“We’re on the f*cking fast track.”
On Thursday, Oct. 15, Acid Dad shook the walls of Our Wicked Lady in Brooklyn, New York at their second CMJ performance. The Brooklyn local band has only been together about a year, but their sound has an effortlessly seasoned blend that only comes with the most organic of connections. Merging band members from all areas of the nation and globe, Acid Dad is a touch of Los Angeles meets Nashville, meets Columbia, meets Minneapolis, all booming from inside the walls of one intimate Bushwick bar.
Lights fade between shades of blue, green, and red as they bounce off the walls of Our Wicked Lady in unison with the beat of Acid Dad’s “Grim.” Their set list is one that transitions from fast-paced, harder beats to mellow, rhythmic tones as the night goes on, running through a complete set list of band and fan favorites including: “Shoot Ya Down,” “The Digger,” “Master Blaster,” “Brain Body,” “Grim,” “Cinnamon Sky,” and “Worm.”
The band’s name was created just as it sounds with one part acid and one part alliteration. To its four members, Acid Dad “just felt right” and it sounds even better.
The ensemble is made up of four members: Vaughn Hunt of Nashville on vocals and guitar, Dany Gomez of Colombia also on guitar and vocals, Kevin Walker of Los Angeles on drums and Sean Fahey of Minneapolis, the newest band member, on bass.
Described as psych-punk, a term and genre coined by the band themselves, there’s a vintage electric hew in the vocals that’s parallelled in the guitar and balanced on a quick but steady bass line. Matched with upbeat drum hits for the unmistakeable punk influence, the sounds mesh to create an energetic original sound that’s all their own.
The sound inspiration, much like the band, is a melting pot of musical tastes, experiences and icons.
“We try to be very dynamic,” said Gomez, “If anything it’s a combination of all we’ve soaked in, and we kind of try to put it out in our own way.”
“I’ve been around music forever since I was a little kid, and it’s one of those things that you just like do, and you just kind of lose yourself in it. Everything you listen to just kind of gets ingrained in the back of your head, and when you’re writing it just kind of comes out whether you do it on purpose or not,” added Hunt, “Sometimes we’ll be like, ‘Oh, okay. Let’s write a fucking Black Sabbath breakdown here’ and sometimes it’s on purpose, but most of the time it’s pretty organic, pretty natural.”
And just as any new and thriving band does, Acid Dad is constantly evolving, and well aware of it.
“We have phases, too. We have writing phases. Like sometimes we write country, slower songs,” said Walker.
“Yeah, I’m in the country phase. We definitely like the country mood,” Hunt added, a statement which rang true through the sounds of his guitar only one hour ago as the set list slowed and the slightest hint of southern drawl weaved over the chords of “Brain Body.”
Three months after their official formation, the band saw its first big break in March of 2015, while opening for one of their friend and favorites Mystery Lights at Brooklyn’s Union Pool.
“That was a really good step forward for us, because that was when we started playing for people who weren’t just our friends, a little wider audience. Just because they’re big and they’re awesome. And we’ve played with them two or three times more since then,” said Walker. “The whole thing happened really fast,” he added.
With no agents, producers or public relations set ups, Walker handles all of the band’s publicity, booking, and promoting shows and interviews as often as possible. The tactic is clearly working.
“Saturday, we’re opening for Shannon and the Clams, and literally all these bands we were listening to in high school we’re opening up for. That’s honestly our biggest break. That hasn’t happened yet,” said Hunt. “We’re on the fucking fast track.”
By the end of this year, Acid Dad will have played 50 shows, according to Walker.
Big breaks aren’t the only thing Acid Dad can look forward to in the coming year. This winter, the band plans to release their first EP, I/II, which will be written, recorded, produced, and promoted entirely on their own with Hunt handling the EP’s production.
“I’m a producer, and I engineer and write lots of stuff and record all of it,” said Hunt.
“We’re really, like, autonomous, a well oiled machine,” Walker added.
To follow their run of CMJ showings, Acid Dad plans to retreat to their recording studio in Brewster, New York for a few days of writing for the new EP. Together, over the span of a few days, the band will run through their creative Rolodex, pulling from the likes of Neil Young, to the Brazilian psych rock band Os Mutantes. Big fans of 90s hip hop, there may even be some Biggie influence in there, too.
“We practice a lot. We practice at least twice a week, and I’m working on it every day. It is a lot of fuckin’ work, but it’s really fun,” said Hunt, “That’s what Eddie Van Halen talked about. He said, ‘we’re all fucking nerds; we’re all nerds just chilling in my garage learning all this crazy shit.’ You just gotta be into it.”
“So,” said Hunt, “I guess my advice would be to know music history and know music theory. Advice he and his band mates clearly follow as their banter is sprinkled with quotes and facts of legendary musicians, including the Van Halen and the Rolling Stones. They know their stuff.
For this young, up-and-coming band, sights are set on a sound and career they can carry with them long into the future. With role models and passions for a timeless, quality sound blazing the way, there’s no doubt Acid Dad will keep on the fast track for years to come, establishing themselves in ears and minds far and wide.
“Just to play music is the goal,” said Gomez, and play they will, because after all, they’re Acid Dad, and they’re here to stay.