Interviews: Vajra

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Progressive Rock/Alternative Rock band Vajra from the USA. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you plan it or come out just like that? 

AMP: I had traveled to Tibet trekking from Nepal and up to Base Camp at Everest. It was my first time in Asia, and I picked up a few trinkets to memorialize my trip. One of these items was a silver amulet with a double Vajra on it. Back home, I did some research, and I learned that the Vajra is a Buddhist and Hindu symbol for the thunderbolt or the diamond. It represents that which breaks through as the underlying truth of the universe. I bought a leather strap and decided to wear the amulet as a necklace. At that time, I was undergoing a transformative moment in my life, and I decided that I would get the amulet forever tattooed on my body. Later, when going through numerous names for the band, I kept going back to Vajra, because this music is all about being a channel for that truth of the universe to shine through us.

2. Why did you want to play this genre? 

We don’t squarely fit into any genre, and we don’t try to. We are travelers who go outside the bounds of a sense-based perception to catch a musical or lyrical idea and then translate it to the material realm. Of course, our life experience is our vocabulary or antenna. But when we get out of our own ways, we are translators or conduits for energies that move through us. Honoring what comes through is important for us. Musically, lyrically, and visually we explore what we are driven to explore.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed? 

The unifying factor among us all is the Hudson Valley.  Dave and I initially met at an underground rock bar in NYC that no longer exists called the Three of Cups. It was a place where we would all convene after a show. I thought he looked interesting, and friends mentioned that he was the guitarist from the Industrial pioneer band, Bile. We started chatting, and we discovered that we both grew up in Upstate NY. Jimmy and John also lived in the Hudson Valley, but we did not know Jimmy or John before they joined the band. However, Jimmy and John did know each other growing up.

4. Each band member's favorite band? 

AMP: Tool

DS: Type O Negative - Brooklyn goth metal was the sexiest and most tongue-in-cheek music, Playful and deadly serious at the same time. They set the mood for the wonder and mystery of what was to come in life. A close second is Mercyful Fate because the evilness and musicality combined just put me in awe. A close third is the Eagles, who wrote more amazing songs than any other band, and anyone who knows me knows I am a huge '70s music fan. I cannot end a 'favorite' band message without also adding Black Sabbath - the early Dio years. Hearing 'Neon Knights' on the radio was my first introduction to Ronnie James Dio. Enough said!

JD: As cliché as it probably sounds for a drummer to say, Rush has been my favorite band since I first heard them at 7 years old.  My mom played me a cassette of 2112 in the car and my mind was blown completely.  I went home and played along to it every day until I learned all of Neil's drum parts.  If YouTube was a thing back then I'd probably be famous by now haha.

JH: I have bands that I always come back to but wouldn't say I have a favorite among them. Instead of fierce fandom, I tend to get crushes on albums which then get heavy rotation in the soundtrack to my life. At the moment I am crushing on the 2021 album Fool by Lucie, Too - an indie rock/pop trio from Japan and BRAND NEW SOUL by Angel Du$t has gotten a lot of play since its release.

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs? 

Everything can be an inspiration. It could be a movie, an emotion, a leaf falling from a tree, a person, a performance, a situation – anything or anyone.

6. Where was your last gig? 

We just played a handful of dates with September Mourning this past October. The last date was at the Hard Rock in Pittsburgh.

7. Where would you like to act? 

AMP: Not sure how to answer this question. Interestingly, I acted in a Bollywood feature film whilst I was living in India.

8. Whom would you like to feature with? 

Tool and the Dead Can Dance folks would be pretty amazing. Both bands are huge inspirations for us creatively and rhythmically.

9. Whom not? 

Probably some butt-rock band that swims in regurgitation, misogyny, and some other mundane crap.

10. Have any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that? 

AMP: Yes. Every time I perform, I have stage fright. I have to ground myself, and I have a few go-to rituals that I do to ground myself depending on what I feel I need most at that time. I also have to come out of my ego and remind myself that the best space to be in is one where the energies flow through me but don’t necessarily come from me (if that makes any sense). In other words, I believe that the best performances are ones in which we are conduits. My advice would be to explore grounding techniques that will work best for you.

11. What bands have inspired you the most? 

There are lots. Rush, Duran Duran, soul music, Prince, Type O Negative, Madonna, Tool, classical Hindustani, Deftones, Alice In Chains, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush, Fever Ray, Dead Can Dance, and The Mars Volta.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for? 

AMP: Pics of my feet.

13. What do you think of your fans? 

AMP: That’s difficult to answer because each fan has her or his own spice so we think differently about each individual. Generally, we are deeply grateful to share our music with everyone. I have a touching fan story to share. Dave and I were at a big festival walking around, and this woman walked up to us and nervously asked if I was Annamaria from Vajra. When I responded yes, she started crying and carefully explaining how much our music meant to her and how it got her through some poignant moments of her life. It was such an emotional and beautiful experience. This is part of why we do what we do.

14. What do you think of our site?

It’s a great resource to discover all kinds of bands.

15. Something to add?

Thank you for listening, watching and communing with us. It means everything.

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