Q&A with Donald Spence of Versus The World

Versus The World are set to release their third full-length record, Homesick/Roadsick on June 23rd via Kung Fu Records. In anticipation for the release, we had a chat with vocalist Donald Spence about the band’s journey to their third release, the importance of strong lyrics and finding balance – the underlying theme between Homesick/Roadsick.

Interview by Shannon Shumaker

Your new album, Homesick/Roadsick is dropping soon! What are you most excited for listeners to hear on it?

I have a couple songs that I think are really rad.  We’ve been rehearsing for tour a lot lately and “A Storm Like Me” & “Detox/Retox” are really fun to play.  It’s always interesting to road test new songs.

What does Homesick/Roadsick mean to you, both as an album title and an album as a whole?

It’s really about balance.  I see that more and more.  We love playing music.  We’re lucky to do it!  I think it’s really easy to loose focus of what’s important sometimes.  When you’re out on a long tour, by the end of it all you just want to get home.  You get home, dust yourself off and all you want to do is pack up your things and go play shows.  We wrote and named the record about our lives traveling around for the last few years.  It’s a very literal interpretation.

What do you hope that listeners, both old and new, will take away from Homesick/Roadsick?

Everyone listens to music in their own way but for me, I’m a lyric lover.  So I always make sure that the words get a lot of attention.  It’s my favorite part of writing.  When ever I get a new record I will always go straight for the lyrics when I put it on.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel that lyrically, a lot of the songs on this album are very personal, especially the first track you guys released, “The Santa Margarita.” What do you feel was the most rewarding part of writing these songs and getting those feelings and stories out there for people to hear?

It amazing.  It’s why I write music.  I’ve always been a literal type of lyric writer.  You can hear the words and pretty much know what happened to inspire them.  “The Santa Margarita” was a sad song to write, and I still miss my friend when I hear it.

How do you feel the new album compares to or grows from your old material? Was there anything you really wanted to be able to accomplish with the album, it being your third release?

I feel like we grow with every release.  We just get a little better at what we do the more we do it.  We wanted to write a piece that fit under this theme.  I had named the record Homesick/Roadsick before we started writing so that we had a place to start.  So I feel like there’s a flow to a record when you come at it like that.

You also recently released “A Brooklyn Rooftop” – can you tell us a little bit about that track?

It was written about a night I spend drinking with old friends in New York City.  We all hadn’t seen each other in what felt like a lifetime, so we all met in Brooklyn.  We spent all day running around one of the most amazing cities in the world, and every night we’d sit on the roof of my fiends apartment and drink.  I wrote the words on my arm while drinking on that rooftop so I wouldn’t forget them.

Is there any particular song that you’re really excited for listeners to hear?

I’m really liking “A Storm Like Me.”  I know that Tony really likes “Our Song.”  But really I want people to listen to the record as a whole, learn the words and then sing their guts out at the show.

Having been involved with other projects before Versus The World, do you feel that your past experience has helped you really hone in on what you want to accomplish as a group?

We’ve all been in bands our whole lives really.  And yeah, I’d say that that goes into what we do.  It’s all part of what makes our band special.  Every band has their own dynamic.  Their own team of people around them.  I love my band and the group of people that surround us.  I’m very lucky, and I know that.

How do you feel that your shared experiences over the years has impacted your songwriting with the new release?

I feel like writing a song at 32 as opposed to 22 is a world apart.  I just have more to say.  I’ve seen and loved, and lived and lost a lot more than the young version of myself.  No to say that anything written by a young writer is any less honest or pure.  I just look at the world very differently.

After Homesick/Roadsick drops, what is the rest of 2015 looking like for Versus The World?

Tour tour tour.  We’re playing some release shows in California then we’re off.  Supporting Strung Out in Europe, Good Riddance in Australia and New Zealand.  I can’t wait, I’ve never played in NZ!  Then w head to Japan with our friends Useless ID,  that will be our second tour in Japan with those guys.  Them home to do some California shows with our buddies A Wilhelm Scream.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for listening to our music.  It means everything.

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