flavor of what we did as Collin Thibodeauxx. It’s named after Robert “Lance” Mountain, an original member of Bones Brigade. I saw this Stacy Peralta documentary about Bones Brigade and all of the people interviewed said Lance Mountain was their favorite because he made skating look fun even though he was the least technical of Bones Brigade. And that’s the kinda thing this EP stands for, in my opinion.
MV: It’s a release via Citrus City and Danger Collective. How did you end up working with the latter?
LB: The way I understand it, Reed from Danger Co. and Manny from Citrus City knew each other from the web and because they both released music on cassette labels. Reed was an early supporter of Collin Thibodeauxx’s, Nothing Buttrock, which was released on Citrus City in the summer of 2015. Manny told us that Reed was interested in doing a Danger Co./Citrus City split release for the next Collin Thibodeauxx EP. That ended up being Lance Mountain, our first release as Lance Bangs. It’s been a great experience. We were really happy with how we got the EP to sound, the cassettes themselves look sweet, AND it can be streamed on Spotify and other streaming services! How cool is that?
MV: What drew you to the experimental lo-fi-esque genre, and to an extent, the DIY scene itself?
LB: I guess we’ve fallen into that genre because of a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I think we all enjoy a lo-fi music a great deal. We definitely have individual tastes, but we also share lot of key influences that all within that lo-fi realm. Then it comes down to our resources and philosophy. We want to make the best sound with what’s available to work. It’s honest.
MV: How do you define yourselves in the Richmond music scene, one jam-packed with a multitude of talent?
LB: Richmond is a city dense with creative talent. There are so many people hosting events, making music, so forth and so on that there are ample opportunities to get involved yourself. So I’d say we’re an example of what’s capable if you put yourself out there in Richmond. We were able to meet people, make some connections, and get involved our own little niche of RVA’s DIY music scene.
MV: Are there any touring plans for the fall?
LB: Yeah! We’ve got a few house shows in Richmond coming up in early October and then there are some Philly dates further down the line. Hopefully more to come!
MV: What are some of the venues you love playing at the most within the DIY scene?
LB: The now defunct Harrisonburg Printer’s Museum was a group favorite before it permanently closed its doors. We played at this neat/bizarre spot in Nashville, TN that we won’t soon forget…we’d love to find more places like that.
MV: When you aren’t in RVA, where’s your home away from home, and what’s so special about it?
LB: Stafford, VA. It’s our real home. Our formative experiences were there, for the most part. We all know it forward and back. It’s the kind of place that’s painfully boring to visitors and residents alike, but when you’ve been there forever you learn to make your own trouble. And those acts of stupidity and boredom created the stories and forged the bonds that make that place special to me.
MV: Anything else you’d like to add?
LB: Buy music.
Lance Mountain is available now on their Bandcamp, as a pay-what-you-want download. Tapes are available via Danger Collective, and are limited to 35 copies; 10 of which are online. The tapes are translucent green with a white ink imprint, and come with a download of the EP.