Interview With VersaEmerge - 11th April 2009
Photo Of VersaEmerge © Copyright VersaEmergeWe caught up and coming pop punks VersaEmerge before their show at Sheffield Corporation to chat about how the band came together, what they would be doing if VersaEmerge wasent a band, how they are enjoying their time in the UK and much more.

How did you guys form as a band and how did you come up with the name VersaEmerge?
(Blake) Anthony and I met in first day of 9th grade, I was starting at a new high school. I heard he played drums, we actually had a class together so I asked him to play drums. Later that day we went to his house and jammed, started a blues band ever since then we have been playing indifferent bands together and that is how Anthony and I met. Then eventually we met Jerry and Devon and they joined the band, Jerry actually went to law school but came back to the band recently. Sierra sent us an audition on Myspace when we lost our male vocalist. The name I came up with and its versa comes from vice versa meaning the opposite or to change and emerge so it just means to change and emerge.

What are your influences and whom would you say contributed to your current musical style?
(Sierra) We all have different influences, basically I think its all stuff we all grew up on. We don't influence our music that we make off contemporary artists or bands, we try to stray from that.

(Blake) I think its so broad that its hard to pick one certain style. I know we all have loads of different influences, I think that anything you listen to influences you. Certain bands I like, I really love Muse, Imogen Heap, Bjork and I'm really into movie sound tracks and scores, Edward Scissorhands is probably my favourite score. What other bands you guys into.

(Gerry) I've not really been influenced by them but I'm into Emery, they have been my favourite band for a long time, Bayside, My American Heart

(Anthony) I like all different types of music, I like The Receiving Ends of Sirens, Thrice, I like a lot of bands that have really cool drums. I take a lot of my influences from solo artist drummers

When did you start playing music and what made you pick up your first instrument?
(Blake) When I was five I got my first guitar an acoustic guitar and I strummed some cords my mum was playing. When I was nine I got my first electric guitar, that I really wanted. I remember listening to Kenny Wayne Shepherd albums, its sort of a Stevie Ray Vaughan kind of sound and just wanting my guitar to sound like that. That got me into playing and the last few years I have really got into song writing.

(Sierra) My mum would always have music playing in the house or the car. I remember she would play a lot of Bob Marley, a lot of Pink Floyd and Tom Petty. I would always play guitars all over the house, I can not play but I would act like I could. I just ultimately love to sing all the time also when growing up I really got into theatre and did a lot of musical theatre. That kind of broadened me and got my voice to where it is now.

(Devon) I've always been exposed to music because my dads always been in a band. I started off playing the piano, then I just evolved into trying to do different things like guitar and ended up with the bass, which I have been playing for eight years now. For me I have always wanted to do music, playing has always been my favourite thing to do.

(Jerry) This first instrument I ever picked up was a harmonic that my dad had when I was really little, I kind of messed around with that but never really took it seriously. We family always had a really old terrible piano that no one played. When I got bored I would play that eventually I started like it and I picked up guitar and have not put it down since.

(Anthony) I've always been around music too, I've always been really intrigued by bands. When I was in 5th grade it was the first time I was ever exposed to any type of drumming, I was in music class and my teacher held a little contest for the bongos for different beats and I wont the contest I had never played anything like that before. My music teacher said I should look into playing drums and I was always really intrigued by that. My parents would not let me get a drum set though, years later they kind of gave in and I started taking lessons immediately

You have released a new self titled EP, how was the recording process and are you happy with the finished product?
(Sierra) Very happy, the recording process was extremely smooth compared to our last EP that we did. We travelled a lot and went to different producers. On this record we stuck with one producer and we really got to work it out.

(Blake) It was awesome we got to spend two weeks straight in this crappy hotel just slaying over this record making it the best we could. I feel personally if we don't get to word hard on a record I'm not as happy with the outcome.

What are your favourite tracks off the record and why?
(Sierra) I think we all probably have different favourites, what's yours?

(Blake) I think my favourite track on the record is Whisper.

(Sierra) I think my favourite track is Whisper too.

(Blake) I think we are all just going to say Whisper.

(Jerry) Actually no, I think Clocks I thought the acoustic guitar on that one came out really really well.

(Blake) I thinks Whisper just because of all of the instrumentation in the strings and stuff.

Do you have any plans to record a full length album any time soon?
(Blake) Yeah probably towards the end of the year.

(Sierra) We will be working on it on the Warped tour, writing and demoing out things.

(Blake) This summer on Warped we will be writing in the back lounge of the bus. Hopefully getting as much done on Warped tour even though its this band festival thing

You have not long been signed to Fueled By Ramen records, how did this come about and how have they been treating you?
(Anthony) We announced our signing on the 1st of December and since then it has been up hill, its been really amazing. Everyone over there has been treating us great. We picked them over a lot of different labels just because we knew they were going to fit us best and let us do what ever we want, they wont push us to be different like a lot of labels do that to a lot of bands, we are allowed to be ourselves and I think that is really important.

Its your first time touring the UK, how have the shows been going so far and what has the crowds reaction been like towards you?
(Jerry) Its awesome, most of us have never been over to the UK before. Sierra has on vacation, but its my first time seeing a place so far away from home, its awesome! A lot of people don't get to do that.

(Blake) We landed in London two days ago and had a show in London the following day. As soon as we got out off the van we saw someone with our t-shirt, it was just surreal to know that somebody on the other side of the world knew who we were.

(Anthony) To see a mass of kids signing the words to your songs and jamming out knowing all of them, its awesome epically across the world.

(Jerry) They act a lot different here, they actually really get into it and like show how much they care.

(Anthony) Yeah sometimes kids in America even if they are really into a band wont really bob there heads or anything. You wont know until after the show “Oh my god, you guys were so awesome.” I'm like oh really? Its weird.

Your going to be playing Give It a Name next week, how excited about this are you and are you fans of any of the bands on the line up?
(Sierra) We are stoked, we love most the bands Taking Back Sunday, Underoath, Thursday.

(Blake) We have not really met any of those, expect for the past couple of days we have been touring with Lights, Whole wheat Bread and In This Moment we have been with them for a couple of days now and all of those are really nice people.

How would you describe your live show and what is your favourite song to play live?
(Sierra) I would describe our live show as pretty energetic, we have Devon on the bass always rocking out, its just so much fun to watch. Every time photographers send back photos they are always of Devon having the most fun. Everyone has such a character and it comes out on stage a lot, we don't really notice that as we are doing our own thing, then we get pictures back and we watch videos and its surprising. Favourite song to play live, I really like Whisper and Clocks again.

(Blake) Yeah those are the two we tell people are our favourite. Just because they have a good live feeling.

I understand Sierra you has only been in the band for just over a year now, how has your journey with the band been so far and I also understand you lied about your age in order to audition, what's the story?
(Sierra) So far it has been amazing I have made awesome friends, I have brothers now. Its been a long long year I've learned a lot and its definitely a whole new world from being in a high school doing normal things. Now travelling I'm free of authority almost you know parents and that. Its really makes you grow as a person. Yes I lied about my age I was sixteen years old and they were all older than what I was and I really really really wanted to be in this band. So I was like yeah “I'm seventeen my birthday in is in a couple of days.” So they thought I was turning eighteen but really I was turning seventeen in the next few days. I told them I was seventeen and I kind of surprised them. Its my birthday and I'm still seventeen.

So most of you are under 21 and there for can not legally drink in the states, but your not in the states now. Has the partying began yet?
(Sierra) No

(Devon) This bottle is actually filled with vodka and not water.

(Blake) We are not really a big party band but we will party

(Sierra) I'm pretty sure some bands will destroy this room drunk partying.

(Blake) Has anyone drank anything while we have been here?

(Anthony) I drank one beer.

(Jerry) So out of the whole of VersaEmerge we have had one drink this entire time.

If VersaEmerge were not a band, what would you guys be doing now?
(Blake) I'd defiantly be scoring movies, this is definitely one thing I want to do one day.

(Sierra) I do not know, I really could not picture a different future in my mind

(Jerry) You would be in school.

(Devon) I think you would be a pilgrim or a gypsy or something.

(Sierra) Yeah a gypsy, I would be a gypsy woman doing black magic.

(Anthony) Maybe a pirate or something. What would you be doing Devon?

(Devon) I would be a porn star.

(Jerry) I guess I would be in law school still, before I was in this band I was going to law school to be an attorney. I get sleepy just saying that.

(Anthony) I'd be back at school, polo shirt on, baggy shorts on, shaved head probably doing something I don't want to do.

Do you have any rock and roll stories from your time on the road?
(Sierra) I would not call them rock and roll stories, I would call them horror stories. What's a good one?

(Blake) Multiple flat tires.

(Jerry) Hanging out with Three 6 Mafia, we hung out with them and made a song. Three 6 Mafia are this hip hop group in America that have sold millions of records and they have their own reality TV show, they have been in loads of movies and TV shows.

Sierra how do you feel towards people who class most female fronted bands into one category or compare them to existing bands as I understand some people have been comparing you to Paramore?
(Sierra) I don't really feel anything about it I guess. Because Paramore are around that's who we are going to get compared to but if they were not then we would get compared to another female fronted band. I just think its going to happen, you can not fight it, you can not defend yourself, you can not say look at us we are different because of this and this. I think people are just going to have to learn for themselves and come out to a show.

(Gerry) I think with our new record we sound nothing like Paramore at all.

What do you do in between shows on long tours to keep you busy?
(Blake) Recently we have been sleeping in-between shows. Because at average we have an eight hour drive after every show in the US but now we are getting the chance to relax a little more over here. We like watching movies in the bus, I personally like to get on my laptop and programme some music, listen to i-pods and so on.

(Sierra) Or sometimes we just get completely immature and do the most ridiculous things.

(Anthony) Yeah I was trying to light a fart on fire on the way here.

(Sierra) Yeah, sometimes we just sit in the van and laugh for hours and hours just doing our English accents.
(English accents I had to hear this so I asked them to. The next three minutes was spent by Sierra, Jerry and Blake all doing English accents. I have to say I thought it was very amusing, the accents were rather good to)

Where do you hope to see VersaEmerge in five years time?
(Sierra) Hopefully still being professional and going out as a band, maybe a bigger fan base.

Okay, one final random question; if you had a choice, what animal would you be out of a Zebra and a Giraffe?
(Sierra) Zebra.

(Blake) Zebra.

(Sierra) Because its like a horse. A giraffe is very unique though.

(Jerry) I want to be a giraffe.

(Anthony) That's weird because Jerry is a giraffe. I would like to be a zebra giraffe, I want to be a stripped giraffe.

(Sierra) You could be a zebra with a long neck.

Thanks for your time, is there a message you would like to give to your fans reading this?
(Jerry) Thank you for reading this.

(Blake) You need to come out to see us live to experience us.

(Devon) Look out for my porn film coming out.

Interview by Ellie Pockley
 Band Members

Anthony Martone (Drums)
Blake Harnage (Guitar, Vocals & Programming)
Jerry Pierce (Guitar)
Sierra Kusterbeck (Lead Vocals)
Devin Ingelido (Bass)
 Latest Releases
VersaEmerge - VersaEmerge
Release Date - February 2009
1. Theatrics
2. The Hider
3. Past Praying For
4. Moments Between Sleep
5. Whisperer
6. Clocks
 Band Related Links
VersaEmerge Myspace